Begin familiarizing yourself with the College Foundation of North Carolina:

Check out these links to get you started...

Pursuing Special Interests during the school year &/or summertime

All Disciplines

  • Situated in Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS), the Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) at Stanford University develops and offers multimedia computer-based distance-learning courses. Combining technical and instructional expertise, EPGY provides high-ability students of all ages with an individualized educational experience, optimized in both pace and content. Through EPGY, students have access to courses in a variety of subjects and levels. Since its inception over 100,000 students from 35 countries have taken courses from EPGY.

  • The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth identifies and develops the talents of the most advanced K-12 learners worldwide. As part of Johns Hopkins University, CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to our world.

Creative Problem-Solving many of these need students to have a formal, adult sponsor

  • In Odyssey of the Mind, teams apply their creativity to solve problems in an area of their choice (mechanical/vehicle; structural; technical/innovation; classical art, architecture, or literature; performance), then put their solutions to the test by competing against other teams in local, state, and world level venues. Regional competition is held at Western Carolina University every March. Teams must be affiliated with a paid-member organization such as a school, university, or recognized community group.

  • A program that began in 2011, Odyssey Angels is an outgrowth of Odyssey of the Mind which challenges students to use their creative problem-solving abilities to help ameliorate a real problem in their own local communities.  

  • Destination Imagination gives students the chance to learn the creative process from imagination to innovation by apply having student teams solve open-ended problems then present their solutions in tournament-style competitions. Teams may have up to 7 members and need a Team Manager, either a faculty member or a parent.

  • Future Problem Solving engages students' creativity and problem solving abilities while encouraging them to develop a vision for the future and preparing them for leadership roles. Students may compete individually, compete on a 4-person team sponsored by a coach/teacher, or work on a team to implement a real solution to a real problem in their local community (and be invited to an international conference the following summer).


  • Invent Now, an organization which operates collaborative projects with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other agencies, offers Invent Now Kids, a website to help students jump start their powers of creativity and invention and to allow them to publicize their inventions and ideas.  


  • The Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership organization offers several programs for rising/current sophomores and for juniors/seniors. Application deadlines vary by program.


  • The NC Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers a North Carolina State High School Mathematics Contest and provides contact information for colleges offering scholarships to students who perform well. Participating colleges offer their own access to and dates for the contest each year.

  • The Mathematical Association of America offers American Mathematics Competitions, an array of nine national contests whose goals are to identify and reward excellence in math.  Tentative contest dates have been arranged for 2013-14; registration fees will be announced.

STEM Fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

  • At the high school level, Science Olympiad is a competitive program in which teams having coaching and practice regularly throughout the year, preparing for the annual spring tournament. Topics rotate annually.

  • A nonprofit organization For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST) offers two competitive events annually to high school students as well as scholarship opportunities.  In the FIRST Robotics Competition, student teams compete to build and program a robot capable of completing specified tasks. In the FIRST Tech Challenge, teams begin with a reusable kit and design, build, and program robots which then compete against each other.

  • A wiki is a type of publishing opportunity - it is simply a website that can be edited by more than one person. PBWorks allows you to collaborate and build a website.

  • Welcome to the laboratory that never sleeps! MadSci Network represents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure, they provide a variety of oddities as well.

  • With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

  • Using an innovative programming environment to support the creation of 3D animations, the Alice Project provides tools and materials for teaching and learning computational thinking, problem solving, and computer programming across a spectrum of ages and grade levels.

  • DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.


Writing Contests

  • The Young Voices Foundation is a writing mentorship that provides contests (for cash!) to students. Check their homepage for updates on competitions.

  • Through Poets and Writers, The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that have been published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. They boast to have “the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.”

  • Scholastic has a short list of writing contests and publishing opportunities for young writers.

  • Start a blog! Hone your writing skills while sharing your interests with the world. LiveJournal is a free site where you can express your thoughts to a much wider audience than your classroom.

Other Contests and Competitions

  • The United States Academic Decathlon is a competition in ten disciplines to high school teams (nine students) or individuals interested in competing against students from other schools. Students take 7 multiple-choice exams (in art, economics, language, mathematics, music, science, and social science); the three remaining competition areas are essay, speech, and interview events. The theme for 2013-2014 is World War I; competition will be in April 2014 in Hawaii. There are fees associated with registering for competition, traveling and accommodations necessary to compete, and ordering study materials.
      Davidson Institute for Talent Development:

  • Davidson THINK Institute for 13-16 year olds.

  • Duke TIP Program: An interdisciplinary program with a variety of offerings.


Summer Experiences many fields of study available

  • NC Governor's School offers rising juniors and rising seniors a residential, five-week course of advanced study emphasizing contemporary thought and trends in math, natural science, social science, English, Spanish, French dance, vocal music, instrumental music, and dance, theater, or fine art. Acceptance is highly competitive, and students who have attended are not eligible to attend again.  Applications due mid November.

  • Summer Ventures in Science and Math is a free residential program for rising juniors and seniors who want to explore topics in science, technology, medicine, engineering, or mathematics.  Host campuses are UNC-system universities.  Applications due late January.

  • The Martha Guy Summer Institute at Appalachian University allows rising seniors to explore the business world and build their leadership and professional skills through a two-week residential experience at App followed by another week divided between New York City and Washington, DC.  Only current juniors may apply.  An interview is required, following submission of application; nearest interview location is Asheville. Applications due early March.

  • LENS @ Wake Forest is a three-week summer residential program that offers rising juniors and seniors a meaningful way to gain academic and problem-solving skills while experiencing collegiate life.  Rolling application review March-June; financial aid application due early April.

  • NC State Summer Programs: A plethora of  residential and daycamp options in different locations in North Carolina for age groups all the way down to elementary school.  For high school students, offerings include 4H Camp, Ag-Discovery, Design, Engineering (various specific engineering disciplines include aerospace, biological, chemical and biomolecular, civil and construction engineering, materials science, robotics, computer science, and "Wolfpack Motorsports"), Leadership, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Textile Exploration, Polymers, Writers Workshop, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Nuclear Technology.  Oops, I left out Poultry Science.  How cool is that?  Each camp has its own webpage off this main index page; each camp has its own registration deadline.   

  • Furman Summer Scholars Furman University offers rising juniors and seniors week-long residential camps in July. 2013's topics include medicine, business, theatre, law, graphic design, leadership, sustainable living, health and nutrition, and protest movements.  Applications due April 15.

  • Clemson University Summer Scholars is offering several one- and two-week summer residential programs. 2013's offerings include physics and astronomy, architecture, bio-engineering, computer engineering, civil engineering, medical, and veterinary programs.  They're also offering multimedia journalism and automotive engineering. Payment is due April 1.

  • People to People Leadership Ambassadors one- to two-week summer residential programs at various prestigious colleges  focused on education, leadership, and college preparation. Topics:Leadership, Service, Technology, Medicine and Health Care, International Diplomacy, Film and the Arts, and Business and Entrepreneurship.

  • LeadAmerica residential camp/classes for current juniors, hosted at various prestigious colleges. Topics: Law and Trial, Medicine and Healthcare, Engineering and Technology, Business Fundamentals, Business and Entrepreneurship, Business Innovation, Leadership and Ethics, Digital Media/Broadcast and Journalism.

  • Forum on Medicine for 9th through 12th graders, ages 15-18. This annual program enables students who are interested in careers in medicine to explore a educational requirements (including residency after medical school), career options (from medical specialties to primary care), clinical practice, current issues like epidemics and life-threatening diseases, and ethical and legal issues.

  • Western Carolina University offers Bright Stars Theatre Camp, a week-long, afternoon daycamp experience for students ages 8-17.

  • Western Carolina University also offers Rocket to Creativity (formerly known as Cullowhee Creativity Camp), a week-long daycamp for 2nd through 9th graders that engages students in fun yet challenging activities to promote creative thinking and problem-solving.

  • Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC. Summer residential program for orchestral musicians and pianists ages 14-22, allowing students to experience rehearsals, specialty classes, private lessons, and perform full-length program performances during the festival's concert season. Applications (including recordings of audition pieces) due early March.

  • Cannon Music Camp at Appalachian State. Three-week summer residential program for serious music students in keyboard, percussion, strings, winds (brass and woodwinds), and voice. The camp is designed for high school students (from rising freshmen to graduating seniors) and includes music theory classes and ensemble rehearsals to help musicians prepare for college. Applications due in early December.

Alternatives to EHHS Courses or EHHS Diploma

  • UNC School of the Arts offers a high school diploma in Dance (grades 9-12), Drama (grade 12), Music (grades 9-12), and Visual Arts (grade 11 or 12). Applications accepted in mid Nov., Jan., and March.

  • The North Carolina School of Science and Math offers juniors and seniors both a residential program (for diploma-seeking students) and a distance learning program (in which students may take advanced science and math courses online, either during or after the school day, to earn credit at their own schools). A recruiter visits in the fall to meet parents and students. Applications due mid-January of an applicant's sophomore year.

Other Resources