Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Honors Program?

The Honors Program is an academic program in which students complete courses that engage them as partners in the learning process. Students in Honors classes are provided opportunities to explore topics in more depth and to actively engage in class discussion, group work, and even become "experts" on a topic to teach the class. Because students interact closely with their professors, because they see their classmates across different Honors and regular classes, and because they participate together in out-of-class events, the Honors Program is a community that supports while at the same time challenges each of its members.

What are the characteristics of an SF Honors Student?

Honors students aren't necessarily the students who earn the best grades nor score best on standardized tests. Honors students are:

  • Critical thinkers, able to conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, research, communication, computation, and experimentation
  • Effective communicators, both written and oral
  • Engaged learners who take active roles in class discussion, collaborative work, and the learning process
  • Responsible, with high standards and a high level of commitment
  • Motivated not just by an "A" grade, but also by learning experiences
  • "Big-picture" learners, seeking to connect topics in their classes, world, and personal life.

What are the characteristics of an SF Honors Professor?

Honors professors:

  • are knowledgeable and share their passion for the subject
  • have high expectations and standards for their students, which are clearly communicated and consistently applied
  • appreciate and care about their students' experience and success
  • participate as much as possible in events sponsored by the College, especially those required for their classes
  • are receptive towards mentoring interested students' academic goals and interests
  • are willing to experiment and innovate, and are flexible with their pedagogy and assessments
  • give Honors students freedom and responsibility for their own learning, including sharing some of the teaching responsibility
  • encourage Honors students to participate in healthy dialogues about ideas and issues
  • recognize the importance of and help to foster a classroom and Honors Program community

What are the benefits of joining the Honors Program?

Honors Program classes are smaller than regular classes. Honors classes are capped at 15 students, in contrast to regular classes that may enroll 24, 34, or even 60 students. Smaller classes mean a more enriching and engaging educational environment, especially when the entire class is full of high achieving and highly motivated students. And because students interact so much with each other in class, they form friendships that then extend to a sense of community outside of the classroom.

Honors students also receive priority registration—up to one month earlier than regular registration—one-on-one advising tailored to your educational and career goals, help with transfer applications, information about extracurricular and preprofessional training, assistance applying for scholarships, reduced membership fees for Phi Theta Kappa, and access to the competitive James Gregg Honors Scholarship. Students who graduate from Santa Fe College with “Highest Honors” and are accepted to UF for transfer also gain access to the UF Honors Pathway, which offers these students access to the UF Honors Program.

What is the difference between honors, high honors, and highest honors?

Santa Fe College’s Honors Program recognizes students who take exceptional advantage of the opportunities we offer. During their academic career at SF, students earn Honors Points by completing classes and taking part in extracurricular activities. Completing more honors courses, volunteering in the community, taking on leadership roles in student organizations, taking part in research opportunities, showcasing artistic projects, and engaging in other honors-approved activities is rewarded with additional honors points, allowing students who go above and beyond to earn the distinctions of “High Honors” and “Highest Honors.” For more details, check out the Honors Graduation Requirements or contact the Honors Office.

How do Honors Program classes differ from regular classes?

Honors classes offer a similar curriculum to regular classes but are tailored to high-achieving and motivated students. Honors classes either cover additional topics or cover topics in greater depth and detail. Also because Honors classes are smaller, they are driven less by lecture and more discussion-based, more project oriented, and more able to allow you to actively participate in the learning environment. Everything we do in Honors classes is designed to help students develop and refine critical thinking and improve writing, oral communications, and research skills.

Honors classes are more challenging than regular classes because more is expected from the student. Students are expected to be fully prepared for each class meeting, and students are expected to be full and active participants in all class activities. In return, Honors students are given more freedom to explore topics in depth and to guide the learning process.

Are Honors Program classes like AP, IB, or Cambridge classes?

High school AP, IB, and Cambridge classes are academically demanding and offer good preparation for college Honors Program classes. There are differences, however. Whereas the focus of AP, IB, and Cambridge classes is on delivering information to help students demonstrate content mastery in end-of-the year exams, in Honors classes, although content knowledge is still important, the focus is on teaching students to think critically, to communicate clearly, and to develop the academic and personal skills necessary for college success and for lifelong learning.

What are the requirements for admission into the Honors Program?

Please notice that there are different requirements for students coming directly from high school, students currently enrolled at SF, and students transferring from another college.

What if I don't meet the GPA and standardized test score requirements? Can I still apply?

The GPA and SAT/ACT scores are benchmarks. However, we realize that students are more than just a couple of numbers. That's why we look at your curriculum (did you challenge yourself), ask that you submit a letter of recommendation from an instructor (teachers know your ability and potential best) and that you complete an essay (so that we get to know who you are, what motivates you, etc.), and require you to submit a sample paper or project from one of your classes (so that we can assess your skills).

Are there any extra costs associated with being part of the Honors Program?

No, we don't charge application or membership fees, and Honors courses have the same tuition and fees as regular classes.

Do I have to take my entire schedule as Honors courses?

No. Of course, we'd like you to take as many as possible and to take enough during your time here at SF to earn our Honors Certificate, but you don't have to take an entire Honors schedule. Most students take one or two Honors courses per semester.

Do I need to be active in the honors club?

While Honors Program students are encouraged to join Phi Theta Kappa, you are not required.

Will the Honors Program guarantee my acceptance to UF?

UF admissions are not guaranteed. Like all transfer candidates, Honors Program students must perform well in their classes to ensure they’re competitive for admissions. What Honors offers students who want to transfer to UF is personalize advising and guidance to ensure you get and stay on track. Honors also offers students opportunities to be competitive for the NEXT step after UF, such as internships or graduate or professional school admissions or the workforce.

Can I be removed from the Honors Program?

Honors students who drop below the required 3.5 GPA or do not continue making progress toward the Honors Diploma may be given a probationary status or be removed from the program. To discuss probationary status, program removal, or reinstatement of Honors status, please contact the Honors Office.