Most students that fulfill 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 honors.


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


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


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