Getting to Know Michigan State University Honors College
Too often Michigan State University gets overshadowed by its Big Ten sister school, the University of Michigan. But Michigan State’s Honors College offers enough to make prospective Wolverines consider becoming Spartans. Admission to the Honors College is by invitation. But prospective freshmen can submit an additional essay and mid-year senior grades to make a strong impression. Freshmen can also be considered after they earn excellent grades during their first semester.
The Honors College helps a very large university feel much smaller; in this case more like a larger liberal arts college or a smaller university such as Butler or Drake. With over 4,400 students, Michigan State has one of the largest public honors colleges in the country, serving more than 10 percent of the undergraduate student body. It is also one of the most comprehensive, with many community benefits.
Bess German, Assistant Dean of the Honors College, and I chatted about this unique opportunity at Michigan State. Please listen now!
Virtually every university went test optional for the current cycle, and will likely stay that way for the upcoming one. But the statistical profile for the Honors College is similar to an extremely selective college. However, admission could also come with a merit based scholarship, something not offered by many highly selective public and private colleges, including the other Big Ten university in Michigan. Given the choice of being one of the many among the Wolverines versus one of the best among many Spartans, Michigan State deserves a longer look.
Michigan State allows Honors students to enroll in any major and live in any residential college at the university.
Michigan State has 11 residential colleges and living-learning communities. Several halls also have Honors floors. The Honors College is also a great school for someone who wants to apply AP courses to enter with advanced standing. There are only eight required courses with honors course options. Honors College students have an advising team to help them plan their program and personalize a very flexible educational experience. There is an impressive number of opportunities for original research and study abroad as well as options to take graduate courses as you get further into your education. The Honors College is large enough to have several of its own student organizations.
If you were to look for the definition of a Very Big State University, Michigan State would be right up there with Penn State and Ohio State within the Big Ten.
Michigan State’s undergraduate student population is 40,000 strong. That’s more than twice the size of my hometown in New Jersey. Michigan State has a very nice campus divided into residential neighborhoods that could feel intimidating at first visit. Campus life could revolve around the ups and downs of football and basketball seasons. But Greek life is not important here, attracting only ten percent of the men and women.
Getting into the Honors College, or at least finding a living-learning situation, is essential if you want to get off to a good start with the academics.
Over a quarter of the classes that all Michigan State students take have more than 50 students. Honors College courses are much smaller, and you can get out of pre-requisites, if you’re ready. Michigan State is the fourth most diverse university in the Big Ten, according to College Results, behind Maryland, Rutgers and Illinois. However, the opportunity to compete for a seat in an honors college is more achievable at Michigan State.
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