USD’s Honors Program is setting records outside of the classroom this fall.
This school year, 158 first-year students were accepted into the program, making this the largest incoming class of Honors students in the history of USD.
“I think that the increase in the numbers reflects the fact that the students coming to USD are well-prepared and interested in engaging with the faculty and other students in the Honors Program,” said Scott Breuninger, the honors program director. “I’m happy that we’re having more interest among the students.”
The program also boasts a record number of students enrolled in the program in the fall throughout all grades, with a total of 441 students.
“Over the past couple of years we’ve really made great strides in recruiting students, retaining students and providing students with what we hope is a strong, challenging and rewarding program,” Breuninger said.
First-year Katie Larson said the program’s high numbers are beneficial.
“It gives more people that have the same morals and goals that I have to achieve and be a better student,” Larson said. “I know that everyone in the Honors Program has the same goal as me.”
The senior class in the Honors Program, which includes fourth-year and fifth-year students, shows a slight deficit in enrollment, with 92 students in the program. This difference of 66 students can partially be attributed to students leaving USD or leaving the Honors Program because they want to dedicate their time to other interests, Breuninger said.
According to the USD Honors website, Honors students hold more than 25 percent of all campus leadership positions. Additionally, it states that Honors graduates have had a 96 percent placement rate in graduate and professional programs over the past five years.
“It seemed like the best track for me to go into an Honors program in college,” Larson said. “It gives me a jumpstart on a lot of other things I need to get done in college.”
Breuninger said the record number will create a better learning environment.
“The Honors program provides rigorous courses to challenge advanced students, providing a quality education to advance students in their fields of study,” said Sarah Lane, a first-year.
Breuninger said bigger classes allow for more diverse discussion.
“The more voices you have in that discussion, the more sort of diversity points that are voiced,” he said. “I just think that makes it a better experience for the