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Admission Guidelines

Outstanding students join our Honors Program from a wide variety of backgrounds and every major on campus.  Joining Honors is possible as an incoming first-year student, a current student, or a transfer student.

Incoming first-year students

Two pathways for admission for incoming first-year students for fall:

1.  Fall semester automatic invitations

Many first-semester students are invited to join Honors based on scores achieved on the ACT or SAT and their academic standing in high school. You’ll be invited to join Honors if you have:

  • A 28 or higher ACT composite score (SAT 1300+) and high school class rank in the top 5%*
  • A 29 or higher ACT composite score (SAT 1330+) and high school class rank in the top 10%*
  • A 30 or higher ACT composite score (SAT 1360+) and high school class rank in the top 15%*
    *3.95 GPA if class rank is not available
2.  Fall semester holistic invitations

Many first-semester students are considered for Honors admission through our award-winning holistic review process. Since 2010, between 20 and 42 percent of students invited to join the Honors Program at UWEC have been admitted holistically. Any student, including those who do not submit test scores, may request to be considered for invitation through the holistic process. Most incoming first-year students (fall semester only) who meet at least one of the following criteria will be reviewed:

  • A 26 or higher ACT composite score (SAT 1240+)
  • 3.85 GPA or better 
  • High school class rank in the top 10%
  • Rank 1-5 in high school class

Any new first-year student interested and motivated to participate in University Honors may request to be holistically reviewed for admission for fall.

Current students

There are a couple ways for current students to be admitted to University Honors:

1.  Spring semester automatic invitations

During the first week of January, we will send invitations to join the Honors Program to all students who have a 26+ ACT score and 3.66+ GPA their first semester. This option does require that a test score is on file. Invited students work with honors staff and advisors during January to incorporate honors courses into their spring schedule.

2.  Accelerated Petition for Honors admission (first year students)

We offer motivated first-year students an accelerated option to submit a petition with their mid-term grades. This option is appropriate for students without ACT scores and/or those who hope to enroll in honors courses when they register for spring semester. For an accelerated petition, students need to submit a personal statement, a current degree audit, and a screenshot of their midterm grades by November 3rd for a decision by November 15th

The personal statement should address:

  • academic qualifications for honors
  • how the student would contribute to the honors community
  • why honors coursework and program support would positively impact the student’s college experience.

Criteria for admission decisions include the following:

  • the strength of academic qualifications
  • the strength of the personal statement
  • the potential for Honors enrollment to support student completion of LE requirements
  • the potential for Honors to support the student's intellectual curiosity and achievement
3. Petition for Honors admission (2nd or 3rd semester students and transfer students new to honors)

Any interested student may submit a petition to participate in honors starting their second or third semester. Students submitting outside of the window for an accelerated petition should send their materials as soon as they receive midterm or final grades for the current semester, no later than January 15 to join honors for the spring semester and August 1 to join for the fall semester.

Transfer students

Students who transfer in good standing from another accredited university’s honors program or college a institutions will be welcome to continue their Honors education at UWEC. Any honors credits earned will count toward UWEC’s Honors Program requirements.

Other transfer students interested in participating in honors may petition for admission. Contact honors staff at for more information.

Have an Invite?

If you have received our invitation to participate in the University Honors Program, you can accept it by following the link in the email you received, or by emailing us at

I loved Honors, mostly because of the way it enabled me to take time for ‘fun’ elective learning. After over 16 years of working hard to make the most of school, it was so fun to take classes like ‘Fermentation,’ ‘The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln,’ ‘The Multicultural Art & Science of Forgiveness’ and ‘Botanical Beings (Ojibwe botanical teachings).’

Nora Schmidt English-Creative Writing Major and Math Minor
Honors Mentors standing outside the library

Our Scholarships

The Honors Program comes at no extra cost to our students—and we also offer scholarships. All entering first-year students who join the Honors Program receive a one-time $1,000 scholarship. Entering students can also apply for the Honors Fellowship, which is a renewable scholarship for students who are committed to leadership and community engagement.


Honors Admission and Test Scores

Only students who have submitted ACT or SAT scores are eligible for automatic admission to the Honors Program. If you have not submitted test scores and are interested in joining Honors, please email us at to be sure that we review your application through our holistic review process.

If your ACT/SAT score is reported after you have been accepted to UWEC, you will need to inform us to trigger automatic admission—please email us at

More Questions?

Check out our FAQ for prospective students, or contact us at

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