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

Deadlines

The Fall 2022 Honors application for incoming first-year students is open now. 

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
Mar 1 – International Student Deadline

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

Incoming First-Year Students Apply Now

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: 

  1. Unweighted GPA
  2. High school transcript
  3. Short-answer question responses
  4. Essay response
  5.  ACT or SAT equivalent (if submitted)
Short-answer questions
Please upload your short-answer question responses as a single Word or PDF document and limit your total word count, for all three questions combined, to no more than 1,200 words. Your short-answer questions should be a concise snapshot of what has shaped your educational experience — and an illustration of your ability to convey those influences with clarity and brevity.
  1. Help us learn about you, your life, and your experiences. List no more than five 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. 
  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. 
  3. The Honors Program intends to attract students who make the most of the opportunities available to them. Based on the availability of courses at your school, how did you select the courses you chose to take? Is there anything you want the admissions committee to know about your transcript?
Essay prompts
The essay section allows for you to develop your ideas around a particular theme or question in a more expansive way. Your essay will be evaluated for the quality of your writing and your ability to provide a focused response to the question you choose. Your response should demonstrate intellectual curiosity and should be thoughtful, well-organized, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Limit your response to 500 words answering one of the three prompts (prompts below).
  1. The Kansas state motto “Ad Astra per Aspera” is Latin for “To the Stars through Difficulties.” What stars are you aiming for, and how have you learned/prepared to face challenges along the way?
  2. 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 during your undergraduate years at KU, what would it be?  What might you create, design, invent, or engineer to explore this topic? 
  3. 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, might add to the KU community.

*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.
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  • 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 due no later than two weeks before the start of each semester. 

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
  • résumé highlighting community involvement and leadership potential
  • essay
  • completed coursework
  • capacity to complete the Honors graduation requirements

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 due no later than two weeks before the start of each semester. 

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
  • résumé highlighting community involvement and leadership potential
  • essay
  • completed coursework
  • capacity to complete the Honors graduation requirements

International Students

International applicants applying to KU as incoming freshmen should complete the standard KU application along with their Honors application and demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

TOEFL—

  • iBT—a score of 23 or higher for each section score
  • Paper—a score of 57 or higher for each section score (with exception for Speaking, which may be lower) and a 4.5 or higher on the Test of Written English (TWE)

OR

International English Language Testing System (IELTS), academic format—6.0 or higher for each part and a total score of 6.5

OR

Exemption from the TOEL/IELTS admission requirement by the Office of International Admissions

International students who do not meet one of these three sets of requirements are invited to apply to the University Honors Program after completing one semester (12-18 credit hours) at the University of Kansas with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and obtaining clearance from required intensive English courses from the KU Applied English Center.

Current international KU students, please refer to the section on this page regarding Current KU Student applications and requirements.