Two of his older brothers attended UMass Amherst, so when Timothy Alden was choosing a college he considered breaking the family tradition. But after asking himself whether the University and Commonwealth Honors College could get him to where he wanted to be, he decided they could.
And so they have—even before his graduation. At the end of his junior year, Tim earned entry into Harvard Business School. As part of the program, he’ll gain work experience and earn an MBA.
Tim credits this accomplishment in part to the opportunities he had at Commonwealth Honors College to show initiative and develop leadership skills. For example, while taking a course on tax rules and regulations he enrolled in an associated honors colloquium, meeting regularly with the professor and a handful of other students. There he applied the dense material in the standard course to the real world by preparing actual tax returns. “You don’t always have to have a small classroom,” he notes. “It’s great to have both the diversity of perspectives in large classes and the opportunities to get to know professors in small classes.”
As a senior, Tim enrolled in “Social Entrepreneurship and Community Development,” a Capstone Experience course in which he worked on profiling local businesses and helping the nearby Holyoke community develop business plans. He calls it a “great opportunity to share what I’ve learned and at the same time learn from others.” And as co-chair of the College’s Student Advisory Board, Tim leads biweekly meetings of honors students who work directly with the dean on Honors College policy and direction. “Commonwealth Honors College has helped me explore who I am and what I want to do,” he reflects. “At first, I thought it was just about good students getting good grades and working really hard in school, but Commonwealth Honors College goes way beyond that. It’s a place where you can learn how to become a leader. It’s given me the confidence to know that I have the power to make a difference. As much as I’ve valued the academic experience, to me the most important things have been discovering myself, meeting people, and looking forward to one day changing the world.”