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    Governor’s School: Everything You Need to Know

    By Zach Skillings

    Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 7th, 2024
    Governor’s School: Everything You Need to Know

    If you’re a high school student looking for a rewarding summer activity, you may want to consider Governor’s School. Not only does this summer program encourage academic and personal growth, but it also looks great on resumes and can even help students earn college scholarships. If this sounds like something that would interest you, read on to learn more! 

    Related: Top summer scholarships

    What is Governor’s School? 

    Governor’s School is a program designed for high-achieving high school students to study on college campuses during the summer. The purpose of the program is to provide students with academic opportunities beyond those normally available in high school. Students typically study a variety of subjects, ranging from science and engineering to creative writing and performing arts. 

    Most programs utilize non-traditional teaching methods that emphasize group discussion instead of lectures. The programs place a lot of value on hands-on experience, research, field studies, and artistic productions. At the moment, the National Conference of Governor’s Schools lists 24 programs across 15 U.S. states. However, some programs are not included in this national list. Check online to see if your state offers a Governor’ School. Let’s take a look at the need-to-know details about these programs. 

    Related: 8 ways to rock your summer before senior year

    What can I study?

    A better question might be “what can’t I study at Governor’s School?” Enrolled students have the opportunity to explore a rich variety of subjects in the performing arts, humanities, and STEM fields. Some students study music or acting, while others focus on technology or math. Many states offer specialized programs that emphasize a specific area of study. For instance, Kentucky has a Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, while Pennsylvania offers a program for agricultural science. New Jersey offers a Governor’s STEM Scholars program. The bottom line is that these programs are an excellent opportunity for you to further your knowledge in a subject that you’re passionate about. 

    Also read: How to pick a major

    How long is the program?

    Programs vary from state to state, but most last between three and seven weeks. During this time, students are fully immersed in the program and typically do not leave campus to return home. Most programs offer an around-the-clock itinerary that keeps students busy outside of their studies. Evening and weekend activities are both educational and enjoyable. For instance, students may take field trips or engage in outdoor activities such as camping and canoeing. 

    How much does it cost?

    The cost varies from program to program. Many programs offer scholarships that cover either the partial or full cost of attendance. If cost is an issue, most schools work with accepted students so that nobody is turned away due to financial barriers. To learn more about the cost of attendance, reach out to your local Governor’s School.

    Also read: Top merit-based scholarships for high school students

    What’s the application process like?

    Because Governor’s School is meant for high-achieving students, the application process is usually rigorous and competitive. Oftentimes, applications require a nomination from a teacher or administrator. References may also be required, and interviews are usually held to determine which candidates are the best fit. Application periods typically open at the beginning of each school year, and students are notified of their acceptance or denial by the end of the school year. Check with your local Governor’s School to learn more about application deadlines and details. 

    Why should I attend Governor’s School?

    Academic Growth

    Governor’s School presents a unique opportunity for high schoolers to dive deep into their academic and artistic passions. As we’ve mentioned, students get the chance to explore a range of subjects at a deeper level than they would at their high school. As a result, students are able to further their knowledge and skills in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise. Students may even leave Governor’s School with a better idea of what they want to study in college. 

    Prep for college 

    Speaking of college, Governor’s School is also a great way to get a sneak peek at university life. For a lot of students, Governor’s School is the first time they’ve been away from home for an extended period of time. Many students use this as an opportunity to learn how to adjust to a new environment and gain some independence. Not to mention, students get a feel for what it’s like to live on a college campus surrounded by their peers all the time. As a result, students may walk away from the experience feeling more prepared to take on college. 

    Resume builder

    As you probably figured out by now, Governor’s School is an impressive line to add to your resume. When applying to colleges, you may gain an edge over other applicants. It’s possible that attending Governor’s School could even help you land merit-based scholarships for college. 

    Is Governor’s School a good fit for you?

    Governor’s School is another option among the countless summer activities competing for high schoolers’ attention. While it’s not as popular as taking a summer job or enrolling in a college class, Governor’s School is still a great opportunity for high schoolers. If you’re seeking an enriching program that will contribute to your academic and personal growth, then Governor’s School should definitely be on your mind. 

    You should enroll in Governor’s School if…

    • You are looking to meet new people
    • You are looking for a way to add compelling points to your resume
    • You want to get a preview of the college lifestyle
    • You want to learn in a setting that differs from your high school classroom
    • You find a program at a Governor’s School that matches your interests perfectly

    You should find another way to spend your summer if…

    • You need to earn money during the summer
    • None of the programs look compelling to you
    • You have another option on the table that you are more interested in. While Governor’s School is a great option to meet new people, learn about a subject, and get a taste of the college lifestyle, it’s not the only way to have an enriching summer.

    See also: Free summer programs for high school students

    Final thoughts

    We hope that you now have a better idea of what Governor’s School is and whether it is right for you. Remember, Scholarships360 is here for you throughout your academic journey, from high school to graduate school and beyond. Be sure to check out our resources on writing scholarship essays, extracurriculars, and how to choose a college, to name a few. While you are thinking about your future, make sure that you are also applying for all the scholarships you qualify for as well!

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