Honors Program Information
The final application deadline is March 1, but the Honors Program begins receiving applications in October for the November 1, December 1, and February 1 early deadlines.
The selection process is very competitive, and only a limited number of scholarships are available: only 63 percent were accepted in 2016. It is wise to take the SAT and ACT multiple times to increase your scores and apply early (between October and March).
Not everyone does extremely well on standardized testing, but if you work hard and make good grades your first semester of college (12 hours completed with grades), then you could qualify for the Honors Program as a transfer or LU student if you have a cumulative GPA of 3.50. However, for the last several years, the Honors Program has only accepted LU students with nearly a 4.0 GPA and fewer than 60 hours.
National Merit Scholarships
The designation of National Merit Finalist, Semifinalist, or Commended is based on high PSAT scores taken your junior year in high school. National Merit Finalists represent the top half of the top one percent of all high school seniors. Commended students represent the top three percent. The Honors program awards a limited number (50) of these scholarships per year. Historically, we have never turned away a finalist. Commended students should apply early for best results. A photocopy of a letter or certificate from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation must accompany the application to be eligible for consideration of this award. For more information on the National Merit Program, visit their website for further details: www.nationalmerit.org.
International students must have a 3.50 GPA, and they are encouraged but not required to take the SAT. In addition, for international students only, we will accept Honors applications by email or fax: emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (434) 582-2728. In total, the Honors Program has 26 international students from 13 countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Paraguay, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.
With the exception of the Senior Honors Thesis (HONR 495), Honors students do not need to take any additional courses. The Honors seminars (100-200 level) are classes that you would normally take anyway, but the Honors sections have a much smaller student-professor enrollment (15:1) and are discussion-driven rather than straight lecture. The classes do provide a moderate challenge, but most gifted students welcome the opportunity for growth and enrichment in their classes. Full-time students take between 12-18 hours of college credits, but for the first semester in the Honors Program, we recommend taking only 12-15 hours.
We currently have 21 Honors students who are also varsity athletes in a variety of men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports: football, basketball, track, tennis, cross country, softball, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, golf, field hockey, and cheerleading. 43 Honors students are involved in club sports: hockey, equestrian, wrestling, crew, snowboarding, disc golf, gymnastics, figure skating, archery, cycling, frisbee, beach volleyball, racquetball, triathlon, rock climbing, and Taekwondo.
Many of our Honors students are also highly involved in campus activities and organizations and still graduate in four years from the Honors Program.
Honors alumni include a 5-time Jeopardy champion, an NFL football player, an MLB-drafted Academic All-American, the first female student government president, several Champion newspaper editors, the Big South Player of the Year in women’s soccer, and nationally-ranked Debaters and Quiz Bowl players.
Honors students who enter the program as freshmen will need to take 8 Honors seminars their first two years of college. Sophomores entering the program will need four Honors seminars. Juniors will need two Honors seminars. As long as you have enough general education courses left to take to meet those requirements, your CLEP credits should not hinder you from doing well in the Honors program.
Many of our best Honors students come from homeschool backgrounds. Like public and private school students, though, you still need to have a 1330 SAT or 28 ACT and a 3.50 GPA in high school. However, relatives (including parents) cannot write letters of recommendation. Your letters must be from non-relatives who know you in some sort of educational capacity, such as:
- pastors, assistant pastors, youth pastors, or Sunday school teachers
- scouting leaders, coaches, tutors, or music instructors
- employers or leaders in charitable organizations
Transfer and LU Students
The Honors Program welcomes many students from community colleges, state universities, sister Christian colleges, and current LU students, as long as you have a minimum of 12 hours of college credits (with grades) and at least four semesters of college remaining with a cumulative college GPA of 3.50. However, if you have earned over 60 hours of college credit, it is too late to apply to our Honors Program.
Petition for Honors Credit
Once students complete their lower-division Honors seminars, they take three upper-division Honors petition courses in their major, beginning their junior year. A petition course is an opportunity for an Honors student to study more deeply via an independent-study, learning contract that is agreed upon between the student and the professor. Well-crafted petition projects should promote independence, freedom, and moderate challenge for the Honors student and involve an advanced level of creativity, problem-solving, and/or critical thinking. Ideally, petition projects should contribute toward the research needed for the Senior Honors Thesis.
Senior Honors Thesis
The Senior Honors Thesis is the capstone project that seniors complete after two to three years of advanced study. The purpose of this course (HONR 495) is to give Honors students an opportunity to research a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a committee of two senior faculty members and the Honors director.
Completion of the senior Honors thesis enables Honors students to have a well-researched writing sample in their interest area and major field of study that can be submitted when making application to graduate schools, law and medical schools, and seminaries.