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Honors Program Information for Prospective Students

The Honors Program is designed to provide enriching and challenging educational and hands-on learning experiences while celebrating the excellence in you. As a member of this select group of talented, motivated, action-oriented students, you will be involved in academic and out-of-class opportunities to help you explore and impact the world around you. Take advantage of a living-learning program focused on experiential, immersive, and interdisciplinary experiences. Join a community of student-scholars for collaboration, support, and friendship. Engage with invested faculty who will help you develop course explorations and projects aimed at furthering your unique interests.

The Elizabethtown College Honors Program is sponsored by The Hershey Company.

Benefits of Being an Honors Student

  • Academic Research Grants: Financial support for research and scholarly activities.
  • Expanded Course Options: Access to course overloads, contracted courses, and study abroad opportunities.
  • Exclusive Honors Center Access: A dedicated student lounge and spaces for study and collaboration, available only to Honors students.
  • Honors Living Learning Communities (LLCs): Specialized housing options in select residence halls.
  • Honors Distinctions: Recognition at graduation with special regalia and Honors distinctions noted on your transcript.

The Honors Program promotes high standards of scholarship, provides students with co-curricular opportunities for leadership and community engagement, and helps students not only reach their full academic potential, but also helps them foster skills and experiences to make a positive impact on their communities. Accordingly, our Program's motto is: Learn, Serve, and Lead.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Throughout their immersion in the Honors Program, our students will:

  • Have an enriched experience focused on curricular and co-curricular components that encourage scholarship, service and leadership at the highest level
  • Collaborate with others, such as faculty scholars, campus leaders, prominent guest speakers, and visiting scholars
  • Demonstrate initiative and leadership through exploring and crafting unique learning opportunities
  • Engage in interdisciplinary work and foster a curiosity for looking at things from different perspectives
  • Experience ample enrichment opportunities and receive additional support, such as supplemental advising, field trips, guest speakers, community living, and assistance for applying to prestigious scholarships and fellowships and post-graduate service opportunities

Process for Applying to the Honors Program

Application Process

  • Apply to Elizabethtown College via the Common Application or our own application here.
  • Upon review of your application, you will be sent an invitation to interview provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Interviews must be completed before March 31 and can be scheduled through your student portal.
  • Submit your optional essay to admissions@etown.edu. Although prospective honors students are not required to submit the 300-500-word essay, it is strongly encouraged. Below is the essay prompt:

Elizabethtown College is strongly committed to peacemaking and social justice, and our mission is rooted in international and cross-cultural perspectives, hands-on/experiential learning, civic engagement, and purposeful life work. Please share an example from your own experience where you put all or some of these elements into action and how it has informed your perspective on the world.

Important Dates for Applying

  • January 15 Priority Deadline* – Complete Elizabethtown College or Common Application and Interview
  • March 31 Final Deadline - Complete Elizabethtown College or Common Application and Interview
  • November, December, January, February and March – Invitations to interview for the Honors Program are mailed
  • May 1 Declaration of Intent** – Students submit their matriculation deposit and formally accept their place in the Honors Program

*By meeting the priority deadline, students accepted to the Program are more likely to secure a position within the Program.

**Decisions to the Honors Program will be released on a rolling basis and students are encouraged to reserve their spot and deposit early. Once the Program reaches capacity, students who have been invited to participate, but have not deposited, will be placed on a waitlist.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

  • 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Evidence of AP, Honors, and/or IB courses preferred
  • Submit and complete the Elizabethtown College or Common Application
  • Honors Interview with Admissions Counselor, by invitation only*

* If you have not been invited to interview and would like to be considered, please call the Admissions Office at 717-361-1400 or email admissions@etown.edu.

Honors Program Frequently Asked Questions

  • Transfer students are welcome to apply to Honors. If you would like to be considered for admission to the Honors Program, please notify  Lily Nardozzi , Assistant Director of Admissions & Coordinator of Transfer Recruitment.
  • We accept students who were members of Honors Programs at their previous institutions and whose cumulative GPA matches or exceeds the Honors Program minimum cut-off for the number of credits earned. The program accepts honors credits from the transferring institution with a grade of B or higher. These credits will be applied toward a student’s honors requirements at Elizabethtown College.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa, as well as students who were members of Honors Programs at their previous 4-year institution, are automatically accepted to our Honors Program. Honors credits with a grade of B or higher will be applied to the student’s Honors requirements at Etown.
  • Transfer students with no prior collegiate Honors experience, should have a 3.5 cumulative GPA for college-level work.  If students do not meet the GPA requirement, a 300 to 500-word essay must be submitted on the topic:
    • Elizabethtown College is strongly committed to peacemaking and social justice, and our mission is rooted in international and cross-cultural perspectives, hands-on/experiential learning, civic engagement, and purposeful life work.  Please share an example from your own experience where you put all or some of these elements into action and how it has informed your perspective on the world. 
    • Students may upload their essay through their Student Status Portal
  • Transfer students with no prior collegiate Honors experience or who do not meet the 3.5 minimum requirement will be invited to interview with an admissions counselor as part of the final selection process for the Honors Program.  

  • Honors Academic Grants (up to $1000)
    • Qualified students who meet the criteria outlined in the Honors Program Handbook may apply for up to $1000 for various research and scholarly pursuits through the Honors Program.
  • Expanded Course Offerings
    • Honors students are able to overload (take 19 or 20 credits) two times for free through the Honors Program.
    • Honors students may contract a regular non-honors course for Honors credit.
    • The Honors Program encourages study abroad and provides Honors credit waivers for study abroad opportunities.
    • Honors students receive priority course registration where they register for courses prior to the rest of their equivalent registering cohort.
  • Honors Facilities
    • The Honors Center is a quiet area for Honors students to study, relax, collaborate, and learn with access to a private lounge, study carrels, and conference rooms.
    • The Honors Living Learning Community (LLC) is a residence hall floor dedicated specifically to Honors students to help build an Honors community and foster collaboration.
  • Honors Distinctions
    • Honors students' transcripts indicate that they have completed the requirements of the Honors Program and include Honors indications on courses taken for Honors credit. This is especially helpful for graduate school applications, prestigious scholarship applications, and job applications.
    • Special note is made of the graduating Honors students in the Commencement program.
    • Honors students receive a medallion from the Honors Program to wear at graduation as a distinction of their dedication and hard work.

In line with our College’s motto –  Educate for Service  – and the Honors Program’s motto –  Learn, Serve, and Lead  – Honors students actively engage in community service, experiential learning, and leadership opportunities. Joining the Honors Program means students join a community of peers who define the best in academic achievement, demonstrate leadership initiative, and possess a dedication to improving their communities. 


Honors Co-Curricular Requirement


Honors students already uphold the College's motto -- Educate for Service -- and the Honors Program's motto -- Learn, Serve, and Lead -- throughout their college experience. Many Honors Program students regularly and actively engage in volunteer service, community engagement, and leadership experiences each year. This co-curricular requirement in the Honors Program will allow students to record and share those experiences. This initiative will help us recognize the meaningful contributions our Honors students actively make to their communities.

Honors students record their 15 hours of volunteer service, community engagement, and leadership each year throughout their undergraduate education. All Honors students submit a diary of those activities as well as a reflection paper on a yearly basis.

Students can use Community-based Learning (CBL) courses, such as HON 201; opportunities through the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Etown; attendance at the US Foreign Policymaking Leadership Sessions with Ambassador John Craig (and other adjacent sessions/lectures) throughout the academic year; and many more volunteering and/or community engagement and/or leadership opportunities (pre-approved by the Director of the Honors Program).

Benefits of this requirement for students include recognizing and celebrating the significant and impactful service conducted by students; helping students develop inter-group friendships on deeper levels and enhancing their identities as engaged citizens; and providing students a way to purposefully organize and demonstrate their community engagement, volunteer service, and leadership activities, which in turn will help in preparing applications for graduate schools, prestigious scholarships and fellowships, and other career opportunities.


Experiential Service Learning Projects

HON 201 Elizabethtown History: Campus and Community, is a course offered every spring-draws on NCHC's City as Text TM paradigm to engage students in oral history research, archival research, and historic preservation projects. In previous years, students have conducted National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 reviews of the Elizabethtown Moose Lodge and the North Market Street Bridge. The former contributed to saving the Moose Lodge, a structure designed by prominent regional architect Cassius Emlen Urban, from demolition. The latter provided documentation for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation prior to reconstruction of the bridge. The bridge project included an ArcGIS map that students created. In a recent offering of HON 201, students produced an ArcGIS map illustrating and documenting the historical significance of Marietta, Pennsylvania, to assist the RiverStewards-a non-profit organization working to conserve the Susquehanna River Valley.

Honors Courses allow students to demonstrate their full academic abilities while encouraging them to build community engagement and awareness and foster leadership skills and service. The Honors Program at Etown endeavors to build a community of people who are curious, thrive on intellectual challenges, and seek ways to use their extraordinary gifts in productive and meaningful ways. Additionally, many Honors courses routinely take field trips and invite prominent guest speakers to class.

Elizabethtown College