The nine-month public residential high school gives the artistically talented high school students from all over the state the opportunity to develop their abilities in a supportive environment of artistic and academic excellence. Students apply and audition to concentrate in one of five art areas: creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual arts. The residential high school experience is unique because of the school's mission to serve the artistically gifted high school students of South Carolina through programs of pre-professional instruction in an environment of artistic and academic excellence.
Students' pre-professional training in the arts happens in a rich and challenging academic curriculum, establishing a unique kind of rigor in all subject areas. The collaborative environment distinguishes the school from other arts schools and traditional high schools. Students attend the residential high school to do creative work in this complex, amplified environment. Learning is distinctive because of the community of artists with whom students live, work, think, play and create. The faculty is committed to their work and has high expectations of students, in part because they are all mentors, sharing what they know, practice and love.
The student life program is designed to provide a rich living and learning community conducive to personal, social, artistic, and intellectual growth. This program supports the mission of the school by seeking to provide students with the support and structure needed to maximize development in all areas. Student life provides not only supervision and support, but also a variety of activities and events for student recreation.
Whatever the setting (class, residence hall, studio, dining hall), life and work at the Governor's School calls for what we think of as habits of mind. These include: discipline, focus, intellectual honesty, critical analysis, openness, the ability to examine assumptions, and the ability to see from multiple perspectives. These habits of mind are crucial for artists, students, and citizens. The experience of the residential high school combines these artistic, academic and personal dimensions.