Why the Honors College is the Place to Be

Honors College building exterior. Photo by Abbie Millman.

With a crowd of over 30,000 students enrolled in UNLV’s 2021 fall semester alone, stated by the UNLV Facts and Stats website, it can be difficult to navigate oneself in such a large populated state school. Isolation is a feeling that no one wants to experience during college, and luckily there are ways to avoid it.

According to the UNLV Honors College website, the college was built “For students who simply want more – more depth, more challenges, more opportunities.” Although considered a metropolitan research university, the Honors College offers students a small liberal arts school experience within UNLV’s campus. 

Now containing over 1,200 students, the Honors College places emphasis on the concept of small classes and big ideas. The Honors College prides itself on its key values of integrity, openness, curiosity, resilience and community ship.

From having its own team of advisors to its own 24-hour access study lounge, it should be acknowledged that the Honors College offers a plethora of benefits to students that apply and do receive admission.

“I love it here. I consider myself one of the biggest cheerleaders for the Honors College,” said Gerrie Cowden, the UNLV honors college office manager. “I enjoy working here and getting to know the students, getting to know about their lives and what they do once they want to leave here.”

Cowden continued to highlight the family connection that the Honors College offers. She believes that if a student is present and part of the Honors College family, they will have a multitude of connections to help them.

“Any way that I can help them, I will,” said Cowden. “My biggest thing is that I always tell the students, ‘No matter what you do, when you get here, just make sure you’re passionate about it. If you’re passionate about something, you’re going to do great things.’”

One of Cowden’s biggest points was the impressive diversity of the Honors College. According to Cowden, students come from all over the country and the world, a few places being Russia, Armenia, Palestine, Taiwan, Japan and China.

Additionally, the Honors College offers a peer mentor program, which is designed to fuel first-year student success. Aside from peer mentors, Honors College students still possess the benefit of receiving help from fellow honors students whether that be in calculus, engineering, poetry, music or nearly any other subject. 

Honors students hold the ability to build these peer relationships in specialized honors classes, with an average enrollment of 16-24 students, compared to lecture halls and classes that include non-honors students, which can range anywhere from 30-200 students.

The Honors College does its best to foster a “red carpet” experience for its students, who have the privilege of priority registration for semester courses and the option to reside in UNLV Honors-reserved campus housing.

Academic advising with an honors advisor is another key element of the Honors College experience. Honors advisors make it a point of working closely with honors students’ major-specific advisors to cultivate the best possible schedule and personal academic plan.  

While the cost of tuition and fees is a primary concern for many UNLV students and families, the Honors College provides its students with the opportunity to receive additional financial relief such as the Stan Fulton Scholarship, Linfa Wright Scholarship, MGM Resorts International Academic Excellence Scholarship and other various donor-funded scholarships

UNLV Honors also encourages students to consider studying abroad, as the Honors College will provide students who spend a semester abroad with an additional $1,000 scholarship.

When considering all of these factors, there is no denying that the Honors College offers something for everyone. Specifically, students that have chosen UNLV over an out-of-state private liberal arts college should seriously consider applying to the Honors College.

The Honors College provides in-state students with the ability to receive a high-value education within driving distance of one’s home and provides out-of-state (or international) students with the opportunity to participate in research programs and internships in one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

While success is evidently possible for UNLV students who are not in the Honors program, there is an undeniable interest that Honors faculty have in pushing their students to take action on their goals through academic support and social growth.

Contrary to what one’s initial impression may be when they hear the term ‘Honors College,’ UNLV’s Honors College is not an exclusive group of 4.0 students, but a community of individuals that come together and support each other academically, socially, and emotionally.

No matter what one’s major is, the Honors College is truly worth applying to, as it has an uncanny amount of benefits to offer.


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