Honors colleges are very common at universities. They tend to offer added benefits in exchange for agreeing to complete certain requirements. For example, at my school in the honors program you had first opportunity to register for classes, extra scholarship opportunities, and generally access to extra resources provided by the honors program (Quiet study areas, speakers, access to mentoring programs, etc.). In exchange, we were required to earn at least 3 credits hours of honor classes each semester (either by taking an honors section of a course - typically smaller and involving more student engagement and more difficult work and projects - or by working with a professor to complete an in course honors project - could be anything approved by the honors program), attend various events each year (special talks or events) and keep our grades above a certain GPA. I also had the opportunity to live on a honors floor in the dorm! Most universities have some sort of program like this, with various different opportunities and requirements but are generally excellent programs to participate in and are a great incentive for keeping your grades up when it can be tempting to slide through school.