Julius Olsen Honors Program

The Julius Olsen Honors Program aspires to be a prime example of liberal learning among Christian universities by providing a community in which our most able, ambitious, and inquisitive undergraduate students support, challenge, and learn from each other while obtaining a unique and enriched educational experience. The Honors Program also seeks to inspire the deep integration of faith and intellect and the development of global and local citizenship that reflects social justice, generous mercy and the relentless love of God.

Admission to the Julius Olsen Honors Program requires approval by the Honors Council. Formal application to the program requires a written essay and a personal interview. Students who meet these three criteria will be invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program:

  1. Minimum test score of 25 on the ACT, 1200 on the RSAT or 85 on the CLT
  2. Exceptional high school record, including  GPA, class ranking
  3. Exceptional extra-curricular, volunteer or leadership activities

These are our minimum criteria and meeting them does not guarantee an interview. Interviews are by invitation only, and admission to the program is highly competitive.

In order to remain in good standing in the program, Honors students must maintain high standards of academic excellence and citizenship as outlined in the Honors Program Handbook.

  • Applications available with rolling acceptance

Step 1: You must submit your application for admission to HSU.
You will not be able to access the Julius Olsen Honors Program application until this step is complete.
If you’ve already submitted your application for admission, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Prepare your Honors Resume
Include a 1-2 page summary of the significant accomplishments that identify you as a creative, goal-oriented, responsible, talented individual who will be able to contribute to the Honors Program. Evidence of your qualifications might include honors, awards, recognitions you have earned; books you have read that have had an impact on your thinking; honors and advanced classes or tests that demonstrate accomplishments; memberships, volunteer work, travel, participation in programs, leadership experiences, singular accomplishments in any arena.

Step 3: Prepare your Honors Essay
The Honors Council places great emphasis on this essay. The essay should be approximately 500 words in length, on one of the following topics: religious conflict, war and peace, poverty, or human rights. The audience for your essay is a representative of the Honors Program; your aim is to convey your ability to think deeply and broadly about a subject, communicate clearly and effectively in writing, and to convince the Honors Council that you will be an invaluable asset to the program and to the university.

Step 4: Obtain 3 letters of recommendation or names and email addresses for your recommenders
Letters that are not available to you when you submit your application may be emailed to Dr. Tom Copeland at copeland@honeypotdetector.net or mailed to:

Dr. Tom Copeland
Honors HSU Box 16122
Abilene, TX, 79698

Step 5: Submit your Honors Program application

Step 6: Complete your Honors Interview
You may register for an interview slot on the application.  In the event that slots weren’t available when you applied you can visit here to see current available options.

*Hardin-Simmons reserves the right to deny admission to any student who does not fully comply with admission procedures established by the university. These admission decisions will be determined in a manner consistent with state and Federal nondiscrimination laws. HSU does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or military service in its administration of education policies, programs or activities, admissions policies, or employment.

Join us for Honors Preview at Hardin-Simmons! Attend and learn more about the prestigious Honors program and the experiences available to students. Meet current Honors faculty, take a student led tour, and engage with current honors students. All students are welcome to attend.

Honors Preview Events

We encourage you to attend one of our  preview events and visit with Dr. Copeland while you are here.  You can reach out directly to him at copeland@honeypotdetector.net to coordinate the details of your visit.

One of HSU’s top academic distinctions, our Julius Olsen Honors Program provides enriching educational and co-curricular opportunities to some of our most motivated and exceptional students.  Honors students are challenged to find connections and integration between academic disciplines, and particularly to learn to integrate faith and intellect.  We believe that our intellectual pursuits should become spiritual quests, and our spiritual quests should become intellectual pursuits.

Our Honors program offers students the chance to engage in deeper discussions about the world around them. HSU Honors students will be faced with difficult questions about how we think, how we believe, and how we should live in a complex world as educated, intellectual followers of Jesus.  We bring together students from all majors to engage in problem-solving, scholarly work and group activities designed to enhance this unique learning experience.

Honors life at HSU also includes social events such as picnics, parties and intramural teams, opportunities for service to the campus and community, and annual opportunities to travel, both internationally and within the U.S.  We’ve made Honors trips to New York, New Orleans, Greece, Spain, and Italy.

Students who are accepted into the program will receive a $25,000 annual scholarship in place of their general HSU academic scholarship.

To keep up with our program, follow us on:



Leland Scholars

Up to five members of the fall Julius Olsen Honors Program class will be chosen as Leland Scholars. Determination of eligibility for the Leland Scholarships will be made by the director of the Honors Program after the Honors class is chosen for that year. Recommendations for awards at all levels will be made to the associate vice president for enrollment services by the honors director in consultation with the Honors Council.

Leland Scholars will receive a full-tuition scholarship award. As with all Honors scholarships, the Leland Scholarship is for tuition only, and cannot be awarded above tuition cost.

Honors Faculty

Many HSU faculty members are drawn to teaching in the Honors Program because it allows them to work closely with bright, inquisitive students, while also getting the chance to develop a challenging course that fits their area of interest while expanding beyond the confines of their typical classes.