Getting Into NCSSM

Tips for Overachievers and the Highly Motivated (or students below grade 10)

Congratulations if you are planning to apply to NCSSM before 10th grade! Thinking ahead is a crucial experience that you will not regret, and it's helpful for college applications too. Some of you may be prodigies, while some may be ordinary but ambitious students, and others may fall hopefully somewhere around one of these two groups. While being a genius is an obvious advantage, it does not guarantee anything. When applying, you must be able to show your genius and ambition through what you have done and who you are. The advice on this webpage is similar to that for prospective sophomores, but since you will have more time than students with applications due within a few months, this will apply more directly to you.
Your grades are one of the most important points to work on. You will want to have grades above the average of your home school in order to catch the admissions office people's attention. This really depends on your school, but it usually means straight A's with maybe a few B's here and there. However, this is no minimum grade required, so even with a C or lower, it is possible to be accepted, though it may be more difficult.
The classes you take are important as well. If your school offers honors, AP, IB or any other advanced form of courses, it's definitely a good idea to take those. Again, this goes with the whole "accepting the greater challenge" concept of NCSSM. Even though it may be more difficult and stressful to take AP Biology while your friends may be coloring pictures in Regular Biology, it will be worth it in the end as long as you do your best and show your best.
Believe it or not, not all teachers exist to make your school life miserable. Their job is to guide you in the right direction for a secure future by preparing you academically. For your NCSSM application, you will need teacher recommendations for a humanities teacher and a math/science teacher, so try to be nice to at least some of your teachers. Don't be afraid to talk in class (when appropriate), ask questions, and show interest in the subject. You don't have to be an all out teacher's pet, but try to build that positive connection with at least two teachers so that you know they will write you a good recommendation.
Since you will have to take the SAT I in 10th grade, studying for it is a good idea. Just don't let it completely take over your free time. SAT scores are evaluated in the same way as with grades, so having a score higher than the average at your home school will help you. Although there is no minimum score, we would estimate the mid range for SAT scores of accepted students to be around 1900-2100.  The average SAT scores for the class of 2010 were 680 in reading and 700 in math. It is best to study hard for the exam so you will not have to take it again afterwards, but it is your choice.
Everyone has some kind of passion outside of schoolwork. It could be playing the clarinet, hip hop dancing, competing in HOSA, web-designing, or volunteering at the Y. Excel at whatever you are interested in stand out by leading and influencing. Being passionate about a few hobbies instead of being a member of twelve clubs where you do nothing is much more impressive. You do not have to try to be the perfect student by being class president, captain of all of the school clubs, and first place winner of all competitions. Just be yourself and do your best in wherever your passion lies. And of course, it's a bonus to do something related to science and math.