Honors Admissions

Application Criteria


  1. Students must first apply to the University of South Florida before submitting an application to the Judy Genshaft Honors College. Acceptance into the Judy Genshaft Honors College is contingent on acceptance to USF.
  2. To apply to the Judy Genshaft Honors College, students must first activate their USF NetID and password. This requires the student's USF-issued UID (i.e. U12345678), that they receive via email 24 to 48 hours after they have applied to the university, and their Social Security Number (SSN).
  3. Our application review process takes into consideration your academic scores, extracurriculars, and a written essay. All prospective USF First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students are encouraged to apply! 


On the application, we will ask that you list up to five activities you were involved in during high school, either inside or outside the classroom, what your role was, and how long you participated in each activity. There will also be an option to add any additional information about each activity that you would like us to consider. These activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Clubs or organizations
  • Jobs or internships
  • Volunteer opportunities or care-taking responsibilities
  • Research
  • Religious involvement
  • Awards or distinctions
  • Artwork or creative portfolio (please email Grace Beck for file submissions)


On the application, we will ask that you select one prompt from the list of six below and write a 500-750 word essay (double spaced, please). Each essay prompt is paired with one of our College’s core values for you to learn more about us and our philosophy. We created these essay prompts for you to think creatively and critically and to learn more about your ideas, passions, and how you think.

We want to learn about YOU, not the “college admissions” version of you. So be creative and answer honestly. But like any first introduction, you should put your best foot forward, taking time to organize your thoughts clearly. There is no “right” answer, so give us the best you’ve got!

Here in the Judy Genshaft Honors College, we take an interdisciplinary approach to disciplinary topics; combining knowledge and methods from several fields of study to create unique solutions to real-world ideas and problems. For example, in our course Climate Change Disinformation and Denial, students consider how psychology, marketing, communication, history, politics, and the arts contribute to public and private discourse and action about environmental science.

Essay Prompts 1 & 2

1) What would you describe as a unique or special skill or trait that differentiates you from everyone else? How does your unique skill or trait bring an interdisciplinary perspective to the classroom?

2) As you read about above, courses in our college are interdisciplinary, and include topics like:

  • The Politics of Fashion
  • Food, Globalization, and Migration: The American Melting Pot
  • Connections: Mental Healthcare, Community Engagement, and Art

If you were to teach a course as part of the Honors curriculum, what would you name it, what topics would be covered, and how would the class be taught? For more examples, you can view our full course list here.

We believe learning extends beyond the four walls of the classroom. The people, places, and ideas in our local community offer lessons that complement and reinforce classroom-based learning. First-time-in-college students in the Judy Genshaft Honors College perform a minimum of 50 community service hours during their academic career. We believe this helps create better-informed scholars and citizens by engaging with issues affecting their local surroundings and becoming more cognizant of the political, social, and economic climate of our country as a whole.

Essay Prompts 3 & 4

3) What is something you recently changed your mind about and why? This can be in reference to an academic, political, social, economic idea, or anything else of your choosing.

4) Tell us about a law, written or unwritten, that you believe should be modified or changed and why.

In this increasingly globalized world, we believe it’s vital for every Judy Genshaft Honors College graduate to be exposed to diverse people, places, and ideas. The College is committed to making global citizenship a critical element in the education of twenty-first century leaders. Our students develop cultural competence by completing two global/cultural requirements during their time at USF that range from studying abroad, to learning a new language, to completing internationally-focused research or internships, and more.

Essay Prompts 5 & 6

5) Why are you here and not somewhere else? This can be interpreted literally or abstractly; it’s up to you. Please explain your decision and reasoning.

6) Can you think of an invention that has had different impacts in different places around the globe – good in some, but damaging in others? If so, how would you reinvent it to make it more universally beneficial?