MURRAY, Ky. – Fall 2017 marks a decade that Murray State University’s Honors program and Honors College, which began in 2015, has attained record-high enrollment each year as it continues to grow and develop to provide students with a rigorous academic experience unlike any other.

The Honors student’s college experience is shaped by all of the unique opportunities provided by the University, including seminar-style classes, personal development programs, travel opportunities, conversational dinners and more.

Honors seminars, led by Honors faculty, are limited to 18 students to create an atmosphere where individualized attention and personalized guidance can be expressed for each student. Seminars encourage a deeper level of engagement through critical and analytical thinking, independent projects and an understanding of culture.

“What makes Murray State’s Honors College particularly unique is that high-potential students can get involved in a community of enthusiastic and high-performing learners pursuing a challenging, aspirational curriculum, something similar to an Ivy League experience, at a state university with dramatically lower costs,” said Dr. Warren Edminster, executive director of the Honors College.

Murray State has reformed the curriculum and adapted requirements to give students a college experience incomparable to any other honors institute. The Honors faculty work diligently to maintain high standards of achievement obtainable by students.

Students take eight to nine dedicated Honors seminars. The college has maintained foreign language and thesis requirements and is one of the few institutes that require all Honors students to study abroad.

“We push our students to do more to develop their potential than any other honors college or program in Kentucky and in our local region,” Edminster said.

Honors students are diverse in their character, qualities and interests. The college includes collegiate athletes, members of Greek organizations, students involved in undergraduate research and leaders in many of the student organizations. The Honors College has enrolled students from every department on campus.

“To me, being in the Honors College means contributing to a group of intellectually curious individuals who are seeking to grow academically, professionally and personally. We are people who explore things that support and contradict our beliefs,” said sophomore organizational communication and public relations major Carly Middleton. “We are a community that has the determination to succeed and the courage to fail. We are a society that has high ambitions and plans to achieve them. It means being a part of something that is greater than yourself.”

Edminster said the faculty has the following goals for their Honors graduates: that they are able to independently organize and complete large projects and that they are familiar with and comfortable in other international cultures.

The college has enrolled exactly 200 first-time students for the fall 2017 semester and has a total student enrollment of 499. Not only are enrollment percentages increasing, but completion percentages are improving as well. Based on current retention estimates, they look to continue growing over the upcoming years.

“As the Honors College has grown, we have seen a corresponding steady increase in top academic students enrolling at Murray State. New students entering with a 28 or higher ACT score have increased by 145% over the last decade,” Edminster said. “Many of these students chose not to enroll in the Honors College, but they chose Murray State because they regard it as an appropriate institution for top students pursuing rigorous coursework. The Honors College does much to enhance that institutional reputation.”

Acceptance into the program is extremely competitive. To apply, the potential student must have achieved an ACT score of 28 or higher and a 3.8 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale or be in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. The average cumulative ACT score of Honors students is 29.5. A selection committee, when recommending acceptance, considers the potential student’s academic achievement, motivation, extracurricular activities and leadership capabilities.

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