When I received my Bentley University acceptance letter in the mail about four years ago, I also found an invitation from the Honors Program enclosed in the envelope.
Thoughts of self-doubt began to fill my mind as I contemplated whether or not I wanted to participate in what seemed to be an extremely rigorous and prestigious program. Was I smart enough? Would the program isolate me from other Bentley students? How will this affect my grades?
Fortunately, my parents, teachers and friends convinced me to set all anxieties aside and say “yes” to the invite.
I soon found out that being an honors student didn’t mean that I would be separated from other Bentley freshmen or that it would negatively impact my ability to adjust to college life and perform well in school. In fact, the program enhanced my freshman year experience and provided me with the resources I needed to succeed at Bentley.
Now, a first semester senior, I’m so thankful I decided to join the Bentley Honors Program. Here are a few reasons why.
Learn more about the Bentley University Honors Program.
Going away to college required me to step outside of the comfort of my small town and develop a brand new perspective. With the help of my academic advisor, teachers and peers in the Honors Program, this transition was essentially seamless.
My Bentley Summer Orientation group consisted of mainly honors students and was led by an orientation leader (OL) who was also in the program. Through frequent interactions, she immediately alleviated my fears about participating and offered advice on how to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. My OL became someone I looked up to and she inspired me to participate in the following Summer Orientation, where I led a group similar to the one I had been part of the prior year.
Once I joined the Honors Program as a freshman, I was provided with excellent professors and faculty members who soon offered me wonderful opportunities and mentoring relationships. I could not have asked for a better network!
My First Year Seminar Class also consisted of honors students and was instructed by the Honors Program Academic Advisor, Leslie Doolittle. Because we were all dealing with similar challenges, there was an instant connection among my classmates. The other honors courses I have taken (such as Accelerated Calculus with Business Application, Case Studies Math, Expository Writing, Global Regions, Effective Speaking, Financial Markets and Investments, and Advanced Managerial Finance) were all very small in size and mostly discussion-based. This allowed for engaging conversations and valuable relationships to develop among my professors and peers.
My honors courses also happen to be some of my favorite classes I have taken at Bentley. The best part is there are no restrictions in terms of how many honors courses you should or should not take during a given semester. All you need to do is complete the required eight honors courses (six outside and two within our majors) and senior capstone project before you graduate. Outside of the eight, you’re allowed to take as many honors or regular courses as you wish.
3. Networking Events, Lunches and Dinners
The Bentley Honors Program is provided with financial support from United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a leader in high-technology systems and services for the aerospace and building industries. This remarkable aspect of the program allows for honors students to attend networking dinners with UTC employees and enhance their chances of being recruited for internships or full-time jobs at one of the largest global technology firms in the world. The Student Honors Council plans Leadership Lunches with faculty, as well as ice cream socials and finals week study breaks.
Not only do these events serve as much needed breaks from the regular dining hall, but they also provide students with the opportunity to develop relationships with fellow honors students.
I’ve also attended exciting off-campus events, such as the seeing Lion King at the Boston Opera House, going on a Spirit of Boston boat cruise, watching the Book of Mormon musical and a attending a Red Sox game at Fenway. They were so much fun!
4. Challenge by Choice
Every student’s experience with the Bentley Honors Program is unique and can be as challenging as you want it to be. There is a lot of freedom in terms of which classes you can take as honors, how involved you wish to be in the program, as well as which areas of study you want to pursue through your Honors Capstone Projects.
I personally chose to take two honors classes each semester for my first two years of college and quickly finished the course requirements of the program. I chose courses which interested me the most out of the wide selection the program has to offer, which enhanced my level of engagement and success in my honors classes. I also decided to get involved with the program in various ways.
Because I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Honors Program events, mentors and classes, I decided to get further involved through the Honors Program Newsletter: Columnas. I was Co-Managing Editor for the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 academic year and contributed an article for the Spring 2015 issue.
It was a great experience attending meetings with the Honors Council, collaborating with student writers and editors, as well as contributing to a newsletter that recently received first place in the National Collegiate Honors Council newsletter contest. I personally love to write and work with newspapers, so this was a really enjoyable opportunity for me!
The Honors Program is always encouraging students to volunteer for charitable causes. For example, I worked on planning an event with Cradles to Crayons, where Bentley honors students volunteered as a team to help package donated clothing for children in need. The event was a ton of fun and a great way to meet new people while helping the local community.
The Honors Program is also donating to and participating in the campus-wide Relay for Life event this year.
The Honors Council is very open to student ideas about potential volunteer projects within the program. This is a great opportunity to obtain on-campus support for a cause you’re passionate about.
7. Career Opportunities
The Honors Program is an excellent talking point in interviews and networking events. Not only do you have the opportunity to market yourself as part of the top 8-10 percent of your incoming college class, but you also can inform your interviewer about the rigorous honors courses you’re taking and the capstone research project you complete your senior year. The Honors Program is both a resume builder and interview enhancer which further prepares you for rigor of the corporate world. All of the great networking events help a lot, too.
In order to graduate with the Honors Program, each student must complete a Capstone Research Project his/her senior year. Although a writing lengthy thesis your senior year of college doesn’t sound very appealing at first, it is actually a really exciting opportunity.
Your project can be on any topic you’re fascinated by. In addition, you aren’t limited to the standard research paper format for submission. I know a student who is creating an iPhone app and another who is writing a personal memoir.
The Honors Capstone counts as either an Arts and Science or Business elective because you meet periodically with an advisor of your choice and study a topic which interests you most. I’m currently working with one of my favorite professors, Susan Adams, on researching ways for women to overcome barriers in the workplace. Through this exciting project, I was given the opportunity to interview female executives, managers and employees at a variety of companies. Not only has this made the project more exciting, it has expanded my network tremendously before I join corporate America next year.
So if you get accepted into the Bentley Honors Program, you should definitely join!