Public University Honors

Welcome to the somewhat wonkish, entirely independent Public University Honors site! This is the only site on the web that is devoted entirely to the evaluation and discussion of public university honors programs and public honors colleges. Please visit the menu pages or put in a school name or other topic, such as “rankings,” in the Search box above, and go directly to relevant posts. In all, there are more than 400 posts and pages on this site.

Many people start out with the “Top Honors Programs” page, above, or “Rankings, Academic Departments,” or “College Value–Public Honors vs. Private Elites,” or the UPDATED post Rankings, Academic Departments: Private Elites vs Publics. You can go back and forth between these departmental rankings and the specialty rankings for business and engineering as well (below). Another helpful page, especially in the summer and fall, is Choosing an Honors Program: Twenty Questions to Ask.

Below are some recent or widely-read posts out of the 400-plus on the site:

Note to readers: We have been busy with a lengthy report on honors program completion rates. A completion rate is the percentage of honors program entrants who actually complete honors program requirements in time for graduation. We have completed the series; please see below.

Updated: US News Rankings 123 National Universities, 2012-2019

Updated: National Merit Qualifying Selection Scores, Class of 2019

Understanding the FOUR Types of Honors Classes

Honors Completion Rates: ‘A Dirty Little Secret’ or a (Very) Complicated Issue?

Honors Completion Rates: A Statistical Summary

Here is a Formula for Evaluating Honors Completion Rates

UT Austin Announces Significant Increase in Financial Aid

Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Honors College is Full-on Honors

The Ten Qualities of a ‘Liberally’ Educated Person

Changes in Dept Rankings, 2014–2018

Will Florida Become the New Mecca for National Merit Scholars?

University of South Florida (USF) Honors College: Brand New Housing, Excellent Merit Awards

U.S. News National University Rankings, 2008–2015

U.S. News Rankings for 57 Leading Universities, 1983–2007

Updated: Academic Dept Rankings, PLUS Reputation Rankings, PLUS U.S. News Overall Rankings, all in One Post

Will Honors Colleges Become the Last, Best Hope for Humanities and ‘Civic Education’?

Schwarzman Scholars: A Masters Program to Understand China and the ‘Geopolitical Landscape’

Mississippi State Shackouls Honors College: A Major Presence in the Southeast

Best Undergrad Business Programs, by Specialty, Public and Private

Best Undergrad Engineering Programs, by Specialty, Public and Private

Kiplinger Best College Value Publics 2018

The SAT “Confirming” Test for National Merit Semifinalists: What Is It?

PSAT Scores and National Merit Eligibility

Rhodes Scholars 2010: More Breadth, Less Ivy Dominance

Should Honors Colleges Charge Extra? If So, How Much?

The National Merit Journey: What You Need to Know, Part One

The National Merit Journey Part Two: The Parent’s Role

PSAT Qualifying Scores for Class of 2018, by State, Compared to 2017 Scores

UPDATE: Support for National Merit Scholars Shifting to South and West

Best Universities for National Merit Scholar Funding, Updated!

Best Major Universities for National Merit Scholarship Funding–Part Two

Here Are the Public Universities That Award the Most Non-need-based Aid

How Much Should Public Universities Spend on Merit Aid?

Honors Plus Merit Aid: Alabama Honors College

Honors Plus Strong Merit Aid: ASU Barrett Honors College

Honors Plus Merit Aid: Ohio State Honors

Stamps Scholarships Are Only for Certain Colleges, and They Are Not Need-Based

The Curious Case of U.S. News and the High School Counselor Metric

U.S. News Rankings, Minus the Financial Padding Metrics

This is the Best Analysis of U.S. News Rankings Ever Written (with a political slant, but the analysis of ranking factors is excellent).

Based on Academic Reputation Alone, Publics Would Be Higher in U.S. News Rankings

The Academic Reputation Ranking in U.S. News: What It Means for Honors Students

U.S. News Rankings at Odds with Quality of Academic Departments

New U.S. College Rankings: Wall St Journal Partners with Times Highered

U.S. News Publication: Honors Programs Are Good for “Families Too Rich for Financial Aid”

 Fall Application Deadlines for 80 Public University Honors Colleges and Programs

Georgetown Prof on Finding Best Teaching, Mentoring: Consider an Honors College (with a nod to INSIDE HONORS)

Top Honors Programs

Top Honors Programs, Honors Components Only

Ah, the Choices: Private Elite, Liberal Arts, Public Honors–One Family’s Story

Inside Honors: Class Sizes, Classes by Discipline, Sections Per Student

How Many of Those Honors Classes Are Restricted to Honors Students Only?

Does Participation in an Honors Programs Lower GPAs?

Accepted to All Ivies and Stanford–Chooses Alabama Honors

Here’s a List of Business Honors Programs

Honors Colleges, Honors Programs: Differences Revisited

Honors Education: An Antidote to the “Neo-liberal,” Vocational Trends in Higher Ed

The Issue of “Elitism” in Honors Colleges and Programs

The New Yorker on the Real Value of a College Education

Estimated Class Sizes for More than 90 National Universities

Q and A with Inaugural Dean of Lewis Honors College at U of Kentucky

This Site Claims That Elite Colleges Are “Desperate” for History Majors, a New “Preferred” Group? (Click on video at site.) For another view please check out this piece:

“Can Applying Under a Certain Major Affect Your Chances of Admissions?”

Are the Negative Republican Views of College Temporary?

Here is the best source of admission stats you can find for Fall 2016, at Higher Ed Data Stories.

Top 25 Universities for Silicon Valley Hires: 17 Are Public

Money Best Values 2017: CUNY Baruch, Michigan, UC’s, UVA Lead Publics

Goldwater Scholars 2017: Alabama, Iowa State Lead Publics but Regional Publics Do Well

Southeast, West Coast: Top Public Values in Kiplinger 2017 Report

UC Berkeley, UT Austin Lead Publics in 2017 NSF Graduate Research Grants

Is It True that 80% of Elite Students Are Accepted by Elite Colleges?

Here’s The Business Journals’ Top 100 Public Colleges–and our Analysis

‘Reformers’ Cite Productivity as the Reason for Higher Ed Cuts: Here’s What They Don’t Understand

Rhodes Scholars 2017: Ivies Down a Bit, UVA Has Two

Gates Cambridge Scholars 2016: 13 Are from Public Universities

Florida, Maryland, Washington Will Soon Use Only the New Coalition App

Never Mistake an Elite [Honors] Education for Elitism

Most UT Austin Forty Acres Scholars Major in Plan II or Business Honors

Virginia Tech Will Move from Honors Program to New Honors College

UT System Chancellor Opposes Top 10 Percent Admission Rule

Iowa Student, with Honors Mentoring, Wins Rhodes, Truman, Boren, and Udall Awards

UGA Honors Student: Honors Mentoring, Research Lead to 2016 Marshall Scholarship

Rhodes Scholars 2016: Mostly Ivy, Plus Iowa, MSU, Ohio St, UVA, Wisconsin, Y oungstown St

Alternative U.S. News Rankings 2016

Do Elite Colleges Really Offer Better Courses? Probably Yes, in Some Ways

See the 75 Programs We Are Tracking Now!

We Vote for the U.S. News Global Rankings vs the Times Higher Ed World Rankings

Kentucky to Open New Lewis Honors College with Gift of $23 Million

International Higher Ed Expert: “Un-Excellence Initiatives” Aimed at Public Universities Harm U.S. Standing in the World

Best Colleges for Pell Grant Support and High Grad Rates for Recipients

UT Austin Business Honors Program: A Great Launching Pad

The UC Universities and U.S. News

Paysale 2015-2016: Early Career Salaries, by University, Grad and Professional Degrees

Thoughts on NY Times Letters about Honors Colleges

Texas A&M BBA Honors Program: Selective and Rigorous

Is Class Rank a “Disappearing Metric” for College Admissions?

Honors and Career Success

The Top Ten Percent Rule in Texas: Highly Questionable Results

Here Are 23 Reasons for College Choice–and a Note on Honors Options

Once Again, The New Republic Weighs in on the Ivies, and Here’s our Response

Note to Parents: Changes in Major, Uncertainty about Careers Are Common

Gallup and Purdue Study: Well-Being for Grads Requires More than Income

Honors Programs with Lots of Honors Courses–and Small Classes

Honors College, Honors Program: What’s the Difference

Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League–from The New Republic

“Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League”–Our Response

NEW!  Our second edition is now available in digital and hard-copy versions.  Please go to Yes, We Have a Book if you’re interested.  If not, you have more than 400 posts to choose from on this site–and we appreciate your interest.


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