Congratulations! What?

The University of Maryland has a somewhat bewildering array of offers of admission to their Early Action applicants. (You pretty much have to apply Early Action because UMD selects 90 percent of their freshman class from that pool.) One possibility is that you get into one of their 12 Limited Enrollment Programs (LEPs). Another is that you didn’t “make” the LEP, but you got into UMD. What does that look like?

Let’s say you applied EA to an LEP in engineering or business or computer science. Your Terp Portal says, “Congratulations! You’re accepted to Letters & Sciences.” That means that you met the requirements for the university but not the LEP. They’re inviting you to work toward your limited-enrollment major from Letters & Sciences, where you’ll be advised on the best path toward that major.

Another scenario might look like this: “Congratulations! You’re invited to the business school!” That means you got into an LEP (business), which, of course, means you’ve been accepted to the university. But you may also get another invitation, one to the Honors College or to College Park Scholars. I’ve covered the Honors College in a previous article; in this I’ll focus on what it means to be in CP Scholars.

You’re in at UMD. PLUS you’re invited to CP Scholars. What?

An invitation to Scholars does not mean you have to make a choice between the LEP and the Scholars Program (same holds for Honors.) Many Scholars are in both an LEP and CP Scholars. It also does not mean a scholarship (even though scholar is the root word there). Financial aid information, including merit aid, will be released by the beginning of March.

From the Scholars landing page ( 

College Park Scholars is a two-year living-learning program for academically talented students. In Scholars, we believe we learn better when we learn together. That core principle informs everything we do. Students of this invitation-only program typically live with one another in the residence halls and take one or two classes as a group each semester. They have access to a supportive, diverse and inclusive community, close faculty connections, and opportunities to learn and grow from the moment they set foot on campus.

Being in the two-year College Park Scholars Program gives you the chance to join a special living-learning community focused on a theme, and that makes a huge university a lot more manageable for your first two years of college. If you participate in the program, you pursue classes associated with the particular living-learning community you’ve selected, as well as those for your major.

You will enroll in a colloquium course, which is a seminar associated with your program, and “supporting courses” that you can choose that will also satisfy general education requirements and may also be tied to your major. You attend the colloquium with other Scholars, but most of your courses will be with the general UMD population.

Dedicated advisers work with Scholars on their academic and personal development. Most scheduling decisions are made with academic advisers within a student’s college, like the Clark School of Engineering or the College of Education. 

13 Themed Programs

Twelve themed, interdisciplinary programs make up the Scholars Program. If you want to know more about each, check out: When you go to the link and click on the program, you’ll see an overview of the program, the sponsoring college, the curriculum, and opportunities. For example, Media, Self and Society is sponsored by the College of Journalism; Science, Technology and Society by the School of Engineering; Science, Discovery and the Universe by the College of Computing, Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Any person in any major may join any one of the programs, and all 13 are interdisciplinary, weaving together multiple disciplines to address complex issues. These are the programs for 2024-2025:

  1. Arts
  2. Business, Society and the Economy
  3. Civic Engagement for Social Good
  4. Data Justice
  5. Environment, Technology and Economy
  6. Global Public Health
  7. International Studies
  8. Justice and Legal Thought
  9. Life Sciences
  10. Media, Self and Society
  11. Public Leadership
  12. Science and Global Change
  13. Science, Technology and Society

DEADLINE Feb. 21: Pick 3.

Students need to complete the preference form in the Terp Portal by February 21, selecting their top three choices. Completing the preference form does not obligate you to attend the University of Maryland or Scholars. Preference forms are read holistically, and there’s no advantage to those who get their forms in early. CP Scholars will send out invitations in early March, and they try to give students their top choices. 

Remember that you don’t have to select a theme that matches your major. The Scholars Program allows you to dive into interests you may have in addition to the area where you expect to earn a degree. 


Parents and students asked the following questions, which CP Scholars staff answered:

How many courses within the Scholars Program will you take each semester? 

Typically, one or two. The colloquium is a seminar that meets once a week in the Cambridge Community Center, located in the midst of the Cambridge housing for CP Scholars, on North Campus, near the awesome Eppley Recreation Center, which houses a natatorium for swimming, diving, and competitive meets.

Are there any research or learning opportunities that make use of Washington, D.C.?

Yes! Many opportunities and experiences take advantage of our location near the nation’s capital. Many of our programs offer excursions to sites and experiences in DC, and our faculty and staff share opportunities they come across from their networks both on campus and off. There are many research opportunities on campus and some of our students have found research opportunities at the National Institutes of Health and other D.C. institutions.

My son already declared mechanical engineering as his major, but it seems this program benefits more students who haven’t declared their major yet.

A number of our students do come in with declared majors and do programs that complement that–for instance, he might want to look at STS, but if he is interested in sustainability studies, ETE might be another great fit.

Do any of the Scholars classes count for credit?

Yes, they do–they may count toward general education, your major, or electives, depending on the class, but they all count toward the total number of credits you need to graduate.

Can students in Scholars apply for Honors?

Students can apply to departmental honors after they complete Scholars, but if students want to be re-evaluated for Honors admission, you would need to reach out to them to find out that process. (Hott note: I’m still trying to get an answer on this and will post as soon as I learn what the process is. Honors is offered by invitation with your offer of admission.)

Can someone be both a College Park Scholar and in the Honors College? How can we email the honors college if we want to be reevaluated for it?

Students are only able to be in Scholars OR Honors, not both. If you would like to be reevaluated, you should contact the Honors College directly at

Does being in the Scholars program open us up to targeted scholarships or is it just a living-learning program?

Unfortunately there are not targeted scholarships associated with Scholars as an incoming student. Once you are on campus, we do offer scholarships to support co-curricular involvement in education abroad, research or service.

Scholars and Honors programs seem to have additional demands or course requirements. Is it possible to complete engineering in four years if in Scholars or Honors?

It is definitely possible to complete Engineering and Scholars within four years. The benefit with Scholars is that you can get a lot of general education requirements taken care of, which are required to graduate. In short, it doesn’t prolong your graduation period. (Hott note: Honors says the same. You can definitely graduate in four years because the courses you take for Honors also help you meet graduation requirements.)

Are the Scholars class within your school?  For instance are there Scholars class that are also business classes?

Marilee Lindemann | College Park Scholars   

It depends on which program and which school you are in, but our Business, Society and the Economy program has classes in the business school that count toward the BSE citation.

Do you get the advantage of early class registration?

For the most part, Scholars courses are held for students in the program. There are Scholars sections of English 101 and some lab courses in the sciences. The campus does a good job of holding seats for major first-year courses so that they remain open for students.

Are you able to share information about the College Park Scholars Student Organizations?

We have several student organizations that are open only for Scholars students, so it offers a really easy way to get involved on campus! Many were also actually founded by Scholars students, so they fit many of the needs that students have found while they are on campus. You can learn more at our website ( —> hit the Student organizations tab), but we have student orgs related to mental health,  service, tutoring/mentoring local elementary school students, an advisory board, identity groups for students of color and LGBTQ+ students and more.

What kind of information should we include in the form for the Scholars program selection?

When you write your short answer, use that space to speak to why you think each of those three programs would be a good fit for you!

It is possible to be directly admitted into my original choice of major instead of accepting the scholars invitation, or is the only way to go to UMD to be in the scholars program for the first two years? 

Those two things are not linked–your Scholars invitation is not tied to your declared major, so you should reach out to admissions for clarification about changing your major. (Hott note: You don’t have to be in the Scholars Program. You can decline the invitation to Scholars and still respond YES to your offer of admission to UMD by completing the Decision Form in your Terps Application Portal. You must respond separately to Scholars, and you can’t trade being in Scholars for being in an LEP.)

What makes CPS different from being just a Terp?

  • an interdisciplinary focus with hands-on learning
  • intentional community building
  • enclave in the Cambridge Community on North Campus
  • opportunities to really get to know faculty
  • weekly meetings 
  • only 70 to 90 students join a program (one of the 12) each year

Marilee Lindemann, the executive director of CP Scholars, wrapped up the informational session telling the group what students get out of being a Scholar:

  • a soft space to land on a large campus with people who are eager to help you navigate UMD
  • a sustained orientation to campus
  • travel abroad and within DC area
  • a challenging, engaging, nurturing community
  • support, mentors, people who connect you to internships
  • close relationships with peers and staff

The Scholars Program aims to:

  • educate head and heart
  • focus on citizenship, leadership, and how you live with others
  • facilitate the transition from high school to college

After reading all of the online info and attending informational meetings for both Scholars (Feb. 3) and Honors (Feb. 16), I believe that being offered to join either program is an honor. Both are for academically gifted students. Both are by invitation only. Both give you a small-college experience within the very large University of Maryland. For some reason, I haven’t been able to pin down anyone at UMD to understand why 4.0 Sally gets invited to Scholars while 4.0 Harry gets invited to Honors. In the meantime, if you have more questions, you can email the Scholars staff at

UMD CP Scholars Program Explained