By Elizabeth Cortez
An alternate to a traditional college experience, California State University, Bakersfield offers the CSUB Honor Hawks program, a curriculum that offers special honors classes to students with high grades. Jackie Kegley, the new director, is planning to improve the program.
“We (Kegley and the provost) are offering this year four $5,000 scholarships for students that have a GPA of 3.80, for high school incoming students or a 3.50 for transfer students. We’re out to raise money for more scholarships,” said Kegley, program’s interim director.
Financial incentives can benefit students. Although, most of the approximately 300 students in the program entered as freshmen, Kegley also said that transfer students could also apply.
“We do take in students. Sometimes it’s a little problematic if they enter a little bit late. They need to contact me immediately. We need to see how far in they are. There’s a freshman course taken in the first quarter. So, it’s important that they take that so they get started on the right track,” Kegley said.
CSUB Hawk Honors program offers students with the appropriate GPA, a SAT score of 1180 or above or an ACT score of 24 with many advantages to university life. For instance, freshman and sophomore students take a special honors seminar. Transfer students can also take advantage of the program if they complete independent study with a professor in their major discipline, which is a requirement of the program.
“Kegley has been very involved and already provided us with numerous volunteer options, group gatherings, and additional ways to give back to the school. In addition, she has been more than willing to meet with me individually and help me find research opportunities and ways to help out in the community,”said Ellen Edgerton, a freshmenbiology major.
With high expectations and criteria, the program is worthy of mention to potential candidates. After four years of being in the program, students will receive according to the CSUB Honors program website, “special recognition in the graduation program and on their transcripts, plus a beautiful gold and silver honors medal.”
Despite all of the benefits the program provides, those who are involved in the experience time demanding activities. Although a senior student at CSUB could enroll in the program if he or she met the qualifications, it would be more difficult.
“It would probably not be practical [for a senior student] because they need to take these two upper division courses and independent studies. So, in order to get some benefit from the program they can’t come in at the last minute. They can always get honors on their diploma, but it can’t necessarily be in the honors program,”Kegley said.
For the students enrolled in the program, there are possible disadvantages. Furthermore, not all of them complete the program.
“A disadvantage to the program is that I don’t necessarily need to be taking these classes for my major or gen education because I passed out of the requirement from testing or AP classes,” Edgerton stated.
Overall, despite the fact that the program is time demanding and intensive, CSUB Honor Hawks program helps the students socialize as well as participate in fun events.“I really like the fact that [the program] gets the students to make friends, work as group, and work together. They can go and present papers. We go to the volleyball game together. We go to the theater together. So, it’s an opportunity for students to do things together, to help each other, and to frankly be honored,” Kegley said.