How Hard is it to Get Into NCSSM?

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North Carolina is not particularly well-known for its academic prowess. However, one school seeks to change that: the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics—or NCSSM. This school is very recent but has become a premier school in STEM education since its founding. Any high school student who wants a fast track to that field will benefit greatly from attending NCSSM. Of course, that means that such a school will not be easy to get into.

But how hard is it to get into NCSSM? What makes it so difficult, and can you improve your chances of going there?

What is it Like to Attend NCSSM?What is it Like to Attend NCSSM?

If there is one high school that any up-and-coming, future STEM major and their family wants them to go to, it’s the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. This public high school is on par with private schools and colleges regarding both size and how well they teach their students.

Attending NCSSM is to put on a fast track for a future curriculum and career in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students of NCSSM enjoy classes where they are much closer to their peers and their professors than the usual high school, whether it is on campus or in their online virtual classes; this way, no student misses out on getting exactly what they need to succeed in the future.

NCSSM is the first public residential high school made exclusively for juniors and seniors. Students not only go to this school to go to class, but they live on it as well, enjoying a rich and fulfilling campus life on one of the two campuses owned by the school: one in Durham and the other in Morganton.

What is it like to attend NCSSM? It is a lot like getting a sneak peek at college life. Students are treated with the same seriousness and roughly the same amount of responsibility as college students but without needing to pay for tuition or worry about needing to keep a job.

Yes, NCSSM has quite a lot to offer for the students that attend. But what, precisely, does NCSSM offer its students?

What Does NCSSM Offer?

What Does NCSSM Offer?

The school’s main website proclaims that the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics offers

  • The opportunity to educate and nurture students who have proven their academic talent and turn them into future leaders of North Carolina, the United States, and even the whole wide world;
  • Access to the highest quality education you can find in North Carolina, which isn’t a slouch when it comes to teaching and learning;
  • Challenging programs focusing heavily on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

NCSSM is very focused on STEM-based education, which it can afford to do because of its high budget and prestigious nature. NCSSM is the first of its kind, and it does it well. High school juniors and seniors have already completed their formative high school education and would typically be ready to do more specific and focused classes and subjects. Of course, NCSSM has a variety of different courses besides strictly STEM courses, such as Humanities, Physical Education, and Student Life, which deal with subjects like public speaking, self-defense, emergency care, etc.

Finally, NCSSM offers a unique residential program on both of its campuses. The campuses are expansive and give a lot of room for the students to learn how to be responsible, such as washing themselves and their clothes, getting to class on top, and working on campus. High school students will enjoy their first real sense of freedom while never putting too much responsibility that can be overbearing for them. However, there is a curfew and restrictions on where they can go and when. However, these restrictions are, again, not overbearing for the students.

So much of NCSSM is about student life, but how many students attend NCSSM? Through this, we can see your chances of becoming a student there yourself.

How Many People Get Accepted to NCSSM?

How Many People Get Accepted to NCSSM?

How many people get accepted into NCSSM? What are one’s chances of joining? It is daunting to say, but NCSSM is a very selective school. Being a public high school with an acceptance rate is already daunting since public high schools are supposed to be something any student could get into. Nonetheless, NCSSM is selective. Only 850 students—680 for Durham and 150 for Morganton—get into NCSSM every year. Considering that even colleges can have thousands of students, these are very small pickings.

Why is this the case? Well, one of the more obvious reasons is that being a residential campus means they necessarily have a very limited amount of students they can afford to accept. Otherwise, the halls and rooms would be stuffed with more students than they can handle. The lack of tuition for the school also means that there is no direct way they supplement their expansive campuses, classes, and activities, all of which the high school does an amazing job in upkeep.

If you want to get into NCSSM, then you will have a tough time. You would need the academic credentials to become one of the 850 students. Is the effort even worth it? Will going to NCSSM help a student with getting into college?

Does NCSSM Help You Get into College?

Does NCSSM Help You Get into College?

Earlier, we’ve described NCSSM much in the way of a college. In many respects, there is no practical difference. In other respects, the differences are minor. Does NCSSM help you get into college? Absolutely!

NCSSM is designed to be a college for high schoolers before they go to college. They live on campus, they attend advanced and specialized classes, and they are meant to work with other students and peers to bring connections. These are all catered to help students succeed in the next tier of their curriculum. If you go to NCSSM, then you are being prepared for college.

All that being settled, what does it take to attend NCSSM in the first place?

How Do You Get into NCSSM?

How Do You Get into NCSSM?

A student who wants to get into NCSSM would have to apply to be one of the 680 students in Durham, the 300 students in Morganton, or apply online. The two former campuses are functionally no different when it comes to taking courses. However, students who apply to the online program are offered a special two-year honors program at NCSSM while at their high school. While they do not get to participate in the residential program or physical activities, they still enjoy the school’s incredibly high academic standards. But how does one get into NCSSM? What are the requirements?

  • The first set of eligibility is that students must be in their second year of high school and be permanent legal residents of North Carolina within a certain date (within a year of application).
  • Next, the second set of requirements is an SAT or ACT score. However, for the Class of 2025, NCSSM is waiving this requirement, and they will not be considered for the admissions process.
  • After a student has completed the application, they must be evaluated by their 9th or 10th grade STEM and English teacher and their guidance counselor and submit their high school transcript.
  • Finally, a student has to attend Discovery Day, a tour of the campuses, along with a Math Assessment to gauge their mathematics skills.

No explicit requirements for GPA or specific classes need to be completed.

Once a student completes their application, they only need to wait for their acceptance. But until that happens, is there anything a student can do to increase their chances of getting into NCSSM?

3 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting into NCSSM

3 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting into NCSSM

We have gone through much of what makes NCSSM so hard to get into. Now, we can tell you how to make those chances go from “unlikely” to “very likely.” We have three strong tips that will help improve your chances of getting into NCSSM.

Keep Your Academic Scores High

NCSSM does not actively require high grades, but any school with a selective process will look at students with the best grades first, and sometimes that’s all you need to get in. Getting high grades increase your chances of acceptance, seeing as NCSSM is a school that requires a lot from its students. Still, a reminder that the best way to get accepted is having a solid transcript wouldn’t hurt.

While you are still in school, develop a strong study regimen that ensures that your grades stay high and that if and when you get into NCSSM, you can keep up with the workload. In particular, developing a schedule that keeps you regularly studying and gives yourself breaks to keep your mind fresh is a good way to start!

Speak With Your Professors

A key part of the application process is an evaluation from your STEM teacher, English teacher, and guidance counselor. Do not be afraid of asking for help or a good evaluation: these figures are responsible for your well-being, including helping you get into the school of your dreams. These figures may also advise you on how to excel in NCSSM if you get through your application. And if you do, be sure to say goodbye and thank them for their help!

Prepare for Discovery Day

Discovery Day is the last obstacle you must overcome in applying to NCSSM. Discovery Day is a campus tour, so students know what they are getting into. If you are applying for the Residential campuses, you must take an in-person Math Assessment on both the Durham and Morganton campuses.

Prepare for Discovery Day by wearing the appropriate attire for when you begin your tour. You do not need formal wear, so don’t worry about ordering a suit and tie or a gown. However, you do have to dress and behave and act like you are ready to become a responsible campus member. Additionally, brushing up on your mathematics skills would have the Math Assessment go by like it’s nothing. Heed this advice, and your final obstacle will be overcome like any other.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is it to Get Into NCSSM?

How hard is it to get into NCSSM? Quite difficult. On one hand, the school does not have any hard requirements that would immediately deter students from applying. On the other hand, that makes it so that they become very selective, and NCSSM wants only the most academically-inclined and responsible students to join. But being such a student isn’t hard at all! Apply to the school and present yourself; do that, and your chances of entering become almost guaranteed!

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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