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The Key Benefits of the Honors Program


ALEXIS NGUYEN

Honors Program Student Council President


Alexis Nguyen lives the Hannah Montana dream, rocking "The Best of Both Worlds" as an aspiring physician majoring in Art History. When she became a Laguna Beach Junior Lifeguard as a little girl, she quickly discovered her love for serving others. At 17-years-old, Alexis is a sophomore at IVC, holding 8 leadership positions including President of the Honors Program Student Council and ASIVC VP of External Affairs. She also serves as a Delegate at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges and has taken her passion for leadership worldwide as the Co-Founder and CEO of The International Society of Pre-Health Researchers. In her free time, you can catch Alexis swimming in the depths of the ocean, playing piano, or spending hours lost in the grandeur of museums, her "Happiest Place on Earth.”


Alexis is interviewed by Yuki Kitamura, the Director of Chapter Projects of College Leap at IVC. Yuki is an experienced blog writer and regularly compiles volunteering opportunities for IVC students. To learn about these initiatives and more, head to our chapter’s website: https://www.collegeleap.cc/ivc.


Y: Before we dive into the benefits of the Honors Program, I think it’s important to go over the requirements a student must meet to join the program in the first place. Could you give us an overview of the GPA and application prerequisites to join the IVC Honors Program?


A: If you’d like to join the Honors Program with your high school stats, a GPA of 3.25+ or a test score (SAT: 1260+, ACT: 28+) is required. You can also apply as an IVC student with a GPA of 3.25+ in at least 12 units of college coursework! Beyond these academic thresholds, you will need to submit a portfolio and a personal essay, explaining why you believe you’d find the program valuable. If anyone is interested in joining, here is a complete overview:


Y: Awesome! I’m sure many students will find this information helpful. Now that we’ve unpacked the “basics” of what’s needed to participate in the program, can you tell us why YOU personally decided to join the Honors Program? In other words, what were some of the program benefits that ultimately sold you?


A: I was absolutely blown away by how the Honors Program offers 46 courses in class sizes of only 15-20 students! Combined with this unbeatable student-to-faculty and student-to-student ratio, the enriched preparation for upper-division coursework sealed the deal for me. Not only would these small-seminar-style classes offer me the opportunities to collaborate with like-minded individuals, but they would also allow me to foster meaningful relationships with innovative professors. I didn’t know a lot of people when I began taking classes at IVC, so I was incredibly eager to meet other highly motivated students in such an engaging environment!


Y: Wow, those smaller class sizes are an amazing benefit! Considering the fact that most universities have lecture sizes of 200+ students, it sounds like the Honors Program truly allows more in-depth instruction and enhanced interaction with professors! Beyond these on-campus benefits, how has the Honors Program helped you with the transfer process and application?


A: When I first became an IVC student, I struggled with knowing which classes to take and when I should take them. I am genuinely grateful for how kind the Honors Program director, administrative assistant, and counselors are - they make the transfer process so much easier! From helping me plan out my coursework each semester to even reviewing my transfer applications, they guided and supported me in every which way. Without them, I wouldn’t have known the ins and outs of the Honors Program’s transfer benefits as well. IVC’s transfer rate is the best in California. I was ecstatic to learn about the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) and Transfer Alliance Program (TAP) - two programs that offer guaranteed priority admission review at top universities such as UCI and UCLA.


Y: Sounds like the Honors Program sports a very supportive environment for students. One aspect that many community college students struggle with is finding a group of like-minded people who share their goals. Does the Honors Program help students with building a social network?


A: Definitely! Everyone’s ambition and drive in the Honors Program are extraordinarily inspiring and the community is one that I LOVE being a part of. The life-long friendships I formed have made my IVC experience so much more enjoyable. In fact, I am still extremely close with fellow classmates to this day! Pre-COVID, the Honors Program offered field trips, social and cultural activities, complimentary UCI and UCLA library cards. Also, the Honors study lounge was always a very popular hang-out spot bustling with activity! Since transitioning to the virtual environment, they created an IVC Honors Lounge Discord server where they continue to share IVC opportunities and bond with inspiring peers. There are so many more Honors Program advantages including scholarships, official recognition of completion (transcript notation and the graduation honors medallion), and priority registration. The Honors Program benefits are undeniably amazing on all levels, both academic and social!


Y: We’ve covered the key benefits the Honors Program provides to all of its students. However, I often hear the term “HPSC” or the Honors Program Student Council. Could you clarify what HPSC is? How does it add value to a student’s college experience?


A: That’s a great question! The Honors Program Student Council (HPSC) is one big happy family! We are a team of student leaders who organize events and create initiatives to strengthen the sense of community among Honors Program students as well as expand the scope of opportunities available to them. As HPSC President, I lead the Events, Newsletter, Peer Mentor, and Research Opportunities teams. Each month, the HPSC Newsletter team publishes fascinating issues with Honors Program information and articles about unique topics the writers are passionate about! HPSC also has the Events team that hosts exciting holiday competitions, movie parties, game nights, and more! If you are interested in getting feedback for research projects or learning how to optimize your undergraduate research journey, the Research Opportunities team holds workshops and office hours all year long! Here’s another cool fact: honors student researchers can earn scholarship money, awards, and get published. And finally, we have the Peer Mentor team. These students are pure bundles of joy - they have your best interest at heart and you can always count on them to be by your side! Many mentees tell me they are immensely thankful for their mentors who made them feel like a true part of our community, gave them advice for a more seamless college experience, and showed them ways to get involved at IVC! The HPSC family is dedicated to making the Honors Program experience more fun and memorable for all! If you are already in the program, please email our director Emily Liu to see how you can get involved with HPSC.


Y: Thank you for that overview of what HPSC is and how it creates added benefits for students. It must be an awesome way for students to give back to the program and gain leadership experience! Just to sum it up, why do you recommend the Honors Program for students to join?


A: I really can’t recommend it enough - it’s a 10/10 experience! The scholarship, research, and leadership opportunities I’ve gained from the Honors Program have made my IVC journey so memorable! It has truly prepared me for transferring and succeeding in the next stage of my academic career.

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