Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is an alternative general education program for students who desire to challenge themselves academically. Many of our classes are interdisciplinary and team-taught while utilizing smaller class sizes to elicit greater discussion. We understand that sometimes the moments of greatest learning are unplanned. These smaller classes, coupled with the fact that many professors hold office hours nearby, foster a deeper personal connection between students and professors. Another feature of our curriculum is an active schedule of co-curricular activities, both on campus and off.

The Frederik Meijer Honors College also includes an integrated living and learning environment promoting intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning that will live on well beyond our students' undergraduate years. The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center offers students the opportunity to take classes in the same building in which they live. The Honors Office, Honors Director, and many professors' offices are located in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, giving students quick and easy access to all resources available. There are Honors housing options on the north side of campus as well in the Holton-Hooker Learning & Living Center, which offers a vibrant Honors freshman community with spacious common areas, meeting space for staff and students, and proximity to many campus facilities, including the Commons, the Marketplace, the Kindschi Hall of Science, and the Fieldhouse. 

The Honors College is a resource to help students identify opportunities, make informed and reflective decisions about career goals, and to prepare both inside and outside the classroom to be competitive for the best jobs, graduate programs, professional programs, and fellowships.

Does an Honors education enhance my chances for future success?

Yes, for many reasons. An Honors education is about much more than just gaining information. Throughout the curriculum, professors challenge students to improve and enhance their writing and speaking skills, which are crucial in today's business world and in many professions. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are the means by which we develop as critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers. Classroom discussions and group projects help students become more open-minded and collaborative. These are the kind of global and local citizenship skills college graduates need to function in our increasingly complex world. We believe that Honors College graduates leave us with the ability to take on any challenge with confidence.

Graduate program admissions committees and employers look for people who set high standards for themselves and excel--those who prefer the less traveled but more challenging route. But you don't travel that route alone. The faculty and staff of the Frederik Meijer Honors College are here to help by putting our experience and knowledge to work for you. That may mean helping you identify opportunities, such as scholarships, internships, and research; fielding questions about careers in our disciplines; writing substantive letters of reference that can make a difference, or even contacting a colleague at another university on your behalf.

How many students are members of the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

There are between 1600 and 1700 students in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, depending on the semester. This represents about 8% of the undergraduate population.

Who is in the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

Students in the Meijer Honors College come from almost every major--about 90 different majors, currently. The Honors student body is about 65% female.

How do I get more information?

You can request more information by email at honors@gvsu.edu, or by phone at (616) 331-3219. Are you planning a visit? If so, let us know. We will arrange for you to talk with students and faculty members. You may even want to sit in on a class.

 

Questions from Future Students

What are the requirements to apply to the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

We employ a holistic application process, without rigid requirements. The normal expectation is that first-year applicants have a 3.5 high school GPA and a 28 on the ACT or 1300 on the SAT. However, we take into account other factors such as demonstrated analytic and writing ability, outstanding academic and leadership activities, and academic motivation. For this reason, we require an essay (that addresses specific questions) and a paper sample.

Transfer students should generally have a 3.5 GPA established at a college or university. We also welcome applications from Grand Valley students who have established a strong academic record.

How and when do I apply?

You must apply online. Please call the office at 616-331-3219 if you have any problems with the online application.

While there is no official deadline to apply for the Honors College, we recommend that you apply as soon as you are accepted to GVSU. Here are three possible "deadlines" to consider:

  • January 1: Participants in the Awards of Distinction scholarship competitions in December and January may be eligible for additional Honors-specific scholarships if they have been accepted into Honors by the time of the competition.
  • March 15: In early April, we begin sending students information about registering for fall Honors courses. Course placements are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • May 1: The GVSU Housing office begins making housing assignments on this date, and only those already accepted into Honors are eligible for Honors housing.

We do accept applications through the summer, however--and students accepted in the summer generally still have options for Honors courses and Honors housing. In short, then, we recommend applying as early as possible, but we welcome your application at any time!

Is there a separate Honors orientation?

Yes. There are specific Advising & Registration dates designated for Honors students, though attending a non-Honors date is not a problem. On the Honors specific dates an overnight orientation program is available to parents and students the night before - please see this great video about the overnight! These programs are designed not only to familiarize you with the Frederik Meijer Honors College, but also to give you the opportunity to meet other incoming freshman, current students, and faculty/staff. 

Do I take only Honors College courses?

No. The Honors College courses comprise the general education component of your undergraduate curriculum. Therefore, you still take courses in your major, minor, and any other courses you choose. Here's a quick overview of the curriculum.

What is a first-year "sequence"?

The Honors curriculum at GVSU begins with a year-long grouping, or "sequence," of four integrated courses, two in the first semester and two in the second semester, that are team-taught by at least two faculty and that focus on a single interdisciplinary topic. There are currently 15 different sequences to choose from. The full list of sequence topics and descriptions for the 2020-21 academic year is available here.

Do I have to take an Honors course every semester?

No. You do not have to be enrolled in an Honors course every semester to remain in the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

How do AP and IB credits work with the Honors curriculum?

All AP and IB credits that are accepted by GVSU count toward the 120-credit graduation requirement, effectively reducing the number of credits a student needs to earn a degree. Some credits count in the General Education program, some count toward various majors and minors, some count toward a foreign-language requirement, and some count as electives—but they all count.

In the Honors College, we value AP and IB courses as excellent preparation for our curriculum, but because our curriculum is topical, interdisciplinary, discussion-oriented, and project-based, with frequent co-curricular excursions and activities, we don’t believe that high school courses, even excellent ones, in Physics, Psychology, World History, and other subjects substitute for the cohort-building academic experiences we offer. So while AP and IB credits count toward the 120 credits required to graduate and may apply to other requirements, they do not reduce Honors credit requirements.

GVSU’s regular General Education program comprises 35-41 credits, or 11 to 13 courses, while our Honors curriculum amounts to 27 credits, or 9 courses. For Honors students, all General Education requirements are fulfilled through those 27 credits. Reducing the credit requirements is our way of acknowledging the excellent preparation students have through AP, IB, and other Honors-oriented academic experiences.

Six of the required 27 credits in Honors may be covered by a study abroad experience (HNR 200 and one other course, in consultation with an advisor). Nine, potentially, may be covered by courses required in major or minor programs (HNR 200, HNR 250/251, and HNR 401/499). But even students who do not study abroad and do not take any departmental Honors courses will take just 27 out of their 120 (or more) credits overall to satisfy their general education requirements. This means that no more than 22.5% of a student's academic requirements will be in Honors. Our aim is to make that 22.5% as meaningful and impactful as possible.

What about transfer credits from other colleges and universities?

College students who apply to and are accepted into Honors may be placed in the Honors curriculum based on the number of General Education credits they have earned through college courses by the time they begin taking Honors courses at GVSU. College courses are those taken through dual-enrollment, early middle college programs, and two- and four-year institutions, including GVSU.

Our first-year interdisciplinary sequences are designed for first-year college students, so in general, if students have completed the equivalent of a full year of college General Education courses and satisfied the first-year writing requirement before enrolling in Honors, they may request a waiver of the first-year Honors courses.

Are there any scholarships or internships available?

Yes. Find a listing of scholarships here.

What happens if I happen to lose my scholarship, can I get it back?

For scholarships with grade requirements attached, your grades are checked at the end of the winter semester (in April). This means losing scholarships can only happen at the end of a full year. Scholarships can be re-awarded if you bring your grades above the requirement and petition the Financial Aid Office.

Do I need to live in Honors housing to be a member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

No. Honors housing is optional.

How do I apply for Honors housing?

You must submit the Grand Valley general housing application, the $150 housing deposit, and designate the University Honors housing as your first choice.

So, what are the advantages to living in Honors Housing?

Whether you’re in Honors housing on the north side of campus in the Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center, or on the south side in the Glenn A. Niemeyer building, residing in Honors allows you to be surrounded by like-minded students while simultaneously forming a strong sense of community. Living with other Honors students facilitates interactions and relationships between students that carry over into the classrooms, further enhancing students’ learning. Students can easily collaborate on course materials, have quick access to faculty and staff, and participate in other unique opportunities, such as the ANCHOR Community Council from the comforts of their buildings.

For specific housing details and the differences between our options please see our housing information page.

 

Questions From Current Students

Am I required to maintain a certain GPA?

In order to receive the Honors designation on their final transcript, Honors students must graduate with a 3.2 overall, or cumulative, GPA.

What if my GPA drops below that?

All students accepted into Honors are welcome to stay in Honors until graduation in order to complete their general education requirements, even if their final GPA prevents them from earning the official Honors designation. If your GPA drops below 3.2 at any time during your academic career, our advisors will reach out to you to offer help and guidance. Our goal is to help you do as well as possible, and we hope that includes graduating with the Honors designation. But even if you don't earn the designation, we hope you stay in Honors and take advantage of what we have to offer.

What do I do if I want to drop the Frederik Meijer Honors College?

Students must inform the Meijer Honors College of their wish to drop in writing by emailing honors@gvsu.edu. Then they should meet with one of our Meijer Honors College advisors to discuss the transition from the Honors curriculum to GVSU's standard General Education curriculum. You can schedule an appointment by calling (616) 331-3219.

 

Questions from Seniors

What is HNR 499?

HNR 499 is your Honors Senior Project. It provides for the opportunity to study an area of interest in a sustained and in-depth exploration; learn more about your chosen field; make stronger connections to professionals in the field; hone research, writing, and critical thinking skills; create a tangible, substantive accomplishment you can feel proud about and can discuss in job interviews, letters of application, and graduate school applications; or do work which will make you more competitive for grants, fellowships, graduate schools, or employment.

How do I register for HNR 499?

After finding a faculty advisor, discussing your project, and deciding how many credits it will be, you will need to submit the proposal online which you complete in consultation with a faculty advisor.  When you submit the form, your advisor will approve it and it will be sent to the Honors Director.  After your project has been approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to register. Feel free to contact the Honors Director if you have further questions. Visit the Honors Senior Project page for more information.  

How do I register to graduate?

When you plan to graduate, you must fill out a graduation request card at the Registrar's windows in Student Services so that your transcripts can be audited. In order to have the Frederik Meijer Honors College designation on your diploma and transcripts, you must also email the Honors Office at honors@gvsu.edu and inform the office the semester before of your plans to graduate.
 

How do I know if I have all my requirements completed?

You can either stop by the Honors Office in the Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center during walk in advising hours or set up an appointment with one of our advisors. Contact the office to set the appointment by email honors@gvsu.edu or phone 616-331-3219.