NURTURING OUR STUDENTS FULLEST POTENTIALOur commitment to student success is guided by our vibrant mission, distinct vision, and core values of Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.
In the Lower School, the Distinguished Scholar Program is woven through a student’s academic experience beginning in Preschool and continuing through the 5th Grade. In these early years of development, our youngest students are exposed to increasing opportunities to EXPLORE their intellectual curiosities as we seek to develop inquisitive thinkers and joyful learners.
For Middle School, this is a transformational stage as we nourish developing minds and evolving interests. Students have opportunities to expand and continue exploration as they CONNECT to specific areas of interest with freedom unique to Oak Hall. As a result, they become more sophisticated in their approach to learning as we teach students to observe, question, and trust their abilities as learners and leaders.
In the Upper School, the Distinguished Scholar Program builds on experiences in the Lower and Middle School as students fully IMMERSE in their chosen area of interest.
Through a formalized application and selection process into one of three areas, students choose elective and experiential learning opportunities in pursuit of their unique goals and aspirations.
IMMERSE IN YOUR PASSIONProgram Concentrations
For the Upper School, the Distinguished Scholar Program provides a personalized pathway designated for students who have applied and are invited to concentrate their studies in one of three areas: Arts Conservatory Program, Global Affairs, or Integrated Science. The Distinguished Scholar Program prepares our students to pursue matriculation at a wide range of the top and most competitive colleges and universities across the country. Culminating with special recognition at graduation and on the Oak Hall diploma, our students graduate having acquired both the humility and the wisdom to successfully navigate an ever-evolving world with the 21st-century skills needed to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Concentration: Arts Conservatory Program
The Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) is an advanced track program that allows students to concentrate in performing arts, music, or visual arts. The ACP is designed to enhance students’ problem-solving skills, global/cultural awareness, and critical thinking abilities through intensive creative study. Entrance is permitted by audition or portfolio work demonstrating strong proficiency. To learn more about this specialized program, visit here.
Concentration: Global Affairs
Global Affairs provides an interdisciplinary approach focused on global and cross-cultural awareness, preparing students to be knowledgeable, engaged, and ethical citizens in a global society. Global Affairs includes the close integration of World Language classes with opportunities for international travel, advanced coursework in areas such as Geography, History, Economics, and Government/Politics, and additional experiential learning activities with a global focus.
Concentration: Integrated Science
Integrated Science is a specialized concentration designed for students with an interest in STEM-related areas of study. Students synthesize innovative solutions to problems and develop critical thinking skills in biomedical science, computer science, and engineering. Through targeted coursework and elective options, students adopt a problem-solving mindset, engaging in compelling, real-world challenges that develop skills as collaborators and thinkers.
The Distinguished Scholar Program is grounded in Oak Hall’s core values of Scholarship, Leadership, and Service, with the requirements of each concentration organized around specific expectations in these three areas as follows:
A minimum grade point average is required for students to be accepted and to maintain enrollment in the program. In addition, a range of specific course requirements are designated for each concentration area. For individual students to determine their personalized pathway to graduation, rising 9th graders meet with Academic Advisors and Rising 10th – 11th graders meet with College Counselors to select appropriate coursework and electives that meet the necessary requirements.
Students are expected to exhibit exemplary standards of leadership, collaboration, and behavior throughout their enrollment in the Distinguished Scholar Program. This includes maintaining thoughtful interactions with teachers and peers, collaborating effectively both in and out of the classroom, adhering to all policies and program requirements, and representing their specific area of concentration with respect and professionalism.
A minimum of five (5) hours of service must be completed by students within the Distinguished Scholar Program for each school year of enrollment. Hours completed can also count towards graduation requirements. Specific examples of service vary and must be specific to concentration area but are generally opportunities for students to contribute to activities, events, exhibits, learning opportunities as outreach to the wider school and local community.
Getting StartedSteps to Apply
Step 1: Application
Entry into the Distinguished Scholar Program is selective and offered by invitation after several steps have been successfully completed by students. To start the process, students must first complete the online application in the specific area of concentration. Please note, that application occurs in the Spring semester each year for current Oak Hall students and in the fall semester for new students to Oak Hall. New students who are invited into the Distinguished Scholar Program are admitted on a provisional basis, with a review of status taking place by January 15th of the entry school year.
Step 2: Recommendation
To be considered for the program, students must submit a completed checklist from a teacher or mentor. This person should be familiar with the student's academic or artistic abilities and character qualities. This checklist will be provided after the completed application.
Step 3: Interview/Audition
After receiving a completed application and the recommendation checklist, select applicants will be called for a formal, in-person audition (Arts Conservatory) or interview (Global Affairs, Integrated Science). All meetings are held during the spring semester with a panel of faculty. For new students, meetings are held in the fall semester. Students are expected to express their interest in and qualifications for the desired program during their interview or audition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any additional requirements for acceptance into the program?
Each of the three areas of concentration include other expectations and requirements beyond the specific components outlined in Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. Examples may include involvement in clubs, events, outreach, or other activities that enhance the experiential learning opportunities of the program. The coordinators in each concentration provide this information to students within their area.
Is the Distinguished Scholar Program only for Upper School students?
Participation in the program’s concentrations is reserved for Upper School students through a distinctive application process. However, core elements of the program are interwoven throughout both the Lower and Middle School divisions—preparing them for future participation in Upper School.
Is participation optional for Upper School students?
Upper School students are NOT required to participate in the Distinguished Scholar Program. The program’s foundational principles are already prevalent in every class and program. We do, however, encourage all students to consider focusing their passions and interests in an intentional, personalized pathway.
Are elements of the program already a part of Oak Hall School’s curriculum?
Yes! The program’s curriculum, coursework, and clubs are interwoven throughout all three school divisions. The key difference with the Distinguished Scholar Program is the immersive experiences offered to Upper School students. This program provides students with like-minded peers and mentors to help support and guide them in their academic or artistic pursuits.
What should I expect for my audition or interview?
Each audition/interview will include a series of questions posed by faculty from within each concentration area. Students are expected to come prepared to communicate their interest in participating in the Distinguished Scholar Program and to be dressed professionally for the occasion.
As a new student, am I eligible to apply for the Distinguished Scholar Program?
Yes! We encourage all new students interested in the Distinguished Scholar Program to apply. All students follow the same application process, with new student auditions/interviews occurring in August at the beginning of the Fall semester. New students who are invited into the program are admitted on a provisional basis, with a review of status taking place by January 15th of the entry school year.
What do I receive after completing the Distinguished Scholar Program?
Students who fulfill the Distinguished Scholar Program requirements in their area of concentration receive distinction on their transcript, special recognition at graduation, and a medallion and specialized seal on their Oak Hall School diploma.