If you are applying to the honors programs at the University of Tennessee, you've probably considered the Haslam Scholars Program. If you attend the school already, then you may have heard of the movers and shakers in it, but have no idea what the program really is.

The Haslam Scholars Program was named after university alumnae and beneficiaries Jim (the founder of the Pilot corporation) and Natalie Haslam and is based on the four tenets of integrity, diversity, social justice, and social responsibility and admits fifteen students annually. In order to apply, students must have a 4.0 high school GPA, an ACT score of 31 and be active members of their schools and communities. The application process is lengthy: first students must write a series of essays, which leads to the selection of 60 semifinalists. These 60 semifinalists go to local interviews and 30 finalists are chosen to spend a weekend in Knoxville for a "selection weekend," which consists of multiple interviews, a tour of the school and introductions to current scholars and faculty members.

Students in the program must take a class each semester which contribute to the exclusive HSP curriculum, including 12 hours of a foreign language, a summer study abroad experience at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a two-semester thesis research sequence. The scholars must also participate in a minimum of 15 hours of service at community schools and attend at least seven faculty lectures each semester, as well as maintain a GPA of 3.50.

Although it is a lot of work, there are many benefits to being in the program. Honors students get to register for classes early, receive honors advising, have access to special facilities and participate in living and learning community programming. Haslam Scholars are also awarded a generous scholarship for their efforts--the average price of attendance at the school.

Here is a video about the program:

Here is an introduction to the 2016 cohort: http://honors.utk.edu/2016/12/13/getting-acquainted-haslam-scholars-2016-cohort/

You can find more information about the program on the honors and scholars website and on social media, including this blog: http://utkhsp.tumblr.com/

Lead image credit: Kellie Veltri