Dear Honors: Pro-tips for New Honors Students

We’ve been getting a lot of similar questions on 4th Floor BHC lately, so we decided the best way to help was to begin a new blog series to address every question for the masses. Special thanks goes to Honors Peer Advisor, Marina Gibbs, for her dedication to mass advising.

Dear Honors, I just joined the program, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. Help!

New & Confused Honors Student


Dear New & Confused:

You’re an honors student now. I would give you a high five and throw some celebratory confetti in the air but 1) this is virtual and virtual high fives aren’t as cool, and 2) everyone pretends that they like confetti, but who really likes all these little pieces of paper that you have to clean up, anyway? So instead of a giving you a virtual high five or watching you smile that fake ‘oh yeah I really like this’ smile while I throw confetti around, I’m just going to say: way to go, man and put this GIF here:


Joining Honors at Iowa might be the best decision you make during your entire undergraduate career. I mean that. Nobody in the Blank Honors Center told me to say that, I promise. I’m an honors student too, and I can say that becoming one was hands down the best decision I have made–Boom. *drops mic*

Let’s get to the real talk now. You’re an honors student… now what?

You’ve accepted your invitation to join Honors in your MyUI account (if you haven’t done this yet do it now), and that’s the first step. Step number two is to become oriented with the program. You do this by attending what we call “Welcome to Honors” sessions. You only need to attend one session and they usually last 45 minutes. During the session we will tell you all the things.

At Welcome to Honors, you’ll be encouraged to interact with your peers, and there is usually an ice breaker. So from friend to friend, show up ready to be an interactive human being. Otherwise it will be a very long, painful 45 minutes. Another thing from friend to friend: sometimes these sessions are called ‘orientation’ sessions. We try to use the same terminology about these things but we’re not perfect, even in Honors. So if you hear someone say orientation, don’t stress, it’s the same thing. Okay great! To tie that up nicely with a neat little bow: You need to first accept the invitation to join Honors in MyUI and then attend a Welcome to Honors aka orientation session.

What you’ll do next is register for an honors class if you’re not already in one. Now, if you’re like, “Seriously Marina? What the heck. There are zero openings.” Or, “It’s already way past registration…”—calm down. You can wait until your second semester in the program. Just keep in mind that you need to complete your 12 s.h. of honors coursework in four semesters. So, if you can take an honors class this semester, great! If not no biggie, we’ll figure it out.


Now that you’ve got the coursework requirement in the back of your mind, let’s talk about the next thing you’ll do: meet with one of the Honors Peer Advisors. You can meet with anyone—it’s your choice! But, you need to pick somebody. We all have different majors and experiences, so bear that in mind as you choose. Then:

  1. Go to ICON
  2. Click on the ‘Calendar’ tab
  3. Scroll down and select the box titled ‘University Honors Coursework’
  4. Click on the ‘Scheduler’ tab
  5. Magically, you’ll see all the names of the people I just told you about!
  6. Click on your person, select a time that works for you, and boom! Done. You just scheduled your appointment.

What is the next step, you ask? Go to your appointment. It’s only twenty minutes. You can do it! And then, guess what… you just checked another thing off your list. The best part? During your peer advising appointment, you and your peer advisor will plan out how you’ll complete your honors requirements. You really won’t need my advice anymore (sad, I know) because you won’t wonder what to do anymore! You’ll have a plan, a new friend in the Honors Program, and maybe even some candy because–from one friend to another–we sometimes have candy in our office.


The last thing you should do, and this is perhaps the most important thing, is make your honors education and experience unique to you. We’re just here to help. You’re the one who makes it the most beneficial experience for your personal goals and aspirations.

How do you feel now? A little more at ease? A little less stressed? I sure hope so. If not, go pet a puppy or something. ‘Til next time, friends.

Your friend and peer advisor,


By: Marina Gibbs

Majors: Human Physiology & Chemistry

Hometown: Chandler, AZ

Edited By: Katie Kiesewetter, Blog Manager

Do you have a question about the honors program that you want answered? We want to hear from you! Email your questions to with “Dear Honors” in the subject line. Questions can remain anonymous if you’d like.


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