Honors program at Crafton Hills College great option for students

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As the cost of a university education continues to climb, Crafton Hills College offers another route for students who want to attend a prestigious university. Crafton provides an affordable alternative for the first two years of a student’s college education and leads them towards their goal of earning a four-year degree. Participation in Crafton’s Honors Institute not only prepares students for transfer but greatly enhances their chances of being accepted by the nation’s top-ranked universities.

The College Honors Institute at Crafton provides support to highly motivated students who have demonstrated academic achievement by creating programs that challenge and deepen students’ scholarship, creativity, and commitment to higher education. Program benefits include helping students develop research skills, providing opportunities to participate in research conferences and offering priority consideration for admission to a transferring university.

“Our students have direct access to me, our Honors counselor Debbie Bogh, and other Honors students,” explains Honors Coordinator Judy Cannon. “Recently, we held our opening social via Zoom, where we had breakout rooms that allowed students to talk to each other. It’s a real community within a community.”

To be considered for admission into the Honors Institute, students must meet certain criteria, like a 3.25 GPA and a base of transferable credits depending on if they are continuing students. Applications are accepted year-round, and once a student is accepted, the benefits – like open communication with its other members – are tremendous.

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The program has grown by over 50 percent during the last few years, with 124 students being enrolled in the program last spring. Thirty-nine students completed the Honors program requirements and graduated in May 2020, with 38 transferring to four-year institutions, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, University of Redlands, Cal Poly Pomona, and CSU San Bernardino among others.

Students who transferred have been replaced with new students over the summer, and more students are expected to join during the fall and spring semesters as the program continues to expand.

Anthony Abate, a 29-year-old Crafton alumnus from Beaumont, heard about the program through a flyer he saw on campus. Abate said when he started at Crafton, he came onboard with a 10th grade education and the mindset that he couldn’t succeed. That negative thinking didn’t last long, he said.

“When I began to succeed at Crafton, I was inspired to see what my full potential was, which led to joining the Honors program,” he explained. “The program taught me to take a chance on every opportunity and to expand my knowledge and capabilities. It also taught me that with hard work, dedication and a support system, I can rise to any occasion.”

Abate was selected as the graduation speaker and won the President’s Award Scholarship in 2019. He is now finishing his bachelor’s program at CSU San Marcos and continues to volunteer at Crafton as a member of the Foundation Board.

Sharing success stories like Abate’s with others is what drives Cannon’s work. She also likes to highlight the purpose of the Honors program and why joining is a good idea.

“If a student wants to go to a prestigious university – or any university, for that matter – the Honors program is a great place to start. Students can come to Crafton for two years, get a solid educational foundation in Honors and transfer to the university of their choice as a junior, all for a fraction of the cost of spending those first two years at a university,” Cannon explained. “Also, being in a community of like-minded students gives them a sense of purpose and a support group.”

To learn more about the program or for an application, visit www.craftonhills.edu/honors

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