What is a Maryland Scholar?

Maryland Scholars is a course of study that prepares high school students to be college and career-ready.

Maryland Scholars Course of Study

  • 4 credits of English
  • 4 credits of Math (Including Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2)
  • 3 credits of Lab Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics(preferred))
  • 3 credits of Social Science (U.S. History, World History, Government)
  • 2 credits of the same Foreign Language

( Students must attain a 3.0 GPA to qualify.)
( Courses underlined exceed State graduation requirements.)

Maryland Scholars criteria was revised in 2012 to more closely align to university and workplace expectations.

Why it matters?

Current graduation requirements are not rigorous enough to prepare students academically for success in college and work. Students who do not complete math through Algebra 2 are destined for remedial college courses or low-wage jobs.  Maryland Scholars continues to impact rigorous course completion and college/career readiness both in terms of inspiring student action and influencing policy changes.

Whether a student wants to go to college or get a job after graduation, getting the best possible foundation in high school is essential.  Even if students don’t know what they want to do after high school, taking the right courses now will allow them to follow any path they choose later on.  Being a Maryland Scholar will help students qualify for college, grants, scholarships, and good jobs with benefits.

Maryland Scholars:

  • Is designed to increase the number/percentage of students who complete rigorous coursework and are well prepared to succeed in college and the workplace.
  • Is endorsed by the Maryland State Department of Education
  • Is conducted by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education in partnership with the governor’s office, the State Superintendent, and local superintendents.
  • Utilizes business volunteers to encourage middle and high school students to take and complete a specific set of rigorous courses in high school.
  • Is reinforced throughout middle and high school with the help of teachers, counselors and theBe What I Want To Be student handout.
  • Was piloted in Harford and Frederick counties in 2003 and expanded to 23 of Maryland’s 24 school districts by 2005.

It’s Working:

Between 2009 and 2012 122,594 Maryland high school graduates met the Maryland Scholars criteria — 12,500 more than the previous three years.

In 2012 52% of Maryland graduates met the Maryland Scholars criteria, up from 38% in 2007 — a 37% increase.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Maryland Scholar?
Tell your school counselor you want to be a Maryland Scholar, and add Algebra 2, Chemistry, Physics (or another lab science), and two credits of a foreign language to your high school schedule. Then complete the coursework with an overall 3.0 or higher GPA. Students should also take a progressively challenging math course in every grade through senior year.

What will I get if I’m a Maryland Scholar?
Most important you will get an education that will allow you to follow almost any path you choose after high school. Many school districts are recognizing Maryland Scholars at graduation with certificates or cords.
As a Maryland Scholar, you can greatly increase your chances of:

  • Being admitted to – and graduating from – college
  • Earning grant and scholarship dollars
  • Increasing lifetime earning potential by $500,000 to $1,000,000
  • Passing entry level workplace tests

What if I don’t do well in one of the courses?
Do your best. At the first sign that you are struggling, talk to your teacher and get help. In order to be a Maryland Scholar, you must complete the specific courses and achieve at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA). An occasional C will not knock you off track if you’re getting mostly all A’s and B’s. But remember, many courses build upon the previous course. For example, you must do well in Algebra 1 in order to take Algebra 2. The earlier you take and complete Algebra 1, the better.

What if I fail one of the courses?
You must pass each of the required courses to be a Maryland Scholar. If you fail one of these courses, you could take it again in summer school, evening school, or add it to your schedule the following year. It’s important to keep moving forward. Don’t give up on yourself. Ask your parents, school counselor, teachers, and friends for help.

Can I still take electives that interest me?
Yes. Maryland Scholars courses add up to 16 credits, and they include most of the courses already required by the State and your school district. You can take 7 or 8 courses each year, depending on how your school schedules classes. That means: in four years of high school, he or she can earn between 28 and 32 credits. Still lots of room for those electives.

Do I need to take AP or Honors classes?
AP and Honors classes are not required to qualify, but it is to your advantage to take the most rigorous courses possible. Employers and colleges are impressed with students who take Advancement Placement and Honors classes. Sometimes you can even earn college credit for Advanced Placement classes.

I’m not good at math and science. Why should I take these classes?
Students who don’t take Algebra 2 in high school struggle with math in college and are twice as likely to drop out of college. Having a college degree will double your income over a lifetime. Most careers, even those you wouldn’t expect, require high level math skills. Even if you plan to have a career that doesn’t involve math or science, these subjects will help you to think, understand and solve everyday problems better. The processes and discipline learned in math and science will benefit you in life.

What if my school doesn’t offer me the opportunity to take one of the required courses?
Go talk to your counselor, preferably before the new semester classes begin. If, for instance, you signed up for Physics and ended up instead in a general science class, let your counselor know that you need Physics (or another strong lab science) in order to qualify as a Maryland Scholar. Get your parents involved if need be.