Application FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Admissions for Freshman

Admissions Statistics

2019 Statistics

2019 Incoming Freshmen

  • Total applications: 5,206
  • High school GPA (middle 50%): 3.87-3.99
  • SAT (middle 50%): 1380-1530 out of 1600
  • ACT (middle 50%): 32-35
  • Residency:
    • WA residents: 58.5%
    • Non-WA residents: 38.5%
    • International: 3%

Additional stats for 2019 coming soon!

2018 Statistics

2018 Incoming Freshmen

  • Total applications: 4,172
  • Admitted to Honors: 1167
  • Enrolled in UW Honors: 244
  • High school GPA (middle 50%): 3.83-4.00
  • SAT (middle 50%): 1370-1510 out of 1600
  • ACT (middle 50%): 31-35
  • Residency:
    • WA residents: 57.1%
    • Non-WA residents: 40.1%
    • International: 2.78%

Top Prospective Majors for 2018

  1. Computer Science
  2. Pre Major (Arts & Sciences)
  3. Business Administration
  4. Pre Health Sciences
  5. Bioengineering
  6. Biology (General)
  7. Neurobiology
  8. Biology (Molecular, Cellular & Develop)
  9. Biochemistry
  10. Computer Engineering

Top Majors for Current Honors Students for 2018

  1. Computer Science
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Business Administration
  4. Bioengineering
  5. International Studies (General)
  6. Political Science
  7. Computer Engineering
  8. Tie: Biology (Molecular, Cellular & Develop) / Environmental Studies
  9. Law, Societies, and Justice
  10. Tie: Human Centered Design and Engineering / Neurobiology / Physics

2017 Statistics

2017 Incoming Freshmen

  • 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 for 2017

  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

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 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 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.

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. 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 2018 freshmen are a 3.83-4.00 high school GPA and a 1370-1510 SAT composite, and transfer and Second Year applicants must demonstrate a 3.3 minimum cumulative college GPA. However, we also place high value on a student’s understanding of and desire for an interdisciplinary liberal arts education such as that offered in our curriculum.

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. Freshman applicants will simultaneously submit the Honors Program application as a part of the UW Freshman 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 Freshman or Transfer applications to the UW itself.

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.

May I write my application essays in a foreign language?

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

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.

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 communicate with the professor prior to your visit to make sure it is an appropriate time to observe the course. We also recommend you make time to visit a non-Honors course. 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.

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

Yes, absolutely! Fill out our prospective student appointment form and we will direct you to one of our academic staff.

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. 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 Spring quarter.

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 is located in Terry Hall for the 2018-19 year, and can be a great way to meet fellow Honors students and begin to form a community, whether you’re a new freshman 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 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?

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.

How do I submit my recommendation?

The UW Honors Program is NOT requiring OR accepting letters of recommendation as part of our admissions processes . In previous years, this was a requirement, however that is no longer the case.

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

You are welcome to email us at 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 during the academic year, and Monday through Thursday, 9am to 4pm during summer quarter. We are not open on the weekends.

Freshman FAQs

My GPA and test scores are lower than your publicized midranges - 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.

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?

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.

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.

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 via the MyUW 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.

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.

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.

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 are no longer able to edit your UW application because it has already been submitted and you did want to apply to the Honors Program, you can complete the essays and send them to us. Any Honors application materials submitted on paper must include a copy of your entire UW application and be sent directly to the Honors Program office, which is separate from UW Admissions. You can print the entire UW application double-sided, if possible. Mail must be postmarked before the UW application deadline.
University of Washington Honors Program
211 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352800
Seattle, WA 98195-2800

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-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 two 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 actively 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. Simply contact an Honors adviser 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 to join.

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.