Director’s Updates

to prospective students, families, and counselors

As the 2017-18 academic year approaches, I’m reaching out to share information about the University of Washington Honors Program.  As we prepare for the next admissions cycle, we hope the information below will assist prospective students in deciding if our program is a good fit for their educational goals.

Honors at the UW is an innovative space and collaborative community engaged in rigorous interdisciplinary exploration. Students can pursue Honors as a general education track, an in-depth program within their majors, or as a combination of the two. They may apply as new freshmen, after two quarters, or once they’ve selected a major. We prepare our students to ask and answer bold questions about the challenges facing our ever-changing world. Our students participate in small classes with faculty from across campus and work across the university, challenging themselves and each other to take intellectual risks and commit to conscious global citizenship.

Our curriculum explores diverse ways of thinking across disciplines and encourages students to see the relationships between their academic pursuits and the rest of their personal and professional lives. In addition to featuring small and engaging interdisciplinary Honors courses, we emphasize the importance of experiential learning, reflection via a portfolio, and a broad understanding of the interconnectedness of knowledge.

We seek students whose application indicates a commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential engagement, and reflection, as well a demonstrated history of academic achievement and serving the community.  We invite those who are keen to take intellectual risks; who seek to understand challenges of social justice; who want to take leadership roles in confronting global change; who are familiar with and/or curious about the complexities of diversity; and who value a life of continuous learning and personal growth. In order to find these applicants, we read applications carefully and fully, considering all materials in a thorough and holistic review. We ultimately admit those whose efforts, aspirations, and attitudes toward education suggest that they would gain most from, and contribute to, the Program.

For the freshman Interdisciplinary Honors class of 2017, we received 5,080 applications and enrolled 225 students. We continue to keep a wait list, reflecting the quality of our applicant pool and the eagerness for participation in interdisciplinary learning. Each year we admit a small number of students from the list and we anticipate that practice will continue.

Our application process continues to match the larger UW’s timeline:

  • The Honors Program section of the 2018 freshman application will be available together with the main application for admission to the UW on September 1, 2017;
  • Our deadline matches the UW’s application deadline (midnight on November 15, 2017);
  • Honors Program freshman admissions decisions will be mailed March 19-April 13, 2018;
  • And once again, we are not asking for recommendation forms or letters for 2018, which I’m sure will continue to be welcome news to many!

I include information below that I hope will further clarify what we are looking for in applicants. It is my hope that this will help students decide if what we are offering suits both their short- and long-term goals.

Finally, please take a glance at what some of this year’s graduates have achieved; our students are truly remarkable.

Sincerely yours,

Victoria Lawson
Director of Honors
Professor of Geography