National Scholars Program

First Year and Study Abroad

Retreat team member James Hyde climbs a 60-foot tower as the final element of the 2009 NSP New Scholar Retreat.
James Hyde climbs 60-foot tower

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 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator workshop and a book discussion. Past retreat books have been:

  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
  • Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

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 historian 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.

To view extensive photo albums from the NSP retreats and study abroad experiences, become a Facebook fan of the National Scholars Program.