Honors College Essay: Tips, Prompt Examples and How to Write

Writing honors college essay

Writing honors college essay

An honors college essay is an academic paper that students typically complete to establish entrance into an honors college, program, or division. An honors paper seeks to test students’ research skills and focus their analytical abilities on a subject of academic interest. 

Due to the specialized focus of the paper, students benefit from serious attention to the college essay topics, which are vital in developing the essay.

An Honors College essay is unique in terms of its requirements, structure, and background. The purpose of this article is to provide advice on writing and structuring an Honors College essay.

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Which Universities do Ask for Honors College Essay

1. UCI (University of California Irvine) 

The UCI has two programs, the Academic Honors Program and the Honors Program. Both are popular with many members. They are not mutually exclusive, but they have different requirements and different goals.

The Academic Honors Program is for students who want to get recognized by their professors for academic achievement. It does not require an essay but several letters of recommendation from faculty members.

You should not apply to either program if you are only interested in one or the other because there is no guarantee that either program will accept your application or that you will gain acceptance into either program.

2. VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Colleges for Honors Essay

The applicants must complete the 500-word Essay on Honors. The essay should address the following topics:

  • Your interests and goals, especially as they pertain to your intended major(s) and career path(s). How do you feel about being a lifelong learner?
  • Your ideas about leadership, including h
  • How you would define leadership, what your leadership style is, how you would use your abilities as a leader to positively impact your community in and out of college, and how you would lead if given the opportunity.

3. NJT (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

NJT requires you to write an essay and submit it along with your application.

These honors college essays usually focus on your intellectual interests and experiences, using specific examples to illustrate your points. It’s essential to select an area you are interested in and know about. 

You should also pick something that you can write about easily; it will be evident if you are writing a research paper or other academic work instead of an honors college essay, so don’t try to fake it!

4. Purdue University

Purdue University’s Honors College focuses on scholarship, leadership, research, and engagement by integrating residential and co-curricular learning opportunities with academic classroom experiences.

Your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. 

Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay.

5. Stony Brook University

The Stony Brook Honors College provides an exceptional opportunity for students who want to pursue a challenging course of study in the company of talented peers. Your essay should be no longer than three double-spaced pages and should address certain questions.

It is an opportunity to explain an event that took place on any day in history; what would that event be? Discuss why you chose this particular day. Also, as this question, what do you hope to learn/experience by being present?

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How to Write a Good Honors College Essay

Honors college essays follow a formal style with a clear structure. To get your honors college essay, follow these tips:

an essay introduction
  • Think about the prompt and what you want to say.
  • Brainstorm.
  • Organize your thoughts into a logical outline.
  • Write your introduction.
  • End with a conclusion that sums up the main points of your argument and connects those points back to the prompt.

Technically, the honors college essay can be a five-paragraph essay, but it should be more than that.

It should be closer to a 10-paragraph essay, with an introduction and conclusion paragraph that are each about four or five sentences long.

The introduction and conclusion paragraphs should be about the same size. The middle of the essay should be about three paragraphs long, and each of them should be about four to five sentences long.

1. Introduction 

The introduction should have a hook which is a catchy sentence or two that gets the reader interested in reading your essay. Furthermore, it should have an explanation of why you want to go to Honors College: This is usually possible in one sentence. 

Also, there should be a thesis statement. This is usually evident in one sentence at the end of the paragraph. The thesis statement tells the reader what you plan to write about in your essay. For example: “I want to attend honors college because of their strong pre-med program.”

2. Body

Write the body of your paper using transition words to connect your ideas and explain the connections between them.

The middle paragraphs should include an explanation of why you have chosen your career path and why you are interested. 

3. Conclusion

End with a strong conclusion that ties together everything you discussed within your paper, providing important takeaways for readers as well as leaving them feeling satisfied with what they just read.


  • You are writing an essay, not a text message. In other words, please use complete sentences and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If proper English is not your strong suit, enlist someone proficient at it to help edit your essay.
  • Be specific about what you want to study and why. Do not just say that you want an education; tell the reader what kind of education you want and why. This is particularly important if you plan to study something that you did not find at your high school. 
  • The readers do not expect you to know everything about the field you plan to enter. They expect that you give serious consideration to it and explain why you want to pursue it beyond the fact that “it sounds interesting” or “it pays well.”
  • Proofread your essays before sending them in. Errors will distract from whatever else is in those essays and may give us a negative impression of your abilities.
To remember

Things to Remember about Honor Essays

The honors essay is one of your best chances to stand out in a meaningful way from other applicants, so be sure to invest time in crafting a great response.

The admission office is looking for the following:

  • The office wants to know that you understand what makes the honors program special. We have a diverse group of students and faculty who are passionate about learning and interacting across disciplines.
  • What do you think this will mean for you? How will you take advantage of being in an environment that values interdisciplinary thinking?
  • Your accomplishments. Let the audience know your talents. Have you excelled academically? What leadership roles have you taken on, or awards have you won? They want to discover what drives your passion for learning, leadership, and service.
  • Your plans for the future. The honors program will prepare you for success beyond your skills, whether that’s graduate school or medical school, or a career in a completely different field. 

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Examples of Honors College Essay Topics

  • Considering your lifetime goals, explain how your present and future academic activities will assist you in achieving your goals. 
  • Settle for an issue of importance to you, whether it is political, personal, local, or international related. Then, craft an essay to explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your community, and your generation.