Application FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Admissions for First-year

Learn More About Honors Students & Applicants

General Application FAQs

I have 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, and we are eager to ensure our community represents and includes complex and dynamic perspectives necessary to true scholarship. We understand 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, we have a holistic admissions process that looks 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.

What do you look for in an applicant?

The Honors Program holistic review focuses on many factors, including:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in our specific interdisciplinary curriculum and values;
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness or unique perspectives or experiences;
  • Demonstrated academic preparation and strong performance in courses; and 
  • Demonstrated commitment to community engagement.

We encourage in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants to apply. We place high value on a student’s understanding of and desire for an interdisciplinary liberal arts education such as that offered in our curriculum. We seek students who are curious and looking to engage with different ideas and people..

I am definitely applying to the Honors Program; do I need to apply to the UW as well?

Yes. All applicants to Honors must apply and be accepted to the UW. Students cannot be admitted to the Honors Program unless they are admitted to the UW. First-year applicants will simultaneously submit the Honors Program application as a part of the UW First-year application. Second-Year applicants will apply to Honors after completing two quarters of UW coursework. Transfer applicants must apply to and be accepted to UW before submitting a transfer application to Interdisciplinary Honors.

How much does your application cost?

There is no additional fee to apply to the UW Honors Program. Please contact UW Admissions for information on fees for First-year or Transfer applications to the UW itself.

Is tuition more if you are in Honors?

No, tuition is the same for Honors and non-Honors students.

Are the essay topics the same every year?

No, the Honors essay topics for all three admissions processes are different every year. Be sure to respond to the prompts included in the specific application you are using.

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. Please see our Learn More page to explore other ways to get answers to Honors-specific questions.

Can I visit an Honors class?

Unfortunately we are unable to arrange visits to Honors courses. We recommend you contact our Honors Student Leaders to learn more about the Honors student experience in the classroom.

I am not sure Honors is right for me; can I talk with someone?

Due to our small staff size, we are unable to offer individual admissions appointments for prospective first-year applicants, but we strongly encourage you to attend a Q&A/information session and contact our Honors Student Leaders.

Are there Honors scholarships that I can apply for?

Your application to the Honors Program also serves as your application for any Honors scholarships available to incoming students. 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 (via email). For 2024: Scholarship offers will be sent separately from our offer of admissions to the Honors Program in mid-May, due to the delay in access to FAFSA information. Please do not contact us inquiring about scholarships, all Honors applicants are considered. You must apply to the Honors Program and remain in good academic standing to remain eligible for our scholarships. We also offer scholarships for students already in the Program; current Honors students in good standing are eligible to apply for these additional funding opportunities each year.

Can I defer my enrollment in Honors?

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

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.

Is there an Honors housing option?

Yes, there is! The Honors Living Learning Community can be a great way to meet fellow Honors students and begin to form a community, whether you’re a first-year or an upperclassman. We also have plenty of students who choose not to live in the Honors LLC, but they are still invited to attend some events there and have a lot of fun in their own living communities. Check out the Housing and Food Services website for more information about all the housing options available.

Will I get to register early if I am in the Honors Program?

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.

How do I submit my recommendation?

The UW Honors Program does NOT accept letters of recommendation as part of our admissions processes.

My question was not answered here! Who can I talk to for more information?

You are welcome to email us at with additional questions.

I have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact my UW/UW Honors application?

Please see the COVID-19 FAQ provided by the UW Office of Admissions. The UW Honors Program will follow the policies and communications outlined there.

First-year FAQs

The University Honors Program admissions evaluators do not consider test scores. The Honors Program holistic review focuses on many factors, including:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in our specific interdisciplinary curriculum and values;
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness or unique perspectives or experiences;
  • Demonstrated academic preparation and strong performance in courses; and 
  • Demonstrated commitment to community engagement.

See more about the UW’s test policies here.

Why is UW Honors not considering test scores in application evaluations?

This decision brings our admissions policies in line with the Honors Program values and with a growing body of research indicating these scores create barriers for some students. As outlined in the UW’s June 11, 2020 announcement, “UW admissions officers have studied results and outcomes for several years and found standardized test scores have little correlation with success at the UW, particularly for Washington residents…Research also indicates that requiring test scores for admission can create barriers, both real and perceived, for students from low-income backgrounds, students of color and women at a time when it is critical that we expand access to higher education to all.”

I am trying to apply to the UW Honors Program, but I cannot find that part of the online application—what am I doing wrong?

The Honors portion of the first-year application is embedded within the UW application. You will be able to access the Honors Program section of the UW application only if you toggle the button labeled “Would you like to apply for admission to the UW Honors Program (Interdisciplinary Honors)?” after the main UW writing section. This will open the Honors Program essay prompt. If you change your mind and do not want to apply for Interdisciplinary Honors, change your answer to “No.”

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 first-year admissions page for more dates.

Do you participate in Early Decision?

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

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.

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 to UW via the MyUW portal; unfortunately at this time your Honors Program application is not reflected in the MyUW portal. You will also receive emails from both UW and from the Honors Program confirming receipt of your application, and 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 first-year admissions page.

X wonderful school 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. All first-year applicants admitted to the UW Honors Program are considered for these merit scholarships—there is no separate application for scholarships—and those offers are included with our offer of admission to the Honors Program. For 2024: Scholarship offers will be sent separately from our offer of admissions to the Honors Program, due to the delay in access to FAFSA information. Please do not contact us inquiring about scholarships, all Honors applicants are considered.

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

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

I was just admitted to UW off of the UW Waitlist, and I haven't heard from the Honors Program yet with an admissions decision. When can I expect to hear from you?

Congratulations on being admitted to UW! UW Honors gets notified of your admission off of the UW Waitlist around the same time that you do, and we then begin the review of your Honors application. It can take us a few weeks to finalize our decision and communicate it to you, so please be patient and we will email you our decision as soon as we are able to. We likely won’t be able to notify you within our standard notification window, but will do so as soon as we are able to.

I decided I do not 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.

I submitted the UW application but forgot to apply to Honors. What should I do?

If you’ve already applied to UW and still want to apply to the Honors Program complete the Honors essay and send it to the Honors Program by the UW deadline of November 15. Honors will match that essay to your UW application. Follow the below instructions on formatting your materials and email them to

  • Save a copy of your UW application as a PDF.
  • Save a copy of your Honors essay as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF. Include your name at the top of document and the essay prompt above the essay.
  • Send both directly to the Honors Program ( prior to the UW deadline of November 15th.

Second-Year & Transfer FAQs

When will I apply to Honors, find out if I'm admitted, and begin classwork?

Second-Year applications are due before the start of spring quarter each year; check our website for the link to the application and this year’s due date. Admission decision notifications will be sent mid-Spring quarter. We aim to send these notifications in time for autumn quarter registration, so new Honors students can plan their coursework accordingly. Second-Year admits will begin Honors coursework in autumn of their second-year at UW by taking HONORS 100, our introductory seminar. This course can be taken in conjunction with another Honors core course of the student’s choosing. Transfer applications are due three Fridays before the start of each quarter; check our website for the link to the application and this quarter’s due date. Admission decision notifications will be sent no later than the first day of each quarter. Transfer admits typically begin Honors coursework the quarter they are admitted to the Program. Transfer admits will enroll in HONORS 100, our introductory seminar, the first autumn quarter after enrolling in Honors and the UW.

Can I take an Honors class before being formally in the Program?

Students who are active in the Honors Program have priority registration for Honors courses, but all UW students are welcome to take Honors courses on a space-available basis. Email to ask about this possibility. Second-Year applicants may be interested in taking an Honors class during their first year at UW as a way to experience the learning environment fostered by the Program before applying.

Will I be 'behind' since I'm starting Honors coursework after other students?

This is a common concern, but don’t worry! We wouldn’t accept students to Honors via these admissions processes if we weren’t confident they could complete the Program in good time to graduate. Second-Year and Transfer students may have additional priorities they are balancing (like being in an academic major, perhaps), making close collaboration with our academic advisers vital for these students. Our advisers are available to help all students assess their priorities and make plans to accomplish their academic and professional goals while in the Program. Also, remember that if you’ve already completed the majority of your general education requirements and feel ready to launch into your discipline of interest, you may find that Departmental Honors is a great option, either in conjunction with or in lieu of Interdisciplinary Honors. This is another great conversation to have with our advisers, who can help you identify which Honors pathway is best for you and your goals.