Honors College FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions about the Honors College.
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Is Honors College for me?

Are you curious? Do you enjoy being part of a supportive community of students and faculty?  Are you willing to take some risks and push yourself to learn new things? Then YES!

The Honors College is for students who want to expand their education and get more out of their university experience than just a degree. The program is an enhancement to your Stout education; it is not about burdening you with more work, but rather, creating in-depth discussion with your peers and teachers. The people you will meet will be from across every major on campus, and you'll be able to share ideas and learn from diverse students and faculty in ways you might not otherwise get to.  You'll also have lots of fun along the way!

Why Honors? / Mackenzie Burke

What are the requirements of the program?

The link to more info about the program can be found in the sidebar on this page.  There are 3 basic components: Honors Units, Honors Colloquium, and Enhancement Events.  

Honors Units are primarily earned through courses (1 course typically = 1 unit), which also count towards university graduation requirements.  Units can also be earned by studying abroad, or completing independent projects called "Honors Contracts." Over the course of your career in Honors, you'll need to accumulate 8 total units which can be a flexible combination of courses, contracts, and study abroad experiences.  Because our courses also meet requirements in your major and in general education, students are almost always able to accomplish their 8 units without taking any additional credits beyond their major requirements.

Honors Colloquium is our once-a-semester common book reading and discussion which is held on one evening for all students in the College.  It's basically a book club where you get free food and chat about a book with your friends.  This is a required event for all Honors students each semester.

Enhancement Events are things like field trips, speakers, theatrical performances, and film screenings.  Honors students are required to attend at least one of these events each semester and can choose from 25 or more options, so you'll likely be able to find lots of things that match your interests and schedules.  We typically call this the "you're required to do a minimum of one fun thing each semester" requirement.  We even supply the free tickets and transportation for many of the events!

Is there an Honors Dorm?  What is that like?

As a member of the Honors College, you have the option to live in the Honors Living and Learning community, which is housed in McCalmont dormitory. Typically, about half of the incoming freshmen choose to do this, along with one separate floor of upper-class Honors College students who often serve as mentors and resources to help support your transition to college.   This is a way to extend your learning community outside the classroom and get to know Honors students from programs all across campus.  It's also really fun! The Honors dorm traditionally has some of the most tight-knit friendships and most supportive communities of all the first year housing options. You'll have a chance to live with the same people who are in lots of your classes, and so finding someone to help out, study with, and go to events with is always easy.  

How much does Honors cost? I got an email asking for money to join an Honors Society ... is Honors College the same?

Honors College is an official all-university academic course of study with an approved curriculum and program structure. We are not affiliated with the Academic Honor Society, which is a student organization, or other specific honor societies associated with specific majors or targeted groups of students. Participation in Honors College does not require additional fees for membership and we never ask for credit card payments. So if you get an email asking for money, be wary - it is not from the UW-Stout Honors College.

The only cost you should incur in our program is acquiring a copy of the colloquium book each semester - usually this is about $10 for a new copy, but you can share with roommates, check out a copy from the library, or get digital versions which can reduce or eliminate the cost to you. We also provide a copy for use in the Honors lounge if you want to come in and read it for free on our comfy couches!

What social and cultural opportunities are there?

Honors College students like to have fun! We have regular lunches and breakfasts in the office; go on field trips to do things like snowshoeing, go to the opera, see plays in the Twin Cities, see a film, or hear a concert; we sponsor lots of on-campus events like speakers, film screenings, and author readings; we also have a dedicated student lounge space in the library where you can drop by anytime to study, play a board game with friends, or help yourself to a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  

Honors College gives UW-Stout a small- school feel with lots of chances to make friends and meet new people.

I didn't apply when I was an incoming freshman ... is it too late to join?​​​​​

Not necessarily, especially if you're still in your 1st or 2nd year. We try to work with students to find a way to be part of the program if we can, but because there are required Honors units to complete, the later you start the harder it can be to finish.  Set up an appointment with us and we will try to figure a way that Honors will work with your current plans and degree progress.

What if I am a transfer student?

While most Honors students join the program as incoming freshmen, we also welcome transfer students and current students to apply.  If you are coming in with 30 or more credits, we'll work with you individually to see if you can complete the program under an expedited "transfer plan" with a reduced number of required honors units and colloquia. If you're passionate about joining, we can usually find a way to make things work without slowing down your progress to graduation or requiring you to take additional credits.

I'm a non-traditional student who is returning to school ... will I feel out of place in Honors?

Not at all.  Some of our most successful Honors students have balanced family and work lives when starting their career at Stout later than other students who come straight from high school. These students have often found that Honors courses are exactly what they're looking for, with a chance to get into more depth and discussion, share their experiences, and have more self-direction in their coursework.  Rather than busy work and memorization of the textbook, your Honors courses involve deeper learning and application, which might be just right for you! 

Honors can also provide a social group that is easy to integrate into with lots of events to attend, which can be a big help to students who commute and don't live in the dorms. Our office is also a space to study between classes which can be a big help if you're an off-campus student - you can plop down on our couches and pour yourself a coffee while you work.

We also have a dedicated position for non-traditional student representatives on our Advisory Board to make sure your needs and voice are heard in the program.

What are some reasons I should join?

  1. It's an adventure that will mark your undergraduate experience! You'll encounter people, books, ideas, and technologies you might otherwise miss. 

  2. You'll form relationships with students and professors that are based on your shared learning experiences. These relationships will help you discover how you might connect learning and life, and they will provide a sense of community during and after your years at UW-Stout.

  3. You'll acquire a unique and distinguished undergraduate education. Our students are prepared for careers in one of UW-Stout's highly regarded undergraduate programs and in the Honors College program they hone the skills essential for learning, leadership and service.

  4. You'll love it. UW-Stout's Honors College is not like most high school honors classes. It is not simply more or harder work — it is an entirely different approach to learning. Discussion and debate don't end at the classroom door. You'll find yourself continuing to explore issues in your residence hall, the dining hall, and on the streets of Menomonie.​​​

  5. We're a supportive community of motivated students and a small college feel within larger University, with small classes taught by enthusiastic and talented faculty, with undergraduate research programs and support, field trips and conferences, study abroad opportunities, additional scholarship opportunities, and personalized advising and priority registration to help you graduate on time

  6. Academic distinction which is recognized by discerning employers and graduate programs, plus you get to wear a cool blue stole at graduation!

  7. Optional participation in the Honors Dorm living and learning community, and access to the Honors College lounge in the library where you can drop in to relax, study, play a game, have a free snack or cup of coffee, and generally have an extra home away from home!

What if I decide Honors isn't for me later on?

No worries! While we want all of our students to stick with us all through college, we understand that other interests and commitments arise.  If you decide you no longer want to continue in our program, you just let us know and can drop the program.  All the courses you took will still count toward your graduation requirements and all the fun you had along the way will still be yours to keep!  And you'll have gotten yourself off to a great start in college - over 92% of students that start out in Honors end up graduating from Stout within 5 years, even if they don't all complete the Honors requirements.

You've talked me into it.  How can I join? Are there admissions criteria or a deadline?

The link to the application can be found in the sidebar on this page.  It involves a short form and two essays that you'll need to submit.  You'll first need to be admitted to the University before you can apply to join Honors.

We have a holistic admissions process and welcome all curious and enthusiastic students to apply.  While we don't have a minimum class rank, GPA, or ACT requirement we do look for students who have demonstrated academic success and commitment.  

Incoming freshmen  are eligible to apply for the Honors Scholarship tThere is a deadline for scholarship eligibility which can be found on the Honors College Appliation, however admissions to the Honors College is rolling as long space is available.  But, the sooner you apply the better to ensure your spot before we fill up our incoming class!

Application Deadlines: 

Applications received by the first Monday in February will be eligible for one of fifteen $1,000 Honors Scholarships contingent on funding availability.

Applications received by March 1st will be eligible to apply for the Honors Living Community and select a priority enrollment date.