What is the New Hampshire Scholars Program?
New Hampshire Scholars Program recommends a Core Course of Study to high schoolers that gives every participating student the advantage of well-rounded, more challenging coursework in English, math, science, social studies and foreign language. Students who undertake this rigorous Core Course of Study will challenge themselves to do their best work during their high school career and will enjoy a wider range of postsecondary options upon graduation.Why is there a need for the New Hampshire Scholars Program?
The New Hampshire Scholars Program is unique in that it enlists the help of business leaders and postsecondary personnel in encouraging students to select curriculum that will adequately prepare them for the challenges they will face in postsecondary pursuits be it 2 or 4 year college, certificate programs, the military, or the workplace.
A strong academic foundation in high school benefits every student, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Students who take demanding high school courses are nearly twice as likely to graduate from college as those who do not take such courses. Source: The Toolbox Revisited, U.S. Department of Education, 2006.
What will the New Hampshire Scholars Core Course of Study include?
The national baseline for the New Hampshire Scholars program includes:
- English - 4 years;
- Math - 3 years, to include Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II;
- Laboratory Science - 3 years of basic Laboratory Science, to include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics;
- Social Studies - 3.5 years, (chosen from U.S. and World History, World Geography, Economics, and Government); and
- Foreign Language - 2 years of the same foreign language other than English.
Students who complete this Core Course of Study will be prepared both for college and work. They will also be publicly recognized as New Hampshire Scholars.
Footnote: New Hampshire is not intended to duplicate other roadmaps to graduation, such as the Gold or Silver Scholars and similar programs in participating schools. It is intended to help all high school students recognize the benefits of and commit to a more rigorous Core Course of Study. It leverages the excitement offered by being recognized as a New Hampshire Scholar to motivate students to take more challenging classes.
Why become a New Hampshire Scholar?
Why should you take challenging courses? The answer is very straight forward. By successfully completing more challenging courses you will be better prepared for whatever you decide to do after high school graduation. You will increase your chances of success in college and the job world. You will improve your ability to obtain scholarships for post high school education. You will develop critical thinking skills that are valuable in any job.
Graduating as a New Hampshire Scholar means you will:
- acquire advanced academic skills
- develop sound decision-making and critical-thinking skills
- be more prepared for college and be less likely to need costly remedial courses
- be a stronger candidate for certain types of financial aid and scholarships
- have enhanced opportunities for placement and future advancement with local and international employers.
How will we know students have made a commitment to become a New Hampshire Scholar?
Each student will receive information about the New Hampshire Scholars during the 8th grade or from their high school counselors during course selection time. They will also review a four-year planner with their counselor. At this time, they will have the opportunity to take the New Hampshire Scholars' pledge by signing the four year planner, having a parent sign the planner as well, and returning it to their counselor. Students must communicate their intention to become a New Hampshire Scholar to their high school counselor.
How will the students be recognized as New Hampshire Scholars?
At the end of the school year, all students who have successfully completed the Core Course of Study will be recognized as New Hampshire Scholars. Each school will recognize students during special awards and/or graduation ceremonies. New Hampshire Scholars' high school transcripts will indicate that they have successfully completed the Core Course of Study. Other forms of recognition might include a medallion, special recognition in a local newspaper, or coupons for local businesses.
What role do parents play in New Hampshire Scholars?
A parent's encouragement and support are essential in helping a student achieve his or her academic goals. In grade 8, each student will prepare a 4-year Scholars Course of Study plan with the help of parents and school counselors. Parents should work with school counselors and teachers to help their student meet the requirements of the program. In this way, parents help to insure that students are prepared for whatever path they choose upon graduation from high school.
Will graduating as a NH Scholar have a direct impact on college admission decisions or financial aid?
With 24 states participating in State Scholars, it has become a national initiative. Colleges across the country are familiar with this program and recognize State Scholars through transcript review. Colleges in NH are well aware of this program and the rigorous course curriculum of SSI is preferred. In terms of financial aid, students are more likely to be awarded merit aid by completing a rigorous core
curriculum and excelling in that course of study. A number of colleges in New Hampshire now offer merit awards to students graduating as a New Hampshire Scholar. New England College, University of New Hampshire at Manchester and the Community College System of New Hampshire offer NH Scholars-specific scholarships.
Where can I go if I have questions or concerns about the program and coursework?
Talk with your school counselor or call the New Hampshire Scholars Program Director.