Hey guys!

I hope you all had a good week and weekend. I actually had a super busy weekend which is pretty uncommon for me since we are in a pandemic. But, it was super fun! I was able to see my sister and mom who came up from Florida and I was able to see some people from work who I really missed!

But, I am writing this blogpost today to tell you about Torrey Honors! I’m gonna go through the application process, what it looks like for me as a sophomore Torrey student and why I decided to choose it for my undergraduate G.E.’s (general education classes). Torrey Honors College is the Honors program available to students to cover the majority of their G.E.’s. I think a common misconception about Torrey is that it is harder or requires more work than taking the G.E.’s that Biola offers. But, I would say that it is not necessarily harder or more work. Rather, Torrey is a different style of learning and you should base whether you want to do it off of that than anything else.

A screenshot of Torrey Honors College's webpage

(learn more about Torrey Honors College here: https://www.biola.edu/torrey/admissions)

To be a part of the honors college you do have to do a separate application in addition to the normal application for Biola. Being in Torrey and applying for Torrey is not about competitive performance. We want students in Torrey who want to conversate, ask questions, and wrestle with hard topics. That being said, on your application your SAT/ACT scores and GPA will be taken into account, but in no way is your admission to the program dependent on those things. More so, it is your want to be a part of the program and your desire to embrace all that Torrey is and will require of you as a student. This is what the admission committee is looking for in your application.

Well, how do you get that across? you might ask. On your application, there will be a number of essay questions that you should answer with 3-5 paragraphs. Here is your opportunity to be honest and original with your answers. Don’t try to be overly impressive with what you know and don’t try to show off. But, with what you know, articulate well thought out answers that show why you are interested in the program and why you think that you would be a good fit. After that, there will be an admissions interview. Only some applicants will get interviews but if you don’t that doesn’t mean you won’t get into the program. If the program particularly liked your application or thought you had an outstanding application, they will set up an interview. Usually, if you are local, they will have you come to the office and do one in person, but because of COVID, all interviews are being conducted remotely.

Mine was over the phone but there is also a chance that they could set up a zoom or skype call. If you do get an interview, don’t stress like I did! Whoever interviews you just wants to know more about you, how you think, and how you answer questions. If I’m being honest I really don’t remember much about my interview and what exactly was asked because I pre-stressed so much about it. The meaning of my little caveat is all to say that you shouldn’t worry about your interview if you end up getting one, it’s just an opportunity for them to get to know more about you, and for you to learn more about the program. After submitting your application and then conducting an interview (if you end up getting one scheduled), you will receive your decision within two months of submitting your application.

Books and a newspaper on a sidewalk table with Maggie's stylistic fanny pack

Aside from the logistics of everything, I applied for this program because my high school background fit perfectly as a transition into Torrey. The high school I went to was a classical Christian school so along with our normal education, we had faith and the classics integrated. In my rhetoric class we learned about Aristotle and St. Augustine. Transitioning to Torrey, I have learned more about these two and others in depth. Coming from reading part of the Aeneid for AP Latin in high school, it was so fulfilling to read the whole thing (in English this time) during the second semester of freshman year.

Other than this, I love the mentorship program that Torrey has. My mentor will grade all my work over the course of my time in Torrey and she will be the one that also tests me during Mid Rags and Don Rags. It’s really nice in this aspect because there is always consistency with grading and the expectations she has from me. But, it’s also challenging in another aspect because she is also my mentor and knows what I am capable of achieving. So, over time there is an expectation that I will grow and my work will improve. Whether that is my notes, papers, or participation for and in class discussions, I should be improving in some aspect and my mentor and I will discuss these things during office hours. Another aspect of what I love about Torrey and why I chose it was for the cohort community. Because I’m not switching classes every semester, I really get to know the people in my cohort over the course of years. Though I originally thought being in a cohort would limit me in getting to know people from switching classes every semester, that has proven to be false. I have found so much community from my cohort and the Torrey program, and I have met so many people outside of Torrey through classes for my major. So, don’t let a reason like making enough friends shy you away from applying to Torrey.

Me and my cohort freshman year
Me and my cohort freshman year

Well guys, that is all that I have for today! I hope that this was helpful for you when considering how to apply to Torrey and if it would be something that you are interested in. For me, Torrey has been a foundational part of my Biola experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Til next blog,