Graduating With Honors

Learn more about Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude and other college academic honors.

Whether you’re already in college or just found the schools you want to apply for, you’re probably driven to succeed. Graduating with honors is a dream for many students who go to college, proving you have a solid work ethic and intelligence. If you’re a little confused, don’t worry: graduating with honors may be tough but learning about how to do so is easy.

What Are Latin Honors?

Graduating with honors means that you get a little extra something on your diploma. They are called Latin honors because they are written in Latin, and there are three levels that all have to do with academic success.

Cum laude means “with honors.” It is the basic level of Latin honors, symbolizing that you have distinguished yourself as a cut above the average college student. Magna cum laude means “with great praise” or “with high honors.” Summa cum laude is the highest level of Latin honors you can receive, and appropriately enough it means “with highest honors.”

How Do You Graduate With Honors?

A student can graduate with honors by fulfilling college academic requirements that relate to GPA and sometimes to class rank. For example, at Texas A&M University, students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher graduate cum laude. If you have a 3.7 or higher, you graduate magna cum laude, and a GPA of 3.9 or higher affords you the distinction of graduating summa cum laude. The University of Southern California has the same standards.

Some schools such as UCLA have a rolling standard that changes based on the average GPA of the student body. If you have a better GPA compared with the rest of the student body, you will qualify for certain Latin honors.

Transfer students should research their school’s policy or talk with a counselor regarding the weight of transfer credit compared with credit earned at your transfer school in determining Latin honors.

Benefits of Graduating With Honors

While it is not necessary to graduate with honors in order to be successful in college or in life, Latin honors do look great to prospective employers and for future academic goals. If you want to go to graduate school for a master’s degree or PhD, the proof of great academic standing in the form of Latin honors can help your application to higher levels of education.

Graduating With Honors vs. College Honors

Remember that colleges often have their own honors programs that can often be very beneficial to students, but these are not the same as graduating with Latin honors.

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