University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Self-Designed Experiences

UHP Database

Students have the opportunity to pursue their passions inside and outside their academic major through self-designed honors experiences. These self-designed experiences allow students to more intentionally seek out and participate in opportunities encompassing one of the four thematic areas of honors. Below is the timeline of self-designed experiences. Below the timeline, each step is explained in greater detail.

Self-designed experiences are just one option for completing honors requirements. Students may also enroll in honors seminars or engage in a pre-approved experiences to complete their requirements.

Self-designed experience timeline

1. Work with your honors advisor

While many students independently conceive of their self-designed experience, some would like extra support from their honors advisor to brainstorm ideas for their experiences, perspective project advisors, avenues for dissemination or other concerns. Use Starfish to schedule an appointment.

2. Submit a proposal

The proposal is a required component of self-designed projects. Please use the standard proposal form (below) and customize it to the proper thematic area. Please maintain the format of the proposal.

Proposals must be submitted BEFORE a project begins
. Advisors will not consider proposals for retroactive experiences. Proposals are are due by the 5th of each month, with the exception of July (during which time UHP advisors are fully immersed in the annual status check review process for all students). Students will receive feedback by the 20th of the month.

You may submit a proposal at any time; there is no need to wait until a deadline to submit. Your submission will automatically be reviewed with all reviews for the upcoming deadline.

Important note:
If you are seeking feedback by a particular date, please be sure to submit your proposal far enough in advance so that you can receive feedback by that time. We recommend submitting your proposal at least two months prior to your experience beginning, if possible. All proposals for international experiences, regardless of thematic area, need to be submitted at least two months prior to the experience start date.

Please also reference the Honors Experiential Learning Proposal Rubric. Honors advisors use the rubric to evaluate and provide feedback on self-designed proposals.

Looking for some inspriation? Check out our featured proposals!

3. Actively reflect throughout the experience

The reflection section of the proposal should lay out a plan for reflecting throughout the experience. The reflection page has recommendations for creating reflection plans.

The active reflection should begin at the project start date and continue through the project end date.

4. Submit a reflective essay to the database

The reflective essay is a required component of self-designed honors experiences. Reflective essays, like proposals, are reviewed on a monthly basis (except July). When preparing your reflective essay, use the essay prompts (below), according to the thematic area of your project. Your reflection may take any form that will help you think about the experience, what you learned, and how you want to apply that knowledge moving forward. If you wish to use a format other than writing or creating a short video, please be sure to reach out to your honors advisor before starting your reflection.

Reflective essays should be submitted by the 5th of the month following completion of the experience. Looking for examples of previous reflections? You can find our featured reflections!

5. Document your experience within your learning portfolio

All experiences are not considered complete until they have been documented within your learning portfolio. This guide provides a framework to use in documenting and showcasing your experiences within your learning portfolio. Documentation is due within a month of the experience's conclusion.

Important Note:
Posting documentation within your learning portfolio is NOT the same as submitting a reflection to the database. Likewise, you should not post your reflection to your learning portfolio in lieu of proper documentation.

Katie Wessler learning ballet

Students use self-designed experiences to learn and develop within target fields.

Kelsey Gibboney and the UC Women's Ultimate Team

Taking an active role within a student organization allows students to develop their leadership abilities.

Pooja Kashyap volunteering at an elementary school

Students pursue service activities that speak to their passions.