The Montgomery Scholars Program is a rigorous honors program at Montgomery College. The Scholars spend two years in an intense and nurturing academic environment and are well prepared to transfer to a four-year college or university at the completion of their studies at the community college. The Scholars learning community offers a corrective to the fragmentation and alienation that students may experience at a commuter college. This "supportive network" is the environment of sincere engagement that nurtures the confidence, critical thinking, aspirations and self-exploration of the Scholars. Students take 10 Honors courses together during the two years of the program - half of their transfer credits are in a cadre learning community environment. Starting with an overnight retreat in August, each class of Scholars quickly learns that we are dedicated to student success and to their academic well-being. The first-year class also has a four day 'Cornerstone' orientation before classes begin in the fall; the sophomores have a 'keystone' orientation to their second year capstone research courses. There are three key areas which uniquely characterize this experience: 1) an interdisciplinary and team-taught core curriculum, 2) coordinated extracurricular learning opportunities and excursions, and 3) Cambridge Summer Study Abroad. Since 1999, there have been 202 scholars. In any one year there are approximately 50 students in the program (25 first-year and 25 second-year).
In 1999 the Montgomery Scholars Program was established to create a signature honors program open to incoming "traditional" age freshmen (i.e. straight out of high school) to give a diverse group of students in Montgomery County the option of enrolling in a competitive honors program here in the county and to prepare them for transfer to four year schools, both public and private.
Latino students in the program have the highest completion and retention rate of all groups, including Whites. Ninety five percent of Latino students in the Montgomery Scholars Program have completed the Program, have transferred to four-year schools and are on track to graduate in 2-3 years at their transfer institution. Eighty five percent of Latino students in the program graduated with an AA degree (some who complete the two years and finish the program choose to transfer without finishing all the requirements of an AA degree). Twenty five percent of Latino Students in the program have had their capstone sophomore research papers selected as finalists in the Beacon Conference, a competition for two-year schools for excellence in student writing.