Frequently Asked Questions

 How do I know if Honors is right for me?
  • It depends...Beyond what you can offer with impressive high school credentials, do you see yourself as a true academic scholar--as someone who desires to fully engage in the life of the University both in and outside the classroom?
  • Before applying to the Honors Scholar Program at CMU we ask students to reflect on the question, "Is Honors the right fit for me?" by reviewing the Honors Program Mission and Vision Statement as well as its four core values. How closely do our four core values seem to fit with who you are as an individual? 
  • Are you motivated in the classroom by more than earning just a letter grade?  Is it exciting to imagine yourself engaging in lively discussions with top CMU faculty and a diverse group of high academic-ability peers who will challenge you to think in new ways?  Do you see yourself as a participant in a research group or creative project team?  Are you intrigued to by the opportunity to study abroad in places like Europe, China, and South Africa?  Do you have a desire to serve others for the greater good?
  • In short, are you someone who has aspirations to aim higher and achieve more to make the world a better place?
  • If you can answer yes to most of these questions then we invite you to apply to the Honors Scholars Program at CMU! 
What are the benefits to being in the Honors Program?
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Unique curriculum offers alternative specialized ways to meet general education requirements
  • Caring and dedicated Honors faculty willing to mentor students 1:1 in their discipline
  • Special opportunities to take Honors courses taught across the U.S. and around the globe
  • Ability to live and learn with other high academic ability Honors students in Honors housing
  • All high school seniors admitted into Honors in Fall 2015 will have a full-ride or full-tuition Centralis Scholarship valued between $52,000 and $87,000!
  • Opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research projects and creative endeavors.
  • Specialized Academic Advising, including completion of an Academic Planning Document
  • Priority Registration
  • Access to advising/mentoring for National Scholarships
  • Opportunities to participate in Honors cultural and enrichment activities
How many students are in the CMU Honors Program?
Approximately 800 students, or about 4% of the CMU on-campus student body is a member of the CMU Honors Program.
How are high school seniors admitted to the CMU Honors Program?
Admission to Honors is granted through receiving one of the 150 full-ride or full-tuition scholarships by competing in the Centralis Honors Scholars Competition.
Award​Number Available​Award Amount​​How to Apply / Compete for this scholarship
Centralis Scholar Award​20 awards
four-year total
  • ​Compete in the Centralis and Honors Scholarship Competition fall 2015. Must have a 3.7 HS GPA and a minimum 27 ACT score to compete. See competition details below.
130 awards
four-year total
  • ​Compete in the Centralis and Honors Scholarship Competition fall 2015. Must have a 3.7 HS GPA and a minimum 27 ACT to compete. See competition details below.
What are the Competition Dates?

October 17, 2015 or
November 7, 2015

What are the Competition awards?

Centralis awards are CMU's premier merit scholarships. These exclusive honors are awarded only to students who participate in one of the two competitions. Honorees are accepted into in the prestigious Honors Scholars Program and receive a four-year renewable financial award.

Centralis Scholar Award:

Awarded to 20 outstanding high school seniors and covers 36 credits of tuition each year for four years, in addition to room and board and some general expenses. Its current four-year value is approximately $93,000.

Centralis Gold Award:

Awarded to 130 outstanding high school seniors and covers 36 credits of tuition each year for four years. Its four-year value is approximately $56,000.

Who can compete?

All high school seniors who have applied to the university and who have a minimum of a 3.7 GPA and an ACT score of 27 or higher are eligible to compete. Students must be able to provide proof that they meet the above requirements in order to register.

What can I expect at the Competition Day?

Attendees can expect the following:

    • Opportunities to learn about CMU's prestigious Honors Scholar Program and meet with current Honors students, staff and faculty.
    • Receive information about CMU's more than 200 academic programs at the bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral levels, including nationally ranked programs.
    • Learn more about CMU's Residence Life, Career Services, Academic Advising and Scholarship & Financial Aid offices.
    • Competitors will have one hour to complete a timed essay in response to a prompt given on site.
    • Parents will participate in special programing during the essay portion of the day, that includes opportunities to speak with a panel of CMU professionals.
    • Opportunity to embark on a campus tour and enjoy refreshments following the competition.

When will the scholarship winners be notified?

Scholarship recipients will be notified mid-December.

I meet the qualifications and can verify my GPA and ACT score. What must I do in order to compete?

There are three steps you must complete to participate:
  1. Apply for Admission to CMU. Submit your official high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and the $35 application fee.
  2. Register for the Centralis Honors Scholarship Competition by visiting or via phone at (989) 774-3076.
  3. Download the Centralis Honors Scholarship Competition Application. Once you register for the Centralis Competition you will receive the link to the application via email. Bring the completed application with you on the day of the competition. IMPORTANT: Students must bring the scholarship application and all supporting documentation with them to the Competition Day. Failure to do so will make the student ineligible to compete.

I do NOT currently meet the qualifications, but am retaking the ACT? Can I still register now?

No. You must have the minimum 3.7 GPA and 27 ACT at the point you register.

My credentials are very close to the minimum criteria…I have a 3.69 and/or a 26 ACT, can I still register to compete?

Unfortunately, no. To register you must have applied to the university and have the minimum verifiable 3.7 GPA and 27 ACT.

What happens if an applicant registers and/or competes who does not have the verifiable 3.7 GPA and 27 ACT?

If an applicant registers and/or competes and it is determined that they do not have the verifiable 3.7 GPA and 27 ACT their application will not be considered in the process for a Centralis Scholarship.

What if I receive my ACT results (bringing me up to a 27 or higher) after the registration deadline?

If you receive online verification that your new ACT score is 27 or higher, and your desired competition registration deadline has passed, you still can register for the scholarship competition by calling the Admissions office and registering over the phone. Bring a printed copy of your verification with you to the competition. You eventually will be required to have your test scores officially sent to CMU for verification.  Keep in mind that by the competition day you must have verifiable proof to CMU that you meet the minimum qualifications.

I have commitments on the two competition days. Is there an alternative day to compete?

While we understand that students lead busy lives, and that sometimes tough choices need to be made, unfortunately there are no make-up days or proctored test opportunities for those who have a date conflict with the Centralis Competition. Students must attend one of the two competitions in order to be considered for a Centralis Scholarship and a seat in the Honors Program.

I registered, but need to switch to a different competition date. What are my next steps?

Please contact the Admissions team at 989-774-3076 to discuss changing dates. Seats are reserved on a first come, first served basis, so please register early.

I live out of state. Is there a way I can compete without travelling to CMU for one of the competitions?

Students who live outside an adjoining state to Michigan (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois), or students who are studying abroad during the competition, may request permission to have the test proctored at their high school via a teacher or guidance counselor. Please note that every effort must be made to attend one of the competitions and this will only be used as a last resort for those living outside Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. You may request a proctored test by calling the CMU Admissions office.

If you are writing the competition at a proctored test site (because you live outside the Midwest) your essay and the application must be mailed together in one envelope, with a postmark no later than November 7 to: CMU Honors Program Office, 104 Powers Hall, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859.

What is the committee looking for in regard to the creative piece and the written personal statement?

Your goal in completing both the creative piece (Part 1) and the written personal statement (Part 2) is to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the review committee, as you wish, and to make your case for why you should be selected to join our University Honors community. There are no set guidelines for this part of the application as long as your response doesn't take up more than an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (one sided). No additional information will be provided to applicants about this part of the application so please do not call asking for more direction.

Can I apply to be a member of the Honors Program without competing in the Centralis Competition?

Not at this time. Participation in the Honors Program by first semester freshmen is only available to Centralis Scholarship winners. If you do not receive a Centralis Scholarship but would still like to be part of the Honors Program you can apply to Honors at the end of your first year at CMU through the Honors Program Track II admission process. If admitted, Track II students begin taking Honors courses in fall 2016. Currently, there are no scholarships available for Track II students.

What requirements must I complete in order to graduate from the CMU Honors Program?

Honors have four years to complete the following requirements in order to graduate from the CMU Honors Program:

  • At least 22 credit hours of Honors courses, (including HON 100 and 9 credits at the 300 level or above),
  • 6 credits of Diversity/Global Citizenship Courses (see below),
  • 120 hours of service
  • An Honors senior capstone research project or creative endeavor completed in collaboration with an Honors faculty member.
What courses count as Diversity/Global Citizenship?

You will need to complete at least 6-8 credits of Diversity/ Global Citizenship Courses. This can include any combination of the following: Study Abroad Courses, foreign language courses, American Sign Language Courses, and special approved diversity courses such as HON 150, Racism in America. Students admitted to the Honors Program Fall 2011, 2012, or 2013 can receive the Honors Program International Study Award ($2000 for a full-semester study abroad; $1000 for a short-term study abroad experience. Honors students must be in good standing with the CMU Honors Program in order to receive this scholarship. The Honors Program strongly encourages students to study abroad. In fact, you will be advised your first semester in Honors to apply for a passport if you do not already have one.

What is an Honors Senior Capstone Project?

To graduate from the Honors Program a student is required to complete a capstone project with the support of a faculty member. These capstone projects take many forms and include original studies, scholarly papers, and creative presentations and exhibitions. Most of our graduates say that this was one of the most important opportunities of their educational careers.

Is the Honors Program just for science majors or students interested in doing research?

No. Students from all majors are encouraged to join the Honors Program. Honors students can be found across all of the departments and in every major.

Will being in Honors delay my graduation?

For most students, the answer is no. During your first semester our Honors advising staff will help you complete an Academic Planning Document that maps out all classes you will need to graduate from CMU--semester by semester. With careful planning most Honors students are able to double-count their Honors requirements with courses they already need in order to satisfy the University Program and competency requirements, as well as their major and minor curriculums. Many students have room in their academic career for a number of "general electives" and Honors courses can be used to fulfill those as well. Ultimately, it is best to think of Honors as a small minor and that like a minor, you will have requirements and expectations to complete it.

Are Honors Courses more difficult than non-Honors courses?

No. Honors courses embody a qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. You can engage in discussions and activities in a class of 20 that are difficult to do in a class of 80 or 100. For example, Honors classes offer more site-visits (which range from local day trips to time abroad), group projects, special speakers and enrichment opportunities. Honors classes are not lecture courses--they involve a higher degree of class discussion and 1:1 contact with the faculty member. Honors students tell us they prefer to take Honors classes over non-Honors classes. Recent data shows that Honors grades in Honors courses are at least equal to or higher than grades awarded in non-Honors sections of the same classes. 

I am new to the whole college thing. Should I apply to Honors now or wait until my sophomore year when I am more comfortable with "the way college works"?
Do not wait. The Honors Program is designed to acquaint first year students to the college experience, especially if you are the first in your family to go to college. We offer smaller class sizes, a comprehensive Introduction to Honors courses (HON 100), and specialized advising for first year Honors students.

Is Honors Housing Available?

Honors housing is available in Larzelere Hall, one of the most active and vibrant living/learning communities on campus. The advantages of Honors Housing are that you would live and study with fellow Honors student and the Honors offices are located nearby in Powers Hall. In addition, there is classroom space, study rooms, a fireside room for special events, an Honors registered student organization office and meeting space. Students living in Larzelere Hall are more likely to graduate from Honors and have a better Honors experience. Centralis scholarship recipients are required to live in Larzelere Hall their first year at CMU and any hall on campus their second year, though most choose to remain in Larzelere Hall their second year.


I still have questions about the Honors Scholar Program.

Please contact us at (989) 774-3902.  A member of the Honors Program staff will be happy to answer your questions.



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