June 25, 2013
Early-morning practices, late-night road trips and homework sessions on a bus are all part of the daily routine for many Missouri State student-athletes. But a select group of Bears are taking that balancing act of academic success and athletic excellence to another level by choosing to be part of MSU’s Honors College.
“It is nice getting out of the normal class and being surrounded by a group of people who have similar goals as you do,” said junior swimmer Isaac McKnight. “This group of people isn’t trying to skate by. They’re trying to be the best academically.”
The Honors College is for accelerated students who are seeking to challenge themselves in the classroom. To be accepted into this elite program, students must have scored a minimum of 27 on the ACT or graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class. To maintain good standing in the program, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours and have a 3.25 GPA.
Women’s soccer standout Molly Brewer is also part of the Honors College and knows first-hand the advantage of the program.
“The Honors College is great,” the sophomore said. “The classes are a lot smaller which allows for more class discussion and teacher-to-student interaction.”
Although these students have higher academic standards to achieve, the professors understand the demanding schedule student-athletes must follow. That level of understanding and a positive working environment are some of the many reasons more than 20 MSU student-athletes took part in the program in 2012-13.
“Our students tend to be very goal-driven, motivated, good time managers which are things that help them enjoy success on the field and also help them enjoy success in the classroom,” Scott Handley, Assistant Director of the Honors College stated. “I think that is why we see student-athletes outperforming the population as a whole.”
Both Brewer and McKnight agree that being a part of the Honors College program is in itself an honor and a true source of pride.
McKnight goes on to say, “School is tough as it is. Having Honors classes just makes it more interesting. Any class you’re going to take is going to be difficult whether it’s an Honors class or not.”
Handley says student-athletes who are in the Honors College have an opportunity to disprove many stereotypes. But for most of MSU’s student athletes, being an outstanding athlete coincides with being an outstanding student.
“It is good to be challenged in workouts as an athlete, but it is nice to be challenged in the classroom too,” McKnight stated.
Handley noted that the Honors College is the perfect setting for athletes. With the classroom sizes smaller, students are able to build a trust with the professor and surround themselves with an environment that is goal-driven.
Being a part of the Honors College also helps students after they graduate and enter their respected professions. With unique research opportunities and publications at their disposal, Honors students can complete their senior thesis sooner and put themselves at a competitive advantage prior to graduation.
“Those who are intellectually curious and who seek to be challenged, all while being goal-oriented will enjoy the Honors College experience,” Handley said.
Honors College student-athletes have broken the stereotypes in the classroom at MSU. These students have chosen to surround themselves with other individuals who will continue to challenge them long after the final buzzer sounds.