Flags over Fraser Hall

Apply to the University Honors Program

The University Honors Program looks for students who aspire to expertise and interdisciplinarity, respond creatively to pressing questions, and feel called to build healthy, inclusive communities.

To apply, upload your honors materials while filling out KU's general application.

You can also apply any time after submitting the Common App or earning admission to KU through our separate first-year application. (Transfer and current KU students apply through a different process.)

Application materials

Through your application, we want to get to know you and understand your hopes for your college education. You will primarily do this with the inclusion of two components beyond those generally required by KU: an essay and short response to three questions.

    Essays should be intellectually curious, thoughtful, well-organized, proofread, and limited to 500 words. We will evaluate the quality of your writing and your ability to provide an expansive yet focused response to one of these three prompts:

    • Option 1: Author Kurt Vonnegut said, “a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.” Tell us about a specific moment when you reversed course. What insights about yourself did you gain? How will you apply them to your time at KU?
    • Option 2: Author Octavia Butler, whose “Parable of the Sower” is this year’s KU Common Book, said that “habit is persistence in practice.” Where in your life have you shown persistence? What meaningful habits resulted, and how will your specific KU plans benefit from them?
    • Option 3: Part of KU’s mission is to “build healthy communities.” Share a community you’ve been part of. Thinking beyond just physical health, what did (or did not) make that community healthy? How will your college plans reflect that experience and contribute to KU’s mission?

    Please upload your responses to all three questions as a single Word or PDF document and limit your total word count to 1,200 words combined. Convey the factors that shaped you and demonstrate skills of clarity and brevity when you answer each of these three questions:

    • Question 1: List no more than five items — clubs and organizations, employment, community service, awards and recognition, extra-curricular interests, personal or family obligations — in descending order of significance, with the most significant item first. For each, explain your role, time commitment, length of involvement, and responsibilities. Transfer and current students only need to provide three items.
    • Question 2: How have your experiences affected your sense of who you are and what you hope to accomplish in college? There are no wrong answers. Transfer and current students do not need to answer this question.
    • Question 3: Honors students make the most of available opportunities. Based on course availability at your school, how did you select the classes you took? Is there anything you want the admissions committee to know about your transcript?

    Fall application deadlines

    Dec. 1
    Priority Deadline
    Feb. 1
    Late Consideration Deadline
    March 1
    International Student Deadline
    June 1
    Transfer Student Deadline

    Application review

    We evaluate applications across four main criteria:

    • Challenge
    • Depth
    • Breadth
    • Leadership potential

    We seek applicants who took full advantage of the courses and opportunities available to them at their high school, in addition to demonstrating academic excellence, an interest in interdisciplinary connections, and a commitment to community. 

    Our individual and holistic review process considers responses to essay and short answer prompts, along with GPA, high school transcripts, and any ACT or SAT scores provided. No minimum GPA or test score is required for admission. Submitted test scores will be considered, but applicants will not be penalized for a lack of scores.

    Incoming first-year students should allow up to eight weeks for a decision.

    International applicants

    Students from outside the U.S. applying to KU as incoming first-year students should complete the general KU application along with their honors application by March 1 for fall admission.  Students must also demonstrate English proficiency as defined by KU International Admissions. Students who are not yet proficient in English are invited to apply to the University Honors Program after successfully completing their Level 5 coursework in the Applied English Center. (Current international KU students: Please refer to the section above for current KU students.)