Earlier this month, Gonzaga University’s Honors Program announced a new application process that will let current freshmen join the class of 2024 cohort as sophomores.
Historically, the program only extended entry to incoming freshmen. Prospective students would have to apply by January of their graduation year, and their admission would be announced the following March.
“I’m really happy that they have opened it up for other first-years because, especially with the way the application was, it’s very easy to miss it,” said freshman Gabriela Marquis, an honors student. “Like before you are actually in GU for sure and you know you want to go there — and you maybe have second guesses about coming to GU — you might not have applied to the Honors Program.”
For first-years who may not have known about the program or weren’t sure about GU being their college prior to admittance, this new application offers a chance to enter the ranks of the distinguished program.
“Providing a path to join the Honors Program once someone has started their time at Gonzaga has been a priority for me since I joined the Honors leadership, but first we needed a set of requirements that were flexible enough that joining the program wouldn’t mean starting your core all over again,” Honors Director Linda Tredennick said in an email. “We rolled out our new curriculum this fall, so the time is finally right to open this new path to joining the program.”
The second-year entry application is currently open, and students interested in applying have until March 1 to submit their application.
“The honors program has been a very positive experience for me, especially with the people it’s been introducing me to because I am frequently in classes with them or was in seminar with them,” Marquis said. “They tend to be very like-minded people.”
During their first year, Honors students will take a special first-year seminar tailored to the honors experience and a honors core-required class called “Multi-Modal Communications.” Incoming sophomores will not need to take the latter if they’ve completed their first-year writing and communications courses.
All new entries, sophomores included, must take the Honors first-year seminar.
“The honors-designated courses tend to be more student-focused and discussion-focused, rather than test-focused or lecture-focused, and that has been incredible as well,” Marquis said. “I have loved my honors courses.”
Honors students gain a number of benefits such as a scholarship and an additional academic advisor in the director of the program. They also have exclusive study abroad opportunities.
“I think the best benefit is that students will join a welcoming, inclusive community of students who care about ideas, social justice and supporting each other,” Tredennick said. “One of my favorite things about being a part of Honors at Gonzaga is getting to listen to the amazing conversations students have with each other. I’ve heard engineers debate ethics with business majors, poets and sociologists explore world building in video games, seen biologists and economists collaborate to respond to ecological challenges. It’s exciting to see what can happen when smart people who care come together.”
Sophomore applications must include a personal statement and a faculty endorsement. The personal statement can take a variety of forms, including essay, portfolio and video formats.
This is the first cohort-based program at GU to create a second-year entry application.
“It’s an exciting time in Honors — we have a new curriculum that is centered on empowering students and giving them the intellectual tools to respond to the massive and complex problems facing the world,” Tredennick said. “Climate change, wealth inequality, racial injustice — the issues can only be addressed by people with agile minds who know how to work together and think creatively. Learning those traits with a group of energetic, fun people who care as much as you do is pretty great.”