Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Scholars Academy?
The Scholars Academy began in the fall of 2007 through a partnership between Spartanburg County Schools and USC Upstate to provide advanced learners with a quality education in a supportive learning environment.
What is the goal of the Scholars Academy?
The goal of the Scholars Academy is to educate top achieving students at the rate and level of academic rigor commensurate with their abilities so that they graduate as confident, responsible, lifelong learners who are prepared to succeed in higher education and in the world beyond.
Who is eligible to attend the Scholars Academy?
Any rising 9th grader in Spartanburg County Schools is eligible to attend the Scholars Academy. However, he/she must meet the criteria (see question 5).
How is the Scholars Academy structured?
Ninth and tenth graders are taught and supervised by teachers from Spartanburg County Schools with some integration into college courses. They take Honors, Advanced Placement, and college courses with only Scholars. Eleventh and twelfth graders take a combination of Advanced Placement and college courses taught by Spartanburg County teachers and USC-Upstate professors and attend most classes with regular college students.
What are the qualifications for admission to the Scholars Academy?
Students qualify based on a combination of several factors. Standardized test scores, an application, essay, references, a personal interview, and an evaluation of other data such as attendance and discipline records are all considered in determining whether students are good candidates for the program.
When do students apply for the Scholars Academy program?
Interested students should apply by January 31 in the winter of their 8th grade year. Students may enter only at the beginning of their 9th grade year.
How does the Scholars Academy differ from a traditional high school experience?
Scholars Academy classes have a lower teacher-student ratio and emphasize student involvement. Classes move more quickly, using a variety of assessment techniques. The content, pace, and expectations are more rigorous and challenging than traditional advanced classes in high school.
What is a typical day like?
Students arrive by bus from their base schools and begin classes by 8:30. Typically, they take three classes a day and eat lunch between 12:00 and 12:30. At 12:30, they return by bus to their base schools where most of them take at least one class.
Do students actually take college classes?
Yes. The courses are real college classes offered in the USC Upstate curriculum taught by regular college faculty on the college campus. During the first two years in the program, the majority of classes are required high school classes. However, students have the opportunity to take college classes in selected courses taught by Upstate instructors. By their junior year, students begin matriculating in additional college classes based upon their individual interests and abilities.
Can students still participate in the activities at their base school?
Absolutely! Students at the Scholars Academy may be involved in fine arts, athletics, academic competitions, and clubs at their base schools. This continued connection with and participation in their schools is highly encouraged of all scholars.
How many years does the program last?
It is a four-year program, beginning with the 9th grade year and ending with the 12th.
How will students get to the Scholars Academy?
Students are bused to and from the base high schools to USC-Upstate.
What is the attendance policy?
Students follow the attendance policy of the Spartanburg County School District. In USC Upstate classes, students also abide by the attendance policy established by each course instructor.
What are the costs of the program for the students?
As with most high school courses, students will be expected to provide basic materials. Spartanburg County Schools will pay for the tuition and textbooks of the college courses for the students, provided students maintain grades of C or above in each of these courses.
What is the typical program of student for students who attend?
See curriculum map outlining Scholars Academy requirements in conjunction with SC mandates for high school graduation and recommendations from the SC Commission on Higher Education for college entrance.