Information for counselors

Guidance from a counselor can help a student see that an honors education is possible. Below, you'll find details to share and insight into our process that can inform your conversations.

Counselors can take three steps to share the University Honors Program with their students:

  • Request materials: Our print pieces can be helpful to have during student consultations. To request a packet, get in touch.
  • Schedule an event: Whether on our campus, on yours, or virtual, a presentation with our admissions team is one of the best ways to share information and answer questions with students. Reach out to our associate director of admissions and operations, Harry Swartz, to arrange the ideal event for your school.
  • Encourage students to visit campus. That visit can include a general presentation and tour offered by the KU Office of Admissions, as well as an information session at Nunemaker Center with the University Honors Program. Registration for both events can be done at the same time through the KU Admissions website.

General questions can be sent to

Who should apply to the program?

We encourage all highly academically motivated students to apply to the University Honors Program. We do not have a minimum GPA (last year's average incoming GPA was 3.92).

What's in a complete application?

Four separate pieces must accompany every honors application:

  • An essay in response to one of three prompts.
  • A document with responses to all three short-answer questions.
  • A transcript (if this transcript does not include courses a student is currently enrolled in, they will be asked to include those courses elsewhere in the application).
  • A list of senior-year courses.

We do not require ACT or SAT scores, though students may submit them and they will be considered as part of a student's holistic review. Letters of recommendation are not requested nor reviewed if sent.

Essay and short-answer questions can be found on our Apply page.

How can students apply?

Students may apply to our program when applying to KU, or after through our separate application. (Inform students that each process involves checkboxes that must be checked for the application to be properly routed.) More information can be found on our Apply page.

When should students apply?

Below are a list of key deadlines for first-year domestic students and international students:

  • July 1: Application open date    
  • Early fall: Beginning of application review
  • Dec. 1: Domestic priority deadline
  • Feb. 1: Domestic late-consideration deadline
  • March 1: International deadline

Admitted students should also note May 1, KU's enrollment deposit deadline. This deposit acts as a student's acceptance of their offer of admission to KU and the honors program.

What's your evaluation criteria?

As part of a holistic, two-person review process, we evaluate each application for breadth, depth, leadership potential, and the strength of the essay. We look for a broad range of curricular and extracurricular activities, with specific interests emerging in both. Written materials give students an opportunity to define, clarify, or add complexity to these aspects of their academic careers and personal lives.

Students are also given a "challenge score" based on a number of curricular factors evident in their transcript. These factors include the level of math, science, and language coursework, the number of advanced courses (such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, and community college courses), and grade trends. Academic performance will be assessed using unweighted high-school GPA or a submitted test score — whichever is stronger.

When can students expect a decision?

Summer applicants will receive decisions beginning in the early fall. We strive to send decisions no more than eight weeks from the submission of an application.

My student heard back. What's next?

For admitted students, remind them to take key steps:

For waitlisted students, the most important step they can take is to submit a copy of their seventh-semester transcripts by Feb. 15. Final decisions are sent by March 15.

For denied students, please continue to encourage them to attend KU. Also notify them that students may reapply to the program once they're a current KU student; many students join our program this way. They may also be eligible for other honors experiences on campus, including those in a specific department or major.

What if a student wants feedback?

Requests for feedback should be sent to Application feedback may only be shared directly with the student. We cannot provide extensive feedback or meet with students to discuss declined applications.