Honors Mentoring & Advising

Personalized Advising: 

Every student in the Honors College has an assigned Honors faculty mentor for their four years on campus.  This benefit ensures that all Honors students have access to a faculty member who can answer a broad range of questions about academic programs and opportunities. Having at least one faculty who knows each honors student well and over a period of time ensures that students have support for letters of recommendation, networking, and access to internships, research positions, and other academic programs.

This mentor will guide students regarding:

  • Long-term plans and opportunities that align with them
  • Choices about academic program, including major
  • Course selection, particularly before a major is declared and when there are questions about honors courses
  • Decisions about opportunities outside courses that might influence long-term academic and career goals

Mentoring might include course advising early in the college career, but that is not its key component; much of course advising will be done by the major advisor once the major is declared.  Mentoring entails long-term professional development personalized to each student.  The Honors mentor will ask about career goals and make sure that each student is well informed about the many opportunities available on campus.  As seniors, students will still have access to the Honors mentor for the purpose of obtaining letters of recommendation or career advice.

All students can find their Honors academic advisor by signing into Degree Works. In many cases, a student will be advised by their mentoring cohort leader. However, this is not always the case.


While mentoring and advising can take many shapes over your four years in the Honors College, there are particular expectations for each year.

Freshman Year

All freshmen will receive their advising for spring classes in BGS.  There will also be individual or group meetings with peer facilitators or the Honors mentor either in or out of BGS.  In their second semester, freshmen will continue to have access to the peer advising network and will meet with the Honors mentor either as a group or individually to select classes for fall semester of their sophomore year and for professional development.

Sophomore Year

All sophomores will meet with their Honors mentor once a semester to confirm classes and continue professional development.   All students are required to declare a major during their sophomore year, so from this point on much of the course advising will be handled by the departments. However, all sophomores must follow the instruction of their Honors mentor about required group or individual meetings to ensure that the Honors hold is lifted.

Junior Year

Juniors will meet with their Honors mentor at least once this year (or more often if the student feels that it is necessary).  Most course advising will be done by the major advisor and other academic and professional mentors that the student has identified.  Again, juniors should follow the instructions of their Honors mentor about required meetings to ensure that the Honors hold is lifted.

Senior Year

Seniors will meet directly with their Honors mentor for a degree audit to prepare for graduation. The Honors mentor for all groups will still be available for individual meetings (to write letters of recommendation, for example).

Seniors will receive correspondence from Bryan Ganaway regarding the Honors Ceremony and graduation procedure. Seniors should also meet with the major advisor in the fall to plan for spring registration and degree completion in the major.

Releasing Holds & Signing Up for Classes

Each semester students will follow the same basic procedures to get the Honors hold released and sign up for classes.

  • Download the advising form from the HUB.
  • Fill out a preliminary schedule based on your 4-year planner or PACE Navigator (forms are on the HUB, but students should plan to build on the Navigator that they create in BGS).
  • Make the appropriate appointments or sign up for a group session with your advisors/mentors.  For example, for freshmen this might include (a) your peer facilitator, (b) your major advisor, (c) your Honors mentor.  Your Honors mentor will let you know what the requirements are for your advising group.
  • Upload your resume and Navigator to the OAKS Advising Site (see information on OAKS advising under the last tab).
  • Get the necessary signatures on your form (Honors mentor, and major advisor if you have declared).
  • Return the completed form to the Honors Center by the deadline for your graduating class.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to follow all registration procedures and complete them in time if you wish to participate in priority registration.  All dates and procedures are listed on the HUB, so you have all the information you need to complete this task on time.

In the Honors College, we have a number of special programs designed to meet the unique needs of students who have specific academic and professional goals in mind. Beginning with the freshmen class entering in Fall 2018, each student had the opportunity to apply to be a member of a mentoring cohort. Each cohort has a limited number of spaces; students may only be a member of one cohort. You are not required to be part of a mentoring cohort; if you would prefer not to be, you will still be assigned an honors faculty advisor.

Below are descriptions of the mentoring cohorts that are available to Fall 2018 entering freshmen. Each mentoring cohort has unique opportunities associated with it. All are designed to encourage students to explore their academic interests, to form important relationships with College of Charleston faculty and staff, and to lay a foundation for professional and leadership skill development.

Discovery Science 

Students within this four-year cohort intend to pursue a career in scientific research, science advocacy or applied health (e.g. medicine, dentistry, public health). Discovery Science students are provided with programming in the form of networking, intellectual engagement, and professional development events geared towards their specific scientific interests. They are introduced to faculty across the sciences and connected to unique research opportunities early in their time on campus.

Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community (E-LLC)

The E-LLC is a one-year interdisciplinary cohort designed to act as an accelerator for Honors freshmen seeking to make an impact in their community and the world. Much like entrepreneurs featured in TED Talks, members of this cohort are encouraged to begin thinking of how they can tell their own story of innovation throughout their first-year experience.  Students in this cohort are required to live in the E-LLC in Berry Residence Hall for their entire first year. They are also required to take HONS Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice in the first semester of their freshman year.  They are introduced to leaders and mentors on campus and in the community who are entrepreneurs.

Gateways to Leadership

Through collaboration between the Honors College and the Division of Student Affairs, students in this mentoring cohort will be nurtured for leadership on campus and in the community, starting in their first year on campus. Through various “tracks”, students will be introduced to the faculty and staff on campus who are developing and implementing programs and projects that address critical needs on campus and in the community and will have the opportunity to network with senior administration at the College of Charleston.

During the first year, students will participate in a specific track with the Gateways cohort:

  • Women in Leadership – Facilitated by Executive Vice President for Students Affairs, Dr. Alicia Caudill, this cohort of women will meet monthly to discuss leadership development, to determine leadership styles and strengths, and to learn from leaders in the nonprofit and business community.
  • Food Insecurity Taskforce – Facilitated by the Office of Student Life, this cohort will work on the opening, marketing, and management of the food pantry on campus for students facing food insecurity. Through monthly meetings with the Director and Assistant Director of Student Life, the group will discuss new initiatives to address food insecurity on campus and in the community. This cohort will also work with the Center for Civic Engagement to plan components of Hunger and Homelessness week.
  • Student Involvement Team – Facilitated by the Director of Student Life, students in this cohort will complete a self-assessment and will engage in a selected campus experience. During the second semester, students will be given priority consideration for several leadership opportunities on campus – Stern Center Advisory Board, Cougar Activities Board, Weeks of Welcome planning team. Students will meet monthly with the Director of Student Life and will create an e-portfolio to document their involvement on campus.
  • Residence Hall Leadership – Facilitated by the Department of Residence Life in collaboration with the Honors College Director of Student Engagement, members of this cohort will meet regularly as a sub-committee of the Residence Hall Association. They will also serve on the Honors College Leadership Council. This sub-committee will design and implement programming and other initiatives to enhance the living experience for Honors College students. Members of this cohort will receive mentorship in leadership development and will have access to leadership conferences and career development workshops.
  • Honors Leadership Certificate Program – Facilitated by staff in the Higdon Student Leadership Center, this cohort will participate in a special section of the leadership certificate program, which includes attendance at two leadership conferences, access to CofC leadership development programs, and priority consideration for various leadership positions campus-wide (e.g., Dance Marathon Executive Board, Orientation Intern, Alternative Break leader, peer facilitator). They will be given priority consideration for Cougar Excursion in the freshman year, the Honors College leadership course taught by former CofC President Lee Higdon during sophomore year, a spot in the Leadershape Institute during junior year, and a guaranteed interview for the Leadership CofC Program in the senior year.

Honors Program in Business

This four-year cohort is designed for students with an interest in one of the majors in the School of Business. Students are recommended for elite opportunities within the School of Business and have additional opportunities to study abroad and network with faculty and business professionals. They are also given priority placement in honors business courses.

International Scholars Program (ISP) 

Under the direction of the Honors College and the School of Languages, Culture, and World Affairs, this four-year program combines the rigorous and challenging academic experience of honors study with a BA in International Studies, Spanish, or Jewish Studies (one of these majors is required) and a second major in an area of the student’s choices. Members of this cohort take HONS 173: International Studies during the fall semester of their year on campus, participate in a May Away program at the end of the freshman year, and work with professional mentors. The program prepares students not only to be globally aware but also globally active as they enter the 21st century as leaders of the emerging international community.

Medical Humanities

Students within this four-year cohort intend to pursue a career in medicine or in scientific research but also have a keen interest in the humanities and social sciences. Medical Humanities students are provided with additional programming geared towards their specific interests and unique funding opportunities for summer research and receive a well-rounded academic experience that sets them apart. After their college career, students in this cohort will be thoroughly equipped to apply for graduate programs, nationally competitive awards, and careers in the medical and science fields.

Sustainability and 21st Century Problems

This four-year mentoring cohort centers on the topic of how to use sustainability literacy to solve 21st century problems—problems that require one to develop rigorous critical thinking skills, systems competencies, and interdisciplinary fluency to address. Through coursework, study abroad opportunities, advocacy work, and networking events, students in this cohort develop a deep knowledge of the factors that promote sustainability and engage themselves as leaders in practical ways. The problems explored fall roughly into three domains:

  • Social (such as institutional racism, LGBQT+ rights, animal agriculture and factory farming)
  • Economic (such as income inequality, food and housing insecurity, fast fashion and other aspects of our consumptive lifestyle)
  • Environmental (such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation and other aspects of environmental degradation)


How to Use your Oaks Advising “Course”

Students in the Honors College are classified according to their projected year of graduation (Class of 2015, Class of 2016, etc). Each class has an OAKS Advising Site that works just like an OAKS course site. You will use this site to upload your resume and your Navigator before the advising process starts each fall as requested by your Honors advisor.  When you log in to OAKS, you will see the advising site in your list of courses.

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