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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to join the Honors Program?
You must have completed 15 credits at college level (100 and 200 numbered classes) with a minimum 3.5 GPA. You must maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA to stay in the program.
How do the 11 credits for the Honors 160, 170, and 250 transfer to four year colleges?
The 11 credits transfer as electives. They do not fill specific distribution area requirements.
How does participating in the Honors Program benefit students?
When you graduate, your transcript notes that you are a "Graduate of the Centralia College Honors Program." You can note on your resume that you have been accepted to/have graduated from the Centralia College Honors Program. You can join Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honors Society of the Two-Year College. Transfer institutions will be likely to view admission to the Honors program as a plus for transfer admissions. Perhaps most important, as an Honors student, you develop intellectual independence: creating and completing independent projects equips you to go farther, faster, when you transfer to a 4-year college or university.
What are the Honors Projects?
Two 3-credit independent projects (Honors 160 and Honors 170). As an Honors student, you work with a faculty mentor to develop, complete, and publicly present projects of intense interest to you. HON 160 and 170 can be completely separate projects done with different mentors; alternatively, you can choose to tackle one project in greater depth, using HON 160 as "part one" and HON 170 as "part two."
What kinds of topics work as Honors Projects?
The options are virtually limitless. If you are interested in it, you can probably develop an Honors project to do it.

Honors projects can involve practical performance:
One Honors student researched and developed her own small business plan, then presented it to a Business class. Another Honors student interpreted for a hearing-impaired child, then signed a presentation about the experience to an American Sign Language class. Another Honors student, whose goal is to teach Art History, "shadowed" an Art professor, developed several lesson plans, and then taught short lessons in an Art class. Honors students could, conceivably, craft a computer program, write and illustrate a children's book, develop a nursing simulation, and more.

Honors projects can be creative:
One Honors student wrote an original poetry chapbook; another wrote almost 200 pages of her own novel. Both gave readings of their work at the Writing Center. Graphic arts, drawing/painting, drama, photography, or music projects are options, too.

Honors projects can be traditionally academic:
You might choose a specific topic not covered in depth (or at all) by any one course at Centralia, research it, and write a paper about it. One Honors student researched several novels by William Faulkner, wrote a paper about them, and presented her work to students taking English 249, Great American Novel. Another Honors student researched the possibility of creating a common market for the Middle East as a means of reducing tension in that region.

Honors projects can focus on scientific research:
See "What is the Science Honors Program?" below.
How do I get started on an Honors Project?
Think about a topic that you would like to work on. Next, ask a professor with expertise in that issue or area to be your mentor. Not sure how to get going? You can meet with members of the Honors Advisory Council for help developing project options and finding mentors. Once you have a topic and a mentor, you and your mentor will map out:
  • the type of project to be produced;
  • the work to be done; and
  • a way to present the project publicly (for example, creating a website, or talking to a class about your work, or giving a public reading, like a poetry reading at the Writing Center or a demonstration to a relevant off-campus group)
Together, you and your professor will fill out an application to have the project approved by the Honors Advisory Council (see below, "What Is the Honors Advisory Council?").
How much time should I plan to spend on each Honors Project?
Since each project is worth 3 credits, you should plan to spend 9 to 10 hours per week on Honors 160 and on Honors 170.
What is the Honors Colloquium (Honors 250)?
Honors 250 (the Colloquium) is a 5-credit interdisciplinary seminar. The Colloquium focuses on the study topic designated by the International Honors Society of the Two Year College:
  • 2011-2012: "The Democratization of Information," Professor Jody Peterson
  • 2009-2010: "The Paradox of Affluence," Professor Susanne Weil
  • 2007-2008: "Gods, Gold, and Glory," Professor Sharon Mitchler
The Colloquium is offered at 8 a.m. daily during the Spring quarter each year. In the Colloquium, the professor maps out the first two weeks of the course. The rest of the course work is developed by the students and professor jointly. Students draw on the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Topic Study Guide and choose books, videos, websites, articles, etc. to explore and discuss together. Students in the Colloquium go into depth on two topics of their choice and present these to the seminar, both orally and in a written seminar paper, PowerPoint, or website. As a group, the Colloquium students choose a service project and carry it out together during the quarter.
What would be the best way to fit the Honors program into my plans to graduate?
The Honors Colloquium (HON 250) is only offered in Spring quarter. However, for the Honors Projects (160 & 170), scheduling is flexible: you can work around other graduation requirements. In an ideal scenario, you would take all 11 credits during your second year at Centralia:
  • Fall Quarter: Honors 160 (independent project #1)
  • Winter Quarter: Honors 170 (independent project #2)
  • Spring Quarter: Honors 250 (Honors Colloquium. N.b.: HON 250 is offered only in spring quarter)
However, many students have started the program later, completing HON 160 in Winter Quarter and completing HON 170 while also taking HON 250. Some students have started the Honors Program earlier, completing HON 160 in the spring quarter of their first year or in summer, then completing the other requirements during their second year. It is a good idea to complete English 102 before doing HON 160/170 if you would like to try a traditionally academic project (see "What are the Honors Projects?" above); you should have completed English 102 before taking HON 250.
What is the Science Honors Program?
The Science Honors Program is a track within the Honors Program designed specifically for students planning to major in a science discipline at a four-year college or university. To apply to the Science Honors Program, you must have completed two 200 level science courses in one scientific study area, as follows:

Earth Sciences/Geology: Geol& 101 + Geol 108 OR Geol& 208
Chemistry: Chem& 161 + Chem& 162 OR Chem& 261 + Chem& 262
Biological Sciences: Biol& 221 + Biol& 222 OR Biol& 222 + Biol& 223
Physics/Engineering: Engr& 214 + Phys& 221 OR Phys& 221 + Phys& 222

As in the regular Honors program, to apply to the Science Honors Program, you must have and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5. Like the regular Honors Program, Science Honors is 11 elective credits. However, those credits are for different components:
  • 3 credits: doing background research for an independent project;
  • 5 credits: conducting the research project; and
  • 3 credits: writing up the project following scientific reporting methods.
You must do these three steps in sequence. Science Honors students may begin in any quarter following admission to the program. Science Honors students do not take Honors 250, the Honors Colloquium.
How do I apply to the Honors Program?
Fill out the Honors Program application (doc) or the Science Honors Program application (see Dr. Steve Norton, email: Steve Norton; ext. 261; Office: New Science Center 318-E).

The application requires:
  • Filling out an information sheet with your name, address, phone number, and email.
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript, which you can download from the Student Web Services link on the college homepage, that directs you to Unofficial Transcripts.
  • 2 letters of reference (these can be from college or high school professors or counselors; for Science Honors, one must be from your mentor).
  • A short personal statement (250-500 words): see application form for topic.
Apply by the deadline noted on the application form. Submit the application to David Lalond, Chair, Honors Advisory Council, Kemp 121-A (ext. 282; email: Dave Lalond. The Honors Advisory Council will review your application and contact you within 2 weeks to let you know if you have been accepted.
What Is the Honors Advisory Council?
The Honors Advisory Council is a group of faculty members who review applications to the Honors Program and help students choose projects and find mentors. See Honors Advisory Council for a list of faculty representatives.
Want to find out more about the Honors Program?
Read personal statements by Honors students about their experience. Contact a member of the Honors Advisory Council in your area of interest, or get in touch with Dave Lalond, Chair, Honors Advisory Council (email: Dave Lalond; ext. 282; Office: Kemp 121-A).

Honors students talk about their independent projects »

Honors projects