Attracting exceptional young scholars is a goal of most if not all universities. Exceptionally bright, motivated students who perform at high levels cultivate strong leaning experiences for university communities. The students of many honors programs and colleges usually take the same classes as regular students. But, to the extent that students of honors colleges and programs are isolated among themselves – by way of exclusive classes or activities or living quarters – the overall benefits might accrue in isolation, while at the same time, can also be a drain on quality academic environment for the larger student population who otherwise would benefit from more interaction with exceptional students. Further to that end, Michael Harris, in one of his blogs about his experience teaching in an honors college, expressed concern over a "have and have-not" academic experience that honors programs tend to cultivate. Harris harbored another concern that some of the new-found (post-1960) enthusiasm over honors colleges and programs were driven more by consumerism, albeit a type of consumerism that was antithetical to altruistic efforts towards elevating learning experiences and academic excellence.
The Honors College is 100% about the students — a truly exceptional group of people who make a difference at UW and in the world. Honors scholars are intellectually curious students from all majors who are creative, inspired by diverse ideas, and seek a greater understanding of their place in society.
Each year the Honors College awards more than $200,000 in scholarships to students who are beginning their undergraduate education or who are entering the University as transfer students.