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Developing Whole Leaders for the whole World

What is the purpose of the Honors Program?

The purpose the Honors Program at Oral Roberts University is to provide academically gifted students with the resources they need in order to achieve an outstanding undergraduate experience. This program positions its students in the best spiritual, academic, social and community-minded environments to transcend the rigor and scope of general curricula. Through this approach to education, students are developed to reach their full potential for the glory of God and taught their ethical responsibility to use God's intellectual gifts for the healing of humanity.

Since the Honors Program exists to provide an enhanced educational experience to students with exceptional abilities and needs, tiers of membership were created within the program to provide special opportunities for its strongest applicants. Fellows and Scholars are titles given to members of the Honors Program to reflect their level of either full or extra participation in program opportunities.

What's the difference between a Fellow and Scholar?

Both Fellows and Scholars form the heart of the Honors Program and receive all of the program's benefits. As with the Honors Program, distinctions were created to provide extra opportunities for select students.

  • Fellows: These students are required to complete Seminar Courses that increase the academic rigor of their involvement in the program. All honors courses are designed to give more dynamic, interactive opportunities rather than add work to regular courses. Fellows Seminar Courses, however, are more challenging, interdisciplinary courses than the general education counterparts they replace. Fellows form a tighter community as they complete Seminar Courses together during their first semesters before fully specializing in their own professions. Fellows are expected to take full advantage of their opportunities to excel in whatever manner God has called them to do. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48, NIV).
  • Scholars: These students have a greater opportunity for service and leadership. While both tiers of membership have full access to all honors program opportunities, Scholars are not required to take Fellows Seminar Courses, though it is possible. Scholars participate in a collection of activities that encompass all of ORU's campus and community.

How many Fellows and Scholars are selected each year?

Each year, 16 Fellows and 40-50 Scholars are selected for this unique opportunity.

Are scholarships available in the Honors Program?

While ORU no longer offers a specific "Honors Scholarship," we do offer the Quest Whole Leader scholarship, which is ORU’s premier scholarship opportunity. This scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen and transfer students who participate in a Quest Leadership Weekend event and enroll full-time in an ORU undergraduate, residential program. The Quest Whole Leader Scholarship was designed to assist and recognize exceptional students, encompassing an array of qualities, one of which is academic achievements. Click here for more information on how you can secure your scholarship and have the potential to increase your award up to full tuition.

Are there extra scholarships for Honors Program students?

The Honors Program offers Honors Research Assistantships for both Fellows and Scholars, as vacancies occur. 

How can I get an Honors Research Assistantship?

The Honors Program accepts requests for Honors Research Assistantships from full-time faculty. Students who receive these get stipends up to $1,250 per semester with additional money available for summer. These are only for honors students in good standing and who agrees to do research or other scholarly work under their faculty mentor's direction. The proposal is assessed in light of its potential benefit to engage the honor student with faculty members in scholarly work that isn't normally done by undergraduate students. These honors students need to demonstrate critical thinking abilities, a willingness to work closely with the faculty member and other students, excellent and timely work, an ability to work independently and dependability. 

How do I become a Fellow?

Students are invited to apply to become a Fellow if they meet these requirements:

  1. Must be admitted to ORU as an incoming freshmen (transfer students may join the Honors Program as a Scholar as they are not eligible for Fellows consideration). 
  2. Must be admitted to Oral Roberts University
  3. Have a composite 31-36 ACT or 1410-1600 SAT (math and critical reading only)
  4. Have a weighted or unweighted 3.5 cumulative high school GPA 

If these requirements are met, then an application with requirements and deadlines should be sent to you by the ORU Admissions Office. You can contact the Admissions Office at 918.495.6518 or, or you can access the material online here.

Applications are due by March 1, 2020 and must include two recommendations from individuals who can share about your academic, leadership, and service experiences. You may use academic recommendations as long as one of them knows you well enough to address your spiritual walk. If not, it is suggested that you have a minister or youth leader complete at least one of the recommendations.

Along with the application requirements, Fellows must turn in a signed Fellows Contract, take the Artistic Expressions Fellows Seminar (HONR 101) and complete at least 4 of the remaining 6 Fellows Seminars.

What are the requirements to become a Scholar?

Scholar selection is by invitation only and based on these requirements:

  1. Must be admitted to ORU as an incoming freshmen or transfer student.
  2. Must be admitted to Oral Roberts University
  3. Have a minimum composite ACT score of 28 or a minimum SAT score of 1310
  4. Have a weighted or unweighted 3.5 cumulative high school GPA

How does honors orientation work?

Honors orientation is in addition to the regularly scheduled, school-wide orientation activities that take place during week before classes begin in the fall. The Honors Student Council plans and executes activities that allow new and old students to get to know one another. 

Do honors students have the same General Education requirements as other students?

Yes. In fact, many of the honors courses are designed to fulfill these General Education requirements.

How do honors classes work?

Honors classes are a central component of the Honors Program. These are specially designed to challenge and motivate students. These classes engage students in the course material and transcend what is taught in a normal class, promoting critical thinking and analysis. Most of the general education classes at ORU have honors sections, which are open to Scholars and Fellows. The six interdisciplinary Fellows classes allow students to connect subject areas and approach them from new perspectives, while fulfilling some of their general education requirements. They are open first to Fellows and then to Scholars if space is available.

What kind of social events does the honors program sponsor?

Throughout both semesters there is a variety of other activities and events! Social events vary from year to year as students express interest in doing certain activities. Ideas for social functions should be shared with the Activities Coordinator of the Honors Student Council, whose job is to facilitate the social life of the Honors Program. During the fall semester, recurring events include orientation, a retreat, a new student barbecue, a lunch with faculty and administrators and a Christmas party. During the spring semester there is a picnic, a dinner with faculty and administrators and a banquet to honor the graduates of the Honors Program.

Are honors students "nerds"?

No way! Honors students are as diverse and normal as other students. Some are talented athletically; others are gifted in music, art, drama, science, math, and any other subject area. The common denominator is that all Honors Program students have been gifted by God intellectually.

How does service learning fit into the honors program?

The purpose of service learning is to incorporate community service as a learning experience within the curriculum. The projects are selected and completed by students in the Honors Program. For example, honors students have served Marshall Elementary School by teaching some of their kindergarten through fifth-grade students during the school's spring break to help families who cannot afford daycare and teachers who need a break. There are many opportunities in and outside of class, so we encourage honors students to suggest and help implement ideas for new projects.

What is the Honors Student Council (HSC)?

The HSC is a student-initiated and student-operated council designed to act as the representative voice of the students to the faculty and administrative leadership of the Honors Program. The council also plans and coordinates all extracurricular activities for students. Students may apply to be members of the council each year. In addition to coordinating and executing activities for the students, each member of the council serves as a mentor for a group of incoming honors freshmen.

What leadership opportunities are available?

Members of the Honors Program are encouraged to pursue leadership roles on the Honors Student Council and other roles on campus such as Resident Advisors (RAs), Chaplains, Academic Peer Advisors (APAs), Student Association (SA) officers, and officers of other clubs and organizations.

How is the GPA for honors determined?

Only courses taken at ORU maintain honors status, and students must maintain an overall ORU GPA of 3.5 to stay in the Honors Program.

What happens if my GPA drops below 3.5?

If this happens, you will be placed on one year probation to give you an opportunity to improve your grades. If after one year your GPA is still below 3.5, you will be dropped from the program. If your GPA rises above this minimum, contact the Honors Program Director and you will be reinstated. Students with a GPA below 3.5 after their final semester at ORU cannot graduate from the Honors Program.

What is the new Freshman Honors Seminar (HONR 100)?

This course introduces first-semester honors students to the honors community at ORU. Seminar topics are selected to help expose new students to important issues such as scholarships, leadership, service learning, and prestigious scholarships. The seminar includes a variety of activities and talks led by faculty and student leaders in the honors program. All new honors students are required to enroll in this course during their first semester. This course meets once a week for one hour and is worth 0 credit hours. Students receive a "Pass" or "Fail" grade based on attendance, participation, and a journal.

Who can enroll in honors courses?

Honors courses are only for students in the Honors Program. Non-honors students can be considered for admission to an honors class by asking permission of the faculty member teaching the course.

If I try the Honors Program and do not like it, can I withdraw?

Yes. This will not hurt your academic record or ability to graduate on time, since most of our honors courses fulfill ORU's General Education requirements.

Who are honors faculty?

All faculty in the Honors Program are picked by the Honors Program Committee for their superior knowledge in their field of study and for their dedication to teaching.

How large are honors classes?

Honors classes typically have smaller enrollments than non-honors courses, ranging from 5 to no more than 35 students. The average class size is about 15-20 students.

Can honors students have more than one major and/or minor?

Yes. Many honors students have two majors and/or minors. If you choose to declare two majors, you will need to fulfill all requirements for both majors, including the senior paper or project.

Are honors classes graded according to higher standards than non-honors courses?

No. It is our belief that it is not the amount of work that is done, but the quality of the work that is most important.

Will I get credit for the Advanced Placement, CLEP, and concurrent enrollment courses I took in high school?

Yes. ORU awards credit for these on a case-by-case basis. See the ORU Catalog for details, including the maximum number of acceptable transfer credits.

Are honors students required to study abroad?

Only students majoring in one of the modern languages are required to spend at least one semester studying abroad. However, all honors students are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad, as it is valuable life experience.

Will I have to take extra classes to be in the Honors Program?

No, not normally. Most of the honors classes substitute for General Education classes that every student is already required to take.

Won't honors classes mess up my grades?

Our experience shows that students tend to make the same grades in their honors classes that they make in their regular classes.

Won't honors classes be a lot of extra work?

No. You might work a little harder, but only because you are getting more out of your classes! Our goal is not to make you work harder, but rather to see that you get a more excellence educational experience for your efforts. Honors classes tend to have a more interactive format, which appeals to many students.

Are some majors, like Engineering and Nursing, less "compatible" with honors work?

The Honors Program complements all majors. Students in nursing, engineering and other highly structured programs have maintained good status in the Honors Program. In any major, it is a good idea to take most honors classes your freshman and sophomore years so that you have more flexibility in your junior and senior years when the degree requirements become more restrictive.

How might being in the Honors Program help me after I graduate?

Honors classes show up on your permanent transcript with an "H" after the course number. Your status as an "Honors Program Graduate" will also be on your permanent transcript. Prospective employers, graduate/professional school admissions committees, and fellowship/scholarship committees look at these distinctions.

I have to work. Is it possible for me to do honors too?

Yes. Many of our students have jobs, both on and off campus. We do our best to work with honors students whatever the circumstances of their lives may be.

I hope/plan to participate in NCAA athletics and/or intramural sports. Is that possible?

Yes. Many honors students play intramurals on the dorm wing teams and are very successful in competition. Some honors students are members of ORU varsity athletic teams.

Does ORU have an articulation agreement with any colleges?

Yes. ORU has an articulation agreement with Tulsa Community College (TCC). Students in their Honors Program are automatically accepted into our Honors Program as Scholars, and honors courses worth up to 12 credit hours of honors courses can be transferred. We have also extended this arrangement to other community colleges.

How can students with lower ACT and SAT scores take honors classes and/or be in the Honors Program?

Students who do not meet the requirements to be a Scholar can sign up for Honors courses if the enrollment maximum hasn't been reached for those courses. If your cumulative GPA is at least 3.5 and you have a minimum 1200 SAT score or 27 ACT score, you will need to enroll in two Honors courses for the upcoming semester (contact Dr. Gunn or Professor Ott in person if your ACT or SAT scores are lower than that). After completing both those courses, you must receive strong endorsements from both professors in order to apply for the Honors Program. You can apply with the "Application for Current Students" on the Honors Program Forms page. 

This is only recommended for those students who have several General Education courses left to complete; though it is possible to have non-honors courses transferred as honors courses. The total number of Honors credits for you to graduate will be 21 instead of 24, and you'll need to enroll in the Freshman Honors Seminar (HONR 100) course after being admitted.


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