Honors Academy helps with academics, transfer

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Faculty helps show new students the ropes of success in college.

Kyle Sanders

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The biggest goal of this college’s Honors Academy is to help make students better students, history Professor Jonathan Lee, the coordinator, said Sept. 2 in an interview.

 

Along with 10 other faculty members, Lee helps students in the Honors Academy build a sense of community and transition from high school to college.

Students in the Honors Academy are encouraged to take the designated sections of some courses. These include HIST 1301, United States History 1; HIST 1302, United States History 2; ENGL 1301, Composition 1; ENGL 1302, Composition 2; PHIL 1301, Introduction to Philosophy; PHIL 2306, Introduction to Ethics; MATH 1314, College Algebra; MATH 1332, Contemporary Math 1; MATH 1414, College Algebra; and MATH 2412, Precalculus.

The academy provides teacher-student study sessions with faculty who teach sections for honors students and other faculty as well to give additional perspectives on the topics.

The Honors Academy has a lounge in Room 122 of Chance Academic Center with club chairs and computers to work with one another. The lounge is open only for the 350 students in the academy.

Honors Academy students asked if there was a place they could work in peace. Renovations were finished in December.

The academy also sponsors field trips. In the past, students have gone to the McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and Texas State University.

Workshops for scholarships and help with transfer essays and financial aid are provided to ease the transition from a two-year college to a four-year university.

High school students who want to enroll in the Honors Academy must meet the minimum 3.25 grade-point average with college-level placement scores for reading and writing.

College freshmen who meet the prior requirements and have fewer than 15 credit semester hours may also enroll in the Honors Academy.

If students do not meet the minimum 3.25 GPA but still want to be a part of the Honors Academy, they can write a persuasive essay to show they are dedicated to being a better student, Lee said.

“I had one student who didn’t qualify for the program, wanted to be in, and he ended up with a 4.0 GPA, and he is the only student I’ve worked with who transferred into UT-Austin Business school,” Lee said.

Many other students have transferred from the Honors Academy to the University of Texas at Austin with significant scholarships and several students have also obtained the Terry Transfer Scholarship, he said.

The Terry Transfer Scholarship offers $12,000 per year to help community college students complete their degrees. It has been awarded to six Honors Academy students.

Honors Academy students also can be automatically admitted into the Texas State Honors College if they graduate with distinction from the Honors Academy.

To graduate with distinction, students must take a minimum of four Honors Academy courses, take a capstone course and complete a project, and have 3.25 GPA.

A capstone course changes from semester to semester but it is a language, cultural, and philosophy option.

The Honors Academy minimum of a 3.25 GPA is meant to allow a diverse student body and make a better community with a lot of different backgrounds provided by 40 different high schools, Lee said.

The academy in its first year in fall 2011 had 33 students.

For information about the Honors Academy, call Lee at 210-486-1097.

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