North Central College - Naperville, IL

Top high school students can earn college credit

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Richard Wilders, Ph.D., director of Lederman Scholars Program
Richard Wilders, Ph.D., director of Lederman Scholars Program

Oct. 14, 2011—Gifted high school-aged students can earn up to two years of college credit while still in high school through North Central College’s Lederman Scholars Program. Prospective students and their parents are invited to learn more at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the College’s Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St., Naperville.

Students who are home-schooled and from all area high schools—including Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley and Lisle high schools, Benet Academy and Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)—are eligible to apply. Admission to the Lederman Scholars Program is based on academic ability. Applicants should be enrolled in honors course work and be among the top 5 percent of students in their classes or have a minimum composite ACT score of 30 or a minimum total SAT score of 1350.

If accepted as Lederman Scholars, students become part of a highly selective “college-within-a-college” at North Central and pursue a rigorous curriculum among their peers and traditional-aged college students. When students successfully complete a minimum of nine credit hours, their work along with credit earned through Advanced Placement will be posted to their North Central College transcript.

While most students enroll for just a few courses, others earn two-plus years of fully transferable college credit. Lederman Scholars have subsequently enrolled at North Central College, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Vanderbilt and the University of Illinois, among other prestigious institutions.

“Because of the extraordinary talent of the students in our local high schools, the Lederman Scholars Program has been able to attract some exceptional students,” says program director Dr. Richard Wilders, North Central’s Marie and Bernice Gantzert Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, professor of mathematics and chair of the Division of Science. Wilders is academic advisor to Lederman participants and works with parents and high school personnel to create programs of study for each scholar.

Students with extraordinary ability in one or more academic areas who don’t meet the Lederman program criteria can apply to the Community Scholars Program, which offers another opportunity to earn college credit during high school.

The Lederman Scholars Program honors Dr. Leon Lederman—director emeritus of Fermi National Laboratory, Nobel Laureate in physics and resident scholar at IMSA in Aurora. He is deeply dedicated to the education of gifted and talented students.

For more information about the Community Scholars Program, the Lederman Scholars Program and the Nov. 3 Lederman open house visit or contact Heather Breed, associate director of admission, at 630-637-5823 or