University Scholars: Selection Process


Scholars are selected each year from the pool of Honors College admitted students from the Early Action application round. The selection process is multi-phased, and incorporates the perspectives of faculty and staff from every college at the university.


Selection Timeline

November 1: Early Action deadline

All admitted Honors College students are reviewed for the University Scholars Program, and no additional materials aside from an application to the University and Honors College are required. Students are encouraged to provide information about their out-of-school activities and obligations in their applications, or via resume submission (if using the Mason Application). Insightful letters of recommendation are encouraged and often useful, but lack of recommendations will not disadvantage a candidate. 

U.S. citizenship not required for scholarship consideration

December: Departmental Review

Of approximately 2,200 admitted Honors College students, approximately 375 will progress to review by representatives from each academic college at the university, as well as the Director.

Late January: Finalists Notified

Of approximately 375 semi-finalists, around 75 candidates will be invited to campus as finalists. Students will be notified via email at the address they used on their application, and will also receive an invitation via postal mail. 

February: Celebration of Excellence and Selection Weekend

On the weekend of the annual Honors College Open House, typically held in late February, finalists will attend multiple days of events designed to help familiarize them with Mason, the Honors College, and the University Scholars Program. Candidates and their guests will have the opportunity to meet with the Deans of the College, Program alumni, and current Scholars, and candidates will get to know their own potential cohort-members. The weekend will culminate in a collaborative challenge observed by Scholar-faculty pairs, and this serves as the primary basis for the final round of selection. 

Early March: Awardees Notified

Students being offered a spot in the incoming University Scholar cohort of approximately 20 students will be notified via email by the Director by early March. All students have until May 1 to confirm their intent to enroll at Mason as a University Scholar. Students who receive this scholarship will receive an updated financial aid package where applicable. Students who are not offered the scholarship may be offered Alternate status. Alternates may be awarded as the spring progresses and as initial awardees make their decisions. 

May 1: Enrollment Deadline

To secure their spot at the university and in the University Scholars Program, students must make an enrollment deposit, and must return their Scholarship Agreement to the Director via email or postal mail no later than May 1. Students are not required to make a final decision in advance of this date, but students who have decided to enroll elsewhere are encouraged to share that information as soon as possible to possibly allow an Alternate to be awarded.