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SIUE Honors Program

About the Program

New freshmen with high academic qualifications are invited to become Honors Scholars. Selection is based on academic history, writing sample and letters of recommendation.

With the help of distinguished faculty and thoughtful, attentive advisors, Honors Scholars can help design a curriculum to explore their intellectual interests. Classes are small and restricted to Scholars. Students can study one or two academic areas in depth, or a variety of courses outside their major.


Admission to SIUE’s Honors Program is limited and competitive; meeting the basic criteria does not guarantee entry into the program.

Freshman-level students who have been admitted to the University, have an ACT score of 25 or above, and have a grade point average of at least 3.5 (4.0 scale) are eligible to apply. All Meridian Scholars are automatically admitted and required to participate in the Honors Program.

Important note: Students who for extenuating circumstances don’t meet these criteria and yet are interested in the Honors Program should apply and explain these circumstances in their application. The Director will consider these applications on a case-by-case basis.

Application Deadlines

  • Incoming Freshmen, for fall 2015 – applications are now closed.
  • Incoming Freshmen,  for fall 2016 – preferential consideration will be given to applications postmarked by March 15, 2016. The final application deadline will be July 15, 2016.
  • Continuing and Transfer Students – applications are not currently being accepted for fall 2015 and 2016 due to program enhancements. Applications will be available for fall 2017.

Application Procedure

All students must submit the following materials to be consider for admission to the Honors Program. All these materials should arrive in a single packet.

Honors Program Application

  1. Transcripts: We will use your official transcripts that you send in to be considered for admission to SIUE.
  2. Resumé/List of Accomplishments: Please provide a resumé/list of accomplishments (no more than one typed page) that highlights relevant academic awards and recognition, as well as relevant and meaningful extracurricular, athletic, community, social and work experience.
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation: Please include two letters of recommendation from high school teachers if you are an incoming freshman, or from college professors if you are a continuing or a transfer student. Letters from evaluators should be typed on school letterhead and should be attached to the Honors Evaluator Form. These letters must be placed by the evaluator in a separate, sealed envelope with the evaluator’s signature across the seal to ensure confidentiality. The letters of recommendation should then be given to the student to be submitted with the rest of his/her application materials (ideally in a single packet).
  4. Writing Sample. An essay is “an attempt,” “a try.” In the late 1500's, Michel de Montaigne invented the form, invented the essay. He wanted to try something: to examine himself and to let his living self shine forth, to let others see him as he actually was. He wrote, “I want to be seen here in my simple, natural, ordinary fashion, without straining or artifice; for it is myself that I portray …. Thus, reader, I am myself the matter of my book.” This turns out to be less easy than it initially may appear. Words, in following things, have a way of freezing things; in trying to show ourselves, we can end up masking ourselves. So, what Montaigne realized was that he had to experiment in writing in order to keep up with himself, a self that was always changing, becoming. His essays are lively and fresh because they constantly change as they try to keep up with the twists and turns of Montaigne’s inner life. Keep Montaigne’s spirit and his aim in mind as you consider and respond to one of the questions below. Please answer one of the following questions with a well-composed critical essay; your writing sample must be typed and must not exceed 1,000 words (and it shouldn’t, except in response to option C, be much shorter):
    1. Describe the greatest failure in your life up to this point and tell us what you learned from it.
    2. Having just graduated from high school and reflecting on the contemporary world today, what class that was not offered in your high school do you wish would be required of all high school students in the United States today. Describe this course and topic to us — what would you read in this class? What would you be required to do?
    3. Red, blue, or green?
  5. The application form, transcripts, resumé/list of accomplishments, two letters of reference, and writing sample should be mailed to:

Honors Program
Office of the Provost
Box 1061, SIUE
Edwardsville, IL 62025

Important Note: If you have applied for the Meridian Scholarship, we will use the essay you submitted. However, if you would like to submit another essay addressing one of the questions above, you are welcome to do so.


Honors students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of Honors General Education requirements. Please see the links below for downloadable forms detailing the Honors Scholars Program General Education Curriculum. Questions about course requirements will be resolved by the Honors Scholars director in consultation with the student's advisor.

Check out Honors courses offered during Fall 2016.

Beyond the Classroom

Exciting opportunities abound for honors students to enrich their experience by getting involved outside the classroom.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities
Study Abroad
Honorary Societies

Downloadable Forms

Honors Program General Education Checklist for students who entered in or after Fall 2012

Honors Program General Education Checklist for students who entered before Fall 2012

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