Percentage of College Students That Graduate With Honors

Percentage of College Students That Graduate With Honors


Percentage of College Students That Graduate With Honors: Can you guess the percentage of college students who graduate with honors? You’ve put in a lot of effort, it wasn’t easy getting your degree, and you went over and over to set yourself stand out from your peers, it is graduation day, and your parents’ eyes are welling up, they are ecstatic because they have raised a champion.

That is what distinguishes graduating with honors. It shows that you are a person who is willing to take on a difficult task. You don’t want to settle for second best; you want to thrive and climb above mediocrity. Or perhaps your folks are overbearing. I understand how you feel.

Graduating with honors is a huge accomplishment. Graduating from college is a difficult task. When you consider that you must be among the best students in your class, you can see how impressive it is.

How many students, on the other hand, graduate with honors? What are the requirements for doing so? And why should you bother with it in the first place? Is it useful in your life outside of academics, or is it merely a symbolic achievement? We’ll learn how many people graduate with honors, the different categories of honors, and what you may expect from your graduation in this post.

Make sure you read through this article to the end as it will be very informative.

Before we begin properly, let us first examine what it means to graduate with honors.

Graduating With Honors and Graduating

Graduation signifies that you have completed all of the school’s general education and major area of emphasis requirements and will earn a college diploma. Given that just 36% of the population in the United States has a four-year college diploma, this is a remarkable achievement. Honors students are those who graduate in the top percentile of their class, as determined by each school. The criteria for selecting and awarding accolades are established by each school. When a student receives Latin honors such as cum laude, they are said to have graduated with honors. Latin honors are a nationally recognized mark of academic success at the undergraduate level.

Types of Honors

Honors are frequently the consequence of hard work, perseverance, motivation, and a positive attitude toward academic pursuits. The following are the three categories of honors available to graduating college students:

Latin Honors

This include:

  • Cum laude (Honors)
  • Magna cum laude (High Honors)
  • Summa cum laude (Highest Honors)

The names of these three honors are of Latin origin, and each has its meaning. Latin honors distinguish the graduating class’s cream of the crop. Cum laude students must have a 3.4 GPA, magna cum laude students must have a 3.6 GPA, and summa cum laude students must have a 3.8 GPA, but this varies per school. The Latin words translate to “high commendation, great applause, or highest praise” for the student who is graduating. Colleges only recognize a tiny fraction of their graduating class with this honor. When compared to other forms of honors and recognitions, Latin honors are more likely to appear on students’ diplomas and transcripts. A unique Honors Scholar diploma is awarded by several schools.

English Honors

Faculty favorites may receive department awards in their major field of study. Academic departments assess graduating seniors each semester and select individuals who deserve “highest honors,” “high honors,” or “honors” based on their major GPA and other traits valued in that field. These students may also receive recommendations from instructors for Latin honors if they are academically qualified. It is fairly uncommon for outstanding graduates to get honors in both Latin and English. “Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors,” for example, might appear on a high achiever’s transcript.

Organization Honors

Many student groups, clubs, and professional organizations present high-performing members in good standing with colorful regalia on graduation day, which distinguishes them from the other students walking in commencement. National honor societies such as Phi Kappa Phi and the international Golden Key Honour Society, for example, have chapters at numerous schools. Honor societies are also seen in fraternities and sororities. An honor society affiliation looks excellent on a résumé and may help you network when looking for work.

How to Get An Honors Degree

To graduate with honors, the first thing I’ll suggest you do is to examine each school’s criteria. Although no two schools are alike, there are numerous commonalities. Most institutions need a minimum GPA and that you be among your class’s top performers. However, these are frequently insufficient. Some colleges will need you to write an honors thesis, while others will require you to earn a certain number of advanced course credits. To find out the particular requirements, go to each school’s website. Never be lazy to put in the extra hours of study. Graduating with honors takes commitment and dedication.

How Many Students Receive Honors Degrees?

Because each school has its own requirements, it’s difficult to give an exact proportion of students who graduate with honors. But one can say that between 20% and 30% of college students graduate with honors because that’s the range most schools use to assess whether a student earns the honors, the percentage is New York University, for example, awards honors to the top 30% of its students. Although this is the most common percentage, some colleges have more stringent standards, thus the true figure is lower. Probably approximately a quarter of a percent. Being at the top of your class, though, isn’t always enough. Many schools also have minimum GPA requirements, which vary by school. The mechanism is in place to prevent honors from being given to mediocre students in a class of underachievers.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 for cum laude honors, 3.75 for magna cum laude, and 3.9 for summa cum laude at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, for example.

Honors Requirements in Some American Colleges

As previously indicated, the most prevalent criteria for Latin honors are based on cumulative GPA. Some institutions, however, do not offer these honors based on GPA; instead, they consider a percentage of the top students. Before enrolling, it’s wise to double-check the school’s honors requirements. Some schools and their unique celebration requirements are listed below:

Harvard University

There are two types of honors at Harvard: departmental honors and College honors (Latin honors).

Before a student can be considered for the Latin honors at Harvard University, he or she must have obtained departmental honors. Latin Honors are not awarded based on a set GPA at Harvard University. The institution determines who is eligible for Summa Cum Laude honors in their various fields based on their academic performance. The Summa Cum Laude honors are awarded to only 5% of the graduating class. Students who receive the highest departmental honors but do not qualify for the summa cum laude will receive the magna cum laude. All students in the Summa cum laude and magna cum laude categories cannot account for more than 20% of all degree candidates.

The total number of students who get these three awards, cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, must not exceed 50% of all degree applicants.

Yale University

Yale University does not use a fixed GPA range for awarding Latin honors to graduating students. Only 30% of graduating students are eligible for Latin honors. This figure is lower than Harvard University’s, which is set at 50%. Only for Yale University;

The summa cum laude award is given to 5% of graduating students. Approximately 10% of graduating students receive the manga cum laude. The cum laude award is given to 15% of graduating students. Summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude had GPAs of 3.95, 3.90, and 3.82, respectively, according to Yale University in 2018.

University of California Berkeley

Similar to the Latin prizes, the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA honors students with distinction, high distinction, and highest distinction. The GPA range for these prizes varies depending on the school within the institution.

Only 20% of the graduating cohort at this university is eligible for these honors. The top 3% of the graduating class receives the highest honor based on grade point average.
The following 7% of graduating students will receive a large differential, while the remaining 10% will receive a prize.

Do Honors Have Any Significance Outside Of Academia?

They actually do, at least to a large extent. Let’s assume you’re looking for a job and the hiring manager needs to choose between two prospects. Employers will favor the candidate with honors if all other factors are equal.

However, don’t believe that obtaining honors is the only route to land a job. It’s not even the most straightforward. Experience and attitude are far more important. It was vital to have the correct attitude in order to receive the honors.

If you don’t want to put in the extra effort to achieve honors, you can easily outperform students who do by gaining real-world experience in your area. Volunteering, internships, and summer employment are all excellent ways to develop a resume that will help any honors student land a career.

Honors are only important for your first few employment. They don’t matter once you’ve accumulated enough experience. They’re more of a badge of honor than anything you should rely on to show you’ll be a good employee.

It is also determined by the field. If you received summa cum laude honors in law school, your chances of landing a job at a top firm are significantly increased. Other fields, where it is simpler to gain real-world experience, are not affected in the same way.

It’s all about you in the end. Go for honors if you want to demonstrate to the world that you are a person who overcomes obstacles. If you believe that is the greatest approach to set yourself apart from other graduates, go for it. If you don’t care about them, you should focus your energy on more beneficial endeavors, such as finding a job in your field of study.


Theoretical knowledge is always trumped by real-world experience. As a result, honors will only have an impact on your first and possibly second job searches. Honors, on the other hand, will be nothing more than a nice title that no one will care about.

Honors graduation is something you must desire for yourself. Don’t rely on third-party verification. You must desire honors in order to demonstrate that you are capable of completing difficult tasks. Don’t just get them because your parents told you to.

We hope you found this post very insightful and helpful. Please do well to keep this information in mind as you search for a job or try to obtain admission into college.

FAQs on Graduate With Honors

How many students receive honors degrees?

Because each school has its own requirements, it’s difficult to give an exact proportion. Because that’s the range most schools use to assess whether a student earns the honors, the percentage is between 20 and 30%.

Meaning of Latin Honors 

Latin honor is a term used by colleges to indicate that a student has attained a high level of academic success.

Meaning of summa cum laude?

The summa cum laude distinction, which translates to “with the highest honor,” is the apex of Latin honor medals.

Meaning of magna cum laude

Magna cum laude is another Latin distinction that means “with great honor,” and it’s usually given to students who have excelled academically but aren’t in the top echelon of graduates.

What exactly is cum laude?

Cum laude is a Latin term that means “with praise,” and it indicates that you will graduate as an honor student.

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