Professor Skip (William) Huisking and his Introduction to Business class

Professor Skip (William) Huisking and his Introduction to Business class

By Nomi Eijkenaar, Staff Writer

The Honors Program here at Bergen offers diverse honors courses, which provide advanced course work to our school’s highest achieving and most motivated students. As of now, only about 350 students have been registered for honors courses at Bergen, but the number will only grow as time goes by.

Honors students at Bergen Community College are some of the luckiest students here, and are privileged enough to not only be attending one of the best community colleges in the country, but to also receive the option of participating in honors courses.

Being a part of the School of Honors, and taking honors courses is something that should be a drive for all students on this campus. The benefits of being an honors student are being able to take classes with less students than normal classes, being surrounded by highly motivated peers and scholarly faculty, receiving priority registration for classes, gaining access to the honors student computer lab, a membership in the Honors Association, an Honors Recognition Certificate, an Honors Diploma with the Presidential Seal, and allows a spot at the front graduate line at Commencement.

“There is a misconception that students have when it comes to Honors courses. The courses are not exactly harder but they are more inviting to critical thinking and in class implementation of course material,” said Kevin Calle, an Honors student and the PTK Vice President of Scholarship. “It seems as though both the students and professors are more engaged with the subject.”

From left to right -- Arielle Patrice, Kevin Calle, and Natasha Pineros, Honors students.  (Photos by Nomi Eijkenaar)

From left to right — Arielle Patrice, Kevin Calle, and Natasha Pineros, Honors students. (Photos by Nomi Eijkenaar)

Becoming an Honors student is not impossible; it takes work but is worth every little bit of sweat. To become an honors student, one must obtain a 3.4 cumulative GPA or receive a professor’s or counselor’s recommendation. In the case of being interested in graduating with an Honors Diploma, students receiving an A.A. or an A.S. degree must complete 18 Honors credits and maintain a 3.4 GPA. Students receiving an A.A.S. must complete 12 Honors Credits and maintain the 3.4 GPA.

“I absolutely love Honors classes. I took 3 honors classes my spring semester and I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive, but it ended up being one of the most academically rewarding semesters because I learned so much and it was thanks to my honors classes,” said Natasha Pineiros. She then added, “The energy and intellectual level in honors classes is so contagious that you will not want to let go.”

The opportunities granted to you as an honors student are endless. Something not many students know about is the option of taking an Honors-by-Contract course. This allows you to take a regular class but turn it into an honors class. To complete this, you will have to receive approval from the professor teaching the class you desire to have count as an honors course, find a project that will distinguish you from other students, and receive the signature of Dr. Maria Makowiecka, Director of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors.

“I was initially hesitant [about joining Honors],” said Elif Karacayir, a current BCC student. “In a moment of temerity, I signed up for my first honors class, American Ethnic Literature, during my second term at Bergen. At the end of a challenging semester, my professor, Dr. Kaufman, praised me as an exceptional student, a comment that still means the world to me. It gave me enormous courage to enroll in more honors courses,”

She then continued, “Currently, I am preparing to graduate Bergen with an honors diploma and I’ll find a home in Columbia University in Spring 2015!”

Honors courses are nothing to be scared of; they are something to strive for. Take advantage of the opportunities given to you, and graduate with an Honors Diploma.