First-Year Student Admissions

First-year students who have been admitted to Iowa State may apply to join the First-Year Honors Program. The average incoming profile of students admitted to the FHP is:

  • 3.5 cumulative GPA (unweighted) 
  • Challenging high school curricular choices (AP, IB, Honors as available)  
  • *ACT composite score of at least 30 (or SAT equivalent)
  • *ACT English score of at least 24 (or SAT equivalent)
* First-year students applying for the 2024-25 academic year will not be required to submit ACT/SAT test scores. Students with a 3.5+ cumulative GPA are encouraged to apply.

International First-Year Students who do not meet the English placement exemption criteria are still encouraged to apply to the First-Year Honors Program by the April 1 deadline. Those students will be required to present proof of a passing score on the English Placement Test to the Honors Program ( by theThursday before Fall semester classes begin. Admission to the First-Year Honors Program will be contingent on receiving these scores.


The application opens on October 1st and the deadline is April 1st for the following academic year. Students are admitted on a rolling basis with priority given to applications received first. Students typically receive a response on the status of their application within three weeks. If you are trying to apply after the April 1st deadline, or if you have any questions about the application process, contact the Honors Program office at (515) 294-4371 or

An orientation meeting for new FHP members is held on Day 1 of your ISU Orientation in June. Information will be mailed to new members prior to your ISU Orientation date. Information on opportunities and benefits Honors has to offer, including a list of fall term Honors courses and seminars can be found in the FHP Summer Orientation Guide which will be provided.

If you have been offered admission to Iowa State University, you can apply to the First-Year Honors Program by submitting the First-Year Honors Program Application. The form asks about your contact information, high school activities and other involvements, senior year coursework, and two 500 word essays:

Answer one question from each section. We will evaluate your essay on original thought, organization, and quality of writing.

Section 1:

  1. Select a single book, film, or video game that you think everyone in your generation should read, see, or play. Why do you think so?
  2. In your view, is it better to pursue a goal vigorously but make mistakes, or to avoid but achieve less or take longer to reach the goal? Explain.

Section 2: 

  1. If you could create a class, not in your planned major, that let you pursue a personal interest, what would it be, and why?
  2. Home or Away? Explain your reasoning.