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Frequently Asked Questions


  • How do I apply to the Honors College?

    The general UNCW application (for both first-years and transfer students) has an "Additional Information" section that will ask you if you are interested in being considered for the Honors College. Select "Yes." Honors will reach out if we need supplemental materials from you. 

    If you have submitted your UNCW application and selected "Yes" on the question asking if you're interested in Honors, you've done all you need to do thus far. 

    After receiving your admission letter from UNCW, you may receive an email from the UNCW Honors College asking you to submit a supplemental essay. If you are asked to submit a supplemental essay, please complete it as soon as possible. Not all students who express interest in the Honors College will be invited to submit the supplement application. 

    More details are on our application page.

    If you accidentally selected "No" on the question, click here

    For current UNCW freshmen and sophomores interested in applying to join Honors, we have an online application

  • When should I apply to the Honors College?

    We recommend that students apply by the UNCW Early Action deadline, which is usually mid-October. Applying Early Action will allow the Admissions Office to make a decision on your application sooner, which will allow Honors to assess your application sooner. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of being offered a merit scholarship through the Honors College or through the university. 

  • When and how will I find out if I've been accepted?

    Once your complete Honors application is received, including the supplement essay (if you are asked to submit a supplement), the Honors College review team will assess all of your materials. You can expect an email and/or mailed letter indicating your Honors College application decision. The Honors College decision letter and the UNCW decision letter are sent separately. Letters are sent beginning in December and continue through the spring and summer.

    The UNCW Honors College cannot read your application until you have been officially accepted to UNCW by the Office of Admissions. You will not receive information from Honors until a few weeks after you've received your official UNCW acceptance letter.

  • Does the application require a fee?

    There is no fee to apply to Honors.

  • How can I check the status of my application?

    If you apply Early Action (by Nov. 1, 2021) and don't hear from the Honors College by Feb. 15th, you can email us to inquire about your application.  

    If you apply Regular Decision (by Feb. 1, 2022) and don't hear from the Honors College by March 30th, you can email us to inquire about your application. 

    Continue to check the UNCW email that you received on your admission to UNCW for additional information.

  • Are there any required test scores or minimum GPA to be considered for acceptance?

    Beginning in Fall 2021, the UNC System has stopped requiring applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. The Honors College will abide by that waiver as well, although applicants are still welcome (and encouraged) to submit scores if they have them. 

    Since not all students will have test scores to submit, this year the Honors College will more closely focus on GPA, class rank, essays, and letters of recommendation. (UNCW does not require students submit a letter of recommendation, but we encourage students interested in the Honors College to do so.) Standardized test scores and extracurricular activities will be considered after the other metrics. 

    Please note: 

    • You will still be considered for merit scholarships if you do not submit test scores (as long as you submit the UNCW Scholarship Application). 
    • In the application process, if you feel your test scores are reflective of your academic ability, you can choose to submit them. If you do not have scores available or choose not to submit them, your application will not be negatively affected. If you submit both the SAT and ACT we will only consider your highest composite score. Your highest composite score, or super-score, is the highest sub-score from each section across your test dates.
    • The test score waiver is in effect for students beginning college in the 2021-2022 academic year and the 2022-2023 academic year. Further test score waivers will depend on the guidance of the UNC System. 
    • Submitting test scores can only enhance your application and not hurt your chances of admission. However, if you previously submitted test scores to UNCW and later decide you do not want them to be considered, you can contact admissions@uncw.edu to note that on your application. 
    • Please see the Office of Admissions website and FAQ for additional information.

    We do not pre-set a specific test score or GPA for acceptance to Honors. The Fall 2021 Honors first-year class has the following characteristics:

    • Average 4.3 weighted high school GPA
    • Average of 4 AP/IB courses
    • Typically in the top 15% of their class (for high schools that use class rank)
    • Often have held at least one leadership position, in clubs or at work


  • What is the Honors essay?

    The supplemental essay, or "Honors essay," is an additional short answer essay that many students interested in the Honors College will be asked to write. 

    You will only be invited to submit this essay after you have received your general acceptance letter from the UNCW Office of Admissions. You will get an email asking you to submit the short essay (under 350 words) or link to relevant work in an online submission tool. 

    You will have several prompt options for this essay and will also have the option to include an external URL to a project, performance, or any other linkable item that demonstrates your academic or unique personal qualities. 

    You are welcome to think outside the box for this essay. Show us what makes you you.

    If you are asked to submit the supplemental Honors essay, we highly encourage you to submit it in order to be considered for the Honors College. 

  • What characteristics does the Honors College look for in students?

    It's a common misconception that students in the UNCW Honors College (and any university's honors program) will spend most of their time with their noses in books. While we do have incredibly bright and academically inclined students, as a general rule, Honors students are leaders heavily involved on campus: making connections, solving problems, engaging in hands-on learning. Honors students can be found in every student organization from Student Government to the Quidditch team, and that's exactly how we like it.

    When we consider prospective students, the qualities that are important to us are creativity, innovation, passion, and leadership. We want students who think critically, solve problems, and question everything: students who come to class not just for a grade, but for transformative learning. We want students who get their hands dirty. We want diverse students who contribute unique viewpoints to our community of scholars. 

    Your application to UNCW will show us your personal qualities. What UNCW Honors College students have in common is that they are intelligent, thoughtful leaders who want to do good in the world (or change it). When you write your essays, we want to hear how you'll accomplish that on campus and beyond.

  • How many students are accepted?

    We receive hundreds of applications annually. The number accepted and the number enrolled differs from year to year. For example, the Fall 2019 Honors first-year class had 190 students; for the Fall 2020 class, we had 218 students. The Fall 2021 cohort is just under 300 students. We do not anticipate cohorts larger than 300 in the future.   

  • What are some benefits of being in Honors?
    • Personal growth and academic challenge
    • Small classes with lots of personal attention
    • Chances for merit scholarships
    • Special cultural enrichment and study abroad opportunities
    • Interdisciplinary and experiential seminars
    • Early engagement in research
    • Living-learning community in Cornerstone Hall
    • More opportunities for faculty-student interaction
    • Priority class registration
    • Service projects and the chance to make a difference

    Learn more here.

  • Are there scholarships?

    We are able to award scholarships on the basis of merit and financial need to some of our incoming honors students. Between Honors College funds and the Office of Admissions' scholarships, almost half of the Fall 2021 first-year Honors class received scholarship funding. From Fall 2021 onward, students are required to submit the UNCW General Scholarship Application to be considered for scholarships (both Honors scholarships and others at UNCW).

    We wish we could grant merit scholarships to 100% of our incredible students, but they are quite competitive. The awards may range from $500 a year to an award equivalent of in-state tuition and fees. Even if students do not receive an award in their first year at UNCW, it is very common for upperclassmen to receive honors scholarships later on, especially if they stay involved with the Honors College. 

    Learn more about scholarships.

  • Can I study abroad while in Honors?
  • What is the average class size of an Honors class?

    Honors class sizes are relatively small. In 2018-2019, the average size of HON classes was 17 students, with classes ranging from 5 to 20 students. This helps you develop close interactions with the faculty from your very first semester. The most recent course catalogue is listed on our Current Students resource page.

  • How many extra classes will I have to take?

    Students who enter the Honors College as freshmen must take: 

    • (3) Honors University Studies courses (e.g. Honors ENG 103)
    • (1) Honors First-Year Seminar course (HON 110), which will replace the standard required First-Year Seminar course (UNI 101)
    • (1) HON 120 courses (1-credit-hour interdisciplinary seminar)
    • (1) HON 399 course (1-credit-hour thesis preparation class)
    • (1) HON 210 course (3-credit-hour interdisciplinary seminar)
    • 3 credit hours of honors electives
    • 6 credit hours of 499 in the major--the thesis project (e.g. BIO 499, SOC 499, EEL 499)

    This is a total of about 26 credit hours. However, 12-19 of those credit hours will overlap with your University Studies requirements--meaning they are classes you would have had to take anyway. Completing University Honors will then likely require only 14 additional hours on top of your existing course load. 

    Click here for a worksheet that breaks down course requirements for students who join Honors as first-year students. 

    Info for transfer students: Click here and scroll down  
    Info for current UNCW students applying to Honors after the first semester: Click here

  • Can I visit the Honors College?

    We would love to have you as a visitor! Click here to set up a virtual appointment to visit the Honors College.

  • Is an interview required?

    No, the Honors College does not conduct admissions interviews. 

  • What if I don't get admitted to Honors?

    Students who are not admitted to the Honors College as freshmen are encouraged to apply after their first semester at UNCW, once they have established a GPA and gotten involved on campus. We gain many excellent additions to the College this way. Click here to learn more.

  • Where is the office of the Honors College located?

    We are located in Randall Library on the second floor, Suite 2006. 

  • What is the contact info for the Honors College?
    UNCW Honors College
    601 S. College Rd.
    Wilmington, NC 28403
    910.962.3408 (office); 910.962.7020 (fax)
    honors@uncw.edu (email)


  • What if I have more questions?

    Many of your questions are addressed in the Honors Student Handbook. If you have a question that is still not answered, please do not hesitate to call the Honors College at 910-962-2929.