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Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program

The Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program is a special academic opportunity for high-achieving students.

Students admitted into the honors program take a First-Year Honors (FYH) class each semester during the first year at Augustana. These two classes replace the First-Year Inquiry (FYI) classes required of all students.

In the honors classes, students and faculty use ideas from many different fields to address challenging topics, form new ideas and discussions, address issues using different perspectives, and solve problems in new ways. 

If you are an intellectually curious, highly motivated student, First-Year Honors is a great way to start your college career. You will take part in seriously fun discussions, read thought-provoking texts, and advance your reading and writing skills in ways that will impact any major you choose. 

What is First-Year Honors?

First-year honors (FYH) courses:

  • Take the place of First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses required for all students
  • Develop communication and critical thinking skills
  • Offer an exceptional foundation for a college education and future career
  • Connect students with engaged mentors
  • Involve a special sense of community

Any incoming first-year student interested in FYH submits a writing sample and interviews with a professor. The interviews are friendly and relaxed, last about half an hour and involve discussion on what you like to read, write and think about. Find out how to apply below.

How to apply for First-Year Honors

Step 1. Register for an honors interview date below. You will need to submit your writing sample when you register.

All accepted first-year students are eligible to interview for FYH. You do not need to have made your college decision or paid your tuition deposit to interview.

For the writing sample, please tell us about a book, preferably not one assigned in a class, that has had a profound impact on your life or way of thinking. How did this book contribute to some change in your outlook? (1-2 pages, double-spaced).

Step 2. Interview

Admission to the program is competitive, and the interview and writing sample are integral to the application process. Interviews are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a good idea to apply as early as possible. The deadline to apply is one week before the event you plan to attend, or until registrations are full. Dates will fill up.

Interview events for 2023

Honors interviews will be held on campus in Rock Island, in the Chicagoland office in Lombard, Ill., and virtually.

All times are Central Time.

On campus

Feb. 18 from 12:45-3:15 p.m. (after the Departmental Open House and Scholarship Competition)

Sign up for Saturday, Feb .18

March 10, 20, and April 14, 21: These events, from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., include a student panel, classroom visit, and lunch; optional tour available.

Sign up for Friday, March 10

Sign up for Monday, March 20

Sign up for Friday, April 14

Sign up for Friday, April 21

Interview in the Chicagoland office

March 25 from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 30-minute interviews will scheduled in Augustana's  Chicagoland office, 377 E. Butterfield Road, Lombard, Ill.

Sign up for Saturday, March 25

Virtual interviews

April 19 from 7-8 p.m. and April 27 from 6-7 p.m. These interviews in Zoom breakout rooms will include a Q&A program with a student panel, followed by Zoom breakout room interviews. 

.→ Sign up for Wednesday, April 19

.→ Sign up for Thursday, April 27

For information on interviewing, contact Wendy Kelley in Admissions.

About Austin E. Knowlton

A lifelong resident of Ohio, Austin E. “Dutch” Knowlton was a successful businessman, avid sportsman and philanthropist. He established the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation. One of the primary purposes of the foundation is to advance higher education. Augustana College is one institution to benefit from the generosity of this philanthropist.