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:
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.