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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Clarkson School?
The Clarkson School, a special division of Clarkson University, was founded in 1978 as an innovative educational opportunity. The School offers students an early entrance opportunity into college, replacing the typical senior year of high school with a challenging first year of college. It is one of the few college early admission programs in the country that provides a real community living/learning experience on a university campus.

Will I earn college credits?
Students in The Clarkson School are fully matriculated undergraduates with freshman status at the University. They take classes with other University students and usually carry a course load of 15 to 18 credits per semester for two semesters. College credits may also be given for college and Advanced Placement courses taken before entering The Clarkson School. Cross-registration at neighboring area colleges and universities can provide additional college credits, particularly in art, music and languages. These credits also appear on your official Clarkson University transcript.

What about a high school diploma?

Clarkson University does not grant high school diplomas, students who would like to earn a high school diploma, or its equivalency, may pursue one of three options. Please keep in mind, students are eligible to receive Clarkson School scholarships and grants regardless of which option they choose.

The first option is to receive the high school diploma from your current high school. This will require working out a suitable academic plan with the high school administration to satisfy your graduation requirements, while studying at The Clarkson School. We will simply build these required classes into your schedule here at Clarkson and upon satisfactory completion, the appropriate documentation will be provided to your high school. Students have the option to complete these requirements during the first semester, and obtain the diploma mid-year, or spread the classes over both semesters. Students who complete their high school requirements in the first semester are eligible to receive federal financial aid in the second semester.*

The second option is to apply for a diploma from the New York State Education Department upon successful completion of twenty-four credit hours in six different disciplines. The state diploma shows that a student has successfully completed these college credits at Clarkson University.

A third option is to simply take the two-day New York State General Equivalency Exam. This option provides the student with the most flexibility in their schedule and we provide assistance with registration and transportation to the test, which is conducted at a nearby location.

*If a student chooses to remain enrolled in a high school while enrolled in The Clarkson School, the student is eligible for Clarkson School financial aid, but not federal financial aid. By definition, enrollment in high school includes, but is not limited to the concurrent pursuit of a high school diploma while enrolled in The Clarkson School. It also includes (i) a student who has completed the requirements for his/her high school diploma but not yet received it and is taking coursework for which his/her high school will give the student credit or (ii) a student who has not received a high school diploma and is considered by his/her high school to be enrolled, e.g., as a requirement for participation on an interscholastic sports team or in any other curricular or extracurricular activity for which enrollment in high school is a prerequisite.

Our staff will assist with any of these choices. Clarkson School students do not always seek a high school diploma, as they are already in college, but we always advise students to pursue one of the three possible avenues available.

How can my parents or counselor find out more about TCS and early admission?
Because this is a small college early admission program in upstate New York, not all counselors, teachers, and parents have heard of The Clarkson School. Reservations about venturing into college early are understandable, and something that most of our prospective students have experienced. If you invite us to do so, a staff member from The Clarkson School would be glad to contact your counselor to explain our program and to supply your school with supporting literature about The Clarkson School. We now have nearly 1750 alumni throughout the United States and the world. Our alumni and their parents are available to discuss with you or your parents their perspectives on The Clarkson School.

What is the daily life of a Clarkson School student really like?
Clarkson School students, as college students, must take a great deal of responsibility throughout the 24 hours of each day. Bells do not ring between classes and parents do not wake you up in the morning. If you take 15 college credit hours, it means you are in class for at least 15 hours each week, and you must balance the other hours with study time and activities such as clubs, sports, professional organizations, meals, sleep and recreation. Many students also spend time learning about other colleges and universities for the years after The Clarkson School. Students are often involved in community and church activities, and some have jobs. Hours are also spent in discussions with other fellow Clarkson School students "solving problems of the world." Then, of course, there is always the time spent doing your own laundry.

What special features and activities does The School have to offer?
The living environment and sense of community are as important to The Clarkson School year as the enriching academic experience. The Clarkson School administrative offices are adjacent to the residence halls, and easily accessible. Students are housed in a separate residence hall, in suites consisting of two rooms and one bath, shared by four students. Each of the floors has a common area furnished with couches, chairs, and used for socializing, studying, and meetings. House advisors and Mentors live on each floor. Family dinners for staff, students, and house advisors provide an opportunity for everyone to get together regularly. Field trips are scheduled to places of interest. Special programs are offered in residence halls for weekends and special occasions. Personal, academic and career counseling is available to all students. The year begins with an extended orientation program and concludes with an end-of-year gathering and commencement.

What major areas of study are available?
At Clarkson, you can pursue a wide variety of academic paths, including:

  • Majors in business, engineering, and arts and sciences
  • Specialized interdisciplinary majors
  • Programs tailored for students who are still deciding
  • A selective honors program for exceptionally talented students

For more information about available majors at Clarkson University visit our Programs of Study site.

Will my credits transfer to other colleges and universities?
Typically, a student applying to other colleges from The Clarkson School will apply as a freshman with advanced standing, since the student has not yet completed requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalency. Upon acceptance, the university registrar evaluates the official Clarkson University transcript and, with some exceptions, the student will transfer his/her credits earned at Clarkson.

How much could this cost?
Paying for a year in The Clarkson School can mean savings in the long run. College costs escalate each year and our students usually graduate a year earlier than their peers. The summary of fixed charges for the 2013-2014 academic year is shown below. Financial assistance is available.

Component Cost
Tuition $41,090
Housing and Meals $12,728
Total per year $53,818

Other expenses such as books, travel, and spending money vary from student to student. An estimated figure used for these expenses is approximately $4,050 for one academic year.

What about financial aid?
Eligibility for financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and loans is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for United States citizens and permanent residents. To be considered for financial assistance, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and designate Clarkson as a recipient (Title IV Code: 002699). This form is available in your high school guidance office. Students can also apply over the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

As a reminder, if a student chooses to remain enrolled in a high school while enrolled in The Clarkson School, the student is eligible for Clarkson School financial aid, but not federal aid. By definition, the term "enrolled in high school includes, but is not limited to, the concurrent pursuit of a high school diploma while enrolled in The Clarkson School. It also includes (i) a student who has completed the requirements for his/her high school diploma but not yet received it and is taking coursework for which his/her high school will give the student credit or (ii) a student who has not received a high school diploma and is considered by his/her high school to be enrolled, e.g., as a requirement for participation on an interscholastic sports team or in any other curricular or extracurricular activity for which enrollment in high school is a prerequisite.

International student eligibility for scholarships are determined by the students application portfolio and the Certification of Finances Form. To find out more, visit the International Undergraduate Financial Aid page.

How can I learn more about early admission and The Clarkson School?
The best way to learn about this early entrance program is to talk with students who are enrolled in the experience. The Clarkson School host program gives prospective students the opportunity to visit the campus, attend classes, and speak with our admission staff as well as current students.  To start the process please complete our More Information form.

Arrangements for an interview and campus visit may be made by calling The Clarkson School office at 315-268-4425 or 1-800-574-4425 (USA and Canada). Off-campus interviews and phone interviews can be arranged.

Director of Admission
The Clarkson School
Clarkson University
PO Box 5650
Potsdam, NY 13699-5650

Or:

Phone (Toll Free): 800-574-4425 (USA and Canada)
Phone: 315-268-4425
Fax: 315-268-7991
E-mail: tcs@clarkson.edu

For further information, see our Visiting TCS page.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY:
Clarkson prohibits discrimination in all aspects of its operation. Clarkson offers admission to students without regard to handicap, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin, creed and religion. All students admitted to Clarkson have nondiscriminatory access to the University's available financial assistance, facilities, activities, and various programs.