Schreyer at Penn State: the Pros and Cons of Prestige

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Schreyer Honors College at Penn State is a prestigious place to call home, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

There are many pros to being in the honors college here at Penn State, and with that come to a few downsides as well. In order to investigate these pros and cons, VALLEY interviewed two Schreyer students, who chose to stay anonymous.

Schreyer’s website says that it offers “distinct opportunities,” such as enrichment opportunities and special housing, for its students. According to one anonymous Schreyer student, this is true. “They give you a scholarship, they have events that are just for Schreyer kids,”  she says, going on to describe a recent, all-expenses-paid trip to New York to visit a medical school there, and the $5,000 scholarship that is provided to the honors students. Schreyer’s housing also provides a space for college students who are in the same classes to meet and to work collaboratively on homework and class projects, integrating them deeper into the school community.

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The same student goes on to describe the downsides, saying that “they always say that they bring in diverse people, but that’s not true,” she elaborates that, “it’s super white,” and that, “even if people look different on the outside, they’re kind of the same people.” Some, she claims, are “afraid to say what they think or what they believe because they’re such high achievers.” She goes on to say that being in Schreyer can push people to not branch out and to only make friends who are also in the Schreyer, which, she says, creates an “echo chamber” that can be suffocating for the students. To combat this, she suggests keeping an open mind and taking advantage of the opportunities that Schreyer provides.

Another student tells VALLEY that “the honors classes are actually really helpful, especially for science,” because the class sizes are much smaller and more intimate than a typical classroom. She also likes that Schreyer provides the opportunity to schedule before anyone else because it helps a lot with getting the classes that you need to finish any major and minors you may have. She says that “you get a small community to come into and you get more time to adjust before school starts,” and that Schreyer gave her substantial financial aid and provided her with research options that she wouldn’t have otherwise had. 

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The second student that VALLEY interviewed said that since everyone knows each other, it gets very competitive and sometimes gossip runs rampant. “They tend to like to cancel people a lot,” she says, mentioning that sometimes the people, students and administration alike, are not understanding of extenuating circumstances. Socially, it’s very stressful for her, and she describes the atmosphere as academic, but also that there’s pressure to be involved not only in your classes but clubs and other activities. There’s pressure to always be involved in something.

Schreyer is a prestigious honors college, and membership comes with academic recognition and provides many unique opportunities for students. Just as with any college decision, be sure to look into your options and do your research before committing to what you feel the best choice is.


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