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.
All applications to the Honors College received by 11/15 at 11:59pm will be considered for the Honors College Merit Scholarship for Fall 2023.
The essay prompts for Spring and Fall 2023 Applications for Admission are posted below.
All student applicants to the Honors College must:
- first 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 (minimum 500 words for each essay)
- 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 2022 admission, our application is not currently open. The 2023 Honors Application is now available. We anticipate the essay prompts to change for Spring and Fall 2024 admission. Please check back in July 2023 for our updated prompts.
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) if submitted, but that criteria is not exclusively used to admit to Honors. Honors applicants for Fall 2021 average 27 on the ACT and 1220 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 ->August 15), 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. Our application closes each year on Aug 15.
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. 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. Admission to Honors does not guarantee placement in Honors Housing, as that is done on a space-available basis, so please plan your on-campus housing application submission accordingly. Any questions about Housing in Honors should be directed to Housing and Residential Life.
Scholarship consideration Accordion Closed
Submitting an application for Honors on or before November 15, will consider you for one of our limited Honors Merit Scholarships for the following Spring or Fall enrollment term. Notification of this award will be made in late December. We will consider applications after this date on a “funds available” basis.
Your “essays” 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.
Prompts for Spring or Fall 2023 Honors College Admission Accordion Closed
Spring and Fall 2023 Admission prompts are NOW available through the links below. We anticipate posting prompts for the upcoming academic year 2024 on or around July 1, 2023.
- Essay 1 instructions: The purpose of this essay is to give us a chance to see you think through a problem in writing, and like many problems you will encounter in college classes, this one has no single or simple right answer. A strong essay will have a main point—a thesis or argument—and will support that point through a discussion and analysis of examples and other kinds of evidence. A successful essay will also be concerned with exploring the complexity of an issue, and with recognizing and acknowledging the value of different perspectives. Finally, and in addition to seeing how you think through a problem, we will also be looking at your command of basic academic writing conventions, including organization and paragraph structure, spelling, usage, style, and mechanics. Your response should be, at minimum, 500 words in length. Essay 1 Prompt:
In the now-classic book Bowling Alone (2000), political scientist Robert Putnam uses the phrase “social capital” to denote the value of regular casual interactions to the smooth functioning of society. In that book, and more recently in The Upswing (2020), Putnam traces a noticeable decline in social capital in the United States over the past 60 years, a trend he sees as being dangerous to social and political life. This specific argument raises several larger and long-standing questions: What is the nature of the good society, and more specifically what is the relation, or proper balance, between individual and communal values and impulses in creating and maintaining a good society? How much individualism or even isolation is important? How much is too much? Why? In developing your answer, you may want to discuss examples of highly or poorly functioning social groups with which you are familiar. But please note that this is not a personal essay, so please do not compose your paper in the first person. In other words, please limit your use of “I” statements. Look at social groups as if you were viewing them from the outside.
- “Essay” 2:This “essay” asks for you to provide only a list, without any explanation or justification, of five activities, experiences, or traits that you feel either best describe you or have most influenced who you are and/or your ambitions. You will be evaluated on how you follow these directions and on what you include–and don’t include. Remember: we only want a list, so any explanations of items on that list will not work in your favor. There is no minimum word/page count for this response.
Respond to both prompts for consideration. Please have your Honors College Essays of Admission (prompts 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 student or community groups or organizations are you a member of?
- What do you do with your spare time? Do 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, we ask that you submit a new essay and a new resume along with a completed teacher evaluation (send teacher evaluation to email@example.com).
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 3.3 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.
All applications to the Honors College received by 11/15/2022 at 11:59pm will be considered for the Honors College Merit Scholarship for Fall 2023 enrollment.