Dr. Alysia Davis discusses the details of the JMU Honors College.

Dr. Davis will be hosting drop-in Admitted Student Q&A Zoom sessions through mid-April on Fridays at 1 p.m. To join in a session, go to https://zoom.us/j/4439673138. No registration is required.

Honors College Frequently Asked Questions




How does being an Honors student benefit my experience at JMU?

Honors students are part of a welcoming community that values inquiry. The Honors experience affords students with opportunities such as innovative interdisciplinary learning, undergraduate research and cultural enrichment. Together, these equip our students with new ideas that prepare them for advanced study and the ability to make a difference in the world upon graduation.

How will being an Honors student improve my scholastic achievement and challenge my ways of thinking?

The Honors College offers small, discussion-based classes that provoke stimulating interactions among our students. Honors provides you with a like-minded cohort who values new and challenging ways of thinking, while at the same time providing you with tailored campus resources and programming that allow you to highlight your skills. The curriculum’s flexibility is ideal for students who are developing new interests, as well as those who are eager to explore new challenges.

How does the Honors College help students choose and enroll in classes?

The Honors College is an active partner in your college journey. In addition to priority registration, we have a dedicated Honors advisory team, including Jared Diener, Director of Honors Advising and Global Initiatives, and two student Honors Madison Advising Peers. Based on their guidance, we hope that students are able to fully explore where their interests lie.

Is an Honors student able to participate in other academic and extracurricular programs at JMU outside of the Honors College?

Absolutely! Honors students are encouraged to pursue opportunities that mesh with their academic interests and enrich and deepen their campus engagement. The Honors College strives to be flexible so that students are able to reach their academic goals.

Is the Honors College only about courses?

No. The curriculum is an important component of the Honors College experience; however, the Honors College is first and foremost a community of scholars – students and faculty – committed to excellence in and beyond the classroom. Other opportunities for Honors College students include specialized programming, dedicated mentoring and advising, and special lectures and symposia. Honors College students are encouraged to live in Shenandoah Hall, our Residential Learning Community. The ability to study, work and live among outstanding fellow scholars is an exciting opportunity for incoming students. Hillcrest House is also a home away from home for many of our students. In addition to welcoming space for programs and socializing, the historic home also offers a study lounge, quiet room, and computer lab with free printing.

Am I required to live in Shenandoah Hall?

Honors students are strongly encouraged to live in Shenandoah Hall, but it is not a requirement. For many students, living in the Honors Residential Learning Community feels like a family and it is where they meet many of their lifelong friends.

How does the Honors Capstone requirement help me?

The Honors Capstone is a final research paper, project or creative artifact that you will produce. The project helps to illustrate how you have developed as a scholar and increased your depth of thought. The Honors Capstone looks different for every student.

Will being in the Honors College give me an advantage in pursuing career or graduate school opportunities?

Employers and graduate schools care about academic preparation. By being a successful Honors student, you demonstrate persistence, consistency and drive: traits that are all valued after graduation. Flourishing careers and successful graduate education call for individuals who are flexible learners. The active style of learning championed in the Honors College prepares students to grapple with complexity. Honors College graduates are able to chart a course forward when the road has not been set first by someone else. Finally, your Honors Capstone can serve as a jumping-off point for graduate work or help you get your foot in the door to a successful career.

Are Honors courses harder?

Not necessarily. Honors instructors are challenged to make courses more enriching. Smaller classes allow for more interaction with faculty and among students. Collaborative projects, civic learning and research-based activities are encouraged.

Will the Honors College be a good fit for me?

Honors students are active learners with a passionate interest in their education. They find joy in learning. They are looking for courses that challenge them to read and think widely and deeply. They are excited by ideas. They are eager for educational experiences outside the classroom, including independent research and cultural enrichment. Even if they are uncertain of their future path, they know that learning will be an integral part of it. They reflect a diversity of backgrounds and interests. If this sounds like you, you’ll feel like you are at home in the Honors College and we look forward to seeing you on campus.


Unfortunately the JMU Honors College is not able to invite prospective students to visit campus at this time. However, we are more than happy to answer your questions: please reach out to Dr. Alysia Davis, Director of Student Engagement, at davis4am@jmu.edu. Also please note these additional opportunities:

  • If you are interested in connecting directly with a current student Honors Ambassador, let Dr. Davis know and she will get you introduced.
  • Dr. Davis will be hosting drop-in Admitted Student Q&A Zoom sessions through mid-April on Fridays at 1 p.m. To join in a session, go to https://zoom.us/j/4439673138. No registration is required.
  • To see a virtual tour of Hillcrest House, go to https://www.jmu.edu/honors/visit-us.shtml

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