Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The YU Honors Program

The Yeshiva University Honors Program differs based on campus. At Stern, we have one set of requirements; at the Wilf Campus, they have another. I would like to discuss the nature of the Stern Honors Program requirements and supposed benefits.

All students who sign on to the Stern Honors Program are informed that they are making a commitment to do three things.

    1. To take seven Honors courses over the span of time you are here (it makes no difference if you are a freshman or an Israel returnee)

    2. To attend five-six Honors events during each semester you are here (these range from speeches to operas)

    3. To write a senior thesis
Anyone who joins the program without having been informed of these commitments has joined under false pretenses, as far as I am concerned, and if she chooses to drop the program, that is entirely legitimate.

I do not think it is legitimate, however, to have joined the program with full knowledge of its requirements and to do one of the following two things:

    1. Decide in your last year (that is, once you are a senior) that you don't feel like writing a senior thesis because it's too much work- and therefore drop the program

    2. Have no intention of ever finishing the program, but stay in it for the benefits and opportunities it offers you
Of those two, it is the latter that most disturbs me.

While I do not approve of the idea that someone should have the ability to drop the program once the going gets tough, I absolutely hate the idea of someone knowing from the beginning that they have no intention of completing it, and remaining in it because they have decided to act as an opportunist. I think that is reprehensible, misleading and wrong.

It is especially wrong in terms of the Stern program due to the opportunities offered. They will pay for our $65 opera tickets. They will pay our admission to the Guggenheim, pay so we can see the American Ballet Theater production; in other words, because we are part of the Honors program, we receive these special monetary opportunities.

How can someone take a $65 opera ticket (paid for by the Honors Program) in good faith when she has absolutely no intention of finishing the program? That is truly unethical! You claim to have made a commitment; you claim to be participating in this program, but you aren't really. You're not committed. You have no intention of finishing, of writing your Honor's Thesis. Instead, you are acting as an opportunist. The only reason you stay in this program is because you are selfish, you want to take advantage of the Honor's courses, you want to take advantage of their shelling out money for you to see shows and operas, you want to take advantage of the special speakers, and you want to do all of this without any form of extra hassle. Oh, you could still take Honors courses if your GPA were high enough...but you'd have to go to that extra work of filling out a form, getting a teacher's signature, and you don't want to do that.

So instead you lie. Because by remaining in that program, you represent yourself as something you're not. You're pretending that you're in this for the long run, but you're not. You know you're going to quit; you're planning on dropping out.

There is a Judaic law that one is not allowed to walk into a shop if one has no plans on purchasing anything there, because it gives the owner false hope. How much the more so in this situation- how dare you pretend that you are going to remain in the Honors Program (thereby allowing YU to boast that yet another student has matriculated from it) when you have no intention of finishing? That is lying. That is lying by omission. Because if they knew that you had no plans of finishing, why would they spend money on you? Why would they give you the $65 opera tickets, why would they allow you to attend the special lectures and events?

It is also my impression that scholarships are linked to the program. Indeed, the very application seems to indicate this:

    Candidates for the Honors Program are automatically considered for highly competitive academic scholarships. Acceptance into the Honors Program and awards of scholarships are determined by the Faculty Honors Committee. Committee members take into account high school average, standardized test scores, content of letters of nomination, extra-curricular activities, leadership potential, and quality of personal interview.
The suggestion behind these words seems to be that Honors Program students are automatically considered for highly academic scholarships over regular students applying who have very good academic records. Therefore, someone who is applying to the Honors Program seems (again, according to this passage) to have a better chance of getting an academic scholarship than someone who is simply applying to the regular program.

If that is true, it is even more reprehensible to apply to the Honors Program without planning on completing it, because you have placed yourself in a position where you are taking the money because you were "automatically considered" due to your application while another applicant may not have received as much money. And that is because they truthfully did not apply to a program they had no intention of completing.

Others tell me I am incorrect in this assumption, and say that the scholarships are not linked to the Honors Program specifically, citing as proof the fact that people who drop out of the program get to keep their money. They may be correct in that there may not be a separate pool for Honors Program students as opposed to regular students. Nevertheless, they are "automatically" considered while other students may not be- due to their Honors Program application.

Schoolmates of mine have informed me that those in charge of the Honors Program "don't make it difficult for you to drop out in senior year" and "if they don't want you to drop out, then they should make a rule against it." I personally find this to be a weak excuse. Commitments ought not to be undertaken lightly. If someone commits to the Honors Program, that person ought to have in mind its completion. If there are extenuating circumstances, if you did not know of the requirements when you embarked upon the program, that is one thing. But if you knew the rules- you knew what was expected to begin with- then how can you possibly complain? You knew what you were getting yourself into when you signed on to this. Yes, the rules do not prevent you from dropping the program, but this is not a question of rules. It is a question of your word.

How much is your word worth? I do not recall having to sign anything when it came to the Honors Program, but I certainly gave my verbal agreement. I was informed of the three commitments I would be making and I assented. Once I have assented, the deal is done, and only extenuating factors beyond my control, as far as I am concerned, ought to change it. If the work is too hard, I will realize that within my first couple of semesters, and as soon as I realize it, I will drop the program. If I do not like the idea of taking seven Honors courses over my time here, after having initially thought I could manage it, then I will drop it. But how can you justify staying in the program until your senior year, and then, only then, deciding that it's too much and you don't want to commit?

And how can you possibly justify misrepresenting yourself and taking advantage by remaining in the program when you have no intention of completing it?

I do not care how easy it is to drop the program. I do not care that their rules may be unfair, that you may not like the idea of having to take seven Honors courses, even if they are areas outside of your area of interest. I do not care that they let you keep the scholarship money. This is not the issue. The issue has nothing to do with them. It has to do with you. It has to do with your honor. It has to do with how much you value your word.

I do not make commitments lightly. I do my best to keep my word. I am not always successful, but I have the intention to try to do what is right. It is a matter of self-respect.

I do not think I have absurdly high standards. I do not think it is strange to believe that a person should not act in an opportunistic fashion, should not benefit from a program when she has no intention of giving back to the university that made it possible, has no intention of completing it.

However, at the moment I seem to be the only one holding this position. Nobody else I have spoken with appears to find anything wrong with taking advantage for three years and dropping the program in the fourth year, or participating in it from the beginning with the full intention of leaving it before one has to do anything strenuous.

So tell me, what is your opinion on the matter?


Anonymous said...

This happens a lot in fully funded PhD programs too. My issue with not dropping out despite a change of research interest was an issue of hakarat hatov (for the scholarship). There are however, people who enter with the intention only to get an MA, or enter the PhD and realize that it is a LOT of work which they are not prepared for-- my take on this is, drop out after you've written a paper or otherwise contributed to the scientific community. Otherwise as far as I'm concerned, one is just defrauding taxpayers of their money. Could you post the source for "not entering the shop unless you intend to buy something"? Thanks =).

By the way, I identified much with your emotions on your post on the cheating problem...it really is a problem that frustrates me too...another rant for another time. I am told however, that it's just as bad elsewhere...I choose not to know, I choose not to know.

Chana said...

I am struggling to remember the exact source and cannot. At least part of this idea is based in Bava Metziah 58b, where it clearly addresses the idea of o'naa. It's derived from the verse:

לא תונו איש את עמיתו
And a man may not oppress (by misleading) his friend.

Here, it very clearly states that one is not allowed to ask an owner "how much" something is if one has no intention of buying it, due to raising false hopes.

A situation illustrating this is discussed here. Suppose that someone wants to know the price to set on his house- he cannot call someone else selling a house similar to his and pose as a potential buyer because "by asking the price, he is raising his friend's hopes...only to be disappointed where he realizes the hopes were raised for nothing."

However, in these situations one is actually speaking- asking "How much does this cost?" for instance, so I still have to find the source for what I stated.

Anonymous said...

In order to maintain the reputation and quality of the Honors Program , it is the responsibility of each individual to understand the definition of unethical behavior and to resist all temptations to behave unethically. This is easier to do in an atmosphere of honesty, where each student is confident that all other students are also behaving ethically. If all HP students fulfill their responsibilities , the culture of honesty that is so important to the success of the HP program @ YU will be maintained.
well done!

Unknown said...

In Lander, we had a similar but different issue. Many of us were offered scholarships to attend Lander College - scholarships ranging from half of the cost of tuition to the full cost [actually about $1,000 less and didn't rise to match, but okay].

Yet, after a short period of time in Lander, all of the students realized that it would be much quicker and simpler to switch from the "Lander core" to the "Touro core" - saving themselves almost a semester. Many students did exactly that, staying in the Lander program - from living in the dorms to attending the shiurim to attending the daytime classes - but never took the Lander core requirements. At the very end (sometimes earlier), they would take the two or three Touro core requirements and end up graduating from Touro, and not Lander.

While for most students, I think this to be a small issue if none at all [Lander blew a lot of this on their own, students did originally intend on getting Lander degrees but changed their minds, etc.], I think that for those students who were getting Lander scholarships, it was wrong.

At a minimum, as Hakaros Hatov, they should have remained and done the Lander core. Moreover, they took large sums of money from Lander and then switched to Touro, meaning that Lander had basically blown scholarship money on students who never graduated from their program officially. While one can argue that at least the first year or two the students took the money in good faith, it is hard to say the same for the time after they had decided to switch to the Touro core.

To be fair, some actually did stop taking the scholarship money, IIRC. Others were almost 'forced' into taking the Touro core due to Lander's poor scheduling, particularly for business majors. But I cannot understand how the others justify taking scholarship money when they do not plan on staying in the school.

Anonymous said...

I concur, Chana.

SJ said...

I would like to respectfully disagree with you on this issue. The facts, as you have presented them, do seem to indicate as you state. However, I do not think that you have accurately depicted the situation at all. I do not know a single person who has done or is doing what you most condemn, namely staying in the Honors program in order to take advantage of the opportunities they offer with the intention of dropping it later. In fact, I would say that the vast majority of Honors program students (including myself)consider the events to be a time-consuming chore that they'd rather didn't exist. No one I have met either this year or last year (and I know the majority of people in the program) has chosen to stay in it with the intention of dropping it at the last minute.

In addition, what you said about the program and academic scholarships is simply incorrect. Yes, there are certain small scholarships which are given out specifically to those who are accepted to the honors program, however, the substantial scholarships awarded are not in this category. The substantial scholarships require an application to the Distinguished Scholars Program. This application is admittedly the same as that of the Honors Program, and if you receive one of those scholarships you are automatically admitted into the honors program. However, applying for such a scholarship is not the same thing as applying to honors, and does not carry with it a commitment to graduate as an honors student. For example: a student who applies for and is given a full scholarship to Stern is automatically admitted into the honors program. If, however, she decides to drop out of it as soon as she arrives in Stern, that is entirely her prerogative. Or, she has the option of remaining in the program, which bears with it the obligation to take 7 honors courses and attend the events each semester. If that student, after two semesters, realizes that most of the events bore her, or she does not like the honors courses offered, she has the choice of dropping the program then, and as a result, she will not graduate with honors. And that is perfectly fair.

Also, you assume that Stern would prefer that a student who does not complete the program not be in it for any time at all. I would like to challenge this assumption as well. Firstly, as you say, doing so allows "YU to boast that yet another student has matriculated from it." I would argue that this is a positive for YU, no? Also, having intelligent and qualified students in the program attending the events enhances the culture of the Honors program, whether the student ultimately completes the program or not.

I do think that it would be dishonest to remain in the program specifically in order to receive its benefits with the intention of dropping out as a senior. But I really don't think anyone does that.

Anonymous said...

sj wrote:
"I do think that it would be dishonest to remain in the program specifically in order to receive its benefits with the intention of dropping out as a senior. But I really don't think anyone does that."

I know 2 students who did that in the past 4 years.

Former HP student @YU.

M.R. said...

Chana--well put. I think I understand your postion better now. I completely agree with the first half of your post (personally, I would go to the boring lectures if the reward is an opera ticket), but I believe you are mistaken about the link between the honors program and the scholarships. Whom could we ask so we can stop disagreeing about this?

Anonymous said...

you may want to contact the coordinator of the Honors Program @ the Office of Admissions.

Anonymous said...

"So tell me, what is your opinion on the matter?"

You really need to gain some perspective. Youre making making a mountain out of a molehill. Yeah, its not the ideal behavior, but your being ridiculously harsh.

Im sure you will find some validation on the comments here, but remember, this is a very self selecting group of people who already have a similar mindset as you.

95% of people would probably disagree with the level of your reaction. This could mean that youre on a higher moral level than virtually everyone, or perhaps youre overreacting, and simply placing far more importance on this than it merits.

Last, you knowingly chose to attend a college which is less academically rigorous and serious than your other choice, in order to be in a frum environment. Now that you’ve made your decision, your complaints ring slightly hollow.

Anonymous said...

"Last, you knowingly chose to attend a college which is less academically rigorous and serious than your other choice, in order to be in a frum environment. Now that you’ve made your decision, your complaints ring slightly hollow."

Anon, your cruelty in attacking Chana in a public forum is ugly. Get a life!

Chana said...


At this very moment I know someone who is in the program and plans to drop it in her senior year. That's what sparked the post. So yes, it does happen.

And I like the events! (At least some of them. But it doesn't matter whether I think they're a chore- I signed on to do this, so I have to keep my word.)

That having been said, I appreciate your arguments and your perspective.

Former HP Student,

Thanks for telling me that you also know people who have done this- it shows that I am not coming out of nowhere.


I'm rather surpised that you agree. As I understand it, when we last spoke, we thought differently on the matter. Perhaps we should take it up later.

Anonymous who claims I am making a mountain out of a molehill,

The question has nothing to do with my moral level. I do not claim to be morally superior to anyone. I do, however, strive to keep my word. My self-respect does not permit me to knowingly deceive others. If you and 95% of people are fine with deceiving others, that's only to be expected. After all, the majority of the world believes in downloading music illegally as well. Just because the majority believes something doesn't make it right.

"Last, you knowingly chose to attend a college which is less academically rigorous and serious than your other choice, in order to be in a frum environment. Now that you’ve made your decision, your complaints ring slightly hollow."

This comment of yours suggests that you did not read the post. I am not complaining about the academics here. I do not think I even mentioned the academics. I am disturbed by people who take advantage of a program they do not mean to complete. You are incorrect in assuming that I am not content here; actually, I have gotten exactly what I wanted- brilliant Judaic studies.

Last anonymous,

Thank you for defending me; it's kind of you.

Unknown said...

I don't think most people would disagree in your second case. The real question is the first one.

Anonymous said...

SJ makes a good point. Most of the people who drop Honors were admitted to the program without specifically applying to it and never needed to make any commitment to the program. If a student has applied specifically to the Honors Program, then maybe your points would bear more weight.

But also, it looks good for Stern to have a large and active Honors Program. I would bet that Stern prefers to have more students in the program who do not complete it rather than having fewer students who all complete it. The program is very well funded. ;-)

This is what I would have told you back two weeks ago when you were discussing the subject in my room--except that I had already said hamapil. (no worries, I fell asleep right afterwards.)

Anonymous said...

Jackie said:
"I would bet that Stern prefers to have more students in the program who do not complete it rather than having fewer students who all complete it. The program is very well funded. ;-)"

That's not the point at all. One is either an ethical person who has derech eretz or not.Period.

Chana said...

SJ and Jackie,

You both made an excellent point- I don't know how the Honors Program views this. Would they prefer more people to take part in the program even if they drop it? This thought never even occurred to me- I see programs and commitments as something that needs to be done, finished, accomplished, etc. You're being more flexible.

I think this is the best point so far. I agree with you guys- if the PURPOSE of the Honors Program is simply to have bright kids involved, regardless of commitment or finishing, then it's fine. I am under the impression, however, that the point of the program is to have people finish it- to matriculate from it.

Anyway, once we ascertain what the purpose of the program is, I'll know whether my objectiosn have any meaning. :D

Maybe they have a mission statement somewhere?

Chana said...

Ah! Here we go.

(I love Commentator archives.)

There was an excellent article in The Commentator titled "Honors Review Highlights Poor Retention Rate.

Now, that article was talking about the Honors Program by the guys (which is much harder than ours. I'm jealous.)

It is clear from the article that the goal is to have as many students as possible remain in the program and complete the program. That is what they really want. They are trying to think of ways to encourage that to happen.

Thus it would appear that yes, they do want people to matriculate from the program. That's the main goal. So much do they want this that they are willing to change current procedures in order to make it possible.

Thus it appears that when one signs on to the program, one should have in mind its completion. You may be right that they'd prefer kids who drop it to nobody at all, but it's obvious that this is not what they've made the program for and definitely not its true goal.

Anonymous said...

"Just because the majority believes something doesn't make it right."

Ah, the last bastion of the highly stubborn. Throwing in a reference to Galileo would have given you bonus points.

Chana said...

Last anonymous,

I never said I wasn't stubborn. :D

That being said, if a legitimate point is raised, I will consider it.

You, on the other hand, (assuming you're the same mountain-molehill fellow) still didn't read the post correctly.

Anonymous said...

I have another important FYI.

I am also in the Honors Program @ YU ,and,unfortunately,wasn't able to maintain my GPA @ the required level....I have been informed that my scholarship is @ stake and that I need to make the grades....So there are written requirements that are attached to being in the HP.

Chana said...

Last anonymous,

I'm sorry that this is the case (and I can completely appreciate it- your program is so much harder), but thanks so much for telling me that.

Ha! Then there is a link between the scholarship and the Honors Program...see, I'm not utterly mad...I'm not, really...

Unknown said...

You may be right that they'd prefer kids who drop it to nobody at all, but it's obvious that this is not what they've made the program for and definitely not its true goal.

Of course not - the true goal is always that they'd prefer people to complete a higher program.

Thus it would appear that yes, they do want people to matriculate from the program. That's the main goal. So much do they want this that they are willing to change current procedures in order to make it possible.

Thus it appears that when one signs on to the program, one should have in mind its completion.

Your second thus does not logically follow from the first.

The question is not whether when one signs in what they should have in mind; it would be dishonest to sign up with no plans of doing what you sign up for. The question IS, however, whether a person is right in leaving if the program doesn't suit their needs or wishes. That the Honors Program is "willing to change current procedures in order to make it possible" shows that the college acknowledges the problems within the program and is looking to improve on the program in order to get people to stay.

The greatest reason cited in the review for low student retention was the program's Senior Honors Thesis. The Senior Honors Thesis is an intense and taxing project which requires two semesters of work with a faculty advisor and hundreds of dedicated hours. Although some of the other issues may be harder to address while maintaining the integrity of the program, the thesis is believed to be a problem YC can tackle appropriately. Honors faculty have become aware of this struggle with the thesis and are addressing the issue. Dr. Lee explained that "some capstone courses [senior thesis courses] attempt to integrate two or more disciplines. Others try to integrate and apply multiple courses within the majors. One possibility is allowing students to build more easily on the foundation of a term paper from an earlier honors course."

Dean Srolovitz added that if we "better prepare students for their capstone experience earlier in the Honors Program, broaden the definition of the Senior Thesis to allow for other, substantive types of projects or make a research- or scholarship-oriented project part of the curriculum from the first year on campus, then more students will be able to complete the program."

I'd be interested in finding out if this was actually done in the end. This obviously isn't the only reason people leave, and those issues would have to be addressed as well, but for any who cite this as a reason, it appears that even the college recognizes the issue.

Finally: Only the Freshman Seminars and Senior Honors Thesis courses are exclusive to JJSHP students. "Every other aspect of the program, from honors electives to summer programs to cultural enrichment, has been open to other YC students," said Dr. Lee. "And the most motivated and best educated YC students help raise the quality of education for everyone."

This implies that both the college and the Honors' program gain from having good students in their classrooms. That would seemingly back the point SJ and Jackie were making earlier.

Chana said...

No one said they don't gain, Ezzie, only that it's not the true goal. Fact remains, people who are NOT in the Honor's Program can take those classes. And if you have no plans of completing the program, I would think that the correct way to go about this would be to drop the program and continue taking the Honors classes outside of it.

Unknown said...

Chana - No no no.

That's a separate issue: It makes sense that being in the Honors Program and having a scholarship would both suffer from not maintaining a certain GPA. But that does not mean that the scholarship is tied to being in the Honors Program - one can still get a scholarship in the regular program. Surely, the standards to keep an academic scholarship in the regular program require maintaining a certain grade level as well.

I'd guess that one can drop the Honors Program and retain their scholarship were they to stay above a certain GPA.

And best of luck to whomever is struggling!

Anonymous said...


I'm interested in the discussion that you brought up today, since as an Honors student at Stern, my Senior Thesis is looming ahead in the (semi) distant future. You write that you think it's understandable for a student to drop the Honors Program when she realizes that it is too challenging for her; I believe that you write that you would imagine that such a realization would probably take place during one's first few semesters on campus, after taking a couple of Honors courses. However, I think that the consensus that's been reached is that the Honors Thesis is the major reason that students choose to drop the program. Until students have been made fully aware of what the thesis entails and/or have begun to work on it and have experienced for themselves what it entails, it is understandable, in my opinion, by the same logic that you employ to understand dropping after taking too challenging Honors classes, to allow students to drop after they can truly judge how demanding the program is, i.e. once they've begun to experience the joys/pains of their thesis. Then again, if you say that if a student makes a commitment, she should follow through on it, I understand. However, I really think that following your logic through would require understanding why people drop after only becoming acquainted with their thesis. I think that changes in policy could be made to ensure that students are made aware of what a senior thesis really involves earlier on, or the project itself could begin earlier on, thus enabling students to decide before their senior year whether being in the Honors Program is something that they can handle.

M.R. said...

Chana, can I e-mail Dr. Wachtell a link to this post? I think it's important for her to see--plus she should be able to clear up a lot of what "they" think/expect/want.

Unknown said...

Fact remains, people who are NOT in the Honor's Program can take those classes. And if you have no plans of completing the program, I would think that the correct way to go about this would be to drop the program and continue taking the Honors classes outside of it.

Right. [Not sure what point here disagrees with anything...]

Clarification? The good students added to the honors program by being in the Honors classes until now, much as regular good students in those classes added to them. How they were officially classed at the time of the class could only have boosted everyone in the class. (Honors student: Hey, I'm not alone! Non-honors: Hey, I'm in a class with a bunch of Honors students - yay me!)

Assuming the scholarship remains with them even if they drop out, that's not an issue.

And all other perks were - up to this point - taken in good faith.

Unknown said...

[Hmm... writing comments then continuing them 45 minutes later leads to lack of clarity.]

Irina Tsukerman said...

I agree with you completely... The fact that bad-faith behavior is not being actively condemned and punished doesn't mean that it's something to be encouraged. It's very unethical. Understandably, people, who may want to drop out in the beginning should be able to do so... but there's a point of no return in any agreement, I think, after which it's dishonest to continue with no intention to end.

In contract law, that's indeed a punishable offense, and should be penalized in other areas as well, I think.

the apple said...

Okay, I actually read this post much earlier in the day (when there were only about five comments) and I see that the conversation has picked up, so I'll stick in my two cents.

Chaya says that students drop out mostly because of their senior thesi (is that a word?) being too difficult. I think it depends what you are majoring in. If, for example, you are an English major, writing a long paper is not a strange assignment. I believe that history majors have the option of writing exit papers, so to extend it and turn it into a senior thesis shouldn't be too difficult.

I have never understood what it meant to drop something - my work ethic is such that once you commit to it, you gotta do it. Then again, this semester I dropped a class (BUT I switched into a different, more difficult class) and quit an internship after a few weeks (I was promoting books with objectionable content, so I quit on moral grounds).

There are definitely material benefits to being in the honors program (the ballet last semester was amazing!), but if someone is only in the program in a roundabout way, ie she is on the distinguished scholars program and so is automatically in the honors program, I would hope that the student would stick to the HP but wouldn't mandate it. Someone told me that if a girl is not in the DSP, just in the HP, and decides to drop it, she'll lose her scholarship. That would be an incentive to stay in the program, no?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the HP requirements are at Stern, or how the scholarship works there, but I am on the Honors Program Committee at YC, so I've actually been part of faculty discussions about this very topic.

Everyone is well aware of the fact that most students at YC do not finish the HP. Some never intend to do so, others find it to be too much work, but the majority just don't want to stay the 4th year and write the thesis.

Although the scholarship, in its highest denominations, is awarded only to those students who enter the HP at the beginning of their college careers, it is not linked to the program's completion. To keep the scholarship, all you have to do is take 2 Freshman Honors Seminars in your first year. After that, you don't have to take a single Honors class and you still keep your scholarship.

All the faculty and administrators know about this. I have raised the issue on at least two occasions, claiming that it is unfair for students who don't finish the program to keep the scholarship, and that students who enter the program in the middle and do intend to finish it (like myself) don't get any scholarship at all.

However, although most of these faculty members seem to agree with me in principle, they aren't very bothered by the situation. They see the scholarship as more of an admissions tool to attract bright students to YU. Once they come, they don't seem to care so much if they keep getting the scholarship without any intention to finish the program.

Curiously, although I assume that the Honors Director plays a role in choosing the students to get the scholarships, the HP doesn't really have complete control over it. Admissions is apparently much more involved. Even if the HP people wanted to change the rule, it doesn't seem like they would have much success under the current administration.

So, although I don't like the fact that students keep HP scholarships without completing the program, everyone knows about it and it doesn't really bother anyone.

It is possible that it works differently at Stern, that the scholarship really is tied to completion of the program. If so, then I agree with you completely.

Anonymous said...

MR, did you really send this to Dr. Wachtell? I'm curious to know what you thought of it. This is a really interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

"I have gotten exactly what I wanted- brilliant Judaic studies."

So Judaic studies constrained by Orthodox dogma is brilliant? YU has a less than stellar reputation in the academic community for precisely that. Any major secular college, and even some smaller ones, have more rigorous Judaic studies programs than YU and with greater depth.

Anonymous said...


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