The most-common system for awards for U.S. college and university
graduates is the system of "Latin honors." Students with academic
distinction, typically high marks in their classes, can receive a
diploma "cum laude" (good), "summa cum laude" (better) or "magna cum
Wikipedia, "Latin honors," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summa_cum_laude
Students with a high grade-point average (marks) in a given semester
or term can receive "Dean's List" honors. Students may also receive
scholarships or cash awards for their academic performance.
Student-athletes who did not enter college with a scholarship can earn
one through their performance on the field.
One of the most-impressive honors an American college student can
receive is induction into the Phi Beta Kappa society, or an equivalent
honors society for areas of study outside of the liberal arts.
If someone tells you he graduated from Harvard, Phi Beta Kappa, magna
cum laude, you can be sure he did his homework.
Univ. of Pennsylvania, "Academic Recognition," 20 Aug. 2003,
Univ. of Washington, "Dean's List," 13 May 2004,
Univ. of Illinois, "What Honors Means," 2001,
I hope this answer meets your needs. If not, please request clarification.
phi beta kappa cum laude dean's list
cum magna summa
Clarification of Answer by
06 Jul 2004 09:58 PDT
1) Although many American universitites are owned by state
governments, they operate fairly independently from the state
government. Therefore, it is not likely that governments themselves
would give direct awards to students for academic achievement at the
2) This is only a personal opinion, but I think putting any such
awards on your resume is a good idea. You should say what body makes
the awards (university, ministry, etc.) as well as the reasoning
behind the award. For example, you could say, "Received a Student
Achievement Award from the Chinese Ministry of Education for good
conduct and academic performance."