Students Work Hard to Gain Acceptance into Governor’s Scholar Program

Rebecca Watts and Makayla Stone

Among the many programs that have surfaced with an intent to help students further their education early, the Governor’s Scholar Program is one that stands out.

The Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) is a summer program for juniors which provides classes for a specific interest the student has, general study classes, and personal development seminars.

One of the accepted applicants, junior Emily Ezell, heard about the program through the GSP alumni and counselor, Crystal Barr. Ezell decided to join the program because of the benefits the program would have to offer. “I decided to apply because of the benefits, like scholarships, and also because of the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things,” said Ezell.

GSP’ s not just something that you can decide to do last minute. Everyone who was accepted all said that they worked extremely hard and gave up time in their day to ensure that everything was perfect.

The program is extremely competitive, and some applicants confess that they worked harder on their application than they have worked on any assignment before. In order to get into the program, you have to show them that you are willing to put forth the time and effort that it takes to get things done. Just throwing words together and submitting it won’t get your name on the list. “The program is extremely competitive. I think a tenth of a point difference in the overall score could make the difference in if a student is selected or not. It is to their advantage to document everything they are involved in and any award received because it could make the difference in whether or not they are chosen for the program,” said Barr.

One thing acceptees all have in common is that they all say they are excited about things like new experiences and meeting new people. “I am most excited to make new friends and advance my knowledge in topics that I find interest in,” said Ezell. Students are divided into small groups for their “focus area”, and will pursue their topic in-depth with optional independent study. There are also classes focusing on leadership, resolution development and seminars focused on personal development, including career choice, clarification on values and interpersonal relationships.

Among the many benefits for participating in the program, GSP prepares students for college and provides scholarship opportunities. While the program itself doesn’t offer scholarships, many Kentucky colleges offer scholarships for students who complete the program. Many of the classes also help students later in life, such as leadership classes.

Joining a program like GSP does not come without its downfalls. Everyone who gets in is giving up a piece of their free time during the summer. One drawback for junior, Shelby Kneriem is the fact that she will have to be away for a long period of time. For other applicants who get in, they may have similar problems with previously planned activities. “Going to GSP will cause me to miss my soccer training, which may cause me to be farther behind in my skills,” said Ezell.

Each person is different; what helps one person calm down when given a lot of work may not help another person. For Kneriem, scholarship money for her future is what motivates her to keep going when the path gets rocky. In a program like GSP, giving up is not the answer. “When things get tough, I will remind myself that this is a learning experience and to just have fun,” said Ezell.

For anyone planning on applying to the GSP program in the future, one main piece of advice is that you should start to keep track of everything that you are involved in. This will make it easier on yourself when you are filling out your application. “I would recommend students start documenting everything their freshman year because it is easy to forget everything you have done. I would have a section for clubs/activities, community service, and awards. Document everything, no matter how small it seems. I think some students don’t want to apply because they don’t want to miss out on doing things with family and friends for 5 weeks, but I think the friendships they will make and the memories they will leave with make it more than worthwhile,” said Barr.