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.
Application Information for Incoming Freshman
Who can apply to the Honors College?
The Honors College offers an enriched and challenging educational experience for high-achieving, highly engaged students. The successful Honors College applicant typically has an ACT score of at least 27 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 feel that they embody the ideals of the College (intellectual curiosity, creativity, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive) and who believe 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 full assessment of a candidate’s potential.
Please note that Honors College admission does not entail specific scholarships, with the exception of the Honors College Achievement Awards. Students with a minimum ACT of 30 and a minimum GPA of 3.5 are eligible to compete for the Achievement Awards.** For information about Admissions-based scholarships for which your test scores and GPA may qualify you, please visit the Southern Miss Scholarships and Financial Aid website.
* SAT scores are converted to the equivalent ACT score based on the testing concordance in place at the time of the testing date. For general freshman scholarship consideration and Honors College admission, only standardized test scores earned through December 2016 will be considered. 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. (Some consideration is given to applicants attempting AP, advanced or honors coursework, but primary emphasis is on core GPA.)
** For HC Achievement Awards, only standardized test scores earned through October 2016 (ACT and SAT) will be considered.Back to Top
What is the application process and what are the deadlines?
First, you must apply to the University of Southern Mississippi; when you have received your SOAR credentials and password, you may begin your application to the Honors College. Click here to start your application!
- December 1: University Application
- December 15: Competitive Programs Application; students who wish to be considered for Honors College Achievement Awards must apply by December 15.
- March 15: Final deadline for Honors College consideration only
How do I apply for Honors College Admissions and Achievement Awards?
What do I need to submit as part of my application?
- General Application
- One letter of recommendation from a high school guidance counselor
- Two Teacher Recommendations
- Two essays (minimum 400 words each)
- ZeeMee Profile (required for Achievement Award Applicants; optional for HC Admissions; see below for more information)
What are the essay questions?
You will write two essays, chosen from these options. Each essay should be a minimum of 400 words.
(1) The Southern Miss Honors College values and encourages intellectual flexibility and a willingness to be open to new ideas, experiences, and challenges. Describe something about which you have recently changed your mind. What changed for you, why did it change, and with what implications or significance?
(2) Names can have a great deal of significance. Some names are rooted in family history; some names have been changed—at Ellis Island, or as part of a process of immigration or forced departure, or by choice; some nicknames bear great significance; some people love their names, some wish to cast them off. Tell us the story of your name—all or any part of it. Where does it come from, and what does it mean to you and for the life you propose to live?.
(3) In Just Mercy, the Honors College Common Reading for 2016, author Bryan Stevenson offers the following challenge: “the character of our society . . . cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” In the future life you imagine for yourself, why and how might you embrace Stevenson’s notion of “true character”?.
(4) Choose one of the following quotations and describe what it means to you, especially as you contemplate your college career:
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”—Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”—Steve Jobs
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”—Gloria SteinemBack to Top
What are the Honors College Achievement Awards?
Students with a composite 30 ACT or higher (or SAT equivalent) who have been offered admission to the Honors College will be allowed to compete for the Honors College Discovery Scholarship and the Honors College Presidential Scholarship.* These competitive awards are intended for students who not only have an impressive academic record but who also represent the ideas 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 awarded to students who meet the minimum consideration requirements.
To enter this competition, apply for Honors College admission and submit any requested supplemental application materials for Achievement Award consideration. Please note that although these are not need based awards, all recipients are required to submit a current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
* For HC Achievement Awards, only standardized test scores earned through October 2016 (ACT and SAT) will be considered.Back to Top
What is ZeeMee?
The Honors College is interested in applicants as “whole people,” students who not only have an impressive academic record but who also represent the ideals that the College embraces: intellectual curiosity, creativity, engagement, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive. In order to get to know these parts of you better, we have partnered with ZeeMee, a free service that helps students bring their application to life. All you need to do is sign up at ZeeMee.com, create your ZeeMee profile, and then copy and paste your link into your application.Back to Top