How the Honors Program and Presidential Scholarship Benefit My College Experience

By Tyler Keller, ’18

Meet Presidential Scholar Tyler Keller, from Medford Minnesota. Tyler is one of our first-year honors students. He lives in the Honors Learning Community on campus and is studying Secondary Education and Mathematics. Keller says “I enjoy the Honors Program because of the sense of community. Through the Program I have built friendships I believe will last a lifetime.” Below he reports on his experience of starting college as both an Honors Student and a Presidential Scholar.

Tyler Picture

Sitting in front of a Presidential Scholar interviewer was one experience I will never forget. I remember feeling nervous, but trying not to show it. Once we got into conversation, my nerves went away. I asked a lot of questions and really took the time to get to know my interviewer. At the conclusion of my interview I had the opportunity to ask more questions to people from various organizations on campus, one of which was the Honors Program. I visited the honors lounge and met students, but was still hesitant about the idea of being in the Program. I was still unsure of what I wanted to do, but I decided to give it a try. This small decision has proven to be an asset to my Presidential Scholarship and has been very beneficial for my first year here at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

When I first arrived on campus for move-in day, I had so many emotions running through my head. I didn’t know anyone, the environment was completely new, and my parents were not there to guide me on this new journey. However, being in the Honors Program and a Presidential Scholar allowed me to take part in activities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. These experiences made my transition into college a positive one.

After move-in day, I quickly made friends with other students who also decided to live in the Honors Learning Community. All of these students were highly-motivated individuals who had school as their top priority just like me. Being in the Honors Learning Community not only gave me the chance to familiarize myself with the Honors Program, but also build relationships with other first-year students. Many of us have been in the same classes and worked on homework together. It is nice to have a study group to count on in difficult classes. The honors faculty and staff are also very helpful. I have found myself going to them whenever I need a reference, help with writing a paper, or even in search of other scholarships.

Through my involvement in the Honors Program, I have been able to participate in unique activities and opportunities. In the beginning of the year, I participated in a scavenger hunt around campus with other students in the Program. It was a lot of fun and allowed me to explore campus. I also helped with a service project for the Make a Difference organization. Together as a Learning Community, we collected food from Mankato neighborhoods to donate to ECHO Food Shelf. Additionally, my first-year class elected me as their class representative in the Honors Student Council Executive Board. Through this position, I have had the opportunity to discuss future Honors courses, attend Honors events, and work with honors upperclassmen. This experience has been really great for me as it has given me something to stay involved with.

In September I had the chance to help out at the Purple and Gold Gala, a formal event where scholarship donors are recognized for their continuous support to the University, as a Presidential Scholar. The night included a delicious dinner and dessert bar. In the spring, the other Presidential Scholars and I will have the chance to visit President Davenport at his house and then attend a hockey game in the President’s suite. As a Presidential Scholar, I also get my very own mentor. Through monthly meetings, I have gotten to know my mentor very well and she has helped me with everything from registering for classes, to serving as a reference, to facilitating connections.

By being an honors student and a Presidential Scholar, I have been allowed to participate in many exciting events and activities. Both programs have been beneficial for my development and I am excited to see what the future holds.

For more information about the Honors Program, please call (507)-389-5191 or e-mail

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