Governor’s School

Nikita Manjuluri

As a high school student, there are not many opportunities to pursue specific career goals and interests. We are required to take a number of classes that are important, but may not be interesting. Internships, volunteering, and camps offer a look into the real world, and the most popular of these opportunities are the Governor’s School programs. This offers a chance to explore the field the student enjoys because while some may want to learn how to calculate advanced problems and understand math in a unique way, others may want to learn to perform and be surrounded by peers that share their passion. There is a school for almost every field or area that people may wish to explore.

There are different types of programs available for those who wish to apply. There is the Summer Residential program, which is highly sought after, in which each student selected goes to the designated area for the school to further their specific passions, for example the Governor’s School for Humanities is located at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. Summer Residential Governor’s Schools offer Agriculture, Humanities, Mathematics & Science & Technology, Medicine & Health Sciences, Engineering, and Marine Sciences. The Visual and Performing Arts programs are Dance, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Theater, and Visual Arts. Another option is the Summer Regional Governor’s School in which students are sorted into schools by region. Lastly, the Academic-Year Governor’s School program is a choice that requires much more dedication and time. Fairfax County students can go to Thomas Jefferson High School part time and further their passions through the specialized arts, government, international studies, mathematics, science, and technology classes in this School.

The Summer Governor’s School programs provide both schools and mentorships to in order to ensure the students learn in the best way. While schools provide hands-on experiences in a group setting, mentorships focus more on the student’s individual interests and skills; mentorships are also more difficult to get accepted into. The Engineering and Marine Science programs are mentorships, while the remaining are not.

“I applied for Humanities because I enjoy AP World and learning about others. It would be cool to meet others who enjoy things I do,” said Zoë Kaiser, a sophomore that applied to the Governor’s School of Humanities.

The application process for each of these schools varies, but most are very lengthy. A standard application asks for applicants to describe the activities that they have participated in, recognition that they have received, and classes that they have taken related to the program in the last three years. An essay prompt specific to the school is given as well to solidify the claims regarding character and experience. Also, teacher recommendations must be submitted: one from a teacher related to the program of interest and one from a teacher that is familiar with the student and his or her work. Additionally, the principal of the school and Gifted Education Coordinator must sign off on the application, guaranteeing that the student is responsible and genuine. The applications are located here, though the application deadline for the summer of 2017 has passed. Although the application process may seem strenuous, this shows that the School is very worthwhile and gives students an opportunity to explore what they love.

Anusheka Khullar, a sophomore that applied to the School of Humanities, elaborated, “I applied because I like to think analytically about what makes people do the things they do and why people think the way they do. I also love culture and learning about history, languages, and psychology.”

Governor’s School involves a very competitive process, but it provides students a chance to find and pursue their passions in ways that may not be available at school.


“Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Advanced Engineering Class.” Virginia
Department of Education,
governors_school_programs/showcase/index.shtml. Accessed 12 Dec. 2016.

“Engineering at NASA/NIA.” Virginia Department of Education, Accessed 12
Dec. 2016.

“Governor’s School Showcase.” Virginia Department of Education,
Accessed 12 Dec. 2016.