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Honors College

All interested students are encouraged to apply to the John V. Roach Honors College. Students who apply to the honors college by November 15 will also be considered for the full-tuition Chancellor's Scholarship

We seek students who will contribute to and benefit from our unique learning community, who can’t wait to join our community of learners, participate in our small seminars, and/or start designing an undergraduate research project. In addition to GPA and test scores, the admissions committee looks for students with special talents (e.g. musical, athletic, scientific, artistic), interesting hobbies or avocations, unique personal achievements, unusual life experiences, significant community involvement, or exceptional leadership qualities. We seek restless, tenacious, thoughtful students who are hungry to inquire and create, eager to discover themselves and the world beyond themselves, to listen, to speak up, and to grow.

There is no minimum GPA or test score requirement for admission. The Honors College application and TCU application are both considered when evaluating candidates; this allows multiple facets of each candidate to be considered. Average scores for the most recent class were:

  • Average ACT: 31
  • Average SAT: 1383
  • Average unweighted GPA: 3.88.

Please note that the Honors Admissions Committee always considers GPAs in the context of the program of study in which they were earned. Applicants should take care to articulate their educational background on the TCU application.

Important Dates & Deadlines for Honors College Applicants

August 1 Application system open
November 1 First TCU application deadline
November 15 Flat deadline for early Honors supplement and for consideration for the full-tuition Chancellor's Scholarship
January 31 Early Honors invitations sent via mail
February 1 Second TCU application deadline
February 15 Flat deadline for secondary applicants' Honors supplement
April 15 Honors invitations sent via mail
The application to the John V. Roach Honors College is a supplemental application.  After submitting your application for admission, you can access the honors college application within your MyTCU portal.
Yes. Students first apply to TCU. After completing and submitting the TCU application, you will complete and submit your application to the John V. Roach Honors College.

Any student wishing to join the honors college must complete the supplemental honors application after submitting their application to TCU. The supplement includes two essays, one required and one of your choice. 


Question #1: Common Question

Please respond to this essay prompt using no more than 500 words.

In The New Education, Dr. Cathy Davidson writes “The new education must prepare our students to thrive in a world of flux, to be ready no matter what comes next. It must empower them to be leaders of innovation and to be able not only to adapt to a changing world but also to change the world” (255).

In the midst of a complex time shaped by complicated problems and issues, you made the decision to pursue a university education, to engage a course of study, and to apply to the John V. Roach Honors College. Underpinning these decisions are two questions. First, explain what pressing societal concern—international, national, or local—interests or impacts you most? Why do you care about this issue? Second, how do you imagine addressing or engaging that concern as an innovative interdisciplinary student in the John V. Roach Honors College at TCU? Be as specific as space allows and do not include your name in the response.


Question #2: Candidate Choice

Please respond to one of the following three essay prompts using no more than 500 words.

  1. John V. Roach Honors College students are expected to live in Milton Daniel Hall during their first year. There you will meet and become friends with an array of students who bring backgrounds, identities, interests, or talents that are essential to knowing and understanding them. If you have an essential quality or experience that new friends or professors would need to know, then please share your story and explain how that quality or experience defines you. If you choose this question, please note that it must not repeat information shared in the common question. Be as specific as space allows and do not include your name in the response.

  2. The lobby of the John V. Roach Honors College features a wall of virtues. Listed on the wall are the following actions:

    • Research Responsibly 
    • Inspire Wonder 
    • Synthesize Ideas 
    • Listen Thoughtfully 
    • Build Resilience 
    • Explore the World 
    • Encourage Connections 
    • Think Critically 
    • Practice Empathy 
    • Respect Dialogue  
    • Commit Wholeheartedly  
    • Teach Creatively 
    • Learn Enthusiastically 
    • Cultivate Curiosity  

      These virtues inspire faculty, staff, and students. They shape the courses you will take and how you will approach learning as an Honors student. Please think about these virtues, your past experiences, and your passion for engaged inquiry. Then, choose one virtue from the list. Please explain that virtue’s significance to you and provide an example of how it illustrates your love for learning. Be as specific as space allows and do not include your name in the responses.

  3. The John V. Roach Honors College has hosted guest speakers such as NBA legend and civil rights activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, education innovator Cathy Davidson, Bill Nye the Science Guy, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Serial podcast hosts Julie Snyder and Sarah Koenig. This fall we are hosting Lebanese British barrister Amal Clooney and US Poet Laureate Ada Limón. Honors students converse with these guests and learn from their experiences and perspectives. What person or persons, past or present, would you invite to speak at TCU? Why? What questions would you ask? What impact would you want your guest speaker(s) to have on an audience of Honors students? Be as specific as space allows and do not include your name in the response.

Successful essays will:

  • show creativity, honesty, and curiosity
  • thoughtfully express your own ideas and thinking, not just offer general responses
  • demonstrate writing proficiency (e.g., excellent grammar, syntax, complex structure, creative expression)
  • provide clear reasoning and specific examples in support of your claims and positions
  • use your voice and thoughts
  • give us insight into how you think, how you reason, and what you value (academically and in life)
  • demonstrate a solid understanding and thorough engagement of each prompt

For the John V. Roach Honors College Review Committee to make accurate selection decisions, the writing samples students submit MUST BE THEIR OWN WORK ENTIRELY. Checking the box attesting the essays are your own work, and solely your work, will ensure accuracy in the selection process. Ultimately, we want to read essays composed by our potential future students, not their teachers, counselors, parents, or hired college advisors.

Random sampling for plagiarism will be conducted. Any work found to be plagiarized will result in immediate elimination of the application to the Honors College, with no chance of appeal. Honesty is the best policy.


The first opportunity and priority due date is November 15. This is also the deadline for consideration for the full-tuition Chancellor's Scholarship. Interested applicants who do not apply in November have a second opportunity and can apply before or on the second due date of February 15. Students who apply after November 15 will not be considered for the Chancellor's Scholarship.

You hit “submit” after completing the application.

More specifically, you will submit your Honors College application online after uploading your essay responses in either Word or PDF. The link you received through email should direct you to the online application, which includes a submit button.

Please note that we do not accept paper copies. You should also receive a verification email acknowledging successful submission of your application to the John V. Roach Honors College.

All applicants who submit their honors supplemental application by November 15 will be notified by January 31.

Students submitting honors supplemental applications after November 15 but before the February 15 deadline, will receive notification decisions by April 15.

No. If you have already sent transcripts or test scores to TCU, you do not need to resend them to the John V. Roach Honors College.

Transfer students need to complete their first semester at TCU in order to establish a TCU GPA.  Students who have earned a 3.5 GPA in at least 12 graded hours at TCU are encouraged to contact the John V. Roach Honors College at to begin the admission process.

Admissions decisions will be delivered in two ways. First, we will notify students through the online TCU student portal. Second, we will send admissions packets by mail. Admissions decisions cannot be shared by phone.

Every honors applicant is evaluated on an individual basis. The John V. Roach Honors College Admissions Committee—composed of Honors faculty and TCU admissions counselors—considers the high school and/or academic record, extracurricular activities, test scores, and essays of each applicant.


Yes, coursework within the John V. Roach Honors College complements and coordinates with any degree plan at TCU. Honors students graduate with undergraduate degrees from all programs and colleges at TCU. Academic advisors in your major area and in the Honors College can assist you in creating an academic plan that incorporates the Honors requirements.

No. Honors students are active creators of their own academic experience, and honors classes provide the unique opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and customize your curriculum.

No. Honors is a crossroad of all disciplines, a space where complexities of knowledge are explored from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

No. Honors is a different kind of work – not more assignments but more exciting, challenging and rewarding forms of inquiry. Just ask the Nature of Giving students about their debate on how to divvy up $100,000 to five non-profits or Professor Dou’s class about the history of China learned through GO, an ancient board game.

Honors students are privy to some exclusive opportunities within the College. A few of these opportunities include:

  • An international Frog Camp
  • A hospitable learning community shared with fellow Honors students in Milton Daniel Hall, a first-year honors Residence Hall
  • Unique study abroad experiences called Honors Explorations
  • Creative courses that offer one-of-a-kind intellectual experiences
  • Research projects in their major or minor under the supervision of a faculty mentor
  • Priority registration for classes.