How to apply to the Honors College
The Honors College opens the door to the best of the Northern Arizona University experience. You’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded, ambitious, and curious students; welcomed into conversations with groundbreaking scholars and innovative artists; and encouraged to pursue projects that genuinely excite you.
We know you’re ready to climb higher. Seize your opportunity today.
Spring and Fall 2020 admission to Honors
All student applicants to the Honors College for Spring 2020 and beyond must:
- be admitted to NAU
- have an NAU user ID and password
- have a unweighted HS Core GPA of 3.0 or higher (What is a HS Core GPA?)
- submit the following:
- online Honors Application (link at bottom of page)
- two Honors admissions essays
- resume or list of activities and accomplishments
Please have your essay and resume ready to submit before clicking the application link below. Documents are accepted in .doc, .docx, and .pdf formats only.
A confirmation email will be sent to the NAU email included in the online application, and all future correspondence from Honors is directed to that email.
Please note that if you are interested in applying for Spring or Fall 2021 admission, the essay prompts HAVE changed for that admission cycle. We have posted our new admission prompts for Spring and Fall 2021 below. The Honors College Application for 2021 admission will open on September 1, 2020.
How we evaluate applications Accordion Closed
Admission to Honors is based on an evaluation of the student from a multitude of perspectives. We do take test scores and HS Core GPA into consideration for new freshmen (minimum transfer college or current NAU GPA required), but that criteria is not exclusively used to admit to Honors. Honors applicants for Fall 2019 average 27 on the ACT and 1234 on the Math and Reading portions of the SAT, and a 3.76 HS Core GPA. Honors College applicants must have a 3.0 Core HS GPA.
Important dates Accordion Closed
We accept applications to the Honors College all year (Sept 1->first day of class in Fall), but we strongly encourage you be admitted to Honors prior to February 1 if you would like to live on campus and in the Honors Residential College (RC) (this date allows you to ensure room placement in the Honors College); and April 1 is our priority date to ensure enrollment in our first year Honors seminar. Admission to Honors will continue through the Summer on a space available basis.
Honors Residential College admission policies Accordion Closed
The Honors RC is available on a space-available basis. If you wish to live in Honors RC, please secure Honors College Admission in advance of these dates above. For Fall 2019, the Honors RC filled in June. Also note that application to Honors does not guarantee admission to Honors, nor is application to Honors considered for hall placement in the Honors Residential College. Please plan your on-campus housing application submission accordingly.
Scholarship consideration Accordion Closed
Submitting an application for Honors on or before November 16, 2020 will consider you for one of our limited Honors Merit Scholarships for Fall 2021. Notification of this award is made in late December 2020. For Fall 2021 admission, the scholarship consideration date is November 16, 2020 at 11:59pm.
The length of your formal essays should be no fewer than 500 words each. Your essays should be structured like an essay for an academic class. It will be evaluated both on your content and ideas as well as on writing conventions such as thesis, supporting evidence, organization, grammar, spelling, parallel construction, style, and mechanics. That said, think outside the box as you consider your response. Don’t follow the expected path; don’t tell us what you think we want to hear. Express yourself.
Fall 2020 Prompts Accordion Closed
Please respond to essays #1 AND #2 for consideration of admission into Northern Arizona University’s Honors College. PLEASE NOTE these prompts are ONLY for FALL and Spring 2020 Admission. Fall and Spring 2021 essay prompts will be available no later than July 6, 2020.
- Briefly describe a current local, national or international event that has affected your education and its personal and academic significance to you. Please note that we are not asking for a personal event like participating in an athletic contest, or a class you took in high school, but rather, we want you to consider how a larger event like a national election affected you. Describe how your understanding of, or relationship to, that event prepared you for a University Honors education. Be sure to address what you expect to contribute to your Honors education and how you see yourself growing (maturing?) from an Honors education.
- For Fall 2019, Honors College students read the book How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton in their first-year Honors Colloquium. Ashton describes an exercise in which teams are given eighteen minutes to build a tower out of uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string. The tower has to be able to support a marshmallow, and the tallest tower wins. On average, kindergartners build twenty-seven inch towers and [college] students build ten inch towers. Ashton writes, “The surprising thing about the marshmallow challenge … is not the performance of the children but the performance of the adults. The…[college] students who build a ten-inch tower would have built a twenty-seven-inch tower when they were in kindergarten. Where did those extra seventeen inches go?” (Page 220.) How might school and college reduce people’s ability to create, especially in teams? What other factors may contribute to the difference between the performance of the kindergartners and college students? How has your education and life experience affected your creative abilities? What will you do to tap into the creativity you utilized as a child while a student in the Honors college?
Prompt #2 is a “stand-alone” prompt in that you are not expected, nor required, to read the book How to Fly a Horse in order to craft your argument and support. If you feel you need more info on the text, you can find numerous study guides online. We are not expecting nor requiring essays to include in depth analysis or summaries of the text. Do not over think the prompt or your response to it—we want to see your ideas, not how well you relate them to specific ideas in the text. We provided you with enough of a summary that you should be able to articulate your response.
Prompts for Spring or Fall 2021 Honors College Admission Accordion Closed
- One requirement for completing the NAU Honors College curriculum is to develop and complete a two-semester “Honors Capstone” experience. This Capstone can take many forms, and Honors students typically propose how they will fulfill this requirement in their Sophomore or Junior year. The Capstone is intended to be a culminating academic experience that represents a student’s academic and/or personal interests and/or goals and ambitions. What sort(s) of culminating academic experience have you had in your life thus far? How has that experience “defined” you, and how has that continued to shape your own aspirations? How does it inform your interest in pursuing an Honors education at college?
- In her article, “The Problem with Being Perfect,” Olga Khazan describes the nature of perfectionism in the contemporary university classroom. She notes that there are three types of perfectionism: self-oriented, or a desire to be perfect; socially prescribed, or a desire to live up to others’ expectations; and other-oriented, or holding others to unrealistic standards. Khazan asserts that a focus on grades and tangible rewards is problematic and ultimately inhibits potential. Do you agree? Make an argument justifying or refuting this claim. Please use your own experiences and other sources to support your argument.
Please have your Honors College Essay of Admission (prompt above) and resume ready to submit before clicking the “Apply to Honors on-line” link below. This link is only accessible to prospective Honors students who have first been admitted to NAU who have a 3.0 HS Core GPA or higher. Essays should be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .pdf formats ONLY. Not submitting in one of these three formats will delay your admission decision. You are also asked to copy and paste your resume and essays into text boxes. Formatting will not be preserved in the text box, which is why we ask for an uploaded document. The evaluation of the essays and resume will not be affected by the appearance of the text box submission.
Please consider this an opportunity for you to describe yourself to us in ways beyond a record of your employment. This document should help us find answers to questions like:
- What things are you interested in? What makes you tick?
- What student or community groups or organizations are you a member of?
- What do you do with your spare time? Did you play club/school sports? Do you volunteer? Where? How often?
- What leadership positions do you have?
Please note that we do deny student admission to Honors. Should you wish to have your application re-opened for a second review, please contact our office to re-open your application. We also ask that you submit a new essay and a new resume along with a completed teacher evaluation (send teacher evaluation to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other admissions policies
Transfer student requirements Accordion Closed
Incoming students to the Honors College are considered “transfer students” when they are transferring 24 or more semester credit hours (earned post-HS graduation) into NAU and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above. Transfer students must submit an application, resume, and essay for consideration. Transfer transcripts must be on file at NAU for consideration.
Current student requirements Accordion Closed
If you are not admitted for new or transfer admission, you may apply for the Honors College after completing 12 credit hours of letter-graded coursework at Northern Arizona University. Current NAU students must submit an application, resume, and essay for consideration. The coursework to be considered for admission must count toward liberal studies and/or toward major or minor requirements.
Reminder: to be eligible for admission as a current NAU student, you must have a cumulative Northern Arizona University grade point average of 3.30 or above.