University of Washington Honors Program

Honors Essay Prompt Tips:

  • Honors Essays should add additional information to your UW application – don’t repeat what you’ve already written in your general UW essays. Remember that Honors admissions reviews your entire UW application as part of the holistic review process.
  • Read the prompts carefully and try your best to respond to the whole question.
  • Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear! When students do this, they often end up repeating what we’ve already said about our own program on our website. We want to learn about you and your individual interests – don’t be afraid to be different!
  • Use the space wisely! Take the time to learn about our program, then tell us what excites YOU about our curriculum. How do you hope to engage with what UW Honors offers to further your education and personal growth?
  • Our essay prompts should not be an opportunity to simply list your accomplishments or past achievements
  • Reflection is a core value and component of our curriculum and we are looking to see evidence of self reflection in your essays. Self-reflection can happen in many different ways, but a helpful place to start is to ask yourself more questions that help you dig deeper into the initial prompt. Below we list some additional questions that you may want to consider when thinking reflectively about each prompt and brainstorming your essay responses.

What are we looking for in your Honors essays?

Prompt 1:

Please reflect and respond to the following question, and in doing so explain your interest in the UW Interdisciplinary Honors Program. What is interdisciplinary learning and why is it important to you?

From this prompt, we hope to see students demonstrate that they have done their research and that they understand the program that they are applying for. We want to see evidence of how their values and goals align with those of the UW Honors Program and why they are enthusiastic about joining this community. Here are some questions that may help you reflect more deeply on why you want to be a part of the Interdisciplinary Honors community:

  • In your own words, what is interdisciplinary learning?
  • What do you believe to be the goals and values of the UW Honors Program? How do you individually connect with those goals and values and why are they important to you? (TIP: We don’t need you to summarize our program in your essay, but rather focus on your unique and individual connections to it)
  • Why does interdisciplinary learning matter to you personally? Why does it matter for our broader world?
  • How does interdisciplinary learning show up in your classes, out of school activities, personal challenges, and problem solving? (TIP: We don’t want your UW Honors essays to focus entirely on past experiences, but providing evidence to back up claims you make about why interdisciplinary learning is important to you can be powerful in your essays).
  • Why are you applying for Interdisciplinary Honors (as opposed to only pursuing Departmental Honors through your major)? If you plan to pursue both Honors pathways, explain what you hope to uniquely gain from pursuing a degree with Interdisciplinary Honors.
  • Why is community important to you, and who do you hope to meet in the Interdisciplinary Honors community?

Prompt 2:

The Interdisciplinary Honors program pushes students to engage with their local, national, and global communities through a multidisciplinary lens. Consider a pressing societal concern that impacts and/or interests you. Please explain the issue, your relationship to it, and how you imagine engaging with or addressing this concern at UW?

In prompt two, we are looking to understand not only what issues students are most interested in, but also why they believe interdisciplinary thinking is important to how they engage with their communities around pressing societal issues. Here are some questions that may help you reflect more deeply about question 2 as you prepare your essay:

  • What pressing societal concern have you identified as important or interesting to you? The concern you identify does not have to necessarily be global in scale but it also should not be so niche as to only impact you individually. In other words, even if the issue you choose is more local in scale, we should still be able to understand why societies would be concerned by it.
  • How is the societal concern you chose interesting, relevant or important to you personally?
  • How does interdisciplinary learning enhance your understanding of this issue?
  • How might you imagine engaging with this issue or addressing your interest in it at UW?
  • How might engaging with this issue show concern beyond self? How does it demonstrate engagement with and regard for diverse local, national, or global communities?
  • Societal concerns are often enormous and complicated. Don’t rest on general descriptors; be as specific as you can be in this essay. For example, if you are interested in climate change, and you believe that studying different disciplines such as English and Environmental Science might help to “get the word out about climate change”, we are looking for you to dig deeper. Explain why you’re pursuing communication and advocacy as a solution effort toward combating climate change. How might expertise in these subjects come together to create meaningful change towards the global challenge of climate change and what would that change look like to you?



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