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Honors Students vs. Professional Excellence



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Honors Students vs. Professional Excellence

Students who achieve high grades in academics are always believed to be successful in their professional lives immediately after school by many people. However, there is a great distinction between academic success and career success because career achievement solely depends on an individual’s talent and the three ring model which include intelligence, creativity and motivation. People may only succeed in things they have close interest to regardless of their academic success. There are things that distinguish the honors and non-honors students and this is only academic achievements since other features such as desire to learn, zeal to excel and cr4eativity cuts across all the individuals. It is imperative to analyze major differences between the honor students and non-honor students as this critique article tends to tackle such kind of issues.

Intended audience

This article is intended for college and university administrations or heads of various departments who strongly believe that academic success are directly proportional to professional success. There are educational institutions that have programs of boosting and equipping their students in readiness to professional achievement. This article is therefore very important to those kinds of colleges and universities committed in such kind of process. It is a common program in many institutions and therefore this research will be very helpful in providing the truth regarding the relationship between academic success and professional achievement. The programs are therefore meant for academically able students who are doing honors programs and are believed to be successful in future.



Scager et al (2011) carried out a research to assess the honors and non-honors students on the basis of intelligence, openness to experience, drive to excel, persistence, creative thinking as well as desire to learn. It tries to prove the fact that honors students whose performance are high and are highly motivated are likely to professionally excel in future. This research investigates the reality between honors students and non-honors students in respect to the six qualities more so the quality that is regarded vital in differentiating the two types of students. This research also investigates the amplitudes and behavior that are essential in making inspired input in various careers. The research also gives details concerning some of the predictors of excellence as far as professional success is concerned.

Method and Participants

Participants in this study included 1, 122 students where 467 honors students and 655 non-honors students from Utrecht University. Utrecht University has almost 21 honors programs and four honors colleges have come up in the last 15 years. Most of the participants are undergraduate students where 41% are first year, 37% second year and 22% year students of different programs. Some of the programs are Law, Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Liberal Arts and Humanities which had well recognized honors programs with a good number of enrollments (Scager et al., 2012).

Humanities honors program had not taken long time and by then it only had 21 students but was included as a way of broadening the sample. The student samples were chosen by the program coordinators through selection of single or many classes in the various bachelor years to handle questionnaires. Student attendance was almost complete in the chosen classes since the classes were very significant for them. There are several honors programs at undergraduate levels which can be compared with the United States’ honors programs. The other important program is enrichment program for selected group of students which included specially designed honors courses that add to regular study programs and the humanities program is part of this (Scager et al., 2012).

c. Results

Creativity was found to be one of the factors that play significant role in achieving professional life. The desire to learn and intelligence correlated on 0.30 scale and this was considered uncertain and lacked a single pair of factors leaving other correlations at lower scale.

Both honors and non-honors groups scored high in the desire to learn quality by achieving mean score of 5.8 and 5.2 respectively while the drive to excel quality was lowest in both. These two qualities show greater variance between the two groups. Persistence did not show substantial change amongst other variables that were taken into consideration. Drive to excel and creativity are best variables that can be used in differentiating the two different groups of students.

d. Conclusions

Conclusion was that honors students are absolutely different from non-honors students based on all variables except persistence. The degree of impact varied in different disciplines but was very little for the group as a whole. However, intelligence and persistence proved not to differentiate honors and non-honors students very much. The average students tend to overestimate their abilities unlike gifted students who work extra hard to accurately succeed in even difficult issues.

Author’s position

Creativity does not influence student abilities as much as professionalism is concerned. May be other variables could have varied greatly amongst the honors and non –honors students. The authors expected. Gifted students are likely to do well in their careers because they use their abilities to achieve great things. Honors students have upper hand when it comes to success in their profession compared to non-honors students who do not possess much abilities (Scager et al., 2012).

Strength and Limitations of the results

The questionnaires were evenly distributed amongst the various disciplines that practiced the honors programs. The university was one of the institutions that were offering the honors programs thus making it the best institution to carry out the investigation. The number of students who were investigated was reasonable especially considering that at least each discipline was represented. The methods that were used in analyzing and doing the research were really satisfactory. This research has several limitations such as the use of students from one particular university making generalization of the research difficult. This report is self-reported because it involves self-report questionnaires that can interfere with the validity of the investigation. The respondents are likely to respond in a socially acceptable way hence interfering with the results (Scager et al., 2012).


The article is very interesting as it addresses some of the issues that affect several students and children in almost every institution. Indeed gifted students tend to achieve higher goals in their professions. There are abilities within the honors students that are not with non-honors students. The fact that intelligence cannot be related much with the students is not satisfactory. This is because intelligence acts as the distinguishing factor between the honors and non-honors students (Scager et al., 2012).

Implementations and Future Research

Findings of this research can further be used to select honors students and also appropriate method of differentiating honors and non-honors students. There may be a great need of choosing the most effective ways of conducting this kind of research such as the elements. Honors students have sufficient traits that help them improve their professional life. This investigation concentrated on the intellectual capacity of the students leaving out the environment that contributes to their success (Scager et al., 2012).


There is close relationship between academic success and professional achievements. Honors students are very able academically compared to non-honor students making them more likely to succeed in their profession. However, the degree of success depends largely also on various disciplines that the students undertake. Honors students possess some abilities that enable them solve even some of the most difficult issues compared to non-honors students that may not be able to excel in challenging careers.


Scager et al (2012). Do honors students have more potential for excellence in their professional lives? Higher Education, 64(1), 19-39. doi:

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