UT-Austin Honors - An Overview
I get a ton of questions about honors programs at UT, and rightly so. They are one fantastic resource amongst many where students have access to even more rigorous academics and a small community while gaining the benefits of attending a large research university in an awesome city.
I entered into UT-Austin through the Liberal Arts Honors (LAH) program. All honors students have the option to stay in the Honors residence halls (Andrews, Blanton, and Caruthers). For me, I loved living and making friends with a highly talented, driven, and fun group of people. Friends I made in the dorms have remained with me through life.
In fact, I was standing in line waiting for a train in Lisbon the other day, and a friend of mine from freshman year was standing a few people in front of me! Super random. We picked up right where we left off.
At UT, unlike a lot of other universities, there is no "honors college." Many universities put their most talented applicants and students into a general honors college that isn't specific to their major.
UT-Austin does things differently. There are honors for Engineering, Business (BHP), two in Liberal Arts (Plan II/LAH), Turing Scholars in the Department of Computer Science, and four more in the College of Natural Sciences (Dean's Scholars, Health Science Honors, Human Ecology, and Polymathic Scholars).
One misconception some students and families have when they see that Communications, Education, Geosciences, and so on don't have freshman honors programs, that there is no way to pursue an honors curriculum in those disciplines. This isn't the case! All majors and colleges have honors programs for current students. These typically involve advanced coursework, undergraduate research, and putting forward original research in an undergraduate thesis.
Honors programs are merely one way to succeed amongst many at UT-Austin. They can help connect you to resources or provide for smaller learning environments. But anyone at UT can conduct undergraduate research, pursue studies outside of their major, or earn certificates to help build professional skills. Some honors students don't utilize any of the advantages available to them whereas many of UT's most talented students didn't begin in honors programs.
If you are interested in honors, apply!
In my next post, I provide more information on how to apply.