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Approximately 220 high-achieving entering first-year students are enrolled as Track I Honors Scholars each year. These students participate in four years of Honors study in any major offered at the university. They take General Education courses that are designated Honors; select additional Honors courses, Honors seminars and Honors option courses; and complete an Honors capstone project. Track I Honors Scholars are required to complete 27 credit hours of Honors work and maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25. In recognition of their distinguished record in Honors, students who successfully complete the program are designated Honors Scholars in the commencement program and on their transcripts and diplomas.

Learn more about the Track I Honors curriculum


Early action
Deadline Extended
Nov. 15, 2019

Regular decision: 
Jan. 22, 2020


Admission Criteria

Application review of early action applicants is completed by mid-January. Application review of regular decision applicants is completed by early March. All early action and regular decision applicants with complete files are given the same consideration by a committee of Honors College professors and administrators. However, a large percentage of our seats are filled by early action applicants.

Your application is evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
  • High school grades
  • Strength of high school curriculum
  • Strength of application essays
  • Leadership, service, and extracurricular activities

The typical successful applicant will have demonstrated the following characteristics:
  • Grades:  Mostly A's and A-'s with no more than 2-3 B's.
  • Strength of Curriculum: 4-5 AP or dual enrollment classes or participation in an IB program
  • Essays:  These short answer essays are evaluated for coherent arguments, appropriate word choices, and should sufficiently address the question prompts. Applicants are especially encouraged to submit essays that show evidence of scholarship, creative endeavors, service, leadership, personal reflection, and collaboration. Please write your essays off-line before copy-pasting them into the online application form. Essay responses should be no more than 250 words each.
  • Leadership & service:  1-2 deep and sustained engagements in leadership positions or service activities. (Honors values long-term engagement in a few experiences more highly than shallow participation in a long list of activities.)

In addition, consideration is given for exceptional experiences, unique personal distinctions and special honors, and Governor’s School or similar participation. Self-reporting of SAT or ACT test scores is optional, but not required.



  • Honors early action DEADLINE EXTENDEDNovember 15, 2019 
  • Honors regular decision: January 22, 2020

Applications may be submitted anytime through January 22. However, students who apply to JMU through the JMU early action process have the option to apply to Honors through the Honors early action process by submitting an application on or before the stated early action deadline. Early action applicants who apply to the Honors College after the early action deadline will be considered for Honors regular decision. Completed applications must be received by these dates for applications to be considered. Additionally, some Honors early action applications may be deferred to Honors regular decision if additional application information is needed.


Honors application decisions can be found in the Applicant Center in the MyMadison web portal. 

Honors Early Action Applicants
  • Decisions will be available online in early February. Please note that all applicants' status will be "Incomplete" until all items are reviewed and processed by the JMU Admissions Office.
  • Students must have applied to JMU through the early action process AND applied to the Honors College by the stated early action deadline for Honors.
  • If an Honors early action applicant is deferred by the JMU Admissions Office, the Honors decision will be deferred to regular decision.
Honors Regular Decision Applicants
  • Decisions will be available online in mid-April. Please note that all applicants' status will be "Incomplete" until all items are reviewed and processed by the JMU Admissions Office.
  • Students must have applied to the Honors College by January 22.

Decisions made by the Honors College have no bearing on decisions made by the JMU Office of Admissions. 

Final admissions considerations by the Honors College are made AFTER Office of Admissions decisions have been released. The Honors College does not share admissions decisions with the JMU Office of Admissions.

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