There are approximately 1200 students enrolled all working toward an Honors Baccalaureate degree in their academic major. The HC offers the benefits of small classes, a residence hall option, student learning centers and personal advising with the research and involvement opportunities of OSU. Demand for entrance into the HC is high and competition strong. We evaluate applicants not only on their academic accomplishments, but also on their level of writing, while considering coursework, extra-curricular activities, and contribution to community. The HC welcomes students from diverse academic, cultural and geographic backgrounds.

Admission to the Oregon State University Honors College (HC) is competitive. Students who are eligible to apply must complete the appropriate HC application.

First-Year Students

Students applying to the HC directly from high school apply by filling out the Honors College application section of the OSU undergraduate application for admission.

* Note: First-year applicants who applied to OSU without filling out the Honors College application section and now wish to apply can do so by submitting the first-year Honors College application here on the HC web site. All information must be filled out even if the questions also appeared on the OSU application.

The fall 2018 application cycle for first-year students is now closed.

Transfer & Current OSU Students

Students who are already enrolled at OSU and wish to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admission should fill out the Honors College current student application here on the HC web site.

Students transferring to OSU from another college or university who wish to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admission should fill out the Honors College transfer student application here on the HC web site.

The deadline for Transfer & Current OSU students to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admissions has passed. The applications for fall 2019 admissions will open on January 1st, 2019. 

International Students

First year International students who qualify and wish to apply can do so by submitting the first-year Honors College application here on the HC web site. All information must be filled out even if the questions also appeared on the OSU application.

Minimum Requirements for HC Admission

First-Year Students (entering from high school)

3.75 cumulative un-weighted high school GPA or

1300 on the new SAT* or

27 on the ACT

*1820 SAT for exams taken prior to March 5th, 2016

Transfer Students (transferring to OSU from another college or university) 

3.5 Cumulative transfer GPA

Current OSU Students (already enrolled at OSU)

3.5 Cumulative OSU GPA 

Honors College Tuition and Financial Aid

Honors College students are assessed "Honors College Differential Tuition" each term. HC Differential Tuition enables the Honors College to provide small seminar-style classes, academic advising, co-curricular activities and other amenities. HC Differential Tuition is currently $500 per term and will appear on each student's billing account for each fall, winter, and spring term that the student is enrolled at Oregon State.  

The HC recognizes that the HC Differential Tuition associated with enrollment in the Honors College can present a financial challenge for some students. Honors students who are unable to pay the differential tuition in a specific term can apply for a HC Differential Tuition Grant.

HC Application Process




a 400-500 word essay response to the prompt below



extracurricular activities with personal or community impact



AP & IB courses
and/or college credits



official transcripts and test scores to Oregon State University


HC Application Checklist

  1. Identify which type of HC applicant you are and make sure you meet the minimum HC application criteria.
  2. Apply to the HC either on the OSU application (first-year students) or on the HC web site (current OSU students and transfer students). On the HC application you will be asked to provide: 
    • A written response to the HC essay question (450-500 words). Note: Essay questions are updated each year. See below for this year’s essay question.
    • A written description of up to three extracurricular activities that have had a significant impact on you and/or your community.
    • A list of AP, IB, or college credits you have completed, are taking, or plan to take.
    • Optional: Additional circumstances that should be known by the HC selection committee but have not been shared in another section of this application.
    • There is no fee to apply to the Honors College
  1. Verify that the OSU Office of Admissions receives official transcripts and SAT/ACT test scores (first-year students only).
  2. Check your e-mail regularly. The HC will communicate with you via e-mail with questions or important updates.

*All admitted students will be considered for HC scholarships. If admitted, you may be asked to provide additional information to be used in the scholarship selection process.


HC Admission Selection Process

Though similar, the selection process for HC admission is separate from admission to the university. Due to enrollment constraints, HC selections are extremely competitive. While many applicants meet the minimum criteria for HC admission, not all of them will be offered admission.

Selection criteria for an incoming first-year student is based on cumulative un-weighted high school GPA, SAT or ACT scores, plus a response to the essay question. The essay response is weighed equally with GPA and test scores, so give special consideration to this component of the application. The strength of courses taken in high school, as well as personal or academic attributes that will enrich the Honors community, may also be considered.

For college transfers or current OSU students, selection criteria are based on the applicant's college GPA and the essay response. Personal or academic attributes that will enrich the Honors community are also considered.

2017 Admitted HC Student- Average Statistics

3.93 cumulative un-weighted high school GPA 

1380 on the SAT 

31 on the ACT

3.85 cumulative transfer or OSU GPA

Dates & Deadlines

First-Year Applicants

Early round application submission dates: July 25th - November 1st

Early round HC admission decision date: December 31st


Primary round application submission dates: November 2nd - February 1st

Primary round HC admission decision date: March 31st*

*New for 2018: HC admission decisions will be mailed intermittently between February 1st and March 31st. 

Current OSU & Transfer Applicants

Application submission dates: January 1st - March 15th

HC admission decision date: April 30th

HC 2018 Application Essay Question


All Honors College applicants must complete this essay in 450-500 words.

The essay is an important part of your HC application and should represent your polished writing.  While many college admissions essays invite you to share a personal story, the HC essay has a different focus: it asks you to demonstrate your critical thinking skills.  In 450-500 words, provide your perspective on the issue raised in the prompt.  The essay as a whole should address the specific and substantive question(s) posed.  In evaluating your response, we will consider your writing skills and ability to think deeply and creatively.


“There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”

Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero (London: Bloomsbury, 2007), p. 16


The presence of others can have an influence in a variety of works and disciplines. Previous works can provide inspiration, and sometimes foundations, for future creators, thinkers, innovators, and leaders. For example, contemporary social activists and political figures have described Martin Luther King as a source of great inspiration in the field of social justice. J.K. Rowling has discussed how her work draws on the Narnia chronicles by C. S. Lewis. Marie Curie’s work with radium inspired Ernest Rutherford’s experiments that led to the theory of atomic disintegration. American rapper Kendrick Lamar cites Tupac Shakur as a profound influence on his own work, writing, and relationship to his community.


After considering Ondaatje’s quote and the variety of examples above, write an essay in which you:

1) Select one individual* whose work reflects the “presence” or influence of another, and describe how that individual built upon or extrapolated from the pre-existing works, methodologies, techniques, products, or ideas of their influence.

2) Examine the significance of that influence and analyze how it changes or enhances the process or outcome.


*Note: Please do not select yourself or a personal anecdote as the topic for your response. The best response will offer a unique and specific example that will stand out among the many essays the admissions committee will review.


If you have questions contact us at or 541-737-6400