By Meghan Hennessy
I am writing to express how tremendously impressed I am with the Honors Program at the Eastern Campus of Suffolk County Community College (SCCC). As a member of the program for two semesters now, I have nothing but praise for the program in all regards.
The Honors program offers “interdisciplinary learning opportunities for academically talented and highly motivated students”, according to the college’s website. It is geared towards the fundamental traditions associated with the Liberal Arts and aims to highlight the connections between different disciplines as well as encourage “intellectual creativity”.
According to Carla Sutherland, the Professional Assistant (PA) of the Eastern Campus’ Honors Program, SCCC students may apply for admission into the Honors Program either prior to, or at any point during their enrollment at SCCC. Both part-time and full-time students are “welcome to apply”, according to the college’s website. Applicants are required to submit an Honors Program application, a letter of recommendation, a 500-word essay, ACT or SAT scores, and a copy of their high school transcript, along with any previous college transcripts.
For entering students, the minimum requirements are as follows: a B+ average in high school and a composite SAT score of 1650 or ACT score of 24, as the webpage for SCCC’s Honors Program clarifies. For students to maintain their status once they’re already enrolled at SCCC, a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average along with a grade of B+ or better in ENG101 is required.
While I found the application process daunting and overwhelming at first, both Ms. Sutherland and Professor Adam Penna, the program’s Coordinator for the Eastern Campus, helped to make the process much easier to understand and get through. They may require applicants to jump through several hoops in order to gain entry to the Honors Program, but once I was accepted into the program, I saw that it was well worth the effort.
I’ve experienced a marked difference between my honors and non-honors classes in my two semesters as a student at SCCC’s Eastern Campus. For one thing, honors classes are smaller, allowing for more attentive instruction along with stronger relationships between students and professors. It’s nice to not be just a face in a sea of students, but to have an identity in the classroom as an individual. I’ve found my honors classes to be more intellectually stimulating than my non-honors classes in many instances, and I’ve also noticed a higher caliber of scholars in the Honors Program. The students in my honors classes tend to be more mentally present and active in class, and seem to be more motivated to learn than in my non-honors classes.
Aside from the benefits of taking honors courses, there are several opportunities, events, and services for honors students at the Eastern Campus of SCCC. Honors students gain access to special trips, such as the World Trade Center memorial trip I look forward to attending next month. Luncheons for the Honors Program are also held frequently here on the Eastern Campus, where honors students get to receive advice and academic advisement, as well as delicious free food. In addition, many scholarships are limited to students who are a part of the Honors Program. There are seemingly endless benefits to becoming a member of this program, it offers so many wonderful things to students who are motivated, intelligent, and deserving.
And it appears that many students on the Eastern Campus are already quite aware of how great the Honors Program is. According to Ms. Sutherland, there are currently 103 students coded as honors, while there are also many additional students who are taking some honors classes without being coded as honors. It’s obviously no secret that becoming a part of the Honors Program offers benefits beyond merely looking good on transcripts.
My only disappointment with the Honors Program at the Eastern Campus is the number of honors courses offered. Because this is such a small campus, even the number of non-honors courses offered here is less-than-ideal for busy full-time students, especially those who also work part-time, like myself. I’ve found it difficult to arrange my schedule so that I am taking only classes that fit into my Liberal Arts degree requirements, while also taking at least two honors classes, and additionally taking into account my work schedule and allotting time for classwork and some semblance of a social life. Although it has been difficult, I’ve managed to do it for both of my semesters so far, so it isn’t a huge concern. I only wish there were more honors courses offered in a semester to make life a bit easier, but even with the number offered now, it is definitely possible to make it work.
Last semester I was fortunate enough to take an Honors English 102 class with the Honors Program Coordinator, Professor Penna, as well as an Honors Issues in Philosophy class. I was happy with both courses, which I found challenging and exciting. This semester I’m taking an Honors Introduction to Dramatic Literature course which I absolutely love, along with an Honors Sociology 101 class that I’m also very happy with. The classes are fascinating and while there is a higher workload for honors classes in my experience, it is work that is interesting and worthwhile. I look forward to taking more honors courses next semester and gaining all that I can from the Honors Program while getting my Liberal Arts degree here at SCCC’s Eastern Campus.
Student Praises Eastern Campus Honors Program
By Meghan Hennessy