Uw Honors Essay 2012

James Baginski, Director of Advising Services (jbag@uw.edu)
Julian Barr, Undergraduate Academic Adviser (jubarr@uw.edu)

The Geography Honors Program is designed for Geography majors who have satisfied the criteria for eligibility as detailed below and who wish to undertake a major project that requires a significant amount of both independent and group work. A more substantial undertaking than a Senior Essay, the year-long Honors project should demonstrate a high level of expertise in, and deep engagement with, a chosen area of study; the ability to conduct independent research, an aptitude for articulate, persuasive writing, and an ability to work productively in a collaborative community.

By completing the Geography Honors Program, students graduate with a B.A. with Honors in Geography. Students who are enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and also complete the Geography Honors Program receive a B.A. with College Honors. The necessary paperwork for application to the Geography Honors Program may be obtained from and should be returned to the Undergraduate Adviser. For more information on the College or Interdisciplinary Honors programs, see the Honors Program website.

Procedures and requirements for entrance into the departmental Honors program:

1) Near the end of winter quarter or toward the beginning of spring quarter, Geography majors of Junior standing with a GPA of at least 3.6 in at least three UW Geography courses, and an overall GPA of 3.30, will receive an invitation to apply to the Honors program.

2) By the deadline stated in the invitation, applicants must submit a completed copy of the Departmental Honors Invitation Form to the undergraduate advising office.

3) By the stated deadline, applicants must submit a 1-page personal statement.

4) By the stated deadline, applicants must schedule and complete an interview with the Geography Undergraduate Adviser. The interview will pertain to the applicant’s intellectual interests and experiences in independent research and collaborative work.

5) Applicants are highly encouraged to have completed GEOG 315, Explanation and Understanding in Geography, or an alternative course in social science methodology, before entrance into the Honors program. Applicants who have not taken Geog 315 should plan to register for it in the Autumn quarter of their senior year.

6) Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the Honors program in early May.

Requirements for graduation with Honors:

1) Fulfillment of regular degree requirements for Geography.

2) A GPA of at least 3.5 in Geography courses, and an overall GPA of 3.40 or above.

3) Successful completion of three quarters of the Undergraduate Honors Seminar, GEOG 497. This seminar is a three credit course that helps students design, execute, write, and present a research project. It’s a chance for seniors to independently build upon their passions and interests in geography in a larger, more complex project, while forging relations of support and caring within a small group of like-minded geographers. Students learn to help and support others in their work, share and exchange resources and ideas,and give and get constructive feedback.

4) An Honors project, i.e. a paper at least 30 pages long, double-spaced (excluding bibliography, title page, etc.), resulting from substantial independent reading in primary and secondary resources and research on a topic of your choice.

Navigation tip for Autumn 2018: To get to the Honors application questions, you must:

  • Complete the Coalition Profile;
  • Add the University of Washington to your list of colleges/universities;
  • Complete the UW application through the Personal Statement and Short Response section;
  • After the UW essay prompts, click the “Yes” button next to the question labeled “Would you like to apply for admission to Interdisciplinary Honors?”


The Interdisciplinary Honors admission application is integrated into your UW Undergraduate Application, but has a separate evaluation process and additional required materials. You must complete and submit all of the regular UW Admissions and all of the Honors application materials to be considered for Interdisciplinary Honors.

Getting started


  • Select “Yes” next to the question in the UW application labeled “Would you like to apply for admission to Interdisciplinary Honors?” This will open the Honors section where you will respond to our essay prompts. If you no longer wish to apply to Honors at any point, you must un-select this button to proceed.
  • Complete and submit the UW application. You will receive confirmation emails from both UW and the Honors Program confirming your submission.
  • Check your email – UW Honors uses the email address in your UW application as our primary method of contact, including our final decision letters and scholarship offers. If you set up an “@uw.edu” address, it will take priority. If you have not received any confirmation emails, please check your spam/trash folders first, then contact us at uwhonors@uw.edu.

Things to avoid

  • Do not send SAT/ACT scores or payments/fees to Honors – send them to UW Admissions.
  • Do not send transcripts to Honors unless specifically requested.
  • Do not send any supplemental materials (recommendations, news articles, resumes, digital media, etc.) – these will be discarded upon receipt.

Questions? Check out our admissions FAQ

Honors Essays

The cornerstone of the Honors application is the Honors Essay Section. In this section you are required to submit short essays which are separate from the UW Writing Section. Your responses will be evaluated on content as well as form (spelling, grammar, and punctuation).

Your essays should be original, thoughtful, and concise. Do not copy previous essays from your UW application or materials found on the UW Honors Program web site. Draw on your best qualities as a writer and thinker; academic risk-taking is a core value of the Honors Program, so take some risks and be honest. Tell us who you are and how your story is unique. Work on the essays early, remembering that concise and eloquent writing is both difficult and powerful. Have someone proofread your writing but don’t let a proofreader erase your unique voice.

Essay Prompts

Respond to the essay prompts using no more than 300 words each.

  1. The word “Honors” means different things at different universities. Why do you want to be a part of Interdisciplinary Honors at the University of Washington?
  2. If you could pull together any two living people and listen to their conversation, who would they be and why?

Tips for the Honors Essays

  • Write, edit, and proofread your essays in a separate program (such as MS Word, Google Docs, etc.), then copy/paste the text into your application.
  • Remember your audience. The UW is a large and diverse public institution. The people evaluating your application may not have the same political, moral, or religious beliefs you do. Diverse viewpoints are desired in the academic world. Consider this as you frame your essay.
  • Proofread! The UW uses a holistic application review process, as do we – your writing ability is no less important than your grades and scores.
  • Finally, be creative, and be yourself! This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to us. Let us see who you are and what makes you tick. Demonstrate what qualities you would contribute to the Honors Program.


Recommendation Form

The UW Honors Program is not requiring or accepting recommendations for Autumn 2018 freshman admission.

Mailing Address

99.9% of UW Honors Program applications are submitted online. Any Honors application materials submitted on paper must include a copy of your entire UW application and be sent directly to the Honors Program office, which is separate from UW Admissions:

University of Washington Honors Program
211 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352800
Seattle, WA 98195-2800

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