Honorable Mention – MWCC’s Honors Program is a Frequently Overlooked Service

Mount Wachusett Community College has many wonderful aspects and the Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors Program stands out as one of the most valuable assets to students. It is achievable and provides those who join with a great many benefits, but it is overlooked by many.

Daniel Soucy, Coordinator of the Mount Wachusett Community College Chapter in the Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors Program, believes that many more students could graduate from the honors program each year. This year, Soucy claims, around 15-20 students will graduate from the honors program. However, he sees hundreds of students graduate each year whose GPA’s indicate they could have certainly graduated the honors program, but sadly never joined.

Soucy explained that the biggest thing holding students back from joining this program is not a lack of information, but an overloaded schedule: “Our students are busy. They have work, family…it is hard sometimes for students to realize that there are all these opportunities and take some of the steps necessary to join.” Yet despite the daunting sound of the name “honors program”, the requirements and responsibilities are actually quite manageable for many students.

To join the program students must fill out an application and meet two requirements. The first is to achieve a cumulative college GPA of at least 3.3 through a minimum of one semester at Mount Wachusett Community College. The second is to receive a recommendation from two faculty members at Mount Wachusett Community College.

After being accepted into the program, students must then maintain their GPA and meet four additional requirements over throughout their time at Mount Wachusett Community College. The first of these requirements is met by taking the Honors ENG 102 class, right now taught by Professor Jessica Kuskey, and achieving at least a B.

Kuskey believes this class is not only a great experience, but very manageable, “People often ask me if the Honors ENG 102 is harder or more work, and the quick answer is no. The big difference is that our class discussions can go at a quicker pace and with the freedom to pursue your interests and chase your curiosity. We also replace a couple basic review tasks with some fun, creative assignments.”

The next two requirements are met by adding honors components to two Mount Wachusett Community College classes that students are already enrolled in. To do this, students work one on one with their professor, with an added special project to the class. In order for this to count as an honors component, the student must receive a minimum grade of a B in the class.

The final requirement is that honors students take the Honors Research Seminar class. This class is taught right now by Daniel Soucy and Heather Conn, who work individually with students on developing a research presentation project. Once again students must achieve a minimum of a B for this class to count as an honors requirement.

Participating in the honors program is both a valuable opportunity and an exciting experience. Soucy explained that the most compelling reasons can be divided into the intrinsic and extrinsic values of the program.
The extrinsic values, while still at the Mount, include help with tuition and the use of a special study room for honors students. However, graduating allows students to transfer into the Commonwealth Chapter of any state school. Having this recognition on a transcript can also help when attempting to further educational goals or build careers.

The intrinsic value, he said, lays in the value of the education received by working one on one with professors. Soucy described his own experience working individually with honors students: “It’s really as education should be…professors can’t really work with students the way they should in my opinion because we have so many students….the best education is really the one in which you can pay special attention to your student…and the honors program allows you to do that.”

To learn more and apply for the honors program, click here to visit the Honors Program page.