Skip to content

CU Honors College

First-Year Clemson Honors Students

Important Dates for Fall 2023 Admission Cycle

Priority vs. Non-Priority Deadlines

Honors First-year Student Application Deadlines (2023)
Category Clemson Undergraduate Application Deadline Honors College Application Deadline (including 2 letters of recommendation received) For Honors Notification By
Priority October 15 (Early Action) November 1 (11:59 p.m. EST) February 1
Non-Priority January 2 February 1 (11:59 p.m. EST) March 15
Visit Your Student Portal Schedule a Visit Talk to a Student Ambassador

The Honors College offers priority and non-priority deadlines for potential students.

Applicants who choose Early Action on their Clemson undergraduate application and who meet Honors priority deadlines will be considered priority applicants to the Honors College. Students who meet priority deadlines receive their decision sooner and are eligible for consideration for the National Scholars Program and Breakthrough Scholars Program

Honors decisions will be released only to students who have received an admission decision from Clemson Undergraduate Admissions. Honors College priority applicants who receive a deferred early action decision from Undergraduate Admissions will not receive an Honors decision until March 15.

Applications completed between February 2 and April 1 are late and may be considered on a space available basis. However, we cannot guarantee that such applications will receive consideration.

Late applicants will be notified of their Honors status on or before April 15. Applications completed after April 1 will not receive consideration.

2023 First-Year Admission Process

Why Clemson Honors?

The Honors College provides many opportunities and experiences to help you thrive during and beyond your time at Clemson – enhancing your undergraduate experience and strengthening your academic, personal, and professional development.

As an Honors student, you have exclusive access to Honors courses and seminars, as well as expanded research and program opportunities that aren't necessarily related to your major – broadening your perspectives in ways that many of our students say create their most valuable Honors experiences. 

In addition to individualized access to Honors facilities, faculty, and courses, you become part of a community that intentionally nurtures friendship, support, and success through options that range from mentorship by peers and leading Clemson faculty to incredible experiential learning opportunities.

How to Apply

Admission to the Honors College is highly selective. Through their high school activities, application essays, and other application materials, successful applicants will show clear evidence of intellectual engagement and vision as well as community engagement and leadership. The Clemson University Honors College selects the best candidates through a holistic review of Honors applications.

Your application to the Clemson University Honors College is separate from (and in addition to) your undergraduate application.

After you submit your first-year undergraduate application, you will receive access to the Honors College application in your student portal if you selected “Honors Interest” while completing your undergraduate application.

You can also scroll to the bottom of your Clemson applicant portal to find the section that asks if you have interest in applying to the Honors College.

Before you apply, you are welcome (but not required) to sign up for a visit to the Honors Center, where you will meet Honors staff, tour our facility, and meet current Honors students.

Review Before You Submit

PLEASE take great care in reviewing your Honors application BEFORE SUBMITTING.

We are NOT able to edit your application after submission. The only changes you can make after submission are to upload additional, optional supplemental materials or to withdraw your application.

We're Here to Help!

If you have any questions after reading this guide to the application process, please email

  • Completing the Application

    The Honors College application consists of:

    • Two required essays
    • An involvement and activities section
    • An awards section
    • Two letters of recommendation

    We strongly recommend the two letters of recommendation be from a counselor and a teacher. If you already provided two recommendation letters when you completed your undergraduate application to Clemson University (through the Clemson Application, Coalition Application, or Common Application), you do not need to complete this step for your Clemson Honors application.

    If you apply to Clemson University via the Common App, you will have access to the Honors Application within 24 hours via your Clemson student portal.

    To be considered, please take great care in producing a thoughtful and well-written application.

  • Submitting Required Materials

    All required materials need to be uploaded directly to your application portal. Please make note of the following:

    Standardized Test Scores

    In recognition of challenges presented to prospective students and their families by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, applicants are not required to submit a standardized test score to be considered for admission for the 2023-24 academic year. If a student elects to have test scores included in the review of their application to Clemson, that will apply to the Honors College as well.


    Write well-developed essay responses (650 words maximum each) for the required essay prompts. Essays constitute a critical part of your Honors College application. Thoughtful and original responses will provide the application reviewers with key insights into your accomplishments, intellectual curiosity, and vision.

    Be genuine in your essay responses, highlighting personal insights and experiences, rather than merely listing your accomplishments. Use these essays as an opportunity to separate yourself from the competition - what makes you an ideal candidate for the Honors College?

    Involvement and Activities

    Describe up to seven of the most significant leadership, service, work, learning, and/or enrichment activities (e.g., independent research or study, clubs, studies abroad, internships, employment experience, family or childcare, athletics, hobbies) in which you have participated in your high school career.

    For each activity, you will be asked to provide:

    • An overview of the activity
    • Your time commitment
    • Your leadership
    • The impacts you have made


    Describe up to five awards or recognitions you have received during your high school career that you regard as significant.

    Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR)

    Upload your SRAR through your Clemson University applicant portal

    Honors Recommendation Letters

    Two letters of recommendation are required for your Honors College application to be considered complete. We strongly suggest one letter from a school counselor and one from a teacher.

    If you submitted the undergraduate admission application to Clemson University via the Clemson application, recommendation letters can be emailed to You also have the option of uploading your recommendation letters to the Upload Materials section of the Clemson University applicant portal. 

    If you already provided two recommendation letters when you completed your undergraduate application to Clemson University (through the Clemson Application, Coalition Application, or Common Application), you do not need to complete this step for your Clemson Honors application. 

    Your application portal will continue to accept support materials through the end of the application cycle; however, these additional materials may not be considered once your application status is Awaiting Decision.

    Other Supporting Materials

    You have the option to upload up to two additional supporting materials (e.g., resume, writing sample, etc.) when you complete your Honors application. After your Honors application has been submitted you cannot make changes to it; however, you can add up to three additional supporting documents.

  • Fall 2023 Enrollment Essay Prompts

    Fall 2023 essay prompts are in your Clemson Honors application. 

    Essay 1 (650 word limit, Required)

    Tell us about your academic interests and professional goals (to the extent that you have identified them at this point). What inspired these interests and goals? What experiences, talents, accomplishments, identities, and/or personal qualities can you see influencing your college career and beyond?

    Essay 2 (650 word limit, Required)

    The second essay is based on your response to one of the Common Application essay prompts.

    If you have already written a response to one of these prompts in your Common Application, that response is considered your second Honors application essay. If one is not on file, you are required to submit a response to one of the seven prompts.

    Essay 3 (650 word limit, Optional)

    Please use this space to share any special circumstances affecting your application that warrant consideration by the selection committee.

  • Applicant Portal

    You can verify receipt of ALL of your Honors application materials by reviewing your Clemson University applicant portal. This information is available to you immediately upon submission of your Honors application.

    Remember to keep track of your username and password and to watch your application portal for your decision notification!

  • What is the Size of the First-Year Honors Class?

    First-year enrollment in the Honors College is limited to approximately 350-400 students, less than ten percent of the freshman class.

  • Appeals

    A link to the Honors admission appeal form will be provided to you in your Clemson University applicant portal

    Priority Appeals

    • Appeal submissions due: March 1
    • Decision notification: April 1

    Non-Priority Appeals

    • Appeal submissions due: April 1
    • Decision notification: April 15
  • Application Tips

    Being proactive and prepared will help ensure that your application is complete and ready for review. Other tips include: 

    • Submit your Clemson undergraduate application early to give yourself time to also complete your Honors application. 
    • Before the end of the undergraduate application, you will be asked if you are interested in applying to the Honors College. If you are, select "yes" in order to gain access to the Honors application after you submit your undergraduate application. 
    • Ask for recommenders early! We recommend you submit your recommenders' contact information as soon as you access the Honors College application. 
    • Pre-write your essays, involvement, and awards sections in advance using a word processing application. Proofread your essays many times, use spell check, and have others review them as well. 

    Above all, please take great care in reviewing your application before you press submit. Neither you nor Honors College staff can make changes to your application once it is submitted. The only option is to upload additional, optional supporting materials.

  • Financial Aid

    Although many members of the Clemson University Honors College receive scholarships and/or financial aid from Clemson University, there are only a very limited number of scholarships specifically associated with membership in the College.

    Moreover, the awarding of an academic merit scholarship from any source does not carry with it automatic admission to the Honors College.

    For scholarship and financial aid questions, please contact Clemson's Financial Aid Office.

 A female student sitting at a desk and working on a laptop.

Terryn Witherspoon

“Clemson’s culture, especially in the Honors College, promotes a well-rounded environment of research and socialization. Both of those were important to me from the beginning, so when I learned I could get them here, it was an easy decision for me.”

Terryn Witherspoon
Biological Sciences Major ('23)
Students sitting and talking on Bowman field.

Schedule a Visit

Talk to one of our advisors about the Clemson Honors experience! Learn about program and class options, opportunities to work with world-class faculty, how we build an Honors community, living on Clemson campus – and most importantly, how our faculty and staff encourage our students to excel and reach their fullest potential.

Request a Visit

National Scholars Program

Clemson's Merit Based Scholarship Program

The National Scholars Program (NSP) is Clemson's premier undergraduate, merit-based scholarship program. The NSP provides a competitive scholarship for eight semesters of undergraduate study. While not a part of the Clemson University Honors College, the NSP bases finalist selection on rigorous reviews of the Honors application (following a review of applications that meet the earlier Honors priority deadlines).

Explore NSP
NSP students at the program's 2021 graduation reception.