The Honors College at Washington Adventist University strives to provide high achieving students with the opportunity to engage in and explore subject material in greater depth and breadth, inspiring them to excel as independent learners within a collaborative learning community.
First things first: the Honors College differs from an ‘honors program’ in several ways, the most important being that the Honors College offers degree options. Students in the WAU Honors College can earn customizable degrees that enable them to focus on what they want to focus on. Students who know exactly what they want to study will find themselves right at home at the Honors College. But students who have a lot of interests and who may not want to limit their academic focus can add an interdisciplinary degree through the Honors College — a degree where the student can choose which courses they take from a large list of options.
We also emphasize learning-on-location, giving students the opportunity to study in Washington, D.C. as well as at our sister institution Newbold College of Higher Education in the United Kingdom. The Honors College also focuses on service learning by requiring students to participate in activities that serve communities at university, local, national and international levels.
And here is an important point: the Honors College curriculum is designed to work with any field of study, including pre-professional programs such as pre-medicine or pre-law. Because our program is flexible, interdisciplinary, and customizable we welcome students with any major. You can explore some of our unique curriculum options here. And be sure to explore how you can gain value-added experiences through our Center for Law and Public Policy, the Center for Global Programs, our Model United Nations program, and the David Jones Research Center. There really is something for everyone at the WAU Honors College. We are unique among Adventist colleges and universities and we are very proud of that.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE HONORS COLLEGE?
Admission to the Honors College is competitive and based on a limited number of openings each year. The criteria for eligibility is established and reviewed by the Honors Council.
Most successful applicants will have a cumulative high school GPA of at least 3.5 and a minimum SAT score of 1170 (out of 1600) or a minimum ACT score of 23 (approximately 70th percentile of those who take the tests using 2016 percentiles). There may be cases, however, where a student may have a GPA higher and a lower test score, or a higher test score and a lower GPA. In those instances, please use the chart below to determine automatic eligibility:
Students who do not fit into this chart are still encouraged to apply, but are not automatically eligible. For instance, a student with a GPA of 3.0 and an SAT score of 1350 would not meet automatic eligibility, but could be a successful applicant.
In instances where SAT or ACT scores are lower than typically accepted, strength of the reading and writing scores are an important factor, as higher reading and writing scores tend to be more reflective of success in the Honors College curriculum than math scores.
Applications will not generally be successful if the GPA is below 3.5 and is combined with an SAT score below 1110, or an ACT composite score below 21, though exceptional cases may merit consideration.
To help us consider students who do not automatically eligible, applicants may be asked to submit academic writing samples as part of the admissions review process, and feedback based on the writing samples will be added to the numerical data derived from GPA and test scores.
Students may reapply after one semester of college attendance if the college GPA is at least 3.4 based on a full academic load, or if they meet the criteria to be accepted into Phi Eta Sigma (the Freshman honors society). Applicants already in college will be assessed not only by GPA, but also on strength of course schedule and extra-curricular activities.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN HONORS COLLEGE STUDENT?
Being an Honors College student means:
- You will attend honors-designated interdisciplinary courses that fulfill your general education requirements, and are designed to be provocative, interesting, and stimulating
- You will have access and exposure to Washington Adventist University’s finest professors
- You will participate in smaller classes – honors courses will consist of 20 or fewer people, allowing the opportunity to have thoughtful discussions and to make social connections with fellow honor students
- You will learn through activities such as study tours, concerts, plays, and exhibits while fulfilling your general education requirements
- You will conduct research and attend presentations at national institutions within the Washington, D.C. area
- You will engage in a learning environment surrounded by the most motivated and thoughtful students who want to be challenged to expand their minds
- You will develop an honors project or thesis, thus enhancing professional opportunities or admission to graduate or professional schools
- You will challenge yourself to grow as a person through leadership and service
- You will earn an Honors Interdisciplinary Degree that will be included on your official transcripts.
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR ME IN MY FIRST YEAR IF I AM IN THE HONORS COLLEGE?
Honors general education classes that help you finish your required courses more quickly. The main difference in your first year is the courses that you take for your general education requirements. For example, rather than taking the traditional English 101 class, Honors students take a course called Honors Rhetoric. This not only covers the ENGL101 requirement, it also covers the COMM105 requirement — both requirements are covered with one class. During your first year you will also enroll in Honors Seminar, a class for ALL Honors College students, not just Freshman, meaning this class introduces you to all the Honors students on campus. Finally, you will enroll in a course called Biblical and Classical Roots, a required Honors course that is best to take during your first year. Those three classes give you 6 credits and you fill the rest of your schedule with courses from your major area of study or other general education requirements and you can choose those classes with the help of your major advisor.
DOES THE HONORS COLLEGE COST MORE?
Not in terms of your general tuition. There are ‘Honors’ lab fees that are associated with some of the Honors College classes, but the overall program does not cost more. The lab fees go toward some of the extra curricular programming offered through the Honors College. We can walk you through these fees at anytime, so please feel free to contact us.
CAN I MAJOR IN ANY AREA AND STILL BE IN THE HONORS COLLEGE?
This one is easy: absolutely. In fact, one of the things we are most proud of at the Honors College is that our students come from a wide variety of subject areas. This past year, our single largest ‘major’ area was Biology, followed by areas such as Music, Political Studies, English, History, Psychology, Business, and Computer Science. Because the Honors College focuses on interdisciplinary study, it attracts majors from all over campus.
CAN I STUDY ABROAD AND BE PART OF THE HONORS COLLEGE?
COVID has complicated this, but under normal circumstances…definitely. In fact, it’s required (well, almost). In addition to traditional year abroad programs through organizations like Adventist Colleges Abroad, the Honors College strongly suggests that students take Honors courses that are taught…in England. Each year the Honors College offers courses in literature and history at Newbold College just outside of London. Just after the conclusion of the academic year at WAU, students are able to take classes at Newbold — and because we offer courses on a rotating basis, students can attend our Newbold classes three time with new courses each year. While it is possible to complete the Honors College curriculum without attending a session in England, the vast majority of our students choose to go. Study near London two or three times doesn’t sound to bad, does it? (COVID Update: our Newbold sessions will not take place in May 2021, but plans in being prepared for an overseas experience in May 2022).
I HAVE A COUPLE MORE QUESTIONS, WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?
We love questions and we love providing answers. If you have more questions, please contact Professor Bradford Haas, the Honors College Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Professor Jonathan Scriven, the Honors College Associate Director (email@example.com). You can also send general inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will be happy to answer your questions.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Students who meet the eligibility criteria and have been accepted for regular admission to Washington Adventist University are encouraged to submit an application to enter into the Honors Program. If you have questions, email us at email@example.com.