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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, The HoScho Program

June 27, 2014

DePauw’s Honor Scholar program is liberal arts on steroids. With DePauw’s College of Liberal Arts, a student gets exposure to a variety of disciplines by taking classes in each of our three distributional areas—students are required to take at least two classes in math/science, arts/humanities, and social sciences. However, the Honor Scholar program takes this smattering of disciplines even further by designing courses where students draw upon knowledge from a number of academic departments for a single course in a given semester. Hoschos (students in the Honor Scholar program) sign up to take one course in each of the distributional areas listed above that they must complete between their sophomore year and graduation. This is in addition to the two seminars they take freshmen year, one during each semester, and the first of which is in lieu of the first-year seminar all incoming students are required to complete.

As for the program itself, Hoscho classes can be a good bit more challenging than a typical elective course, though this is not to say that students should shy away from the program. Instead, it’s a chance to step out outside of your comfort zone and take classes you would never otherwise have the opportunity to. An example would be the Law & Economics class taught by Professor Humberto Barreto, which I took this past year. This course was different in that it didn’t just stick to economics, but rather also introduced elements of psychology, pre-law, and political science to the economics base. That is the core essence of the program: students drawing upon a variety of disciplines for a singular course, rather than the typical liberal-arts approach which is to get this same exposure but by taking a number of courses. Because of this broad-based approach, students are equipped to handle any of these classes, even if they feel as though the course material is going to be outside their area of “expertise.”

The aspect of the Honor Scholar program that I’m most looking forward to is this coming year, my senior year. Students in the program research and write a paper that typically falls right around 80 pages from what I’ve been led to believe. That sounded incredibly daunting and all the more reason to leave the program during my earlier years here at DePauw, but now I’m looking at it as the chance to become fully immersed in a topic of my choosing. It’s the chance to really truly understand an issue inside and out, instead of just doing enough research to be able to write a paper or pass a test—this, instead, is working to become an expert. Beyond that, Hoschos also get the chance to have the greatest student-teacher ratio of all-time. Next year, I’ll get to work with three to five professors to help me complete this giant undertaking and to challenge me to do my best work.

Nick Hebebrand '15