Students on campus

Honors Program Application Process

How do I apply?

  • Prospective Students
    • Contact your Admission Counselor regarding your interest in joining the Honors Program. They will walk you through the two-step application process, highlighting our Express Lane application program that features an exclusive honors visit opportunity for those who apply by November 1 and the opportunity to waive the application essay component for students who apply by January 15.
  • Current Students
    • If you are interested in applying to the Honors Program during your first or second year at North Central, or if you recently transferred from another institution, please contact an Honors Program Co-Director, Jennifer Jackson ( or Sue Lafferty (
Student presenting at honors day

Application Process

1. Complete the application.

2. Submit letter of recommendation from a teacher or professor. The letter of recommendation should describe your critical thinking, communication and leadership abilities, and give reasons for endorsing your application to the Honors Program. This letter of recommendation should be sent to

Applications received after January 15 must also submit the essay component; the essay is waived for those applying via the Express Lane process, which requires an application before January 15.

Students in class

When will I know if I’ve been accepted?

We begin reviewing completed applications after Thanksgiving. From there, applications are reviewed monthly. Please note, by applying and receiving acceptance to the Honors Program you are not committing to North Central College. Rather, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be a part of the Honors Program if you choose to join the Cardinal community.

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Is there an application deadline?

To take advantage of our Express Lane application program that waives the essay requirement, please apply to the Honors Program by January 15. All applications received after January 15 require the essay component for consideration.

Additionally, we encourage you to apply before March if you are interested in securing a spot in the honors living learning community.

Students in study space

Academic Criteria for the Honors Program

Most Honors Program applicants have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. For first-year students entering Fall of 2024, we provide a test-optional admission process. Submission of a test score is not required for admission to the Honors Program. Please note in the history of the program, the recent average composite test score of our applicants is a 1280 SAT or a 28 ACT.

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