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. 

Lederman and Community Scholars have been enrolled in courses in mathematics, music, foreign languages, computer science, biology, chemistry, psychology, 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 provide 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, 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. 

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 a recommendation from a teacher or school counselor that testifies to their ability to thrive in a college environment and the pressures of college coursework.

Generally speaking, Lederman Scholars may take up to two full courses (8 credit hours) per semester on entering the program. 

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 North Central College’s Presidential Scholarship. 

Community Scholars

Community Scholars have the same access to regular, credit-bearing coursework at North Central College in as wide an array of programs as Lederman Scholars. The Community Scholars is open to students outside the top 5 percent of their class but who have excelled in one or another area of their 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. Similarly, a student who has developed the requisite skills and interest in a specialized field such as musical performance or visual arts may also find opportunities to extend their practice at North Central. Like Lederman Scholars, Community Scholars coming from high schools need a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor testifying to the student’s ability to thrive in a college environment. 

Community Scholars may take up to one full (16 week) course (4 credit hours) per semester. Those who maintain a B+ average or better in at least 8 credit hours of coursework over the course of two academic terms can have their status changed to Lederman Scholar.  

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 a recommendation 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 this opportunity at a considerable discount from the normal tuition rate. For the current fees, please see the schedule of fees on the College’s website. As of Spring 2024, the price per credit to Lederman and Community Scholars is $198.

A typical course is 4 credit hours for a sixteen-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 term, students, parents and counselors can visit Merlin, the College’s online web adviser, and click on the “Search for Sections” link. Search for sections offered by 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 a parent or guardian though the letter of recommendation should come from a teacher, counselor or other adult who is not a parent but knows the student’s character and academic work.  For Admission as a Lederman Scholar, the recommender’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 good academic standing and 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.

A student may apply at any time. However, Scholars may not register for courses until 30 days prior to the beginning of an upcoming academic term (summer, fall or spring). Rarely, however, are Scholars unable to join a course for lack of seats. Students intending to claim an AP exam as fulfilling a prerequisite should consult the College’s Academic Catalog guide regarding what scores are accepted for specific courses. Courses taken for dual credit through another college (including community colleges) may also be claimed as fulfilling prerequisites with approved transcripts.

Students wishing to register for a course in Mathematics or a Foreign Language must take a relevant placement exam in order to qualify (regardless of any other course prerequisites). To schedule a placement exam, please visit this page.

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

Contact Stuart Patterson

Chair, Shimer Great Books School

  • Address: Shimer House, 5 South Loomis Street, Naperville, IL 60540
  • Phone: 630 637 5487
  • Email:
Stuart Patterson