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Admission to University Honors: High School Students

All first-time freshmen who have been admitted to a baccalaureate college at UC are considered for admission to the University Honors Program (UHP). These students must have completed all elements of the UC application for admission by December 1st. Students do not submit a separate application to the UHP.

Admission to the University Honors Program is very competitive. Students invited to participate typically have*:

  • an ACT composite score of 32 or higher
  • an SAT composite score of 1400 or higher (critical reading and math combined)
  • an unweighted high school GPA of 3.85 or higher
  • An ACT writing score of above 26 or SAT writing score above 600
  • a class rank in the top 10%
  • Outstanding personal statement and essay in the UC application for admission
  • Strong co-curricular activities

*Meeting the above academic parameters does not guarantee admission.

Admission is based on more than test scores and high school GPA. While we are looking for students who have excelled academically, we are also looking for students who demonstrate leadership capacities, a willingness to take on challenges and an interest in becoming engaged in local and global communities. We are looking for reflective learners. Students with high test scores and GPAs must also demonstrate the above in their application for admission to the university to be considered for the UHP.

With the above in mind, we pay very close attention to co-curricular activities as well as the personal statement and essay that are submitted as part of the application for admission to the University of Cincinnati. Applications are reviewed holistically, keeping all of these aspects in mind.

Profile of University Honors Students Entering in Fall 2014

The following characteristics are descriptive of the incoming class. The test scores featured should not be viewed as program requirements for admission.

  • 380 students enrolled across all 8 baccalaureate colleges.
  • The average entering ACT score is 32.1, which is roughly equivalent to an SAT score of 1400 (Critical Reading + Math).  The middle 50% of the cohort had an ACT score between 31 and 33.
  • Of the entering cohort, 18% of the students identified him/herself as Asian, Hispanic, Black, American Indian, Hawaiian-Pacific Islander and/or multi-racial.
  • UHP freshmen hail from 21 states (including Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana).  Out-of-state students represent 20% of the entering cohort.
  • International students in this cohort represent 5 countries.
  • Some of the notable experiences students had prior to entering UC include service mission trips in other countries, research participation at UC and other institutions, participation in foreign exchange study opportunities and participation in national competitions.

Admission Notification

Students who have been admitted to the University Honors Program as incoming freshmen for fall 2016 will be notified in February 2016.

Students who have not been invited to participate in the University Honors Program as incoming freshmen will not be sent a notification.

We know that there are many high-achieving, highly-motivated students at UC who are not in the program. Due to limited capacity, we are not able to invite all high-achieving students to the program as freshmen. Students who are not invited to join the program as incoming freshmen are encouraged to apply to participate in the program through our transition admission process. Learn more about that process.

While the UHP does not offer tuition-based scholarships or financial aid, we are often asked by students when they will receive notification of their UC financial aid package and scholarship awards. Typically, admitted students receive this notification in mid-March. If you have questions about financial aid or scholarships, please contact UC's Office of Student Financial Aid.

Questions about admission to University Honors?

Please contact Kathy Winters in the Office of Admission at 513-556-5652 or

If you have been admitted to the UHP and have questions about honors housing, please see that section of our website.

"Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts, for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance."
—William Wirt