Schedler Honors College High School Applicants

Apply here before January 23. Register for our November 15 (7pm) or January 12 (7pm) virtual preview events hereInformación en español

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Welcome to the University of Central Arkansas Schedler Honors College!

We find that many students do not have a true understanding of what an “Honors College” really is, and with fewer than 7% of institutions in the country having such a program, it is completely understandable! The Schedler Honors College offers scholarship incentives plus a private room upgrade, together valued at more than $25,000 in scholarships on top of the student’s academic scholarship, for every student admitted. All Honors students are given the opportunity to live in Farris Honors Hall, featuring private rooms arranged in suites. Our Travel Abroad Grants (TAG), Experiential Learning Funds (ELF), and Undergraduate Research Grants in Education (URGE) programs provide funding for more than 60 students each year to participate in life-transforming study abroad and undergraduate research or internship experiences.

The curriculum of the Schedler Honors College is not like high school AP or honors classes that are focused on your depth of disciplinary knowledge. Our intentionally designed, integrated curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary learning and provides the opportunity for you to make broader connections between the classes you are taking in college and in real-life, while maintaining your freedom to pursue any major. You will take just one Honors course each semester; and while Honors courses are designed to satisfy requirements that all university students are expected to have, they are delivered in a dynamic and engaging setting that emphasizes student participation and small class sizes. This unique program offers opportunities for student involvement and promotes individualized learning. In the freshman and sophomore year the classes students take substitute for courses in the UCA Core and then in the junior and senior year, students complete a fifteen-hour minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Schedler Honors College uses a holistic admission process that factors in academic performance, motivation, quality of writing, and service and leadership potential. The only minimum requirements to apply are a 3.5 HS GPA and full admission to the university. To apply to the Schedler Honors College, please use our secure online application form linked below and submit all materials on or before the January deadline. Once you have begun the application, you can monitor your status through our secure, web-based information system, and once registered will be able to save your in-process application and return to complete it at any time. If you do not remember you username or password, use the reset password feature at and an email will be sent to you containing your username. Email us at if you have any questions.

Application Requirements (Due January 23)

  • Background and Recommendation. The application asks for background information that should take no more than 15 minutes to provide, as well as the name and e-mail contact of two recommenders. For your academic recommendation, be sure to select a teacher or counselor that is familiar with your academic record and who will be able to intelligently evaluate you on all of the following characteristics: intellectual ability, motivation, maturity, oral and written communication skills, analytic ability, and creativity. For your service and leadership recommendation, be sure to select a teacher, counselor, or other professional that is familiar with your experience with service and leadership and will be able to evaluate you on the following characteristics: leadership, initiative, originality, integrity, empathy, openness, and collaboration. We will contact your recommenders with information about how to complete a recommendation form on our website. Both recommendations are required. In order to submit your application, you must have entered the names and email address of your recommendations, but a short grace period will be granted after the deadline for your references to be completed, so you can submit the application prior to those being complete.  We encourage you to speak with your references prior to listing them and to follow up with them immediately after initiating the reference form being sent to be sure they are getting the request form. This will help identify if there has been an issue with the automated form getting through the school’s firewall well before the deadline.
  • Two Essays. You will be asked to provide two essays. In the first you will address an issue of public service in 400-600 words. It is very important that you conduct research about the Schedler Honors College at UCA before writing this essay. We want to see evidence that you have some understanding of our curriculum and our orientation to public concern. In the second writing sample we ask you to read an essay by Peter Elbow and respond to it in 600-800 words based on a prompt we provide. For both essays, write them offline. Take your time. Research, write a draft, get reviews, revise it, and carry out that process more than once. When you have the best draft you can produce, paste it to the webform. These writing samples carry a great deal of weight in our admission process. In completing the required academic essay, you will already have met the requirements for applying to the University Scholars Program, so consider researching that program and selecting the option to be considered for both in the application.
  • Complete Application to UCA. For high school applicants, you should have submitted all items required for university admission to the UCA Office of Admissions no later than January 23. Please note that you will be required to provide your UCA student ID in order to complete your Schedler Honors College application. UCA Admissions will issue your ID once you have been admitted. We will use this information to verify ACT, GPA, and Class Rank for high school applicants. You may work on your application prior to being admitted to UCA, but we will not review the application until all supplemental items are received by the university and your admission to UCA is confirmed.

Application Review and Scoring

The review of application materials begins in January for incoming freshmen. Once the application, recommendation, admission verification, and transcript data are received, your application will be given consideration by a committee of Honors College faculty and administrators.

Step 1. The first step is to review your academic record and recommendation based on the transcript data you submitted for admission to UCA. Your prior academic record is worth 50% of your overall score.

  • GPA = 30%
  • Class Rank = 10%
  • Recommendations = 10%

Step 2. In the second step a Schedler Honors College faculty member will read and score the two essays you submitted. Once scored, the faculty member will make a recommendation—based solely on your writing—whether to invite you for an interview. Essays will be scored on the following criteria (26% of the total admission points):

Elbow Essay

  1. Shows understanding of purpose
  2. Shows understanding and appreciation of main parts of argument
  3. Provides and analyzes effective example
  4. Demonstrates clear and original thinking

Civic Service Essay

  1. Shows understanding of Honors College purpose
  2. Demonstrates clear, original thinking
  3. Connects goals to honors education
  4. Demonstrates potential for reflective civic action


  1. Mechanically and syntactically sound
  2. Strong and coherent sentences and paragraphs
  3. Use of specific details and examples
  4. Overall flow and organization

Step 3. In the third step the Dean and Associate Dean read every essay as well as review the academic record. Taking into account the faculty member’s recommendation as well as the student’s overall score, they reach a consensus about whom to invite to interview.

Step 4. If you are selected for an interview, you will be part of the fourth step; you and your parents will visit us for an Inform and Interview Day (I2 Day). You will choose from one of two or three dates to be held in February and March. Activities on this day introduce you to our program and provide an inside look at its operation. You and your parents will learn about the academic, residential, and financial opportunities for those admitted to the Schedler Honors College. You will also have a chance to visit with current students about their experiences in the program.

You will listen to a large-group lecture, be asked to complete a quick, on-site writing assignment (7% of the total admission points), and then with three or four other candidates participate in a small-group discussion led by a Schedler Honors College faculty member. This process is modeled after our freshman seminar course (which meets once per week in large group and twice weekly in small group seminars). We aim to give you a good feel for the experience of being in an Honors class. Your participation in the small group discussion will be evaluated (17% of the total admission points) based on the following criteria:

  1. Engagement
  2. Interest
  3. Enthusiasm
  4. Resourcefulness
  5. Adventurousness
  6. Communication
  7. Collaboration
  8. Professionalism

Step 5. Once each I2 Day has been held, the faculty will examine scores of all participants and decide whom to invite into the Schedler Honors College, taking into account your scores in each of the categories described above. The evaluation will also generate a rank-ordered waiting list. You will hear from the Schedler Honors College in early March. That notification will make plain whether you are being offered admission, being put on a waiting list, or are no longer being considered for admission. If you are offered admission, you will be asked to confirm your acceptance to the Schedler Honors College no later than March 15.


Click Here to Apply to the Schedler Honors College