The grading system is too vauge. There is no rubric students don't know what they need to work on more or less. Students don't get the chance to fix their mistakes to make their work better, they are very complacent.
If your child is 'gifted" in math and science, then Scholars is a good option. When our son began at Scholars in 2006, the school was smaller, well-rounded, and embraced the education of all types of gifted students. But over the years, there has been a definite push for the school to move in the direction of math and science. I wish we would have realized this sooner and not kept him there for middle school.
Firstly, let me say that I'm a Scholars alumna who attended all the way from kindergarten through eighth grade. It was an interesting experience, and I think that I'm better off for having gone to Scholars.
The thing that has benefited me the most is definitely the accelerated classes. I'm already taking Chemistry, English II and Pre-Calc (which is mostly Algebra II review, ugh) as a freshman, much to the surprise of some of my classmates. I'm actually finding high school rather easy, even though I'm in the IB (International Baccalaureate) program. The intense (and occasionally superfluous) workload at Scholars certainly makes 9th grade standards seem lax.
Other than a homework load that suffers from spasmodic bouts of absurd excessiveness, the other thing I disliked about Scholars was the social atmosphere. Although it was gratifying to be with peers who were (generally) equally as committed to academics as myself, the unrelenting torrent of utter "geekdom" could get tiring. As an extension of this, the academically oriented atmosphere generates a lot of competition and a huge amount of arrogance in those students who consistently achieve high marks. Furthermore, because of small class sizes and little introduction of new students, the social situation quickly becomes stagnant. If you want to learn how to make new friends, don't go to Scholars.
All in all, Scholars is a decent school with rigorous standards when it comes to the amount (and generally quality) of work one is expected to do, but it students generally suffer from sever social awkwardness by the time they manage to free themselves from the quagmire of nerdiness that is Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy.
TL;DR Scholars was usually academically challenging, which I appreciate, but I shed no tears when it was time to graduate. I shed like negative five tears (which isn't physically possible, but just go with it for the sake of the metaphor).
I'd like to say "thanks" to Mr. Havner. He was a really good teacher, and I loved all the in-depth discussions we had in class. Also, he got my class to shut up for more than five consecutive minutes, which is really impressive, no joke.
Sometimes, you get so much work that your brain (figuratively) leaves you a resignation notice and squeezes out of your ear to vacation in Malibu. Sometimes you get no homework at all. Most of the time, it's the former rather than the latter.
Scholars students tend to be disrespectful, arrogant and oblivious to the fact that they embody those qualities. When everyone tells you that you're a special, brilliant, gifted, clever little snowflake, it's bound to happen.
The environment at Scholars is very much "every man for himself", at least among the students. Everyone wants to win, and winning means getting a better grade than everyone else. Then rubbing it in their faces. Excessively. It's actually pretty fun. Just kidding! Maybe.
All in all, Scholars isn't a big place for lying or cheating. The students generally consider cheating the "unintelligent" way to get a good grade and prefer to study instead. Considering the utter lack of street smarts that Scholars kids have, I doubt they'd be able to pull off cheating anyway.