Admissions FAQ


Below are the most common questions we receive from prospective students and their parents. You may have many of the same questions and our answers may help you to decide whether to apply for admission to the USP.

Q. What is the University Scholars Program? 
A. Throughout history, men and women have been moved to action by imagination, faith, a sense of adventure, and an awe of the world around them. The exploration to uncover the truths of the universe, both great and small, continues today. At NC State, University Scholars have led this exploration for over thirty-five years. How? The University Scholars Program introduces a community of high-achieving students to the visual and performing arts, encourages them to consider issues drawn from the sciences and politics, challenges them to excel academically and inspires them to explore and engage through international and outdoor education programs. Through these experiences, University Scholars are encouraged to connect their educational goals to their passions, to become active citizens and to embrace the challenges of a rapidly evolving world.

Q. What is the profile of current first year USP students? 
A. University Scholars who are current first-year students have an average SAT score of 1370 (math and critical reading), 31 ACT, and a 4.81 weighted high school GPA.  Within this cohort, 47 were high school valedictorians and 25 were high school salutatorians.  80% of first year University Scholars were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.  Please note that these are not strict cut-offs for acceptance into the program. Students below the typical numbers but with high motivation to pursue the goals of the program are competitive applicants. Conversely, students well above these numbers but whose applications do not indicate an interest in the goals of the program will not be competitive applicants.

Q. Is there a cost associated with participating in the University Scholars Program or University Honors Program?

Yes, there is a participation fee for incoming students in the University Scholars Program (USP) and University Honors Program (UHP) to partially offset the cost of the programs beginning in Fall 2018.  As students progress through the respective programs, they will be charged a progressively lower fee, as outlined below.

Class year & Annual Fee

  • First Year         $400
  • Second Year    $350
  • Third Year        $300
  • Fourth Year      $250

Q. How is the fee used?

The fee allows us to offer exceptional academic and enrichment experiences for our students. Specifically, the fee will be used to:

  • Increase the number of unique seminars taught each year, providing students with innovative interdisciplinary courses in a small classroom environment
  • Deliver field trips and other experiential learning opportunities
  • Bring exceptional speakers and performers to campus for the USP Forums
  • Support cultural programming opportunities for UHP and USP
  • Provide support for Study Abroad opportunities, especially for under-resourced UHP and USP Students
  • Support Undergraduate research activities, particularly Research Abroad opportunities
  • Support community service and engagement activities and grants
  • Enhance programming in the Honors and Scholars Living and Learning Village
  • Expand the range of opportunities designed for upperclassmen in the programs
  • Address additional areas of support essential for the University Honors and Scholars Programs

Q. I would like to participate in the University Honors Program or University Scholars Program, but I am not able to pay the fee.  What can I do?

We seek talented students from all backgrounds. Students who are not able to pay the fee should email Sean Cassidy, University Scholars and Honors Programs Director (, to request a fee waiver.  Please note that NC State must have a completed FAFSA form for any student who requests a fee waiver.

Q. I was invited to apply to the program in my second semester at State. How will the fee be assessed?

Students who join the program during their second semester (Spring) at NC State will begin participating in the program during their second semester of their first year at the university.  The fee will be assessed then.

Q. What are the requirements to successfully complete the University Scholars Program?
A. Students who participate in the University Scholars Program (USP) will engage in a variety of experiences throughout their undergraduate career.  The requirements for the USP are rigorous yet flexible.  Students will complete 3 semesters of the Scholars Forum, 12 hours of approved coursework, 3 high-impact experiences, and maintain a grade point average of 3.25 for the duration of their time at NC State.

Q. Do I have to take extra courses if I participate in the USP?
A.  In order to successfully complete the USP, University Scholars are required to complete 12 hours of approved coursework by the time they graduate. Generally, students do not take additional courses to complete their approved coursework for the program. Students may complete these hours through enrolling in an HON seHonors sections and seminars, First Year Inquiry courses, USP 200-level courses, Graduate (500+ level) courses, Study Abroad courses, Independent Study and Research courses, and by completing Honors Contracts.

Q. Is the USP the only program for high-achieving students at NC State? 
A. No. Through innovative, interdisciplinary HON seminars, the University Honors Program (UHP) encourages students to identify problems, explore issues, and debate ideas that reflect ways of knowing across multiple disciplinary perspectives. In addition, there are Honors Programs at the College and departmental level (please see respective websites), which generally issue their invitations to students during their sophomore or junior years.

Q. I received an invitation to apply to the University Honors Program.  What should I do? 
A. Carefully review the materials and websites for both the University Scholars Program and the University Honors Program. Students may apply to both programs. Please note that students admitted to both programs may only accept one of the invitations.

Q. Is there a special residence hall for USP students?
A. Yes. Students in the USP may apply to live in the Honors and Scholars Village, a community of University Scholars who reside in The Quad (Becton, Bagwell, and Berry Residence Halls) on East Campus. The Honors and Scholars Village is a dynamic living and learning community that enhances the intellectual exploration and personal development of its residents. The Village, a collaborative effort between the University Scholars Program, University Honors Program, and University Housing, offers students a wide range of educational and social opportunities that ease the transition to college life and help students make connections with their peers, NC State, and the world around them.

Q. I received an invitation to apply to the University Scholars Program, but I have not made my final decision whether I will attend NC State. Can I still apply to the University Scholars Program? 
A. Yes! If you are interested in participating in the University Scholars Program if you attend NC State, then we encourage you to complete the application. If you decide at a later date not to attend NC State, or not to participate in the University Scholars Program, we just request that you notify us by email to decline your admission.

If I decide to apply, when will I know if I am accepted into the USP?
A. Your application will be reviewed and you will receive notification in early April.

Q. I completed my application and I was invited to join the University Scholars Program – now what? 
A. Notification about your application status will be available in early April. Students who are accepted into the University Scholars Program will receive more information about living in the Honors and Scholars Village by email, generally within two weeks of the submission of your acceptance form. Your first introduction to the University Scholars Program will occur during New Student Orientation this summer. The USP staff will host an important information session for all incoming University Scholars and their parents at each Orientation session. You will receive an email with further details about this information session prior to Orientation. Please contact the USP Office if you will be unable to attend any of the Orientation sessions, 919.515.2353.

Q. Does admission to the USP mean that I receive a scholarship? 
A. Unfortunately, no.  The USP does not have any scholarship funds to disburse.  Please note that the receipt of any of the university merit scholarships does not imply admission to the USP.

Q. How do I know if the USP is for me? 
A. Consider carefully whether or not the goals of the USP are consistent with your personal goals for your undergraduate education. We seek to:

  • promote the personal, intellectual, and cultural development of University Scholars;
  • to foster community and promote student learning, reflection, and service;
  • promote an inclusive environment by supporting a diversity of people, cultures, and perspectives;
  • encourage students to discuss and debate social and political issues to help them become informed citizens, ethical leaders, and active contributors to our society;
  • encourage students to develop a commitment to civil and thoughtful discourse which respects divergent views and diverse experiences, seeks multiple and competing sources of information when analyzing complex issues, and values the ability to articulate a viewpoint with evidence and clarity;
  • provide University Scholars with opportunities for leadership and professional development;
  • encourage academic excellence and a commitment to advanced and independent academic inquiry among University Scholars.

Sound like you? Then we look forward to reading your application!