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University Of Washington Honors Essay Prompts Examples

Quick Stats

Incoming Freshmen, 2017

  • Total applications: 5,080
  • Admitted to Honors: 1045
  • Enrolled in UW Honors: 225
  • High school GPA (middle 50%): 3.86-4.00
  • SAT (middle 50%): 1330-1480 out of 1600
    • Pre-2016 SAT (middle 50%): 1920-2250 out of 2400
  • ACT (middle 50%): 31-34
  • Residency:
    • WA residents: 74.4%
    • Non-WA residents: 23.1%
    • International: 2.5%

Top Prospective Majors for 2017

  1. Computer Science & Engineering
  2. Biology
  3. Biochemistry
  4. Bioengineering
  5. Business Administration
  6. Aeronautics & Astronautics
  7. Tie: Neurobiology / Chemistry
  8. Tie: Psychology / Mechanical Engineering / Civil Engineering
  9. Physics
  10. Tie: International Studies / Law, Societies, and Justice / Human-Centered Design and Engineering

Top Majors for Current Honors Students

  1. Computer Science & Engineering
  2. Biology
  3. Business Administration
  4. Political Science
  5. Tie: Biochemistry / Bioengineering
  6. English
  7. Neurobiology
  8. International Studies
  9. Tie: Physics / Philosophy
  10. Tie: Environmental Studies / Law, Societies, and Justice

Questions

We hope that most of your questions can be answered here. Please select from the list below to jump down to a question.

  1. I've never taken an Honors course before... should I still consider applying?
  2. What do you look for in an applicant?
  3. I have a GPA of 3.7 and an SAT of 1800 - should I still apply to Honors?
  4. I'm definitely applying to the Honors Program, do I need to apply to the UW as well?
  5. I'm trying to apply to the UW Honors Program, but I cannot find that part of the online application - what am I doing wrong?
  6. How much does your application cost?
  7. I submitted my application before the deadline! Will I receive notification sooner than my friends who submitted just in time for the final deadline?
  8. Do you participate in Early Decision?
  9. I heard back from the UW already, but nothing from Honors - what's up?
  10. How do I know that my application is complete?
  11. Are the essay topics the same every year?
  12. May I write my Honors Essay in a foreign language?
  13. Can I come in for a tour of Honors?
  14. Can I visit an Honors class?
  15. I'm not sure Honors is right for me - can I talk with someone?
  16. Are there Honors scholarships that I can apply for?
  17. Harvard/Williams/OSU is giving me a big scholarship, but I really want to go to the UW - can you offer me a competitive scholarship?
  18. Can I just respond to you, or do I need to accept the UW as well?
  19. I decided I don't want to be in the Honors Program anymore, but I still want to go to the UW! Will declining Honors affect my acceptance to the University?
  20. Can I defer my enrollment in Honors?
  21. Are Honors students all pre-med and engineering students, or can English majors be in Honors too?
  22. Is there an Honors housing option?
  23. Will I get to register early if I'm in the Honors Program?
  24. How do I submit my recommendation?
  25. My question wasn't answered here! Who can I talk to for more information?

Answers

1. I've never taken an Honors course before... should I still consider applying?

The UW Honors Program evaluates applications broadly, looking to understand the entirety of the student’s experiences represented in those pages, and we are eager to ensure our community represents and includes complex and dynamic perspectives necessary to true scholarship. We understand that many students apply to honors programs as an extension of high achievement in high school, while others may have never participated in an accelerated learning program but are interested in our curriculum - we encourage each applicant to think carefully about how your goals for your college education align with our program’s goals and values, regardless of your prior involvement in an honors or accelerated track.

While your academic record is important in your Honors application, we have a holistic admissions process that looks beyond your academic record to your written materials and evaluates students based on fit for our mission, values, and curricular goals. Students admitted to the UW Honors Program have a variety of academic and personal experiences. If you are interested in the type of education offered through the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, we encourage you to apply.

2. What do you look for in an applicant?

Because applications to the UW Honors Program are read and evaluated on an individual basis, there are no hard-and-fast rules for an Honors applicant. All applications from students who submit a complete Honors Program application and have been admitted to the UW will be reviewed. We encourage in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants to apply. We seek students who are curious about how their skills and talents, combined with the challenges of a rigorous, interdisciplinary Honors curriculum, can open new and often unexpected doors. The Program is academically competitive - the middle 50th percentile ranges for autumn 2017 freshmen are a 3.86-4.00 high school GPA and a 1920-2250 SAT composite - but also places high value on a student's understanding of and desire for an interdisciplinary liberal arts education such as that offered in our curriculum.

3. I have a GPA of 3.7 and an SAT of 1800 - should I still apply to Honors?

Yes! We have no GPA or test score thresholds and encourage anyone interested in our curriculum and type of education to apply.

4. I'm definitely applying to the Honors Program, do I need to apply to the UW as well?

Yes. The Honors Program application is a part of the UW Freshman application. Students cannot be admitted to the Honors Program unless they are admitted to the UW.

5. I'm trying to apply to the UW Honors Program, but I cannot find that part of the online application - what am I doing wrong?

You will be able to access the Honors Program section of the UW application only if you check the box labeled "Would you like to apply for admission to Interdisciplinary Honors?" after the main UW writing section. This will activate the Interdisciplinary Honors questions. If you change your mind and do not want to apply for Interdisciplinary Honors, simply un-check the box at the top of that page.

6. How much does your application cost?

There is no additional fee to apply to the UW Honors Program.

7. I submitted my application before the deadline! Will I receive notification sooner than my friends who submitted just in time for the final deadline?

No, you will not hear back any earlier. Like the regular UW admissions notifications, the Honors Program pools our decision letters, sending all notifications over the course of several weeks in late March/early April. See our freshman application instructions for specific dates.

8. Do you participate in Early Decision?

No. There is no Early Decision in the UW Honors Program.

9. I heard back from the UW already, but nothing from Honors - what's up?

UW Admissions and Honors Program admissions are two separate processes. We cannot admit students to the Honors Program until they have been admitted to the UW, so you will not hear from us until after you have heard from the UW.

10. How do I know that my application is complete?

If you have submitted your UW application, you will be able to verify the submission of your application via the ApplyWeb portal. You will also be invited to set up a UW NetID account where you will be able to view your UW decision status online. For specific dates, please see our freshman application instructions.

11. Are the essay topics the same every year?

No, the Honors essay topics are different every year. Be sure to check back in the fall for new essay topics.

12. May I write my Honors Essay in a foreign language?

No. All applicants are required to write their essays in English.

13. Can I come in for a tour of Honors?

The Honors Program does not host its own tours, but the UW offers campus tours to prospective students and their families, and you are welcome to arrange an appointment with an Honors staff member to review Honors-specific questions.

14. Can I visit an Honors class?

Yes! Please contact us via the prospective student appointment form at least two weeks in advance to arrange a class visit. Because Honors courses are smaller than many UW classes, we check in with the professor prior to your visit to make sure that it is an appropriate time to observe the course.

Also, know that once students are accepted to the Honors Program they are matched with a Peer Mentor. It is possible to arrange to visit a class with your Peer Mentor; they will also need to get instructor permission. We do not arrange visits to non-Honors courses, but the UW has a drop-in course list that allows you to visit other types of UW classes.

15. I'm not sure Honors is right for me - can I talk with someone?

Absolutely! Fill out our prospective student appointment form and we will help direct you to one of our academic staff.

16. Are there Honors scholarships that I can apply for?

Your application to the Honors Program also acts as your application for any Honors scholarships available to incoming freshmen. Our review committee selects eligible applicants for scholarships from our pool of applicants; if you are awarded one you will be notified at the same time you are notified about your admission to the Honors Program. You must apply to the Honors Program and remain in good academic standing to remain eligible for our scholarships.

17. Harvard/Williams/OSU is giving me a big scholarship, but I really want to go to the UW - can you offer me a competitive scholarship?

We offer a limited number of scholarships and tuition waivers to our incoming freshmen based on the merit of their Honors Program applications.

18. Can I just respond to you, or do I need to accept the UW as well?

You must accept and respond to both the Honors Program and UW Admissions in order to be enrolled in the UW Honors Program for the fall.

19. I decided I don't want to be in the Honors Program anymore, but I still want to go to the UW! Will declining Honors affect my acceptance to the University?

No! You can accept the UW and decline the Honors Program without any problems.

20. Can I defer my enrollment in Honors?

We cannot defer enrollment into the Honors Program. We invite you to re-apply for the year that you would like to attend.

21. Are Honors students all pre-med and engineering students, or can English majors be in Honors too?

We have students from almost every major, from Ceramic Arts to Electrical Engineering (and some students double majoring in both!). Honors can work with any major. If you have concerns, be sure to talk with one of our advisers early about different academic options and how Honors can work for you.

22. Is there an Honors housing option?

Yes, there is! The Honors Living Learning Community is located in Terry Hall for the 2017-18 year. It can be a great way to meet fellow Honors students and begin to form a community. We also have plenty of students who choose not to live in the Honors LLC, but they are still invited to attend events there and have a lot of fun in their own living communities. You will receive more information about the Honors housing option in your invitation, or check out the Housing and Food Services website for more information about all of the special interest housing options.

23. Will I get to register early if I'm in the Honors Program?

No, Honors students are given registration priority for Honors-specific courses, but not all courses at the UW. Registration priority for general courses is determined by class standing for all UW students.

24. How do I submit my recommendation?

The UW Honors Program is not requiring or accepting recommendations for Autumn 2018 freshman admission.

25. My question wasn't answered here! Who can I talk to for more information?

You are welcome to email us at uwhonors@uw.edu with additional questions. You can also reach us by phone at 206-543-7444, and we are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, autumn through spring, and Monday through Thursday, 9am to 4pm during summer quarter. We are not open on the weekends.

Interdisciplinary Honors at the University of Washington

Historically, honors programs at universities have attracted talented and ambitious students—students who have taken many advanced level courses and participated in many extracurricular activities, and have thus been long prepared for university honors programs by parents, teachers, and counselors. A large portion of this group apply to university honors programs as a natural extension of their advanced high school programs; for the recognition acceptance brings; for the smaller classes such programs offer; with the expectation of being part of a highly accomplished and motivated group of students; and/or with the hope that completion of a university honors program will secure admission to graduate or professional schools. While some of this is true, the Honors Program at the University of Washington offers more to—and requires more from—its students.

There are also students who may never have had opportunities to participate in, or imagine themselves belonging to, an honors program or track, but are nevertheless eager to think in complex ways about big global challenges, and act in the world through the lens of their own diverse experiences. We welcome applications from anyone with this deep curiosity about the world We evaluate applications broadly, looking to understand the entirety of the student’s experiences represented in those pages, and we are eager to ensure our community represents and includes complex and dynamic perspectives necessary to true scholarship.

To help all students better understand how UW Honors might fit into their educational goals, we’ve suggest consideration of the the following before beginning the application process:

  • The University Honors Program is indeed highly competitive and acceptance does set the admitted student apart. But such recognition alone will not lead to satisfaction if the student’s goals are out of sync with the Program’s values: community, diversity, leadership, lifelong learning, global and community engagement, and research.
  • Advanced courses in high school are significantly different from our Interdisciplinary Honors courses. Our curriculum prompts students to see beyond disciplinary boundaries and to understand the importance of interconnected knowledge for addressing the big challenges of our times. Those who enter with an eye toward acquiring expertise only in a particular field (e.g., medicine, engineering, business, international studies) can be dissatisfied when when asked to study topics outside of their chosen discipline. Those who want a streamlined course of study might not find the Interdisciplinary Honors option appropriate.
  • Honors does make the university feel smaller, but it does not isolate its students from the larger university community. Many of our courses are limited to 25-35 students. But these represent less than a third of the required credits to graduate from the University of Washington. All UW students will find themselves in a class of several hundred during their time here. Those entering Honors must be excited to attend a large public university—one that offers amazing opportunities not available at small colleges.
  • We employ a holistic approach to evaluating applications. The valedictorian with 800s in the SATs, a 4.0 GPA, and lots of extracurriculars may not be admitted if an application reveals that the student is not interested in a broad-based interdisciplinary education. We look for students who not only show academic ability and promise, but whose educational goals include, but also look beyond, a future career. Students who are intellectually curious and willing to take academic risks in order to expand the boundaries of their knowledge are more likely to thrive in our program and to pursue a life of continuous growth and learning.
  • Completion of Honors does not in itself guarantee admission into any future program. It is but one of numerous factors that are taken into consideration by evaluators at the graduate and professional level. Graduation from Honors has indeed contributed toward academic and professional success for the majority of our students, but it is our goal that our graduates leave the UW not only experts in their chosen fields but also committed to continuing their education both professionally and personally, serving their various communities as leaders, and engaging the world as global citizens.

Our experience has shown us that students who enter Interdisciplinary Honors for the wrong reasons either end up leaving or completing it with less satisfaction than anticipated. It is critical, then, that students, parents, teachers, and counselors consider the values and goals of the UW Honors Program before students apply. Those who commit to our broader concept of a college education report that they have been transformed by the experience. It is this quality that makes our program truly distinctive.

Thank you for taking time to consider this information. We welcome your questions as you continue to explore whether Interdisciplinary Honors is the right fit.

Learning More

Are you a prospective student or applicant interested in the UW Honors Program? After you’ve carefully reviewed the below information, we provide the following options for learning more about Honors:

In October and November we hold information sessions for those interested in applying as incoming freshmen for the Interdisciplinary Honors track; students interested in second year and transfer admissions should complete the form below. Those interested in Departmental Honors should contact the major directly.

During the rest of the year we encourage all prospective students to set up a meeting with an Honors representative by filling out our prospective student appointment form (well in advance of your visit, please; it can take us up to a week to arrange a visit) and we will respond as quickly as we can to arrange an appointment.

Please note that we may be unable to accommodate requests made less than one week in advance. The Honors office is open and available for appointments Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during winter quarter.

Request a prospective student appointment

 

Freshman Admission

Entering freshman applicants apply to the University of Washington and to Interdisciplinary Honors simultaneously – the Honors application is integrated into the UW Freshman Application.

UW Honors Freshman Application Instructions

Frequently-Asked Questions

Second Year Admission

Students who are already enrolled at the UW may apply for Second Year Admission into the Interdisciplinary Honors program during spring quarter of their freshman year. Each spring quarter, we accept applications from current freshmen and issue invitations to those who have demonstrated academic excellence during their first two quarters at the university. If you believe this option best fits your needs, please contact an Honors adviser for more information.

Learn how to apply for Second Year Admission

Departmental Honors

Another way to experience Honors is through your major. Typically, students apply for departmental admission in their junior year of college, although some majors have earlier entrance options. Departmental Honors is an excellent option, providing academic challenges and scholarly community similar to the Honors Core experience. Once you have been admitted to a Departmental Honors program, your departmental adviser must activate your Departmental Honors requirements in DARS for you to be officially recognized as a Departmental Honors student.

Learn more about Departmental Honors

Transfer Students

Transfer students who have been admitted to the UW and have either participated in honors programs at their previous institution or who have strong college academic records are eligible to apply to Interdisciplinary Honors. Transfer student admission to the Interdisciplinary Honors Program is selective, due to limited space availability.

Because Interdisciplinary Honors requires students to complete 47 credits of general education coursework, students who have already earned an Associates degree, or who have fulfilled the UW’s Areas of Knowledge requirements through their transfer credits are not eligible to apply. In order to determine this, those interested in entering the Honors Program must wait until they have been admitted to the University of Washington and had their transcript evaluated for UW credit before applying to Honors. Those not eligible for Interdisciplinary Honors may instead be eligible to apply for Departmental Honors in their chosen major(s). Contact the Departmental adviser for admission information and requirements.

Applicants may be able to enroll in some Honors courses before they are formally accepted into the Program. See an Honors adviser regarding which Honors courses might be available to you.

Learn how to apply for Transfer Admission to Interdisciplinary Honors

From the Director

As we prepare to open the UW freshman application for autumn 2017, the Director of Honors invites students and the communities around them to learn more about the UW Honors curriculum.

Read more