Frequently Asked Questions about NC Governor's School

Are the programs the same at Governor’s School East and West?

Yes, except that in 2024, West offers an orchestra and East offers a wind ensemble. West will have a mixed chorus (i.e., sopranos, altos, tenors and bass/baritones) for 2024; the East chorus will include only sopranos and altos. Otherwise, the curriculum of both campuses is the same.

What classes are regularly scheduled at Governor’s School?

Students attend their Area I class (the discipline for which they are selected) for one period in the morning and another in the afternoon. They also attend their Area II and Area III classes, each three times per week.

How is a typical Governor’s School class conducted?

Highly energized and committed teachers invite students to explore new and significant ideas, principally through discussion rather than lectures. Teachers may use an occasional mini-lecture to present a formula in math or physics, demonstrate a new movement in art or music, or explain a recent theory of social groups or literary texts. The hallmark of our intellectual work, however, is the interplay between theory and students’ responses, between the abstract and the personal. Without the common burdens of covering a defined body of material and being tested on it, students and teachers can forge a safe, non-competitive, intellectual environment where ideas from many disciplines are entertained and all active learners are taken seriously.

What kinds of dance, theater, and music are performed?

The emphasis throughout the arts (and academic) curriculum is on modern and contemporary ideas and forms of expression. This emphasis has been one of the most successful parts of this 60-year-old program for several reasons: it surprises and energizes students with its often unexpected uniqueness; it alerts students to current ideas; it encourages students and teachers to become creative explorers of uncharted territory; it introduces intellectual inquiries that often do not come into view until advanced college and graduate study.

What options are there after regular classes end in the afternoon?

Governor’s School provides many options for afternoon and evening hours that complement and extend the work of classes. Guest speakers who are active contributors to current knowledge in their fields share their experiences with students and respond to their questions. Student performances in dance, theater, and music electrify both campuses. Daily optional seminars or electives are open to all students to attend and range from topics related to any of the ten Area I disciplines, to pop culture, to learning a new craft or social dance. Film series on campus offer not only substantive films, but also discussions that deepen the understanding of students' studies at Governor's School and sharpen the ability to see and interpret any film.

What kinds of recreational and social activities are offered?

Each afternoon and evening, numerous facilities are open for individual and group recreation. Later in the evening, students can choose social events such as swing dance instruction, ultimate frisbee tournaments, capture the flag competitions, and scavenger hunts. While many students enjoy planned evening activities throughout the summer, others say that their best free moments are spent in the spontaneous conversations, gatherings, and activities that students initiate on the benches of quads and by fountains, at meals, and on dormitory halls.

How strict are the rules at the Governor’s School?

Governor’s School is clearly situated between high school and college — an ambitious residential school for high school students. It grants students many freedoms associated with university study, especially the freedom of choice between many different intellectual and community experiences. It is also governed by a number of rules and regulations associated with residential life for high school students. These are enumerated in an honor code and the Student Handbook so students will know what is expected of them. Strict adherence to the honor code exercises student self-discipline and responsibility, ensures student safety, and frees the community to focus on vital and essential new ideas and experiences.

Do students have to attend Governor’s School for the entire session?

Yes. If a student accepts the invitation to attend Governor’s School, he/she must agree to attend the entire session (NOTE: Any student who does not stay until the closing session on the last day will not receive a Governor’s School certificate, nor be permitted to cite the Governor’s School experience on college and scholarship applications). Students are not excused to attend school, family, or community events (i.e., camps, competitions, reunions, etc.). On rare occasions, students may be excused for family and medical emergencies. Such requests may only be submitted after the student selection process, and also may depend on public health conditions.

May students go home on weekends?

No. Students must remain at the Governor’s School through the weekends. Parents have the option to visit during Sunday visitation hours, but this is not required. The Governor's School weekend calendar includes options and events for students to attend while classes are not in session.