Student Post: Why Honors College?

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As a senior in high school searching for a good postsecondary “fit,” I realized that I was more attracted to public universities due to the numerous resources made available to students. I ultimately chose Grand Valley because of their honors program in part, due the fact it felt like an academic home within the greater Grand Valley community. The faculty to student ratio was much smaller than non-honors classes and I had access to an increased level of mentoring from faculty.

The honors college is designed to spring board students through their program and into a phenomenal career. I was part of the American Civilization sequence, which met most of my general education requirements and ultimately paved the way for me to graduate a semester early with a double major.

The faculty within the honors college is superb. I have had the privilege of working alongside Dr. Paul Lane in a multi-disciplinary innovation project with a local manufacturer. Here, I picked up the skills necessary to operate as a team while under pressure from corporate partners to deliver. I also worked alongside Dr. Linda Chamberlain in the National Science Foundation’s iCorp program, networking with C-suite level executives. These are opportunities I never would have heard of if it was not for the network I had found within the honors college.

This brings me to last point on the honors college and why it is so valuable, which is ability to pursue what interests you. In the honors college, you have a freshmen sequence, junior seminar as well as a senior project. My favorite course was the senior project because you are allowed to create your own class. You partner with a professor, set your goals and get to work. This freedom in studying what you want with you want proved to be a phenomenal learning opportunity.

The Frederik Meijer Honors College challenges students to capitalize on their capability and supports them throughout their college career through engaging classes and active professors. I will caution any student who is thinking that the honors college is the opportunity of a lifetime —it is— but it is in reality the vehicle for opportunity. Engage in your freshmen sequence, pick a topic meaningful to you and study it for your senior thesis, read the honors newsletter for internship postings and connect with your professors.


Connor Payne is a senior studying Business Management and Management Information Systems. While wrapping up his final semester at GVSU you can find Connor hammocking in the Ravines, penny boarding around campus or exploring Grand Rapids. He is looking forward to his career with Deloitte Consulting in Detroit and is a proud Laker.


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