Which MLC is for me? LSA Honors Program and the Residential College

Trying to decide between the LSA Honors Program and the Residential College? Why not join both! Hear what RC & Honors students have to say.

By April 1, 2021
group of students on South Quad

Students considering an academic path in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) are often met with a common obstacle – how to find an academic and social community in a sea of so many options.

Fortunately, the LSA Honors Program and the Residential College (RC) offer a unique opportunity to enroll in both programs simultaneously. Students on this academic path are considered LSA-Honors-RC students and immediately expand their academic opportunities and their social communities.

Read below to hear more about the experiences of an LSA Honors student, an LSA-Honors-RC student, and an RC student.

If you are interested in applying to either or both of these opportunities, be sure to do so using the information located at the Honors prospective students website. For the Residential College, either confirm your RC interest first indicated on your application to UM-LSA or fill out this form to apply. The RC admits on a first-come, first-serve basis until a capacity of 250 students is reached.

RC Honors Program - Aditi Vijendra

After growing accustomed to answering “Why *insert college*?” or “Describe a challenge you faced,” I was taken aback when the LSA Honors Program asked me to describe the ways in which nature changed my life. As I wrote my essay, I found myself forming connections between my life experiences and the natural world that I hadn’t previously thought about. Rather than feeling pressured to meet the word count before the deadline, I was engaged and excited for this opportunity to view the world differently. I would eventually learn that this essay prompt was a stellar reflection of my soon to be Honors experience.

In high school, I felt pressured to confine my interests to a singular category. Did I enjoy STEM or social sciences more? Would I find the humanities interesting? Yet, regardless of the category I fell in, I knew I loved learning. This is why the prospect of the LSA Honors Program excited me. It was one of many opportunities at U-M to sit in the driver’s seat of my education. Offering Honors courses that addressed niche topics from multidisciplinary perspectives, Honors Seminar Series, Honors Course Conversions, Honors advising, and intimate Honors sections of classes, LSA Honors seemed like the perfect fit.

And it’s true. Within a little less than one year in the Honors Program, Honors has helped me surpass my single-category mindset. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about topics that I am passionate about, such as wellness, in the context of a wide variety of disciplines from public health to philosophy. On top of that, attending events and utilizing the resources that excited me when I applied, such as Dr. Okanlami’s Honors Seminar Series or pre-health advising, has helped me along my path to achieve my goals by expanding my perspectives and providing me with guidance

Honors has amounted to so much more than an outlet to engage my widespread academic interests. It fosters community. Even in a virtual setting, living in Honors Housing, taking an Honors course, and attending Honors virtual events helped me find some of my best friends at Michigan, truly making a large university feel much smaller. 

One year after I nervewracklingly submitted my Honors application, I continue to engage drawing on the same creativity and involvement that the unique essay prompt demanded. Beyond the initial application essay, Honors continues to provide me with many opportunities to form new connections, view the world differently, and derive excitement from my academic endeavors.


RC Honors Program & The Residential College - Adrian Beyer

Adrian Beyer
This is from the RC Deutsches Theatre trip to Berlin in the W20 semester (right before school shut down!). It was a great opportunity to travel with other RC students.

As I stared at my acceptance email from U-M’s Honors Program, my excitement quickly transitioned to a bout of anxious questioning. Could I be a part of the Residential College and the Honors Program? Where would I live: East Quad or South Quad? Could I fulfill the requirements for both programs and still graduate in four years? Would I make friends if I was splitting my time between two programs? 

As I met with both RC and Honors advisors and students during my summer orientation, I momentarily worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. But for once, I was delighted to be wrong: within the Residential College and the Honors Program, you can have the best of both worlds! 

Initially nervous about splitting my time between two communities, I realized that there was much more overlap between the two than I realized. I quickly made other friends living in East Quad who were in both programs, and I met some of my closest college friends through my RC/Honors first year writing seminar. 

Being able to take classes offered only to RC Students (such as Pass/Fail intensive language or RC first year writing seminar) or classes like Honors 222: Are We Alone?, which looks at the potential of extraterrestrial life, offered not one, but two opportunities to build closer connections with my professors and my peers. 

Living in East Quad meant that I felt at home within the Residential College, whether I was studying for my German proficiency exam, at an RC Players rehearsal, or co-leading an RC Forum. At the same time, I still felt connected to the Honors community, as I found friends who were also in the Honors program while in LSA classes. 

At first, I worried that being a dual RC/Honors student would mean I wouldn’t be able to spend enough time in either community. But now, I’ve learned that the Residential College and the Honors Program are extremely complementary communities with dedicated faculty, passionate students, and wonderful academic resources to support you as you make your way through Michigan. If you’re stuck wondering which program to choose, take the leap of faith and do both! You won’t regret it.

The Residential College - Morgan Kisner

Morgan Kisner
Morgan Kisner

The RC classes were the number one reason why I wanted to join the RC in the first place. The small class sizes are truly wonderful. In my previous writing class, it was so nice to be able to talk to and engage with my peers on a more intimate level and really hear the opinions of others when we would discuss certain pieces we read. We were able to have peer writing workshops and get direct feedback with the papers we wrote which you wouldn’t be able to do in a normal lecture. 

In all honesty, the language classes are difficult. A lot of work and time has to be dedicated to these classes, and it can be hard to keep up with the pace. But with all that said, I took three years of French in high school, and I’ve learned more in a few weeks here than I ever did in those three years. If you want to have some level of fluency, RC language is definitely the place to be. Also, it’s a bonus that we’re doing the work of four semesters in a shorter amount of time. 

Another thing I love about the RC classes is the fact that I’m able to take drama and declare the drama major, which I will do in the future. Currently, I’m a Film, Television, and Media (FTVM) major through LSA, but I also want to be an actress at some point. I didn’t want to be only in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance because I wanted to take FTVM. The RC gives me the opportunity to pursue both aspects of my dream without having to compromise one.

When the pandemic hit and fall semester was starting, I was worried that being online and not being on campus would cause me to feel left out. Of course, in some ways it did because it can be difficult to make friends with people who you just see through a screen for an hour or two. I felt like this for a few weeks until a person in my drama class told me they were directing this audio drama and that I should audition for it. 

I debated for a long time whether or not I should actually audition. I even went as far as typing my name on the sign-up sheet, then deleting it, then putting it back, and deleting it. After making the decision to audition, I got the part and was thrown into the wonderful world of the Residential College Players (RCP). I got to meet and work with some new people outside of class hours; we played games and bonded over interesting stories and that was the first time I felt a true sense of community. Everyone I met was so supportive despite the fact that I really didn’t know any of them and that I was the only first-year student there. I felt I belonged and was a part of something that was bigger than myself and I loved what I was doing.

About the Authors

Aditi Vijendra is a first-year student in the LSA Honors Program, planning on majoring in Political Science while also pursuing a pre-med course of study.

Adrian Beyer is a sophomore in the Residential College and Honors Program double majoring in Women's and Gender Studies and Asian Studies.

Morgan Kisner is a first-year Residential College student pursuing a double major in Film, Television, and Media Studies and Drama.