The Academic Honors in Writing program fosters and rewards excellence in undergraduate writing at Ball State. At commencement, selected graduating seniors are honored for their superior writing skills. This prestigious achievement is acknowledged in the commencement program and on the recipients’ transcripts.

In addition to being a source of personal pride for students, this award is of great interest to prospective employers. Academic Honors in Writing reaffirms the central place of written expression in the undergraduate university experience.

Seniors who will graduate during the current academic year (December, May, or July) are eligible to apply for this honor. Applicants are not limited to members of the Honors College. Students with excellent writing skills should begin assembling a portfolio of their best writing as early in their academic career as possible. Portfolio items may come from any course or writing exercise from any time in a student’s career.

Applicants are asked to submit a portfolio of class-related writing, consisting of 30 to 35 pages (roughly 8,000 words), that demonstrates sustained excellence in writing. At least one sample should illustrate the ability to write and think about concepts central to the student’s major field of study. Portfolios should contain original papers from classes, or photocopies of originals. Copies other than originals or photocopies of originals must have a note from the appropriate instructor verifying that the works are class related.

Portfolios must be submitted to the applicant’s department liaison faculty representative (contact the Honors College for the representative’s name). Department finalists will be chosen, and these names and portfolios will be submitted to the Academic Honors in Writing Committee. From this pool, the committee will select university finalists, who will write a common essay on a topic of general interest. Award winners will be chosen to receive the Academic Honors in Writing designation on the basis of their portfolios and common essays.

For this year's application dates and deadlines, please obtain a brochure from a departmental liaison or the Honors College office (Ball Honors House). Below is the typical schedule.

  • December: Applicants submit portfolios to their department liaison faculty representatives.
  • January: Department liaisons submit portfolios of department finalists to the program coordinator.
  • February: University finalists are selected and notified of the common essay procedures.
  • Mid-March: University finalists write the common essay.
  • April: Recipients are selected, and the awards are officially announced at the university's spring program honoring seniors.