The University of Southern Mississippi’s Honors College experienced record growth this year due to renewed recruitment efforts and increased quality of the university’s programs.
The freshmen class produced 178 new Honors College students, about 10 percent of the incoming class. This is an increase from last year’s record of 175.
“That’s a pretty big spike from a few years previous,” said David Davies, Dean of the Honors College. Davies said it is a significant increase in numbers from six years ago.
“I applied to Honors College for the small classes and opportunities for things like active learning classes where you get to take trips to other cities as part of the course,” said Will Mueller, a freshman entertainment industry major. “Also, it’s pretty nice getting to stay in Century Park.”
“Honors classes ask a lot from students, so we see more students every year become more focused, involved and excited,” said Ashten Redell, a senior English major and Honors College Ambassador.
To be accepted into the Honors College, incoming students must have a core high school GPA of 3.5 and an ACT score of 27. This fall’s new Honor students have an average GPA of 3.8 and an average ACT score of 30. They will be required to maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA, take Honors courses and attend a series of lectures to maintain their Honors status.
“I think we tried harder over the last seven or eight years to really push for Honors College growth and enrollment, and that paid off,” Davies said. “Honors College has high quality programs, and the students know that. But more importantly, we have high quality programs all across that campus.”
Sonya Evans, administrative assistant to the dean, attributes much of the Honors College success to Davies.
“He loves students and communicates very well with parents and potential students,” Evans said. Evans said Davies has taken a proactive role in personally going to high schools and local community colleges to recruit for the Honors College.
With more incoming Honors College students, leadership has taken on more responsibilities. “The ambassadors of the College take on a larger number of mentees to help them better integrate into the Honors College,” Redell said.
Despite the steady increase in Honors students, there are currently no plans to increase the requirements to get into the College.
“Something we may consider on down the line,” Davies said. “It’s too soon to know right now.”
For more information about USM’s Honors College, visit www.usm.edu/honors.