Self-Designed Experiences

Students crossing street in autumn

Self-designed experiences allow students to intentionally seek out and participate in opportunities that explore the UHP vision. Unlike seminars or pre-approved experiences where faculty, staff, or programs dictate the structure, self-designed experiences empower the student to author their own experience and timeline.

From learning to cook or play an instrument, to leading student organizations or community engagement efforts, UHP students can turn nearly any passion into a self-designed experience! Students are encouraged to pursue research and internships as self-designed experiences as well; however, UHP cannot provide grants for unpaid research or internships. 

Below is a list of the stages to complete a self-designed experience. Click on each stage to see it in further detail.

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

International Self-Designed Experiences

There is additional information to be aware of if you plan to develop a self-designed experience with international travel. Please reference the material on our International Travel resources.

If you intend to propose an international honors experience independent of UC faculty or staff-led opportunities, official university student organizations, or partner organizations/exchanges, you must submit your international self-designed honors experience proposal by the following deadlines:

  • October 5: Winter break experiences
  • January 5: Spring break experiences
  • March 5: May/June experiences
  • April 5: July/August experiences
  • June 5: Fall experiences

If you have any questions, please check-in with your honors advisor.

Proposal Examples

Time Commitment

Self-designed experiences must consist of at least 75 hours of work. Time spent in a UC class cannot count towards the 75 hour requirement.

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, prospective project advisors, opportunities to share your learning, or other questions.

Whether you have an experience in mind or you're starting from scratch, we encourage you to start thinking about what you hope to learn. Honors advisors or potential experience advisors are fantastic people to help you consider options, additional ideas, and resources. They can assist you as you draw on your passions, skills, and goals to shape your personalized learning experience.

Self-Designed Experiences

The proposal is a required component of self-designed experiences. Please use the standard proposal form. Please maintain the format of the proposal as a Word document. It's important when we provide you feedback.

International Travel 

There is additional information to be aware of if you plan to develop a self-designed experience with international travel. Please reference the material on our International Travel resources.

Proposal Timeline

Proposals must be submitted to the database and approved BEFORE a project begins. The deadline to submit proposals to the database is 11:59pm on the 5th of every month. 

You may submit a proposal to the database at any time; there is no need to wait until a deadline to submit. However, the Honors Proposal Review committee may not review until after the 5th deadline.

Your proposal will be reviewed by the Honors Proposal Review committee. Your advisor will contact you by the 20th of the same month with the committee's approval to start the experience or a request for revisions. If revisions are required, you must submit your revised proposal no later than the 5th of the following month. Your advisor may request an earlier date depending on your experience start date. See below for instructions on submitting a proposal revision.

Important note: Advisors will not consider proposals for experiences that have already passed. The value of a self-designed experience is realized when you can plan ahead and participate in the on-going reflection. There may be instances where there is less than a month to submit your proposal before your experience would start. You should communicate this to your honors advisor as soon as possible. 

Proposal Revisions

If revisions are required, you will follow the steps as outlined below. Revisions should be submitted as soon as they are completed, but no later than the 5th of the following month.

  1. Log into the UHP Database
  2. Navigate to Self-Designed Experiences
  3. Click on the title of your experience
  4. Download the proposal with the notes for revisions
  5. Complete revisions and rename your document
  6. Submit the revised proposal as an additional document within the same experience title (Do Not Create a new proposal if you are submitting a revision)
  7. The committee will review and ideally approve after revisions have submitted.

Connect with your Experience Mentor

Use the mentor you have selected to discuss your challenges, goals, and accomplishments throughout the experience.

Revisit your goals and adjust as necessary

Goals can change as you begin working on your experience. During your reflection, take time to revisit and make changes to your goals.

Ahead or Behind of schedule? Make changes to your goals or add new ones based on your progress!

Actively reflect throughout the experience

The ongoing reflection section of the proposal should lay out a plan for reflecting throughout the experience. The active reflection should begin at the project start date and continue through the project end date.

Submit the self-designed experience reflection to Honors database

Purpose: Reflect upon your experience and articulate your learning and the impact of the experience. Note: This is not the same as your experience showcase.  

Audience: You (and your honors advisor).

Format: An alternative form or written reflection. Suggested lengths of reflection to reach sufficient depth and breadth:

  • Video: 3-5 minutes.
  • Slideshow: 10-12 slides, including explanations of visuals.
  • Written: 600 words.

Guidelines: Use the following prompts to guide your reflection:

  • An overview of your experience and what you learned as you progressed towards your goals, including if any goals changed.
  • The impact of the experience on you and your definition of Global Citizen Scholar.
  • Your plan to take your learning into future classroom, career and/or personal experiences.

Timeline: Submit your reflection to the UHP database within 1 month of the conclusion of the self-designed experience. If you are submitting a file other than a Word doc, please email it to your honors advisor.

Directions: In the UHP Database, navigate to Self-Designed Experiences and click on the title of your experience. In the Reflection box, upload your Word document then Submit.

Showcase your experience on your learning portfolio

Purpose: To concisely share your honors experience with your learning portfolio. Note: This should not be the same as your self-designed experience reflection.

Audience: Anyone you share your learning portfolio link with or anyone who finds your learning portfolio through a public search (e.g. potential employers, graduate schools, faculty, staff, and family members).

Guidelines: Showcasing the experience in your learning portfolio consists of two elements:

  1. A concise summary of the experience– explain what the experience involved, what you learned, and how it has impacted you;
  2. A sample of work from your experience and/or something that exemplifies your learning. Within your showcase, explain why you chose this sample.

Format: A concise written reflection (~200 words) or an alternative form of reflection and a sample of your work (e.g. paper, photograph, blog entries).

Timeline: Post your experience showcase to your learning portfolio within one month of the conclusion of the experience.