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Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School

Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School is a partnership between the State University of New York (SUNY), Schenectady County Community College (SUNY Schenectady) and Schenectady High School (SHS) with the intent to establish a collaborative learning and teaching environment for incoming 9th graders. All partners are committed to facilitating positive, transformational changes which provide for a more successful and wide reaching program for a target student population which is traditionally underrepresented in college.

The Purpose

  • To increase high school graduation rates;
  • To increase the number of student who complete postsecondary credential/degree;
  • To address needs of students from populations traditionally underrepresented in college;
  • To help close our nation's student achievement gap; and
  • To do all this at no additional cost to the student or their family.

The Goal

Each student enrolled in Smart Scholars will graduate high school with a Regents Diploma and will successfully transition into college with at least 20 credit hours earned and transferred.

Criteria for Application

  • Student must be currently enrolled in the 8th grade in Schenectady City School District and being considered eligible for the 9th grade;
  • Student must be identified as belonging to a population that has historically not had access to or success in higher education (i.e., minority, potential first generation college student; from a single parent household or in foster care, etc…);
  • Student must demonstrate academic performance for 7th and 8th grade that is higher than 65%;
  • Student experiences financial constraints or burdens (i.e., receives free and reduced lunches, low family income, recent family income changes, considered economically disadvantaged, etc…);
  • Student must have successfully completed the application for admission; submitted two (2) letters of recommendation completed by employees of the Schenectady City School District, and participated in an intake interview.


Students interested in applying for admission to the Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School should contact Valerie Smith at 518-925-0282 or by e-mail at