University Honors Program
Applying to the Honors Program: Incoming Freshman
An incoming freshman wishing to apply to the Honors Program must:
1. Complete the online Honors Program Application for Admission. The complete online application includes test scores, GPA, advanced high school and college course work (if applicable), and extracurricular experience.
2. Respond to the required essay prompt.
The application essay is an important component of your Honors Program application, since it is used not only to make a decision on your ability to succeed academically, but also used for scholarship consideration. The following writing tips may prove helpful:
- Use the application essay as an opportunity to tell the reader something personal about yourself — perhaps something different from what is included on your other application materials.
- Tell your reader what you think about the essay topic, not what you think the reader wants to hear.
- Hook your reader with the first sentence.
- Craft a clear and concise thesis statement for the essay and follow that thesis (in content and in form) from beginning to end.
- Focus your thesis(and the body of your essay) on a specific meal; do not divide your focus among too many anecdotes and/or examples, because you will end up writing a significantly underdeveloped response.
- Show, don't tell.
- Proofread your essay before you submit it. As one college counselor at Carleton College reminds, "Formatting and presentation cannot replace substance, but they can certainly enhance the value of an already well-written essay" ("Essay Tips").
- Above all: Be yourself. As the admissions counselor at Carleton College notes, "Don't be afraid to reveal yourself in your writing. We want to know who you are and how you think" ("Essay Tips").
- From Carleton College: "If you are funny, write a funny essay; if you are serious, write a serious essay. Don't start reinventing yourself with the essay" ("Essay Tips").
- From Smith College: "Don't try to 'prove' your intelligence by choosing a topic you think makes you sound smart. Avoid sophisticated words when simpler ones will suffice" ("Tips for a Great College Essay").
In reviewing applications, the Honors Program considers the student’s high school academic record (including grades and courses taken), standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and leadership, honors and awards, and writing ability (as demonstrated in the essay).
"Essay Tips." Admissions. Carleton College, January 25, 2009. Web. May 15, 2012.
"Tips for a Great College Essay." Admissions. Smith College, n.d. PDF. May 15, 2009.