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Honors College



 Apply to Honors College

Note: If you have a 3.4 GPA and have completed at least 45 hours of coursework and three semesters at college or university, you may be eligible to apply for our Honors Keystone program.  Please visit our Keystone page for more information on the program and how to apply. 

Honors College Foundations

Through course offerings and extra-curricular programming, the Honors College Foundations curriculum nurtures the habits of mind, spirit of curiosity, and sense of civic engagement that are at the heart of the Honors College mission.

The curriculum is developmental, cultivating in students the intellectual skills and resources they will need as they advance to the mature achievement of the Honors thesis.

Who can apply to the Honors College?

The Honors College offers an enriched and challenging educational experience for students who exemplify such ideals as intellectual curiosity, creativity, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive.  The successful Honors College applicant typically has an ACT score of at least 27 (SAT 1260) and a 3.5 core GPA.*  However, the Admissions Committee engages in a holistic review process that is not rigidly dependent on these credentials.  Students who believe that they embody the ideals of the College and that their scores do not represent their full and true capacity for Honors education are encouraged to apply. We may seek additional materials should they be needed for a thorough assessment of a candidate’s potential. 

Honors Foundations courses are only available in face-to-face format.

* Standardized test scores earned through December will be considered for both Honors admission and Achievement Award eligibility.  SAT scores are converted to the equivalent ACT score based on the testing concordance in place at the time of the testing date. For core GPA calculation, grades earned in college preparatory curriculum (CPC) coursework are computed on a four-point scale; thus, weighted grades earned in AP, advanced or honors classes are not calculated into core GPA. 

What is the application process and what are the deadlines?

First, you must apply to the University of Southern Mississippi

Once you have been admitted to Southern Miss and have a student ID and password, you may apply to the Honors College. The Honors College application is housed in the Golden Opportunities Scholarships and Competitive Programs system.

This means that your application to the Honors College will also serve as a general application for hundreds of donor-funded scholarships for which you may be eligible.   

Deadlines are as follows:

  • December 1: University Admission
  • January 15: Honors College Application 

Apply to Southern Miss 

What will I need to submit as part of my application?

  • General application
  • Housing Policy agreement
  • One report from a high school guidance counselor
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • Two essays (minimum 400 words each)
  • Supplemental item of your choosing

What are the essay questions?

REQUIRED ESSAYS: You must submit TWO essays (a minimum of 400 words each) in response to the prompts below. Both essays should be thoughtfully and carefully executed. There is no “right answer.”

ESSAY #1: REQUIRED – Please respond to the following prompt:

Many talented students will enroll at The University of Southern Mississippi; but in the Honors College, our goal is to help students become scholars. What does it mean to you to be a “scholar,” and how specifically will you pursue being a “scholar” at Southern Miss?  Please make sure you reflect on your personal aims and ambitions.

ESSAY #2: REQUIRED – Choose ONE of the following prompts and respond accordingly:

i.  One day, you wake up and are told that you must spend the rest of your life in a library, a museum, or a zoo.  Which of these would you choose, and why? 

ii.  Should we colonize Mars?  Why or why not? 

iii. Write a story or essay that includes the following three objects: a guitar pick, a red balloon, and a wicker basket. 

iv. In recent years, TED Talks have become a powerful and popular medium for sharing ideas.  According to its website, TED “is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”  If you had an opportunity to deliver a TED Talk, what ideas, expertise, or experiences would you share, and how would your talk facilitate a “deeper understanding of the world”? 

What is the required supplemental item?

Please submit a supplemental item of your own choosing. This should be something you have written or created that you feel tells us something about you that the other portions of the application do not. This might be a short video, a song or other piece of music (written or performed), a work of art, a presentation, a piece of writing (whether academic or creative), or something else.  

Are there special Honors College scholarships available?

Yes, every student who is admitted to the Honors College as a freshman will automatically receive our Honors Scholar Award, which recognizes the special commitment made by HC students.  This award provides $2000 per year, renewable for eight semesters, for a total of $8000. 

Additionally, upon submission of the Honors College application, students with a minimum composite ACT of 30 (SAT 1390) and a minimum core GPA of 3.5 will be placed into competition for our two scholarships: the Presidential Scholarship and the Discovery Scholarship.  No additional materials are required to compete for these scholarships. These highly competitive awards are intended for students who have impressive academic records and who also represent the ideals that the Honors College embraces: intellectual curiosity, creativity, engagement, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive. Please note that these scholarships are awarded through a competitive process and are not automatically given to students who meet the minimum consideration requirements..

For more information about these awards, visit Scholarships

Next Steps

Please refer to the checklist above for all required items to complete your application for the Honors College Admission. You are responsible for monitoring the following steps to make sure they are complete by the deadline of January 15, 2020.

FAFSA – As stated on the General Application, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for this opportunity. You are responsible for ensuring your FAFSA has been completed.

Admissions and awards decisions will be posted in the portal by March 15. Be sure to log back into the GO System to get the results of your application.


If you have questions about your Honors application, contact honorsFREEMississippi, or call 601.266.4533.

Contact Us

Honors College
Honor House
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Hattiesburg Campus

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