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.