Our vision is to create an environment that focuses on the whole student where we facilitate the learning process in order to build the knowledge and skills geared towards preparing scholars for their future. We will accomplish this by providing scholars with a unique educational experience immersed in the college atmosphere. In collaboration with the University of South Carolina Aiken, ASA provides a high-quality education through rigorous high school and college coursework in a nurturing and supportive learning environment to prepare scholars for entrance into an ever-changing and advanced society.
IT'S SPOOKY TO BE HUNGRY- Join ASA in supporting Golden Harvest Food Bank's It's Spooky To Be Hungry Food Drive. We will collect items October 5th-30th at the school. There will be a friendly competition between 9th, 10th and 11th grade cohorts with the winning grade reciving a pizza party.
ASA AFFINITY CARD- We are excited to announce that we are now part of the SRP Affinity Card Program!!! SRP is committed to community and making a difference. Join SRP in their efforts to give back to our school by requesting an Aiken Scholars Academy debit card! Every time you use your Aiken Scholars Academy debit card, SRP gives money to our school! SRP makes it easy for YOU to make a difference. Learn how to get an Aiken Scholars Academy debit card at www.srpfcu.org/AffinityCards.
Hybrid Model students will return to four-day, face-to-face instruction in October, and then five-day instruction in early November.
All ACPSD students now have the option to access free meals during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year.
Mr. Higgenbottom, a 1983 graduate of Midland Valley High School, is excited to return home and once again join the Mustang family.
Q & A
What is the Scholars Academy? Aiken Scholars Academy (ASA) is a partnership between USC Aiken and Aiken County Public School District (ACPSD) to create an academic school of excellence. This school will provide an advanced academic experience for qualified students. The Academy will offer advanced students an engaging educational experience that introduces and then immerses them into the collegiate environment.
When did the school open? The school opened its doors to the first cohort of students in August of 2018, with a beginning enrollment of 50 ninth grade students from all over the county.
Who can apply to attend the Scholars Academy? Rising 9th grade students with a proven record of academic excellence should apply. Standardized test scores, report card grades, writing samples, and recommendations will be a part of the application process. For the 2nd cohort, an interview component will be added after the intial application review process. Only 50 students will be accepted annually. Students must reside in Aiken County and are required to show proof of residency upon enrollment.
Where do classes take place? Currently, classes are taught in the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus. A new building will be renovated to house the school in the future with plans to open in the 2021-2022 school year.
How can my child participate in sports or other extra-curricular activities? Students wishing to participate in athletics can join those offered at the high school for which they are zoned as long as they meet SCHSL eligibility requirements. ASA will offer extra-curricular activities as well for student participation. Parents must make arrangements to transport their scholar to and from activities at the zoned school outside of regular school hours and for activities at ASA that take place after school hours.
How much interaction will scholars have with the college students? During the freshman and sophomore years, high school students will have limited access and exposure to USC Aiken students. During the junior and senior years, Aiken Scholars Academy students will be fully immersed in the collegiate experience. While students will not attend classes their freshman and sophomore year with college students, they will encounter students informally in common spaces like the library, computer lab, Student Activities Center, etc...During the junior and senior year, students will be dual-enrolled, taking USC Aiken courses.
Are the classes offered here honored at all in-state institutions? What about out-of-state? There is a state articulation agreement between SC Colleges for accepting transferable credits (sctrac.org). Many out-of-state colleges will accept credits from SC Institutions. ASA advisement will be provided when selecting courses. Students are encouraged to research the institutions they want to attend for transferable credits.
Will the grading scale be based on the school district’s standards or the university’s? High school courses taught by high school teachers will follow all instructional and grading policies for ACPSD. Requirements and expectations will be communicated to students and parents via course syllabi. College courses will be taught according to college standards and grading. College courses will be reflected on the high school transcript, along with the numerical grade for the course. All courses, high school and college level, will factor into the high school GPA. Additionally, the college courses will be reflected in their post-secondary transcript.
How large will the individual classes be? Class sizes will be slightly smaller than an average high school class, with student to teacher ratios of 25:1.
Will ASA students change classes their freshmen and sophomore years? Yes, scholars will transition to classes within the Aiken Scholars Academy building (Ruth Patrick Science Education Center).
Will my student have to apply to the university as a sophomore to take courses as a junior? No. Scholars enrolled in the Aiken Scholars Academy and in good academic standing following their sophomore year will seamlessly transition into USC Aiken college classes in the discipline of their choice.
How can I prepare my middle schooler now to be competitive/accepted? Students applying to the Academy must be enrolled in English I and Algebra 1 or Geometry in 8th grade. If students do not complete Geometry in 8th grade they must complete in the summer through ACVA. Additional recommended coursework includes Computer Science, World Language and Pre-Writing (iNFUSION Summer Experience in the summer before 8th grade). Students should maintain good grades and are encouraged engage themselves in their school and community.
What is the application process for the ASA? The application will open each fall with ample time for students to complete and submit. Details, dates and a timeline for the ASA will be accessible to students and parents directly on the ASA website under the Future Scholars tab.
When will my child be advised of acceptance? Applications will open in November, with a submittal deadline in late January or early February. Applicants will be notified of acceptance prior to Spring Break.
Where can we get more details on ASA? ASA hosts multiple informations sessions throughout the school year for intersted applicats, as well as offers Open House opportunities for potential students to observe classes. Please contact the school for dates and times 803-306-1400.
How will academic scholarships be affected with such a small number of students? Although each scholarship opportunity must be researched, state scholarships provide for means of qualification other than class rank. Please review the qualification information for Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program and LIFE Scholarship by following the links here.
Scholars in Action!
Attributes of Premier Students
For a closer look at the Attributes of Premier students in Aiken County Public Schools, click on the words "Attributes of Premier Students," or simply look around your school as we're sharing these attributes in a big way and posters and banners are everywhere!