What does it mean to graduate with honors?

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What does it mean to graduate with honors?
Some exceptional college students are eligible to graduate with honours. (graduation image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Most students that fulfil course requirements and adhere to school policies will graduate college and receive a diploma. However, students who have proven to be exceptional may also graduate with honours.

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Honours

Most colleges offer cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude honours. Cum laude means "with honour," magna cum laude means "with great honour," while summa cum laude means "with highest honour."

Eligibility

Eligibility to graduate with honours varies from school to school. For example, students may need a grade point average within the top 5 per cent of the class to graduate summa cum laude, within the top 10 per cent for magna cum laude, and within 15 per cent for cum laude.

Meaning

Graduating with honours is mostly a designation that sets exceptional students apart from the rest of their class. Normally students in the honours categories will be given different colours sashes or tassels on graduation day to show what honours they have earned.

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