Working on your associate’s degree while also thinking about where you’ll transfer to complete your bachelor’s degree can be a daunting time. But both Rabia Haider and Harmeet Kaur say the Ivy Tech Honors Program has made a big difference in their educational journey.
Rabia Haider (at left) is a Liberal Arts major at Ivy Tech. She has appreciated all the help from her advisors throughout the process. “With all of this support, I’m able to really enjoy my time as an Honors student and it enhanced my college experience, especially while transferring, which can be a daunting task.”
Harmeet Kaur (pictured below) studied Business Administration at Ivy Tech and says the Honors Program helped shape her educational and career path. “My professors had high expectations from me which in return made me value my educational endeavors far more than I may have otherwise.”
Since the Honors Program began in 2012, Beth Borst, Dean of the Honors Program, says it has a proven record of helping students reach their academic and transfer goals. “I think the Honors Program gives students a unique experience at Ivy Tech. We are looking for students who are goal-oriented and want to be challenged.”
Honors courses focus on dialogue, reflection, and critical thinking. Kaur says she enjoyed the material she was learning in her Honors classes and that the environment was different than she’d experienced in previous courses. “Our Honors professors wanted to hear our thoughts on each subject matter and encouraged us to not only speak up on topics listed in the syllabus, but also research the topics that mattered to us to discuss during class. My professors had high expectations from me which in return made me value my educational endeavors far more than I may have otherwise.”
Through the Honors Program, students have smaller classes, which Haider said she loves. “It allows us to interact on a deeper level and get more out of the class.”
The program is not degree-specific and there is both a full-time and part-time model. “This is a great program for any student looking to transfer to a four-year school,” said Borst.
Most Ivy Tech Honors Program students earn a Global Studies Certificate and participate in travel opportunities both in and outside the United States. Borst says students also engage in virtual learning, giving them 21st century skills. “I feel the Honors Program bookends Ivy Tech as a comprehensive community college. We are really focused on helping students go the extra mile and opening new doors for students. Their transcripts are more competitive and there is real value in that!”
Dedicated honors advisors work one-on-one with students, guiding them through course selection, a transfer plan, and financial aid options. “The advisors are such advocates for students – helping them think about different schools they can transfer to,” Borst says. “Graduates have gone on to well-known schools such as Hanover and University of Pennsylvania, as well as many other great schools in Indiana and surrounding states. We participate in a national network of four-year transfer partners that gives an extra look at Ivy Tech Honors Program graduates – it really opens doors!”
The Honors Program is currently offered on five Ivy Tech campuses including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Lake County, Valparaiso and Lafayette – with the largest cohort in Indianapolis. “The beauty of the program,” Borst says, “is that students at the different campuses get to know each other and form a network with their peers through virtual honors courses. The cohort also comes together for transfer fairs, and special events such as the annual Honors Symposium in May.”
Haider agrees, “I have a close and awesome network of peers that are all working hard towards their own personal goals with a set mindset and that’s a really motivating atmosphere to be in.”
Along with getting to know other students through the Honors Program, Kaur said she was able to network with professionals from different universities and Fortune 500 companies. “In fact, it was through one of these events where I met with a career counselor and landed my first internship in college.”
After graduating from Ivy Tech, Kaur attended Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis and graduated with a B.S. in Marketing in 2015. She now works in Business Operations as a Tour Coordinator for an international student tour operating company in the Greater New York area and is the Event Coordinator for her company's annual concert event at Carnegie Hall. She is also studying for the LSATs in preparation for attending law school in the near future.
Haider will receive an Associate’s Degree in Science in the Spring and is considering a variety of schools to transfer to, including Wellesley College, University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, IUPUI, and Purdue University. She plans to double major in Nutritional Science and Creative Writing.
“The Ivy Tech Honors program was a big part of my college experience and now that it’s about to end, I couldn’t have imagined going through college without it,” said Haider. “I was able to find my place in a great community of people that not only dreamt big, but also encouraged one another. It’s helped me to realize my dream and work harder to achieve my goals.”
For more information about applying to the Ivy Tech Honors Program, students can visit www.ivytech.edu/honors/.