Last fall, Castleton University introduced its Distinguished Scholars' Certificate Program to provide high-achieving students with additional opportunities for a more demanding academic experience.
Previously, participation in the University’s Honors Program was limited to students who received the Honors Scholarship when they were admitted to Castleton. The Distinguished Scholars' Certificate Program allows all students who attain a 3.5 GPA the opportunity to participate in honors courses and to receive additional benefits such as residing in honors housing, membership on the student-run Honors Council, and the opportunity to apply for additional scholarships. Students must be nominated for the Distinguished Scholars' Certificate Program by a faculty member. Once accepted, they are required to complete four honors-level courses and maintain a 3.5 GPA. Successful completion of the program is indicated on students’ transcripts.
Alex Jensen, a Political Science major from Enfield, Connecticut, is one of 29 Castleton students who have taken advantage of the Distinguished Scholars' Certificate Program in its first year. He is the student representative for the honors and Distinguished Scholars' Certificate steering committee.
“The Distinguished Scholars Program is a new program, so I was fortunate enough to see this come together rather quickly. I am proud to have been one of the first students to sign up for the program,” he said.
Jensen also serves as co-leader of the Castleton Honors Council.
“Honors Council is made up of students in both the Honors Scholarship Program and Distinguished Scholars Certificate students,” he said. “I was interested in participating in Honors Council initially because I wanted to work with a group of like-minded individuals. Students of the honors programs definitely have a different sort of drive that makes collaboration really interesting, considering that people come from different disciplines.”
Dr. Michael Talbott, Media and Communication Department chair, believes that participation in the program will help students to distinguish themselves as one of Castleton’s highest-achieving graduates, giving them a leg up when it comes time for them to navigate the competitive job market.
“I think the program really highlights the significant number of academically inclined students we have here at Castleton, especially those who may not have distinguished themselves in high school but really came into their own in the university classroom,” Talbott said.