We invite you to take some time to explore our website and learn more about College Park Scholars. This page offers some basic information to start you off.
What Scholars Is
It’s not always easy to understand what exactly Scholars is. Chances are, you haven’t encountered the Scholars model during your previous schooling.
College Park Scholars gathers academically advanced students together to learn from one another—not just inside a formal classroom setting but also through active learning opportunities and in informal social settings. Scholars consists of 12 programs, each based on a specific theme or subject area and each featuring specially designed courses and experiences (including field trips).
Students are tracked into one of these 12 programs, based on their preferences. During your first and second years at the University of Maryland, you will take 1 to 2 Scholars courses per semester with others in your program—much like if you were pursuing a minor.
A Living–Learning What?
If you’ve looked elsewhere on this website, you’ll see that we’re a nationally recognized living–learning community for academically talented freshmen and sophomores. Let’s break down what that means.
We’re a living–learning community. In a nutshell, Scholars students live together and learn together. Scholars students who choose to live on campus tend to live in the Cambridge Community, a group of five residence halls on the north side of the University of Maryland campus. They also take at least one Scholars course alongside other students in their specific Scholars program.
We’re geared to academically talented students. Scholars students are smart, intellectually curious and enterprising. To have received an invitation into Scholars, you likely got good grades while taking challenging courses in high school—but you probably also demonstrated that you have a range of interests, inside the classroom and out.
We’re nationally acclaimed. Studies have shown that living–learning programs such as ours are effective in enhancing learning. They also help students successfully navigate the transition from high school to college. We just happen to be one of the first, and best, such programs of our kind.
How Scholars Helps With Your Degree Requirements
Many students fear that being a part of Scholars will make it hard to complete their undergraduate degree in the desired four years. Not true!
To get a degree from the University of Maryland, you will need to take courses that satisfy requirements for your major or for general education or that count as electives. In many cases, the courses you take in Scholars will also fulfill some other university requirement.
The degree “equation” looks something like this:
How to Choose a Scholars Program
So how do you choose what Scholars program to go into? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Think through all of your interests before making your decision. College offers an ideal opportunity to explore a variety of interests.
- Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose a Scholars program aligned with your major. In fact, gaining perspective in another area of study can often provide you greater understanding of your major and foster connections between your major and society at large. In the course of Scholars’ decades-long history, plenty of biology/pre-med students have been Arts Scholars, plenty of business majors have been in Media, Self and Society Scholars, and so on.
- If you select Business, Society and the Economy (BSE); Life Sciences (LS); or Science, Technology and Society (STS) as your first-choice program, you may not rank any of these three programs as a second preference.
Students are strongly encouraged to live in the Scholars residence halls to take advantage of the Scholars experience, but you do not have to live on campus to be a part of Scholars. If you do decide to live on campus, however, the following programs require that you live in Scholars-specific residence halls your first year:
- Life Sciences: First-year students must live in Centreville Hall.
- Science, Discovery and the Universe: First-year students must live in Centreville Hall.
- Business, Society and the Economy: First-year students must live in Cambridge Hall.
- Environment, Technology and Economy: First-year students must live in Chestertown Hall.
So here’s what to do next:
- Learn about the 12 programs.
Identify your top three Scholars programs and complete the Program Preference Form.
- To fill out your form, log onto mycoalition.org
- Under "Colleges," go to the University of Maryland section
- Click on "Checklist"
- Click on the "College Park Scholars Program Preference Form," complete and submit.
- If you’re going to live on campus, fill out your housing form before May 1.
Note: Completing the Program Preference Form for College Park Scholars and filling out your housing form do not obligate you to attend the University of Maryland or College Park Scholars. It merely reserves your spot should you decide to enroll at the University of Maryland.