Freshman Application Instructions

For autumn 2015 admission

The dates and instructions listed are subject to change before the autumn 2016 UW freshman application opens in October 2015.
Important Dates

December 1

UW Application due

January 16

Honors Recommendation due

February 27

Submit your FAFSA to UW (the Office of Financial Aid recommends sending your file no later than February 13th to ensure timely delivery)

March 16-31

UW notification period

March 23-April 6

UW Honors notification period

June 1-July 1

Final Honors waitlist notification period


The Interdisciplinary Honors admission application is included in your UW Undergraduate Application, but has a separate evaluation process with additional required materials. You must complete and submit all of the regular UW Admissions and all of the Honors application materials to be considered for Interdisciplinary Honors.

Getting started


  • Check the box in section 9 of the UW online application, labeled "Yes, I would like to apply to the Honors Program". This will open the Honors section, where you will respond to our essay prompts and fill in your recommender's information. If you no longer wish to apply to Honors, you must un-check this box to proceed.
  • Complete and submit the UW application. Your recommender will then receive an automated email from uwhonors@uw.edu with a unique link to submit your recommendation.
  • Keep in contact with your recommender to ensure that his/her recommendation is submitted on or before January 16. You and your recommender will receive confirmation emails from uwhonors@uw.edu upon receipt.
  • Check your email - UW Honors uses the email address in your UW application as our primary method of contact. If you set up an "@uw.edu" address, it will take priority. The only communications you will receive by postal mail from UW Honors are our final decision letters and scholarship offers. If you have not received the confirmation emails in our checklist, please check your spam/trash folders first, then contact us.

Things to avoid

  • Do not send SAT/ACT scores or payments/fees to Honors - send them to UW Admissions
  • Do not send transcripts unless you are applying on paper for International Undergraduate Admission
  • Do not send any supplemental materials (news articles, resumes, digital media, etc.) - these will be discarded upon receipt
  • Do not send additional recommendation forms - the first form we receive will be matched to your application and any others will be discarded
  • Recommendations may not be emailed as attachments or faxed to our office; we cannot support our pool of applicants through these means in a fair and consistent manner
  • The UW Honors Program has no affiliation with Naviance or The Common Application and cannot access recommendations submitted through their systems. Only international applicants may submit transcripts via Naviance/Parchment Exchange per the UW International application instructions.
The dates and instructions listed are subject to change before the autumn 2016 UW freshman application opens in October 2015.

Honors Essays

The cornerstone of the Honors application is the Honors Essay Section. In this section you are required to submit short essays which are separate from the UW Writing Section. Your responses will be evaluated on content as well as form (spelling, grammar, and punctuation).

Your essays should be original, thoughtful, and concise. Do not copy previous essays from your UW application or materials found on the UW Honors Program web site. Draw on your best qualities as a writer and thinker; academic risk-taking is a core value of the Honors Program, so take some risks and have fun. Tell us who you are and how your story is unique. Work on the essay early, remembering that concise and eloquent writing is both difficult and powerful. Have someone edit your writing but don't let an editor erase your unique voice.

Essay Prompts

Respond to the essay prompts using no more than 300 words each.

  1. The Honors Program’s core curriculum is comprised of interdisciplinary courses, experiential learning, and reflection via a portfolio. Why do you want to make this program a priority for your undergraduate experience?
  2. What person, alive today, would you select to be your university commencement speaker? Reflect on your choice and why this person’s perspective would benefit your graduating class.

Tips for the Honors Essays

  • If you are applying online, write, edit, and proofread your essay in a separate word-processing program before you are ready to complete the application.
  • Remember your audience. The UW is a large and diverse public institution. The people evaluating your application may not have the same political, moral, or religious beliefs you do. Diverse viewpoints are desired in the academic world. Consider this as you frame your essay.
  • Proofread! The UW uses a holistic application review process, as do we - your writing ability is no less important than your grades and scores.
  • Finally, have fun! This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to us. Let us see who you are and what makes you tick. Demonstrate what qualities you would contribute to the Honors Program. Be creative!
The dates and instructions listed are subject to change before the autumn 2016 UW freshman application opens in October 2015.

Recommendation Form

One recommendation form regarding your suitability for Interdisciplinary Honors must be completed by the person in the best position to make such an evaluation. Recommenders may include instructors, mentors, advisers, or employers, but should not be family members or significant others. After you submit the UW application, your recommender will receive an email containing a link to our online Honors recommendation form.

Only ONE recommendation will be accepted - extras will be discarded upon receipt. We will not review your application without a complete recommendation form. It is your responsibility to ensure that your recommender has submitted his/her form.


After submitting your online application, the recommender you list in the Honors portion of the application will receive an e-mail containing a link to our recommendation form on ApplyWeb.com. After your recommender completes the online form, you will be notified via email that the recommendation has been submitted. If you need to change your recommender or send a follow-up email after submitting your application, you must use the ApplyWeb.com website to do so. Your new recommender will then receive an email with instructions on how to log in and submit his/her recommendation.

On Paper

If your recommender will not be using the online submission system, you must fill out and sign a paper recommendation form and provide it to your recommender along with a stamped envelope addressed to UW Honors (address below). Your recommender's written responses must be printed on school/company letterhead and sent with a completed and signed paper recommendation form. The Honors Program will discard any recommendations submitted by mail that do not include a signed Honors recommendation form and/or do not address the short-response prompts listed on the form.

The dates and instructions listed are subject to change before the autumn 2016 UW freshman application opens in October 2015.

Application Checklist

What to expect from UW Honors
When What

After you submit your UW application (due December 1)

  • An email to you from uwhonors@uw.edu acknowledging your application
  • An email to your designated recommender from uwhonors@uw.edu containing a unique link to the online recommendation form

Every two weeks

  • An email to you from uwhonors@uw.edu until we have matched a recommendation to your application

When your recommender submits an online recommendation (due January 16)

  • An immediate confirmation email from uwhonors@uw.edu to you
  • An immediate confirmation email from uwhonors@uw.edu to your recommender
If a paper recommendation form is received (due January 16) and matched to your application
  • A confirmation email from uwhonors@uw.edu to you within three business days

If you are admitted to UW (March 16-31)

  • A decision letter in the mail from UW Honors (March 23-April 6)

If you are offered an Honors scholarship

  • A separate letter in the mail from UW Honors within 1-2 weeks after your Honors admission letter

Mailing Address

Any Honors application materials submitted by mail must be sent directly to the Honors Program office, which is separate from UW Admissions:

University of Washington Honors Program
211 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352800
Seattle, WA 98195-2800