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CU Honors College

First-Year Clemson Honors Students

Important Dates for Fall 2024 Admission Cycle

Early Action vs. Regular Decision Deadlines

Honors First-year Student Application Deadlines (2024)
Category University Application Deadline Honors College Application Deadline Honors College Required Materials Deadline For Honors Notification By
Early Action October 15 October 22 November 1 Mid-January
Regular Decision January 3 January 10 January 17 March 1
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The Honors College offers Early Action and Regular Decision deadlines for potential students.

Applicants are eligible for consideration for the National Scholars Program and Breakthrough Scholars Program if they complete all three of these steps:

  1. Choose Early Action on their Clemson undergraduate application.
  2. Meet Early Action Clemson undergraduate application deadlines.
  3. Meet Honors Early action deadlines.

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

Potential students who start an Honors College Early Action application but are not able to complete it before the Early Action deadline will be considered a Regular Decision applicant if Regular Decision deadlines (as well as Clemson undergraduate application Early or Regular Decision deadlines) are met.

Applications completed between January 11 and April 1 are considered late and may be reviewed on a space available basis. However, we cannot guarantee that such applications will receive consideration.

Late Honors applicants will be updated about their Honors status on or before April 15. The incoming first-year student application will close on April 1.

2024 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 Clemson admissions portal if you selected “Honors Interest” while completing your undergraduate application.

You can also scroll to the bottom of your Clemson admissions 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 (Step 1)

    The Honors College application consists of:

    • Two required essays
    • An involvement and activities section
    • An awards section
    • Two letters of recommendation (submitted as required materials in Step 2)

    The Honors application is available to students applying through the Common app starting August 15. After that date, you will be able to access your Honors application within 24 hours via your Clemson admissions portal.

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


    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.

  • Submitting Required Materials (Step 2)

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

    Standardized Test Scores

    Clemson is test optional. Applicants are not required to submit a standardized test score to be considered for admission for the 2024-25 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.

    Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR)

    Upload your SRAR through your Clemson admissions portal

    Honors Recommendation Letters

    Two letters of recommendation are required for your Honors College application to be considered complete. We strongly suggest that both be academic references, including at least one letter from a teacher who can speak about you as a student.

    If you applied to Clemson University via the Common Application, please use the Common Application recommendation system to send your recommendation letters to Clemson University.

    If you applied to Clemson University via the Clemson University or Coalition applications, you can upload your recommendation letters to the Upload Materials section of the Clemson University admissions portal. You or your counselor can also submit recommendations via your school’s system such as Naviance or SCOIR.

    Your Clemson admissions 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 2024 Enrollment Essay Prompts

    Fall 2024 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 experiences, talents, accomplishments, and/or characteristics inspired and contributed to these goals? What avenues have you explored to learn more about this or to gain experience in this area to date? [Note: This is your opportunity to tell us who you are as a thinker. Please focus your essay on you, your experiences, and your ideas, not on what the Honors College or Clemson offers.]

    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.

  • Admissions Portal

    You can verify receipt of ALL of your Honors application materials by reviewing your Clemson admissions 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 Clemson admissions 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 first-year class.

  • Appeals

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

    Students who receive an Honors admission decision in mid-January can submit their appeal by:

    • March 1 for an April 1 decision notification
    • April 1 for an April 15 decision notification

    Students who receive an Honors admission decision on March 1 can submit their appeal by April 1 for a decision notification on 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