Incoming & Current Student Applicants

The Honors College accepts applications from August 1 through December 1 of each year. Admission is open to incoming first-year students, students transferring from other institutions, and current Towson University students with 60 or fewer completed or in-progress college credits:

Admission to the Honors College is competitive. Honors College students make up less than five percent of the incoming freshman class each year, and the approximately 700 active Honors students represent just under four percent of all undergraduate students at Towson University. Our application looks holistically at an applicant's experiences and considers quality of engagement over sheer quantity, self-awareness and reflection of involvement, and authenticity.

Most Honors students apply in high school and are admitted for their freshman year, but transfer students and current TU students may also apply to the Honors College. To be considered, an applicant must complete the Honors College application for admission. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Enrollment is not available to students who are pursuing second bachelor's degrees at TU. Students must complete Honors seminars at the main Towson University campus in Towson, MD.

Internal transfer applicants with more than 60 completed or in-progress college credits at the time of application will not be considered for the Honors College. Options for TU students with more than 60 credits include departmental honors programs and, for students who have transferred in to TU, the campus chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honors Society.

Admission Requirements

Admission for First Year Students

Towson University and the Honors College are test optional through fall 2022 admission. For the fall 2021 cycle the difference in admissions to the Honors College between applicants who applied with test scores and those who applied without was only 2.9 percentage points, or 5.3%, in favor of those who applied with tests.

First year students admitted to the Honors College in the fall term have historically had these middle 50% ranges in the following elements of their academic profile:

year weighted gpa sat act
2021 4.1 - 4.5 1220 - 1380 26 - 30
2020 4.08 - 4.5 1220 - 1380 26 - 31
2019 4.07 - 4.48 1240 - 1380 26 - 30
2018 4.07 - 4.45 1260 - 1390 27 - 31
2017 4.0 - 4.33 1200 - 1350 26 - 31

There are no minimum criteria that a student must meet in order to apply to Honors. Students whose GPAS or scores do not fall within the above-listed ranges are strongly encouraged to apply for admission. Applications from first-year students are evaluated through a comprehensive holistic review that also considers the following:

  • Course selection and the rigor of the student's high school curriculum
  • Strength and clarity of ideas and writing demonstrated in an essay
  • Engagement and demonstrated leadership in co-curricular and extracurricular involvement
  • An optional letter of recommendation from a major subject teacher

Admission for Students Transferring from Other Institutions

Transfer students admitted to the Honors College in the fall term have historically had these middle 50% ranges of their college GPAs:

YEar College GPA
2021 3.6 - 3.97
2020 3.61 - 4.0
2019 3.73 - 4.0
2018 3.73 - 3.98
2017 3.51 - 3.91

Transfer students applying to Towson University who will enter with 60 or more credits must apply to the Honors College at the same time as they apply to TU, as they will no longer be eligible for admission once they become current TU students.

Transferring students with fewer than 30 credits are evaluated based on the items listed below and on their high school academic record. Transferring students with 30 or more college credits are evaluated through a comprehensive holistic review that also considers the following:

  • Course selection and the rigor of the student's curriculum at the college level
  • Strength and clarity of ideas and writing demonstrated in an essay
  • Engagement and demonstrated leadership in co-curricular and extracurricular involvement
  • An optional letter of recommendation from a major subject teacher or college professor

The Honors College recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of students currently participating in Maryland Community College Honors Programs. In acknowledgment of these achievements the Honors College at TU has developed Memoranda of Understanding with the following Maryland Community College Honors Programs:

Students applying from one of the above programs will be granted admission into the Honors College at TU provided the student meets all of the following criteria, subject to confirmation from their institution's Honors program:

  • Has been accepted to Towson University for a fall term
  • Has applied to the Honors College by the published application deadline
  • Has met or will meet all requirements of their community college honors program prior to transfer to Towson University
  • Will complete an Associate Degree and/or a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits from their community college before joining the Honors College
  • Has at least a 3.5 cumulative college GPA at the time of application to the Honors College at TU

Applicants from a program that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Honors College who do not meet the above requirements are still eligible to apply to the TU Honors College, without guaranteed admission.

Admission for Current Towson University Students

Current Towson University students may apply to the Honors College as internal transfers if they have been enrolled at Towson University for no more than four semesters and will have 60 or fewer completed college credits after the end of the term during which they will apply. Applicants with more than 60 completed or in-progress credits are ineligible except for in extraordinary circumstances.

Internal transfer students admitted to the Honors College for the spring term have historically had these middle 50% ranges of their TU GPAs:

Year TU GPA
2021 3.54-3.94
2020 3.6 - 3.93
2019 3.55 - 3.87
2018 3.69 - 3.92
2017 3.63 - 3.87

Applicants are evaluated on:

  • Course selection and the rigor of the student's curriculum at Towson University (and at the high school level, if fewer than 30 completed college credits)
  • Strength and clarity of ideas and writing demonstrated in an essay
  • Engagement and demonstrated leadership in co-curricular and extracurricular involvement
  • An optional letter of recommendation from a major subject teacher or college professor

Application FAQs

Honors Admissions FAQs

How will my Honors College application be reviewed?

A panel of Honors College faculty and staff review each application on the basis of a number of factors:
•    Essay
•    List of activities
•    Secondary/post-secondary school GPA
•    Rigor of secondary school course load*
•    Standardized test scores (if provided)*
•    Class rank (if provided)*
•    Letter of recommendation (optional)

*Only for applicants from high school or with fewer than 30 completed college credits

Applicants are assessed primarily on the basis of their ability to succeed in the Honors College curriculum. There is no absolute cutoff score for consideration or automatic admission.

I want to apply to the Honors College but I have a low GPA. Should I still apply?

The Honors College strongly encourages potential applicants to apply. The Honors review process is holistic, taking into account a number of aspects of related to the applicant as a person and his or her ability to succeed in the Honors College while contributing as a valuable member of our community. While high school and college GPA are strong indicators of future academic success, we recognize they are only one piece of the puzzle.

I filled out the Honors section of my TU application but submitted it after December 1. Will I be considered for Honors College admission?

No. The deadline for Honors College consideration is December 1. While applications begun on or before December 1 may continue to provide the option to apply to the Honors College after that date, only applications submitted and received by Towson University Admissions by 11:59 pm on December 1 will be considered for admission in to the Honors College.

I submitted an application and want to check to make sure you received all of my documents. Who should I contact?

If you are a new student to TU and applied through the Towson University application, contact University Admissions at or 410-704-2113. If you are a current TU student, contact the Honors College at or 410-704-4677.

Can I submit the same essay for my Towson University application and my Honors College application?

For the 2022 admissions cycle the Honors essay is separate from the TU essay, as the two sets of prompts address different topics. You will need to submit a different essay for each.
 
How strict is the essay word count requirement?

The range between 500 and 750 words is fairly wide, and provides the appropriate amount of space to form and support a clear position in direct response to the essay prompts provided. Any essay much shorter than 500 words will likely have insufficient support for your argument, and anything much longer than 750 will likely be too unfocused.

How do I know that my recommender received my letter request? When is their letter due?

Letter of recommendation requests are emailed to the recipient as soon as you click the send button in the recommendation section of the TU application, and can be sent out far in advance of your application submission. Recommendations can be submitted after December 1. The Honors College begins application reviews in the second week of December, so any recommendations not received by then may not be included in the review process.

I have several teachers who want to write me letters of recommendation. How can I provide you contact information for multiple recommenders?

We will only consider one letter of recommendation in support of your Honors College application. Additional letters of recommendation will not be read.

Can you use the same letter of recommendation submitted as part of my Towson University application?

Yes! The recommendation requested by the Honors College asks for specific information and insight, so we encourage you to ask your recommender to respond to the Honors prompt. Their letter can support both your Honors application and general TU application.

My recommender/high school insists on mailing a physical copy of my recommendation or giving me a sealed recommendation in person. What do I do?

The Honors College strongly prefers letters of recommendation submitted through the online request portal to guarantee the recommendation is correctly attached to your application file. Physical letters can be mailed to:

Honors College
7800 York Road Building, Suite 134
Towson, MD 21252-0001

Please ensure that your recommender includes your full name and the name of your high school in the letter. If your recommender gives you a sealed envelope, please write your name and high school on the exterior. This will help ensure the letter is added to your application file.

My recommender/high school only submits recommendations through Naviance (or a similar service). What do I do?

As long as the letter is submitted by the recommender whose name you indicate on your application, it will be added to your application file and included in your Honors application review.

I provided contact information for my recommender, and now they can’t/won’t write me a letter. Now what?

Contact the Honors College at or 410-704-4865 with your full name and the name and email of a replacement recommender, and we will send them the relevant information to submit a letter of recommendation.

Can my boss/coach/family friend write my letter of recommendation?

Character references, which are what non-teachers submit, are not useful for the Honors review process. We request that your letter of recommendation writer be a primary subject teachers, as our recommendation prompt requests information regarding your presence in the classroom. If you would like someone who’s not a primary subject teacher to write your letter, you must provide a written justification of why that person is equipped to assess your academic abilities.

When will I hear back regarding my application?

The Honors College finalizes admissions decisions no later than the end of January, and all decision letters are mailed out by the middle of February. All applicants receive a decision letter regardless of outcome.

What do I need to do in order to accept an offer of admission to the Honors College?

In order to accept admission into the Honors College, all you have to do is submit your official Towson University Enrollment Contract with deposit to University Admissions by May 1. If you plan to live on campus, you must submit your housing request and deposit to the Department of Housing & Residence life by their spring deadline, posted on their housing application page.

I was not admitted to the Honors College. Can I appeal my decision?

The Honors College does not consider appeals. Every applicant who was not admitted through the admissions process has had their application file considered through an extensive and thorough holistic review, therefore no appeals are accepted.

Entering the Honors College as a freshman is not your only option. We also accept applications from Towson University students who have 60 or fewer credits at the time of application.

Current Towson University students may apply to the Honors College if they have freshman or sophomore class standing – i.e. 60 or fewer credits - and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Applicants are evaluated based upon their academic record, participation in leadership, extracurricular, and community service activities and a well-written application essay.

The Honors College accepts applications from September 1 to December 1 of each year. TU students admitted through this process may join the Honors College for the ensuing spring semester and will receive most benefits of Honors status, although they will not receive a scholarship and most likely will not be able to move into Douglass House mid-year if they don’t already live there. However, they will be eligible to move into Douglass House for the next academic year if they currently live on campus.

Acceptance of Admission Offers

All applicants are notified of the Honors College admission decision by early February and spring applicants are notified on a rolling basis. To accept your offer of admission to the Honors College, follow these simple steps.

1. Review the Honors College scholarship, curricular and co-curricular requirements.

2. Return your Towson University Enrollment Contract by May 1. By submitting the Towson University Enrollment Contract you are also confirming your enrollment in the Honors College.

3. Learn more about living in Douglass House and the Honors Residential Community, and complete your Housing Request by the Department of Housing & Residence Life's posted deadline (usually on or around May 1). Incoming Honors students who receive housing for the fall term are placed in Douglass House if they submit all their housing deposit and forms by the Housing & Residence Life deadline and meet all other Housing & Residence Life expectations.

4. If a freshman, submit your Academic Interest Form. The Academic Interest Form does not include Honors courses, but if available you will be placed in at least one and potentially more Honors versions of courses most appropriate for your schedule. Keep in mind the Academic Interest Form is an advisory document and you may not be placed in the requested courses depending on course availability and other scheduling concerns.