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Apply to Honors as a First-Year Student


The University Honors Program values diversity and seeks students who bring a wide variety of perspectives, experiences, and skills to our incoming class. We want to know both that you are curious and passionate about your own interests and that you want to engage with students and faculty from different disciplines in the Honors Program.

*Applications for our Fall 2020 cohort are now closed. We may re-open applications at a later date. Please check here for updates.* 

NOTE: Current USU or transfer students who have earned credit for at least one semester of college courses should complete a different application, designed specifically for their experience.

How to Create an Extraordinary Honors Application

For advice on your Honors application, please review our Honors first-year application advice sheet.

First-Year Student Application Requirements  

Extracurricular Resume

A strong resume demonstrates your potential as a curious, engaged Honors student at USU. Please list relevant extracurricular, volunteer, and work experience completed during high school, including a brief description of each activity and the school years (9, 10, 11, 12) of participation. While work experience is not usually evidence of extracurricular engagement, it can indicate time constraints that limited what a student could do outside of coursework in high school, as well as grit and resilience. We are sensitive to those constraints and value those qualities in students.


  • A file of your unofficial high school transcript.

The University Honors Program is looking for students who have challenged themselves academically, given the resources available to them. Some transcripts speak for themselves; if yours does not, please feel free to speak briefly on its behalf. The admissions committee will evaluate the rigor of your course schedule. If your high school does not offer advanced placement or concurrent enrollment courses (or offers few of them), please submit with your transcript a brief (200–250 word) paragraph that explains your school's offerings and your choices within those limits and/or any necessary explanation of grades. 


  • Two brief, clearly labeled essays responding separately to the prompts below.

The USU Honors Program seeks a diverse group of curious, engaged students with the ability and desire to share ideas across disciplines. Our motto, from the poet Horace, is “Sapere aude” or “Dare to Know,” and we want to support students eager to take that dare. Please write and upload two brief essays that respond to the following prompts (label the two essays with the underlined titles below): 

Academic Curiosity (250-300 words): Describe thoughtfully and in detail one key moment during high school when you became truly passionate about a specific idea, assignment, or activity connected with a class. How and why did this particular moment capture your imagination, and how does this example illustrate your academic curiosity and desire to take our Dare to Know? 

Honors Interest (250-300 words): Take a look at descriptions of our upcoming Honors Experience Seminars and Honors Book Labs. Choose one course or Book Lab that sounds particularly interesting to you, and write an essay describing what you imagine contributing to the interdisciplinary conversation if you had the opportunity to enroll. We are interested in curious students who bring diverse perspectives to our community and who are eager to expand their own and others’ perspectives through civil discourse and conversation. Use your discussion of one particular USU Honors Experience Seminar or Book Lab to show us more broadly what you personally would add to our Honors community.