Lederman and Community Scholars

Both the Lederman and Community Scholars Programs at North Central College provide opportunities for students who qualify to take regular, college-credit bearing courses in any of the College’s many programs of study. 

Current and past Lederman and Community Scholars have been enrolled in courses in mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, psychology, foreign languages, literature, philosophy and the arts. 

Scholars are enrolled in the same rigorous academic courses and curriculum taught by North Central College faculty to traditional-age college students. The college credit that Scholars earn can be transferred to colleges and universities across the country or applied to a degree at North Central College. North Central College’s Registrar will produce an official transcript for any coursework taken at the College to be reported to any other institutions a student applies to attend. 

As with all North Central College students, Lederman and Community Scholars have a faculty advisor to assist them in choosing courses that meet their needs and abilities. Dr. Stuart Patterson, Visiting Associate Professor and Chair of the Shimer Great Books School, serves as academic advisor to all Lederman Scholars. He works with Scholars, their parents and high school counselors to create the appropriate program of study. 

We encourage you to contact Dr. Patterson, at 630-637-5487 or with any questions. (Dr. Patterson also continues to work closely with Dr. Richard Wilders, the founder and long-time director of the Lederman and Community Scholars program.)


Lederman Scholars

The Lederman Scholars Program is a prestigious program for students with a demonstrated record of all-around academic excellence. Students are accepted as Lederman Scholars generally based on their having ranked in the top 5 percent of their high school class and with endorsement from their school counselors that testifies to their ability to thrive in a college environment and the pressures of college coursework.

Generally speaking, Lederman Scholars can take up to two full courses on entering the program. Provided a consistently high level of academic achievement at that level of enrollment, Lederman Scholars can discuss with Dr. Patterson the possibility of taking more than two courses.

All students admitted as Lederman Scholars are also promised admission to North Central College as degree-seeking students at the time of their graduation from high school. In addition, provided they maintain a consistently high standard of academic work as Lederman Scholars (a B+ or better average in all courses), Lederman Scholars are awarded the College’s Presidential Scholarship. 

Community Scholars

The Community Scholars Program also offer students access to regular, credit-bearing coursework at North Central College and also in as wide an array of programs. Generally speaking, Community Scholars have excelled in one or another area of their high school studies and would like to pursue courses in that area at the college level. For example, a student who has completed an Advanced Placement exam at a high level may apply to take further courses in that subject at North Central. Like Lederman Scholars, Community Scholars coming from high schools need a letter of endorsement from their counselors testifying to the student’s ability to thrive in a college environment. 

Home school students also typically enter coursework at North Central as Community Scholars. This allows them to extend their studies in areas in which they want the expertise and facilities available through North Central. Home school students will need an endorsement from a teacher, coach, employer or other individual familiar with the student’s work habits and seriousness of purpose and who is not a parent.   


Fees, Schedule and Course Availability 

Lederman and Community Scholars may enroll in any course for which they are qualified. Lederman and Community Scholars are supported by generous scholarships from the College which allows us to offer these opportunities at a considerable discount from the normal tuition rate. For the current fees, please see the schedule of fees listed on the College’s website. As of Fall 2019, the price per credit to Lederman and Community Scholars is $175.

A typical course is 4 credit hours for a fifteen-week semester; a smaller number of courses are offered in a 2 credit, 8 week half-semester basis. 

To review courses offered during any given semester (or summer term), students, parents and counselors can visit “Merlin,” the College’s online student “WebAdviser” at and the “Search for Sections” link. Search for sections offered by Semester (or “Term”), Subject, Course Level, or various scheduling parameters. Please direct questions about specific sections of courses to Dr. Patterson.

How do I Apply? 

Applicants to both the Lederman and Community Scholars must obtain permission from their high school guidance counselor as well as a parent/guardian.  For Admission as a Lederman Scholar, the counselor’s letter must certify that the applicant is in the top 5 percent of her or his high school class.  For admission as a Community Scholar, the counselor’s letter must certify that the applicant is in the top 10 percent her/his high school class, or has a proven record of excellence (grades, exam scores or other such achievement) in the subject area in which the Scholar would seek coursework at North Central College. In general, homeschool students will enter North Central College as Community Scholars with transcripts from the student’s homeschool and a letter from someone who is not a parent but knows the student’s character and/or academic work to the extent that they can endorse their ability to thrive in a college setting.

Community Scholars who maintain a B+ average or better in at least 8 credits of coursework over the course of a year can have their status changed to Lederman Scholar.  
A student may apply to the Lederman or Community Scholar Program at any time. However, since many classes fill up well before a semester begins, applicants are encouraged to submit their materials well in advance of the date they wish to start coursework to maximize their chances for successfully gaining access to the course of their choice. 

Students hoping to gain credit for an AP exam should consult the College’s Academic Catalog guide regarding what grades are accepted as prerequisites for specific courses here: Advanced Placement

Students wishing to enter an advanced course in Mathematics or a Foreign Language should plan to take a relevant placement exam in order to qualify. To schedule a placement exam, please consult Dr. Patterson as far in advance of the desired date of enrollment as possible. 

Apply here or email Dr. Stuart Patterson for a paper application form.

Contact Stuart Patterson

  • Adress: Seybert Hall Room 101, 208 North Loomis Street, Naperville, IL 60540
  • Phone: 630 637 5487
  • Email:
Stuart Patterson