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Joining the Honors Program

Honors Program Admission Guidelines

There are several way to start participating in University Honors Program before or after your first semester at UWEC. See the information below about pathways to join and next steps for those who have received an invitation to honors.

Interested in joining the Honors Program?

Expand the accordions below to view the pathways to join. Contact us at with any questions.

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.

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 1st 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.

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.

Honors & test scores: FAQ

Entering first-year students must submit test scores for automatic admission to the program, but any entering first-year student not submitting test scores may be considered through the holistic admission process (see above for details).

For spring semester admission, the same is true: students must have an ACT or SAT score for an automatic invitation. Interested students without ACT or SAT scores may petition for admission to the program.

Your test scores are not automatically updated for the purpose of Honors admission. If your ACT/SAT score is reported after you have been accepted to UWEC, you will need to inform us that you feel you now qualify for automatic admission to Honors.  

Have you received an invitation?

Join our learning community of nearly 800 highly motivated, high-achieving students from every discipline across campus. If you have received an invitation to University Honors, here are your next steps:

Accept your invitation to the Honors Program

If you have received our invitation to participate in the University Honors Program and haven't already, accept now! If you have not received an invitation, refer to the information above or contact us at  

Accept now

Check-out scholarship opportunities

Look for information about honors scholarships -- including the new Honors Fellowship -- for incoming honors students.  You will also find information about scholarships for current honors students.

Honors Scholarships

You can find information about other scholarships for new incoming students and current students by logging into Gold for Blugolds (requires UWEC login).

The Honors orientation for incoming freshmen was where I met folks who would become some of my closest friends, in addition to other students who I had something in common with. I liked always having a friendly place like the Honors office to go to when I needed a place to study or someone to talk to.

Jennifer Barth History + German
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