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National Scholars Program Experience

  • National Scholars at Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • National Scholars at Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • National Scholars at Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • The Scholarship Award

    National Scholars receive a four-year (eight-semester), merit-based scholarship that includes:

    • Tuition and fees.
    • An allowance each semester for room, board, and supplies.
    • Summer group study abroad experience after the first year.

    Scholarship recipients must read and sign the NSP invitation package that outlines membership requirements, which include:

    • Enrolling in and complete the National Scholars Program freshman seminar during their first fall semester.
    • Remaining full-time students in good standing at Clemson University.
    • Remaining members of the Calhoun Honors College.
    • Maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.40.
    • Participating in advising meetings with the NSP staff each semester.
    • Adhering to expectations set forth by the National Scholars Program.

    * The details of the scholarship award are contained in the official scholarship offer provided to each recipient. The summary provided on this Web page is for information only and is not intended to modify or supplant the offer letter.

  • Scholarship Experience

    While the full scholarship is an important part of the National Scholars Program experience, the financial benefits of the program are matched by an equally rewarding educational experience. The education of the National Scholars begins at the top of a ropes course during the freshman Scholars retreat and ends wherever their imagination and creativity take them.

    The most rewarding aspect of the "program" part of the National Scholars Program is that the Scholars work closely with the NSP staff to develop educational enrichment opportunities for their peers, including educational travel opportunities, and discussions and small seminars that focus on a wide range of topics, including religion and science, leadership and entrepreneurship, and classic political thought.

    In addition to the benefits offered directly by the NSP, Scholars also are members of the Calhoun Honors College.

    (Note: The study abroad after the first year at Clemson is part of the NSP scholarship offer. The other activities highlighted in this section showcase the range and diversity of opportunities offered over the past several years, rather than a guarantee of future, specific opportunities. Instead of inserting National Scholars into a strictly defined, limited sequence of learning experiences, the NSP evolves based on student feedback to develop new, expansive learning experiences.)

    New Scholars are welcomed to the NSP family with a retreat before classes begin that is planned and executed entirely by a team of upperclassmen National Scholars, all of whom volunteer to lead this experience. The retreat includes a variety of group experiences designed to help the "newbies" get to know each other and the expectations of the NSP. Past retreats have included whitewater rafting, a high ropes course, a developmental activity workshop and a book discussion.


    Once the Fall semester begins, new Scholars participate in a nationally recognized freshman seminar that sets the stage for the NSP experience with an intellectually rigorous learning experience designed to strengthen Scholars' analytical, speaking and writing skills by exploring a wide range of topics. This Honors College course is designed as a graduate-style seminar: Scholars complete readings prior to class and lead lively discussions on the ideas from the readings.


    In the Spring semester of their first year, Scholars enroll in a second course taught by a top Clemson faculty member that focuses on the history, politics and culture of the country home to the summer study abroad university. In the Summer, Scholars take courses at a top world university for several weeks, as well as travel throughout the country and region to learn first-hand about the topics, people and places they studied throughout the Spring.

  • Study Abroad

    Freshman Study Abroad
    In the Summer, Scholars take courses at a top world university for several weeks, as well as travel throughout the country and region to learn first-hand about the topics, people and places they studied throughout the Spring.

    A final full group photo from the Umhlanga rocks outside of Durban. The students have arrived at Stellenbosch University for an exciting month of classes.

    The 2016 Scholars in Kruger National Park, South Africa, prior to the students' month of classes at Stellenbosch University.

    Maymester
    In addition to the group study abroad after their first year, recent Scholars have enjoyed additional opportunities to participate in study-travel experiences. Small groups of sophomores and juniors work closely with top Clemson faculty to develop a preparatory course that sets the stage for an experiential expedition during Maymester. Scholars delve into the culture, history, politics, art and science of a region and topic for an entire semester before traveling around the world for direct observation of and interaction with the topics they've studied.


    Recent Maymester experiences have included:

    (Note that the Maymester learning experiences are not a guaranteed part of the NSP scholarship offer, but one of many opportunities the NSP staff and students develop based on Scholar interest.)

  • Honors College Travel Grants

    Educational Enrichment Travel Grants (EETGs) are designed to fund out of the classroom, life-changing experiences that take place away from Clemson and the Upstate of South Carolina.  These experiences may be internships, research, public service projects, or other significant undertakings that are consistent with a student’s educational or career goals. National Scholars have gone as far as Nicaragua, Peru, and South Africa. Study Abroad or other credit-bearing experiences will not be funded through EETGs unless they contain a substantial research or service component.  In keeping with the spirit and objectives of Clemson University’s “2020 Road Map,” priority will be given to proposals that, in the judgment of the review committee, show promise for contributing to a strong and potentially successful application for an extramural fellowship.  Such fellowships include, but are not limited to, the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Mitchell, Goldwater, and Udall scholarships, and Fulbright Grants. Read more.

  • Mentoring and Advising

    Staff Advising

    The NSP staff maintains an open door policy for Scholars to drop in any time for advice, information or simply a chat.

    In small groups and in individual meetings, the NSP staff works with Scholars to:

      • develop, clarify and revise academic, professional and personal goals
      • research internships and summer study abroad opportunities
      • seek opportunities for Creative Inquiry and other research at Clemson
      • develop work and graduate school plans
      • draft, revise and edit applications and personal statements for jobs, graduate school, awards, and fellowships
      • make the most of their college experience


    NSP Faculty Fellow

    From 2011-2015, a top Clemson professor was selected to serve as the NSP Faculty Fellow. The Faculty Fellow contributes to the intellectual community of the NSP by teaching the freshman seminar, mentoring National Scholars in developing intellectual and professional goals, assisting in recruiting and selecting future National Scholars, and coordinating a series of educational enrichment opportunities. When Dr. Winslow became NSP Director in 2015, the Faculty Fellow role was subsumed into the Director role.

    Peer Mentoring

    Because the NSP aims to enroll approximately 10 new Scholars in each freshman cohort, the program is never too large. This purposefully small size allows for inter-cohort mentoring between upperclassmen and freshmen. Even NSP alumni connect with new Scholars through a perennial "Success Portfolio" assignment as part of the freshman seminar. Scholars begin building these mentoring connections with older students immediately upon their arrival at Clemson at a New Scholar Retreat. New Scholars are added to mentoring groups containing one Scholar from each cohort. Mentoring groups spend time together outside of the classroom, foster a greater sense of community, and encourage inter-cohort advising. This mentoring continues as older and younger students collaborate to develop new program ideas and to study together in preparation for study travel. Every year, senior Scholars note with amazement, and a little pride, that just a few years earlier they needed help and in their final year at Clemson, they are sought after for their wisdom.