You cannot purchase genuine Honors cords: you can only be given them by the Honors Program. (They are handed out at Honors Graduation.) The cords available at the bookstores are cords for distinction (GPA) and for the various honors societies and service organizations. There is no limit to the number of cords you may wear when you graduate, so feel free to purchase the other cords you’ve earned along with the Honors cords we’ll present to you.
The maize cords at the bookstores are for graduates who earn Distinction/High Distinction/Highest Distinction. The College of LSA does not award Latin Honors (cum laude, etc.). Instead, degrees ‘with distinction’ are awarded on the basis of rank in class. Students who have completed at least 58 credits in residence, at least 45 of which are “graded” (A+ to D-), and rank in the top 3% of their class are recommended for a degree “with Highest Distinction.” Those students who rank in the top 10% of their class, but not in the top 3%, are recommended for a degree “with High Distinction.” Those students who rank in the top 25% of their class, but not in the top 10%, are recommended for a degree “with Distinction.” A notation is made on the diploma and the transcript. The GPA ranges for the distinction notations are determined each May, based on the cumulative GPAs of LSA graduates of that May degree period. Those same numbers are used for the August and December degree periods of that calendar year.
Distinction ranges will not be calculated until all grades are posted for all graduates for the Winter term. This means you will not officially know at the time you participate in commencement activities. How do you know whether or not you should buy maize distinction cords they sell at the bookstores? A best estimate reflects general ranges from the past:
Highest Distinction: 3.940-4.000
High Distinction: 3.847-3.939