First-Year Honors Program

Majors Eligible to Join

Open to all majors across all colleges.

Program Description

The First-Year Honors Program introduces approximately 400 qualified first-year students to the concept of an honors education, gives them the opportunity to explore the University Honors Program as a possible means of achieving their academic goals, and acquaints them with the faculty, staff, and activities of the Honors Program. Students in the First-Year Honors Program may, if interested and qualified, apply for membership in the University Honors Program at the end of their first semester. Students in the First-Year Honors Program have 24-hour a day access to the Jischke Honors Building, complete with lounge, kitchen, computer lab, and wireless access. Students also have access to Honors seminars, opportunities to attend conferences, and the ability to take their courses as Honors courses.

Honors students have a core set of courses intended to help build community. The core is comprised of three required courses: ENGL 250H: First-Year Composition for Honors Students, HON 121: First-Year Honors Seminar, and LIB 160: Library Instruction. Students may take other honors courses and seminars as well. During the spring semester, students may enroll in the First-Year Honors Mentor Program, an opportunity for first-year students to become involved with the concept of research and become active partners in the research process. 

Living Options

Honors Program students have several Honors housing options available, including three different Honors Houses on which only students in the Honors Program may reside, and two Honors clusters on which the majority of the students are in the Honors Program. 

Signing up

Students who have been offered admission to Iowa State University are welcome to apply to the First-Year Honors Program.  The application can be submitted on-line at:   Successful applications will have an ACT English score of at least 24 (SAT Verbal score of 550), and must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be in the upper 5% of your high school graduating class
  • Have an ACT composite score of at least 30 (or 1400 SAT)
  • Be a National Merit or National Achievement Semifinalist
  • Students are admitted on a rolling basis, with priority to applications received before April 1.  Students will be notified of their admission status within 2-3 weeks of applying. 

To sign up for a residential learning community, simply select your learning community preference when filling out your Department of Residence contract in the Housing portal. You can go in and update or change your learning community preference information at any time up until the deadline without losing your “priority date.”


Photo of Emily Wilcox

Emily Wilcox

University Honors Program 2130 Jischke Honors Building