Center assists in building community

The Honors Program is perceived by some as all work and no play, and more trouble than it’s worth but students who give it a chance may be pleasantly surprised.

Honors classes are for honors students only, making them both intellectually stimulating and easier to get into than classes that are open to the student body at large — something particularly important since so many classes have been cut during the economic downturn causing sections to fill up fast.

While honors contracts are available in many regular college-level courses, honors specific classes are “the best way to get honors credit because they offer an intensive and personal experience in a community of similarly high-achieving students,” the honors student handbook claims.

Taking honors courses can also help when it comes time to transfer.

“The transfer process is extremely competitive,” said Jennifer Saito, co-director of the Honors Program.

“Good grades are important, but universities are looking for students who get involved in extra curricular activities as well,” Saito said. “Being an honors student and joining the Honors Club makes a student a more appealing candidate.”

The Honors Program is committed to streamlining the transfer process in other ways, helping students with scholarships, and negotiating transfer priority.

One example is the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program. TAP honors students are more than twice as likely to get admitted than a regular transfer student – 33 percent of transfer applicants are accepted versus 81 percent of TAP honors applicants. They have exclusive application rights to the $5,000 Wasserman Scholarship award.

“LMC is the only community college in the East Bay that has this partnership with UCLA,” Saito stressed.

Despite the perks and benefits of the Honors Program, some students are still leery to dip their toes into the academics associtated with it.

“Honors is full of stuck up elitists,” said Abraham Rodriguez, a returning LMC student who graduated from Expression College. “I transferred just fine without it, all the extra work just isn’t worth it.”

But according to the Honors handbook students in a regular philosophy class have to write an eight-page paper. In the Honors course, they still have that same eight-page paper to write, but they are working from a more advanced textbook. In addition, rather than receiving a specific topic to write about, students propose their own, Saito said, who herself teaches both Philosophy and Math.

Students who decide to take on the work of honors find it enjoyable, and discover a different side to the program.

Sade Browne is a student who did just that. At first she, too, thought honors students were stuck up but decided to join anyway.

“I joined because of the benefits,” Browne said. “Now I’m really happy I joined because