How to Apply to the University Honors Program: Incoming First-Year Students

Deadlines

The Fall 2022 Honors application for incoming first-year students is CLOSED. Freshmen attending KU for Fall 2022 may apply to the KU Honors Program as a current student at the end of their first semester (Deadline for Spring '23 admission: December 15).  

The Fall 2023 Honors application for incoming first-year students will open on July 1.  Please check back in June for current short-answer & essay questions for the 2023 Honors Admission Application.

If you are a current or transfer student, please scroll to the middle of this page for more information on applying to Honors as a current KU student. Our current/transfer application can be found here.

2022 Admissions Timeline:

July 1 – KU Application opens
Aug 1 – Common Application opens
Nov 1 – Early Action Deadline
Dec 1* – Priority Deadline
Feb 1 – Late Consideration Deadline
Mar 1 – International Student Deadline

*For strongest consideration for admission to the Honors Program, apply by the December 1 Priority Deadline.

 For incoming first-year students, please allow up to 8 weeks for your Honors Program decision letter to arrive in the mail.

 

Application Logistics: How to Apply

The Fall 2022 Honors application opens July 1 with the KU application and August 1 with the Common Application. The most efficient way for you to apply to the University Honors Program is to apply as you complete your KU Application or Common Application. At that time, you will have the option to apply to KU Honors and upload your short-answer and essay responses. Or, you can apply to the KU Honors Program once you are admitted to KU using the application link below. 

What We're Looking for in Applicants: Requirements

KU Honors reviews applications on an individual and holistic basis. We evaluate applications across four main criteria:

  • Challenge
  • Depth
  • Breadth
  • Leadership Potential

We are looking for highly academically motivated students who aspire to explore important questions in today’s society, build healthy and inclusive communities, and do so within an environment that encourages interdisciplinarity and creativity, as well as depth of expertise in an area of study. We are seeking applicants who took full advantage of the courses and opportunities available to them at their high school, in addition to demonstrating academic excellence, leadership skills and potential, an interest in interdisciplinary connections and a commitment to community. We want to get to know you and understand your hopes for your college education through your application.

There is no minimum GPA or test score requirement for admission. Application to the Honors Program is connected to a GPA filter based on a student's self-reported GPA. If you do not see the Honors Program application at the time you apply to KU, you are welcome to apply directly through the Honors Program website.

The Honors Program is test-optional. You are not required to submit a test score for admission. If a student submits test scores, they will be considered as part of the process. Students will not be penalized for not submitting.

Application

Our holistic application considers five parts: 

  • Unweighted GPA
  • High school transcript
  • 3 Short-answer question responses
  • 1 Essay response
  •  ACT or SAT equivalent (if submitted)
Short-answer questions

Fall 2023 Incoming Freshman (High School Seniors) - please check back in June for updated short-answer questions for the 2023 Honors Admission Application.

Essay prompts

Fall 2023 Incoming Freshman (High School Seniors) - please check back in June for updated essay questions for the 2023 Honors Admission Application.

*If you experience technical issues while submitting your application, use the latest version of Firefox or Internet Explorer to submit the form. Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge do not support the required Java plugin.

Having trouble with the online application?
  • Use the latest version of Firefox or Internet Explorer to submit the form. Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge do not support the required Java plugin.
  • To open a link in another browser, right click on the link and select ‘Copy Hyperlink,’ then paste the link to your alternate browser.
  • Clear all cache and cookies via your browser settings.

 

 


How to Apply to The University Honors Program: Transfer Students

Transfer students must first submit the KU Admissions application. After admission to KU, complete our Current/Transfer Student Application. Applications will be reviewed after students have at least one semester of college grades on record.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are due by December 15th (for Spring semester admission) or June 1st (for Fall semester admission).

Transfer Students Apply Now

How does Honors evaluate Transfer Student applications?

The Honors application is a competitive admissions process with an holistic approach in which the following factors are considered:

  • GPA and completed coursework
  • 500-word essay (see prompts below)
  • Short-answer questions detailing involvement (see below)
  • Capacity to complete the Honors graduation requirements

Essay Prompts (choose one) 

  • Option 1: There are many questions to ask and problems to explore. If you were to choose a question, problem, idea, or issue (personal, systemic, local, or global) to explore as you continue your undergraduate years at KU, what would it be? What might you create, design, invent, or engineer to explore this topic?
  • Option 2: As Jayhawks, our community is committed to a set of core values: To actively foster unity, strive for innovation, advocate for inclusion, and value engagement. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, have added (or will add) to the KU community.
  • Option 3: How has a previous experience or challenge affected your sense of who you are and what you hope to accomplish at KU and beyond? What lessons did you draw from that experience?

Short-Answer Questions (respond to both) 

  1. Help us learn about you, your life, and your experiences. List no more than three items (clubs and organizations, work experience, community service, awards and recognition, extra-curricular interests, personal or family obligations, etc.) in descending order of significance (list the most significant item first). For each item, explain your role, time commitment (both amount of time you devote to the activity and the year(s) in which you were involved), and responsibilities.  You can include an activity from high school if you would like, but your main focus should be on your life and experiences since starting college.
  2. The Honors Program intends to attract students who make the most of the opportunities available to them. What goals and objectives shaped your selection of courses and experiences? Is there anything else you want the admissions committee to know about your academic record or activities?

 


Current KU Students

Current KU students who are interested in joining Honors should complete our Current/Transfer Student Application. Applications will be reviewed after students have at least one semester of college grades on record.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are due by December 15th (for Spring semester admission) or June 1st (for Fall semester admission).

Current Students Apply Now

How does Honors evaluate Current Student applications?

The Honors application is a competitive admissions process with an holistic approach in which the following factors are considered:

  • GPA and completed coursework
  • 500-word essay (see prompts below)
  • Short-answer questions detailing involvement (see below)
  • Capacity to complete the Honors graduation requirements

Essay Prompts (choose one) 

  • Option 1: There are many questions to ask and problems to explore. If you were to choose a question, problem, idea, or issue (personal, systemic, local, or global) to explore as you continue your undergraduate years at KU, what would it be? What might you create, design, invent, or engineer to explore this topic?
  • Option 2: As Jayhawks, our community is committed to a set of core values: To actively foster unity, strive for innovation, advocate for inclusion, and value engagement. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, have added (or will add) to the KU community.
  • Option 3: How has a previous experience or challenge affected your sense of who you are and what you hope to accomplish at KU and beyond? What lessons did you draw from that experience?

Short-Answer Questions (respond to both) 

  1. Help us learn about you, your life, and your experiences. List no more than three items (clubs and organizations, work experience, community service, awards and recognition, extra-curricular interests, personal or family obligations, etc.) in descending order of significance (list the most significant item first). For each item, explain your role, time commitment (both amount of time you devote to the activity and the year(s) in which you were involved), and responsibilities.  You can include an activity from high school if you would like, but your main focus should be on your life and experiences since starting college.
  2. The Honors Program intends to attract students who make the most of the opportunities available to them. What goals and objectives shaped your selection of courses and experiences? Is there anything else you want the admissions committee to know about your academic record or activities?

International Students

International applicants applying to KU as incoming first-year students should complete the standard 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.

International 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 on this page regarding Current KU Student applications and requirements.