James Scholars are some of the most intellectually curious and engaged students in the College of LAS.
Students can enter the program in one of three ways: invitation, self-nomination, and ICT (inter-collegiate transfer).
New first year students admitted for the fall receive their invitation in March with an invitation acceptance deadline of May 1 each year. The self-nomination students apply during the month of June (see below), and ICT students are invited to attend 1 orientation sessions at the start of the fall and spring terms.
When you are accepted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you are automatically considered for the LAS Honors program. We review all incoming students, making our selections based upon academic achievement as well as diversity of identity, geography, and major/area of study. Because we are a college-based honors program, we reflect the student body in LAS. We extend invitations to a select number of students across STEM, humanities, and social sciences.
When you accept our invitation to the program, you'll join a community of students who want to spend their time at Illinois satisfying their intellectual curiosity and getting involved in the larger community. Students who are invited to be an LAS Honors student as a member of the incoming class will receive an email invitation as well as a letter at the mailing address included on their application to the university within a few weeks of their acceptance notification. LAS Honors will also communicate with you at the email address you listed on your application to the university throughout the spring. Please be sure to add LASHonors@illinois.edu to your email contacts to make sure you don't miss important information and reminders from our program.
To accept your invitation to the LAS Honors program you must accept two offers. You must accept your admission to Illinois through your MyIllini account. And, accept your invitation to the LAS Honors program at the link provided in communications from our office. Both of these acceptances must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. May 1. This is a strict deadline, and we cannot offer extensions to that acceptance date because we have a waitlist for students who wish to be invited to the LAS Honors program.
Because the LAS Honors program has a limited number of seats for incoming students, we are unable to offer all talented students an initial invitation, particularly those in high-demand majors. We reach out to a select number of students to ask them whether they would like to be put on our waitlist. We cannot place students upon the waitlist by request. They must be pre-selected based upon our invitation criteria. Students who are offered the waitlist must fill out a short form indicating their continued interest in LAS Honors before May 1. After May 1, those students will be notified if we are able to extend an invitation to join the program.
Current students who wish to join the LAS Honors program may apply after their first year or after their second year of higher education (previous years may have been completed at any college or university). Students who transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who will complete a minimum of four semesters, or two years of coursework, at Illinois may also apply. All applicants must have earned a 3.30 GPA to be eligible. Current students: your cumulative University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GPA will be considered. Transfer students: your cumulative transfer GPA will be considered. The self-nomination application is open from June 1 through June 30 on an annual basis. We then review the applications and notify selected students before the start of the fall term.
The GPA cutoff is an eligibility requirement, but we don't weigh 4.0s more heavily than 3.3s—anyone above a 3.3 is on equal footing in our blind assessment of the application. We look closely at your essays in a holistic review of each candidate. Our mission emphasizes academics and enrichment, so we want to make sure that you understand what the program requires. We ask you to write 2 essays and fill out a short application. We want to know who you are, why you want to join the program, what your goals are, and how LAS Honors could support you to get there.
Find the application here: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/798326824
If you are transferring in to the College of LAS and were a James Scholar in good standing within another college at U of I, you will be welcomed into the LAS Honors Program, provided you meet our GPA requirements (all James Scholars in LAS must have a 3.3 Illinois Cumulative GPA to continue the program). Please know that you must have already been a James Scholar in your previous college to ICT in to the LAS Honors program. If you were not already a participating/certified James Scholar, you would need to self-nominate, provided you meet our entry requirements.
Because the LAS Honors program uses a portfolio system and some of the other James Scholar programs do not, it is very important that you attend an LAS Honors orientation session so you understand the program requirements. We invite you to those sessions via email in the first month of the semester you join our program (August or January). Please look out for that email and sign up for one of those sessions! If you can’t make the session, reach out to us so we can share a recording with you so you don’t fall behind. If you’re not able to attend the sessions, it is your responsibility to contact us to get that information.