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How To Apply

The Honor Scholar Program at DePauw University is interested in the life of the mind, specifically, the life of your mind. What intellectual pursuits do you engage in beyond the classroom? What issues keep you thinking long after class is over? What do you find yourself doing in the little spare time you have as a high school senior?

Honor Scholar applications received by February 1, 2018 will receive fullest consideration, although we may continue to accept later applications on a case-by-case basis. Should you have questions regarding the application process, please feel free to contact Amy Welch at 765-658-6575 or at awelch@depauw.edu.

1) Apply to DePauw University

  • Please complete an application for admission to DePauw University.
  • (Important Note: You can continue with the Honor Scholar application process before receiving an admission decision from the University. If the Honor Scholar Program appeals to you, please continue below. You will receive notification from our Office of Admission soon.)

2) Draft your essay response

  • Choose, think about, and respond to one of the prompts at the bottom of this page in an essay of about 500 words.  The word limit is a soft limit, so write your best answer, and don’t worry if your essay is a bit longer than 500 words.
  • Please double space your text and include your name and mailing address at the top of your essay. 
  • Save the file as your last name, first name (e.g., Julian, Percy) as a Word or PDF file. 

3) Finalize and submit your application 

  • When your essay is complete, click the link below to submit your application online. You will be asked to Log In using the DePauw username and password you received when you completed your Common Application.  If you have not yet submitted the Common Application, you will be asked to create a DePauw account in order to submit your Honor Scholar application.  
  • Once you have logged into your portal, follow the instructions detailed below.
    -  Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Start New Application.
    -  Next, choose 2018 as Application Type, then select 2018 Honor Scholar Program.
    -  Click Create Application where you will be prompted to Open Application.
    -  Verify your information is correct, then select Continue at the bottom of the page. 
    -  Choose your File and Upload your essay, then Continue at the bottom of page. 
    -  Finally, scroll to the bottom of the last page to Submit Application.
    Should you encounter any issues, simply reach out to Amy Welch at awelch@depauw.edu.
  • Click here to submit your Honor Scholar Program application.

4) Join us for an Interview

  • If your essay receives a positive review from our faculty committee, you will be invited to campus for a formal interview. The result of this interview process then serves as the basis for extending invitations to students to participate in the Honor Scholar Program.

Before You Begin Your Essay...

Like the Honor Scholar Program itself, these essays address a variety of topics and represent different kinds of opportunities for thought. The topics may touch on sensitive issues; they may challenge you to think in ways to which you are not accustomed. Because creativity and analytical ability are part of the essence of our program, we think that you will find these essays both challenging and rewarding to consider and write about.   

Read all the prompts carefully, think about them, and then choose one for your essay. Remember—there are no right answers here—think of this challenge as an opportunity for you to explore interesting issues and build a case for your point of view. The Honor Scholar Program takes the essays seriously, and we worked hard to generate questions at once diverse and engaging.

Because the Honor Scholar program also takes you and your ideas very seriously—both now and after you arrive—at least two faculty members will carefully read your essay. You should be aware that the essay and the interview that may follow are the most important factors in admission for the Honor Scholar Program. The Honor Scholar Program does not simply look at your test scores and GPA to gauge admission. We believe that the intellectual curiosity, engagement, and interest we want in our students manifest more clearly in written work (the essay) and personal interaction (the interview) than in SAT or ACT scores. So, take the essay seriously and use this opportunity to show us what you can do!

Prompt Option 1:   HEALTH, RESPONSIBILITY, AND COMMUNITY 

Public health scientist Thomas Oliver wrote in 2006:

“[p]ublic health commonly involves governmental action to produce outcomes— injury and disease prevention or health promotion—that individuals are unlikely or unable to produce by themselves...[a] political community stresses a shared bond among members: organized society safeguards the common goods of health, welfare, and security, while members subordinate themselves to the welfare of the community as a whole. Public health can be achieved only through collective action, not through individual endeavor.” 

 This perspective may be widely accepted in public health, but it “runs counter to a fundamental emphasis on property rights, economic individualism, and competition in American political culture” as Oliver observes.

Considering recent global health crises such as Ebola, Zika, obesity, and others that threaten us, what should the role of government or international organizations be in the regulation and promotion of individual and/or the public’s health? 

Reference:  Oliver, T. (2006). Annual Review of Public Health. 27, 195-233. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.25.101802.123126

Prompt Option 2:   OUR REPRODUCTIVE FUTURE

“We need to start thinking about these questions. The future is coming. It may not be exactly the future I foresee, but, like it or not, it will certainly feature far more choices, for families and for societies, about making babies.”

So says Henry Greely, a biomedical ethicist and lawyer at Stanford University, discussing how revolutionary scientific developments may change human reproduction.  These advances include induced stem cells derived from skin, enhanced genetic diagnosis, and techniques to permanently edit DNA sequences.  The stem cell technology may allow eggs and sperm to be made from skin cells—a technique that has already led to reproduction in mice.  This could allow infertile heterosexual couples and same-sex couples to have “their own” genetic children.  As genetic screening becomes more comprehensive, faster, and less expensive, we will be able to identify more and more genetic issues in embryos, and new techniques like CRISPR may (will?)—at some point—allow us to directly modify the genes. 

So we invite you to start thinking-- should we use this technology?  If so, how?  What are the benefits and costs?  Should there be limits, and if so why?  Who should decide?

References:   http://www.vox.com/2016/9/16/12931962/future-sex-reproductive-technology-ethics-ivf, and Greely, H. (2016).  The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press. 

 PROMPT OPTION 3:   I contain Multitudes                                                                                                        

According to Islamic law, traditional Muslim values, and common understanding, alcohol is prohibited in Islam. Yet, in a recent book, Shahab Ahmed begins by juxtaposing the two thought pieces indented below: the first comes from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself”; the second is an anecdote about Muslim cultural practice.

Read both and discuss what you think Ahmed is trying to communicate by bringing these insights together.

         Do I contradict myself?
         Very well, then, I contradict myself.
         (I am large, I contain multitudes).
                                                   ----Walt Whitman

          Some years ago, …I witnessed a revealing exchange between an eminent
          European philosopher…and a Muslim scholar….The Muslim colleague was
          indulging in a glass of wine. Evidently troubled by this, the distinguished don
          eventually asked “Do you consider yourself a Muslim?” “Yes,” came the reply. 
          “How come, then, you are drinking wine?” The Muslim colleague smiled gently.
          “My family have been Muslims for a thousand years,” he said, “during which time
          we have always been drinking wine….You see, we are Muslim wine-drinkers.” The
          questioner looked bewildered. "I don’t understand,” he said.  “Yes, I know,” replied
          his native informant, “but I do.”

 Reference:  Ahmed, S.  (2015).  What is Islam?  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press.  

prompt option 4:   Look at me                                                                                                                                                                             

Abu Riash Admission Photo


What does this image say to you?  You may take any approach or perspective you like in responding to the photograph.  That is, you could tell a story based on the photo, look at it as a piece of art, or comment on the political or cultural meanings it might convey.