Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I want to be part of FHP?
What academic advantages does the ISU Honors program provide?
What’s the difference between an Honors section of a course & a regular section?
Are the classes harder in Honors?
What percentage of my classes would be Honors per semester, and overall?
What are the requirements to graduate with Honors?
What is the Mentor Program?
What is the application process, and how do I apply?
I’m not sure if I’m eligible, but I really want to be a member. What can I do?
Do ISU scholarships apply to Honors students?
What are the differences between Honors housing and regular housing?
Do I have to live in Honors Housing?
Which floors in which residence halls are the Honors houses and clusters?


Why should I want to be part of FHP?
FHP is a great introduction to the Honors Program and ISU, and is focused on helping you have a good academic and social transition to Iowa State.

During the fall semester, FHP students enroll in English 250H (or another Honors course or seminar if they have already earned credit for English 250), Library 160, and Honors 121, the First-Year Honors Seminar. Students also have the option to enroll in Honors sections of introductory classes.

In the spring semester, FHP members may choose to participate in the First-Year Mentor Program, which matches students and faculty on research projects. In this unique and highly-regarded program, first-year students earn academic credit while working with faculty mentors on research. Amidst all of that, FHP students can live in Honors housing, enroll in Honors courses and seminars, participate in leadership and service opportunities, and attend Honors events (everything from Honors Salons to trivia competitions to glow-in-the-dark ultimate Frisbee to ice cream socials). FHP is a great way of making the university smaller during students’ first year of college, and is a great springboard to other opportunities at Iowa State.

What academic advantages does the ISU Honors program provide?
A few of the advantages are better staff/faculty; smaller class sizes; and priority registration. The First-Year Mentor Program and senior Honors Project give students opportunities to do research that most undergrads don’t have. Honors courses offer more hands-on learning and discussion than found in regular course sections, and Honors seminars allow students to explore topics outside the regular curriculum.

What’s the difference between an Honors section of a course & a regular section?
Honors sections are no more difficult than regular sections. The basic differences between Honors sections and regular sections are the class size and the instructional approach. Honors sections are usually limited to 30 students, while regular sections of some classes may have as many as 400 students. This smaller class size allows more interaction among students and instructor, provides more flexibility in the instruction, and gives students the opportunity to pursue special topics and independent study. Most students find Honors sections to be interesting, interactive, and enjoyable.

Are the classes harder in Honors?
It depends on the course and the instructor; classes tend to be more in-depth and more challenging. Honors courses are typically smaller, which means more discussion – you’re not going to be able to hide in the back row of a lecture hall in an Honors course. Although there may be more work, there is also easier access to instructors because of the smaller class size. Also, because the material is more in-depth, the instructor’s presentation may be more interesting and engaging than a regular class. Your classmates will be Honors students who want to do well, so it is easier to get help from classmates by forming study groups.

What percentage of my classes would be Honors per semester, and overall?
In your first semester as a first-year student, the only required Honors classes are English 250H, Library 160, and Honors 121. After the first semester, Honors class requirements depend on each college. As an Honors student, you can take as many Honors classes as you like, and can convert regular courses into Honors courses.

What are the requirements to graduate with Honors?
Honors graduation requirements will depend on your college, e.g. Liberal Arts and Sciences has different requirements than Engineering; links to the Honors requirements for each college can be found here. In addition, all honors students must complete an Honors Project prior to graduation.

What is the First-Year Mentor Program?
As a member of the First-Year Honors Program, you may choose to participate in the First-Year Mentor Program during your spring semester. The Mentor Program introduces you to research and the research process by matching you with a faculty member doing research in an area of interest to you. You’ll spend three to six hours a week on the research project and receive one or two credits of Honors independent study. As a result of this introduction to research, some students have continued to work with the professor's research project and have become a regular part of the research team. The University Honors Program believes this program has the potential to benefit both Iowa State faculty and students by helping first-year Honors students become involved in the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship beyond the typical classroom experience. Details about the program can be found here.

What is the application process, and how do I apply?
Once a student has applied and been accepted to ISU, the Honors Program will invite students who meet the requirements to apply online. Application details can be found here. You may also email the Honors Program at honors@iastate.edu to request an application. Acceptance into Honors is on a rolling basis; the deadline to apply for the First-Year Honors Program is April 1.

I’m not sure if I’m eligible, but I really want to be a member. What can I do?
Please call the Honors Program office at (515) 294-4371 to request an application. Applications will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine acceptance into Honors.

Do ISU scholarships apply to Honors students?
As an Honors student, you may apply for any University scholarships for which you are eligible.

What are the differences between Honors housing and regular housing?
Honors housing includes Honors Houses, which are residence hall floors populated solely by Honors students, and Honors clusters, which include both Honors students and regular students on a floor. In Honors clusters, one-half of the floor tends to be Honors students. Honors housing tends to be a microcosm of Honors itself: you have academic, social, and leadership components in your residential experience. You’re living with students in similar classes (if you’re in FHP, you’re all taking Honors 121, Library 160, and English 250H), so you have people to study with. Socially, the Honors houses and clusters do EVERYTHING together, and compete with each other. Each floor has its own traditions, and tends to eat together at lunch and dinner. You’ll also have more upper division students on Honors floors, because they had a good time during their first year and are back again for another year.

Do I have to live in Honors Housing?
Honors housing is optional although we recommend it as an enhancement for your Honors experience. Barton-Anders, Lyon-Harwood, and Martin-Starbuck houses, as well as the Honors clusters (Friley-LorchRussell and Larch-Cessna), are excellent places to live and you’ll be with other Honors students. You will receive Honors housing information after acceptance into the Honors Program.

Which floors in which residence halls are the Honors houses and clusters?
Honors Houses:
Barton Hall (Anders), Lyon Hall (Harwood), Martin Hall (Starbuck)

Honors Clusters:
Friley Hall (Lorch-Russell), Larch Hall (Cessna)