Honors colleges– groupings of high-achieving students within a larger campus– are starting to gain more traction as acceptance rates at elite schools go down and price tags go up. Typically found at large public universities, these colleges aim to marry the benefits of selectivity and academic rigor with the diversity and resources of a larger campus and the price tag of in-state public schools. For students seeking a challenging academic cohort at a reasonable price (not to mention increased likelihood of acceptance), these can be a fantastic option. Many provide resources beyond just the academic cohort: access to internships and mentoring, smaller classes, or dedicated residence halls. What’s more, unlike standard public university aid packages, many offer merit aid to attract elite students.

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