Knights of Distinction
Completing your undergraduate degree is a major milestone in every student’s life, but are you prepared for what’s next? Beyond graduation a range of opportunities and experiences await you, but gaining access to these opportunities requires more than just your degree. Successful graduates are those who are able to make connections between experiences both inside and outside the classroom and to apply what they have learned to new contexts. The Knights of Distinction Program is designed to do just that.
The Knights of Distinction program encourages students to do three things in the pursuit of their goals: PLAN, CONNECT, REFLECT.
PLAN: Students work with advisors and mentors to identify goals, create individual learning pathways that will help them reach their goals, and assess their progress along the way. This is about more than checking boxes on your degree audit. It is an ongoing process of discovery and honest self-assessment that continues throughout your years at UCF (and beyond) as you gain experiences.
CONNECT: Students seek out and participate in meaningful, high-impact experiences both inside and outside the classroom that will help them reach their goals. As you participate in these experiences, pay attention to the connections between your various experiences and how the skills and knowledge you learn in one situation transfer to new contexts.
REFLECT: Students reflect critically on their experiences and use this reflection to envision a future self. This is not just about assessing the skills and knowledge you have gained but about figuring out how all the pieces fit together so that you can share your story with others.
Students who earn the designation Knight of Distinction demonstrate that they are able to make connections between theory and practice and that they possess valuable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, time-management, and communication that employers and graduate schools prize. The title Knight of Distinction recognizes students’ academic accomplishments as well as their professional and civic achievements in the world beyond the classroom.
All current and incoming UCF students are eligible for the Knights of Distinction program, regardless of whether you are full time or part time, if you started at UCF as a first-year student, or if you are a transfer student entering with pre-existing credit hours. To be eligible students must maintain a 3.0 UCF GPA and be actively enrolled in at least 1 credit hour of coursework in the fall and spring semesters as they advance through their degree programs. Students must complete at least 60 hours of coursework at UCF by the time of graduation to complete the Knights of Distinction Program.
Applying for the Knights of Distinction program is easy. Simply submit the Milestone checklist and a copy of your UCF degree audit reflecting all course credit earned to date. Once you are accepted into the program, you will meet with a Knights of Distinction advisor who will help you enroll in a 0-credit online course and go over the online course materials, resources, and program requirements, and answer any questions you might have. To apply for the program, click here.
Students in the Knights of Distinction program must stay enrolled in a 0-credit online course which will guide them through the program as they earn milestones in five categories. You must be actively enrolled (full- or part-time) in the fall and spring semesters and maintain a 3.0 UCF GPA. A student whose UCF GPA drops below 3.0 will be placed in a probationary status for one semester, during which they will remain in Knights of Distinction and will have the opportunity to raise their GPA. A student whose UCF GPA remains below 3.0 for more than a semester will be removed from the program, though they may apply for readmission at a later date.
Students will complete a total of 310 hours in five milestone categories. Knights of Distinction is a flexible program designed to allow students to build their own personalized pathways to distinction. Students must complete a minimum number of hours in each of the five milestone categories, plus an additional 60 flex hours in any combination of the Leadership, High-Impact Learning, or Knights in the World Milestones, but there is no minimum number of hours that must be maintained in any given semester. In other words, it is up to you to decide when and how you want to earn your hours.
- Planning & Self-Assessment: Utilizing campus services that promote intentional learning and that aid the student in setting and achieving their academic goals such as meeting with your advisor, working with a faculty mentor, attending career services, etc.
- Campus Citizenship: Participating in on-campus and off-campus organizations or clubs and/or participating in events such as lectures, service days, exhibits, etc.
- Leadership: Taking a leadership role in activities such as planning campus events, serving as officer for a registered student organization, or being a peer mentor.
- High-Impact Learning: Successfully completing high-impact learning activities such as a co-op or internship, research with a faculty mentor, study abroad, Honors in the Major, or designated High-Impact courses in the major.
- Knights in the World: Participating in significant service projects, community organizations, or employment or responsibilities beyond UCF.
- Flex Hours: Choose additional experiences in Leadership, High-Impact Learning, or Knights in the World (or any combination) that will best support your goals.
In many cases, you will find you are already engaged in activities that will count toward your milestones. Did you talk with your advisor this semester? That’s an hour toward Planning and Self-Assessment. Have you taken a service-learning class or completed an internship? Those count toward the High-Impact Learning Milestone. Many students have completed considerable number of their hours at the start of the program and find that simply by completing their majors and being active in the UCF community many more of the hours can be completed along the way.
Activities completed prior to enrolling in the Knights of Distinction may, with appropriate documentation and approval, be counted toward the milestones. To verify activities that you complete during the program, you should fill out an “activity verification form” available in the online course.
By the time students complete all the activities in the five Knights of Distinction Milestone categories, they will have gained a truly diverse and meaningful range of experiences and skills!
Putting the Pieces Together
As you approach graduation and have completed your hours in the five milestone categories, you will then need to start putting the pieces together to be able to articulate your experiences to others. How did your study abroad, part-time job, internship, and/or classroom experiences work together to make you who you are? What skills did you learn that make you stand out in the crowd? As a capstone to the program, students develop an e-portfolio that will answer these questions.
Your e-portfolio will allow you to reflect on all of your achievements, to “connect the dots,” and to share your story with others. You decide who your audience is—potential employers, graduate schools, etc.—and create an e-Portfolio that tells your story. Your e-portfolio is entirely your own, and upon graduation you can take it with you to help articulate your skills for job or graduate school applications (and more).
Have questions concerning the Knights of Distinction program? Please feel free to email us at QEP@ucf.edu.
Interested in applying to the Knights of Distinction program? Click here to apply.
Have more questions about the Knights of Distinction program? Click here for our FAQ.