Eligibility and Admissions

After admission to the University of St. Thomas, students must complete a separate application for the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program. The application consists of the student's academic record and a short essay.

Admission decisions are made jointly by the faculty director of the program and an admissions committee based on two factors:

High School Seniors

  • High school GPA (3.8 or higher)
  • Written essay (high-quality work following the written guidelines)

Current St. Thomas Students or Transfer Students

  • College GPA (3.6 or higher)
    • For current St. Thomas students, the overall GPA is calculated from both institutional St. Thomas courses and from transfer courses combined.
    • For transfer students who do not yet have a college GPA available, high school GPA (3.8 or higher) is used instead.
  • Written essay (high-quality work following the written guidelines)

The most important qualifications for success in the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program are intellectual curiosity, openness to new ideas, eagerness and ability to participate actively in class discussions, strong self-motivation and commitment to both active and collaborative learning.

Written Essay Requirements

To prepare to write your responses to the application prompts:

  1. Reflect on a recent transformative learning experience. The learning experience can be something directly related to classes you have taken or to experiences from other parts of your life. The experience does not need to be academic in nature, but it should demonstrate how you were transformed in the process. Past examples of learning experiences have included:
    • working on a class project that introduced you to new ideas and concepts
    • interacting with a culture different from your own that broadened your worldview
    • participating in a service activity that helped you understand more about your community
  2. Carefully look through the information about the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program. Read about our purpose and benefits and expectations of Aquinas Scholars, along with information about the honors courses and seminars.

Application Prompts

Drawing connections between your learning experience and aspects of the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program, write your responses to the following two prompts:

Prompt 1: Personal and Intellectual Growth

The Aquinas Scholars Honors Program is a place where you will encounter challenging and rewarding opportunities to grow intellectually and interact with a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives. Write a paragraph (about 200 words) about a time where you were challenged to grow and self-reflect because you were confronted with new viewpoints or perspectives. Please describe in specific detail what challenged you and what you learned.

Prompt 2: Dedication to Community

As an Aquinas Honors student, you would be part of a vibrant scholarly community. Please familiarize yourself with some of the student activities. Write a paragraph (about 200 words) about how you would seek to engage with the Aquinas Scholars community through your academic or extracurricular activities. What are some skills, experiences, academic and/or personal interests that you would bring to the community and what do you hope to gain? Please give specific detailed examples.

The application prompts for the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program will be judged on the following criteria

Written Essay Criteria

  • Form

    The organization of the prompts.

    The clarity of the ideas presented in the prompts.

    The clarity of the expression of the prompts.

  • Content

    Clearly describes the learning experience and what they learned from it.

    Reflects on how the learning experience could relate to the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program.

    Describes how they will contribute to and gain from Aquinas Scholars Honors Program membership.