Mānoa Academy – Your Pathway to College

Mānoa Academy is founded on the belief that many Hawaiʻi high school students are eager and ready for the intellectual challenges of a university education. Through the Academy, students are not only encouraged to pursue a college degree but are challenged to discover their passions and gain important skills that will promote academic and personal success.

Students admitted to Mānoa Academy enroll in college-level courses taught by Mānoa instructors and earn dual credit. Partner schools and programs pay a special pre-determined rate for their students, which eases financial burden for students and their families.

Students gain academic preparedness and engage in high impact learning opportunities that will foster recognition that a high-quality education can be obtained in state. Academy offerings inspire students to become leaders through transformational learning experiences, civic engagement and study abroad opportunities, and exposure to cutting-edge research.

Mission and Objectives

To increase college access and success and inspire students to become leaders in their local and global communities.

Program Objectives:

  • Increase student access to and persistence in higher education
  • Ease the transition from a high school to university setting
  • Foster intellectual curiosity and growth

Program History

Mānoa Academy launched in Summer 2016 under the leadership of Denise Konan, dean of the College of Social Sciences. The program was initially piloted in partnership with Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama campus as part of a larger effort between the University of Hawaiʻi and Kamehameha Schools to increase college preparation and success for students of Native Hawaiian descent.

The pilot expanded in the 2016-2017 school year, allowing UH Mānoa to contribute to the Early College effort already underway across UH System. Through the Academy, the College of Social Sciences helps lead UH in its commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for Hawaiʻi students and increasing the number of students entering and completing college.

In the 2018-2019 school year, the Academy welcomed 3 partner high schools on Hawai‘i Island through a collaboration with the Maunakea Scholars program, marking a new era for the Academy in the digital landscape. In an effort to attain its vision of becoming a statewide program, the Academy is continuing to develop online programming to provide access to students who do not reside on Oʻahu, as well as those living in rural areas.


Denise Konan, Dean
UHM College of Social Sciences and Mānoa Academy

Mānoa Academy increases college access and success by providing a platform for participants to complete a semester or more of transferable University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) credits.

In Hawai‘i, Early College is an initiative that allows high school students to take college classes on their high school campuses for dual credit. Mānoa Academy goes beyond this model and provides diversified learning opportunities for our students. Regardless of the mode of delivery, the Academy honors the Memorandum of Agreement in place between UH System and the Hawai‘i DOE. As part of the Early College mission, partnering institutions are encouraged to promote this program to students who are underrepresented at UH and/or unlikely to attend college.

Modes of Delivery

In the Fall and Spring semesters, courses are most frequently delivered in the high school setting. Students attend classes taught by UHM instructors on their respective campuses during the school day or after school.

During the summer terms, partnering institutions are encouraged to have their students participate in courses taught on the UHM campus. While courses are exclusive to Academy students, attending classes on the UHM campus provides students with a taste of the college experience and helps them get acquainted with the campus and its resources.

Online courses can be offered year-round.

Program Development

The Academy will work with partners to determine the best course offerings for their students. While we highly encourage our partners to select courses that satisfy General Education requirements, we understand that some UHM courses that do not carry General Education credit may better suit students in furthering their journeys along a career pathway. We are committed to engaging in an ongoing dialogue with our partners to create a plan that makes sense for them and their students.

Current Partners

Mānoa Academy proudly partners with the following schools and programs:

  • Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program, Punahou School
  • Farrington High School
  • Honokaʻa High School
  • Kalani High School
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Kapaʻa High School
  • Kapolei High School
  • Kealakehe High School
  • Maunakea Scholars Program, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope Corporation
  • Pearl City High School
  • President Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Project Ho‘oku‘i III: Na Kumu Alaka‘i
  • University Laboratory School
  • Waiakea High School

New Partners

Please review the Academy admission criteria to determine if a partnership with Mānoa Academy is right for your school or program.

The Academy also requires each school or program to designate a lead point of contact who will work closely with students and assist them with questions. This is usually a counselor (e.g., Early College, College and Career, etc.). It is beneficial for this person to participate in the initial consultation along with other members within school leadership.

Interested in becoming a partner? Contact Mānoa Academy at macademy@hawaii.edu.

Mānoa Academy students will explore new horizons through rigorous academic classes, interaction with motivated peers, and transformational experiences.

Benefits of Mānoa Academy

Mānoa Academy students will develop their critical thinking skills, as well as develop time management skills and a strong work ethic. Participation in Mānoa Academy also increases students’ confidence that they are ready to pursue a degree in higher education.

Top 5 benefits identified by Academy students:

  1. Reduced cost
  2. Feel more prepared
  3. Faster college graduation
  4. Eased the stress of college applications
  5. More certain of major

Additional highlighted program benefits:

  • Provisional admission to UH Mānoa – you will not need to reapply to UH Mānoa
  • Dual credits to apply toward your high school requirements and college degree*
  • Tuition deposit waiver ($200 value)
  • Priority registration status during your initial freshman term at UH Mānoa
  • Opportunities with civic engagement and service-learning programs
  • Priority eligibility for Mānoa Academy Abroad experiences

*Excludes Mānoa Academy Abroad experience.

Know Before You Apply

Early College is not for everyone. While there are many benefits to participating in this program, students must be willing to put in the necessary time and commitment to successfully completing their coursework. Academy students are expected to be engaged, proactive, responsible, and ready to be challenged.

Although participants are still enrolled in high school, Mānoa Academy courses are college-level courses. Academy students will be held to the same standard as our full-time UHM students. The grade a student earns in an Academy course will be permanently recorded on their UHM transcript.

A student who fails to earn a grade of C or higher may be removed from Mānoa Academy at the Academy’s discretion. Once removed, the student must reapply for the Academy and/or admission to UHM and pay the application fee. Failure to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA for Mānoa Academy classes will result in the student being ineligible for financial aid upon enrollment at UHM as a freshman.

Students who do not successfully complete the dual credit course(s) they are enrolled in may not meet their high school graduation requirements and are encouraged to work with the appropriate counselor at their high school.

FERPA Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment) establishes guidelines for maintaining the confidentiality of education records and monitoring the release of information from those records. Education records are those directly related to a student and maintained by the university; these include grades, coursework, records indicating progress toward a degree, and student financial account records.

All FERPA rights belong to the student once they begin attending the university. Information may be released only at the student’s specific written request. An exception is directory information, which may be released at any time unless a student has requested that it be withheld.

UH Mānoa must comply with federal regulations in regard to student privacy. Unless a student gives express written permission, we are unable to release personal, disciplinary, or academic information. Refer to Policies for more information on FERPA.

Campus Resources

Mānoa Academy is open to qualified Hawaiʻi high school juniors and seniors who are enrolled in partnering institutions and meet the UHM admission requirements.

The Academy distinguishes itself from other Early College programs by offering participants provisional admission to UHM.


Applicants must meet UH Mānoa’s admissions criteria, which includes:

  1. 2.8 cumulative GPA
  2. Standard Test Scores
    • SAT: 560 (Reading/Writing), 540 (Math)
    • ACT: 22 (English/Math/Composite)

For more information on the university’s admissions criteria, visit the UHM Office of Admissions.


Students must complete the UH Mānoa application, which is separate from the UH System application. Students who have taken courses through another UH campus will still need to complete the Mānoa application. The Academy will work with the Early College counselor or designated point of contact at the high school or partnering program to assist students with the application process.

The earliest a student may apply to the Academy is in the spring semester of their sophomore year.


A $70 fee will be assessed at the time of application submission. The application fee is nonrefundable and nontransferable.

Students who are in the free and reduced lunch program qualify for an application fee waiver. Students applying for a waiver should complete the UHM application except for the payment portion.

A student who enrolls in and successfully completes an Academy course in the semester immediately following admission will remain in good standing as a Mānoa student and will not need to submit another application or enrollment fee as a student entering UHM in their freshman year.


Prospective students who meet the admission requirements must apply by UHM’s admissions deadlines:

  • October 1: Spring admission
  • March 1: Summer/Fall admission

Additional Admissions Requirements and Information

Students who plan to continue their education at UH Mānoa must submit the following materials:

High school juniors:

  1. Unofficial junior year transcripts to UHM Admissions to ensure you are on track in your academic journey.

High school seniors:

  1. Final official high school transcripts. You must complete the following high school requirements by the time you graduate:

    · 3 units of Math
    · 3 units of Science
    · 3 units of Social Sciences
    · 4 units of other college-prep
    · 5 units of electives

    Submit transcripts to:
    Office of Admissions
    2600 Campus Road, Room 001
    Honolulu, HI 96822

  2. Official standardized test scores. This only applies to students that did not submit official scores when they applied to Mānoa Academy. Official scores must be submitted directly to UHM from the testing agency. On test day, please remember to list University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as one of your institutions. Our college codes are 4867 for the SAT and 0902 for the ACT.
  3. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available on October 1.
  4. Apply for the Mānoa STAR Scholarships and New Warrior Scholarships.

Study abroad opportunities expose students to different cultures, which promote a broader understanding of the world. The immersive nature of an international experience enables students to gain understanding and develop skills to successfully live and lead in a diverse and interdependent world. These experiences and skills ultimately help students be more competitive and marketable along their academic and career journeys.

In Summer 2017, Mānoa Academy began offering a summer abroad opportunity to provide a global gateway experience for students who were continuing their enrollment at UH Mānoa as first-year students. The summer experiences advance the Academy’s effort to create transformational learning experiences that promote a passion for learning, leadership, and global engagement.

Past Offerings

Students have enrolled in SOCS 180/POLS 160, Introduction to International and Global Studies. This 3-credit course introduces undergraduate students to the major political, social, economic, cultural, technological, and historical dimensions of globalization, with special attention paid to impacts on Hawai‘i and the Asia-Pacific region. The course meets a General Education requirement in the Foundations – Global and Multicultural Perspectives category.

Students attend classes at UH Mānoa and engage in coursework before traveling abroad. These classes generally include training in language and protocols that enable them to meaningfully engage in the cultural exchange.

Through Mānoa Academy: Beijing (2018), students delved into the theme of health and aging, and received boot-camp training in conversational Mandarin prior to departure. Students toured historic and cultural sites on Oahu to gain fresh perspectives on China’s connections with Hawaiʻi, and met some of Hawaii’s most prominent leaders with strong ties to China. In Beijing, students explored topics of health and aging, resilience and sustainability, social systems for health and community, and globalization. Students also explored cultural and historical landmarks including the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square, and deepened their appreciation for Chinese culture through special activities including calligraphy and tai chi.

In Summer 2019, Mānoa Academy: Aotearoa challenged students to explore the following question: How do Māori and Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa live their own dynamic cultural traditions – including political, social and economic institutions – in order to thrive in the face of present ecological and political challenges? Participants prepared for their huakaʻi (journey) by learning about histories and contemporary issues related to the central theme of sustainable, Indigenous futures. They also practiced Hawaiian cultural protocols that allowed them to respectfully enter onto Māori territory and engage with their hosts in meaningful ways. During their stay in New Zealand, students celebrated the opening of Matariki, met with local community leaders, and participated in the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference, which brought together over 1,000 Indigenous Studies scholars from across the world.


Students must complete all components of the course and follow the same travel itinerary as the rest of the group to receive course credit.

Although Academy students receive priority in the application review process, all high school seniors who intend to enroll at UH Mānoa in the Fall semester following graduation are eligible to apply.

Participants have come from a diverse array of schools, including:

  • Hālau Kū Māna, Oahu
  • James Campbell High School, Oahu
  • Kalaheo High School, Oahu
  • Kalani High School, Oahu
  • Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Oahu
  • Kamehameha Schools Maui, Maui
  • Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau, Oahu
  • La Pietra Hawaiʻi School for Girls, Oahu
  • Lahainaluna High School, Maui
  • Mid-Pacific Institute, Oahu
  • Mililani High School, Oahu
  • Molokaʻi High School, Molokaʻi
  • Pacific Horizons, American Samoa
  • President Theodore Roosevelt High School, Oahu


This experience requires a separate application from the UH Mānoa application. All prospective participants must complete an application regardless if they are current Academy students. The application is generally available on the Mānoa Academy website by early February.


Although the Academy does its best to minimize costs for participants, UHM tuition and fees apply to this course. Participants are also responsible for any incidental costs.

All participants must have a valid passport at the time of travel booking. A first-time adult passport is estimated to cost $135. A visa may be required depending on the location of the abroad experience.

There is no cost associated with the application for the abroad experience.


Applications must be submitted by March 1.

If admitted, other deadlines will apply. Participants must have their passports ready by mid-April. Passport processing averages 6-8 weeks. Passports must have at least 3 months of remaining validity and blank visa pages.