The Community of Scholars Experience

Intellectual Growth Opportunities

One of the goals of the Community of Scholars is to provide students with continual ways to engage with one another about relevant critical issues. Through exclusive opportunities to attend dinners with guest speakers, scholars have the chance to hear from a diverse set of people who are change-makers in their fields, and perhaps spark a conversation with their fellow scholars about real-world issues. And it all begins at the Advantage Scholars Summer Program, where scholars hear from speakers and spend time working together to think critically about issues relevant to our own community.

Sense of Belonging

The Community of Scholars is intended to be just that—a community. Students are able to form connections through a variety of activities, and regular emails keep students up to date on what is going on with their peers. Across a range of different academic fields and interests, like-minded students connect through the Community of Scholars regardless. The Advantage Scholars Summer Program provides a jump-start to meeting people before other students arrive on campus for the fall semester, and intentional programming for scholars during their first year and beyond solidifies those connections.

Resources and Mentorship

As members of the Community of Scholars, students have the chance to interact with a variety of enthusiastic faculty and staff members, other scholars in the classes above them, alumni scholars, and members of the Greenville community. The Community of Scholars also has a faculty liaison – Dr. Scott Henderson, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of education and director of national and international scholarships ( –  who provides counsel to scholars about their academic plans, career options, and national/international scholarship opportunities.

2023-2024 Community of Scholars Events

Dinner with Speakers

Scholars had dinner with CLP speakers Temidayo Aganga-Williams and Mike McConnell before the campus-wide event. Scholars had the opportunity to mix and mingle, dine, and ask questions in this small group setting.

Service Projects

Scholars participated in campus-wide days of service organized by Heller Service Corps each semester, first making sensory toys for a local special education school, and later making blankets for Prisma Children's Hospital.

Ice Cream Social

During fall orientation, first year scholars met up for ice cream and an activity. Those who attended Advantage Scholars together reconnected, and everyone met someone new!

Connecting with other Furman Institutes

Throughout the year, scholars had opportunities – such as an informal lunch or a workshop – to learn about the work of the other Furman Institutes: The Shi Institute, The Institute for the Advancement of Community Health, and The Hill Institute.

Faculty Meet and Greet

Before their first time registering for classes, first year scholars had the chance to connect with professors from seven different departments across campus. The faculty gave advice on recommended courses and shared about their research, and the scholars got to ask questions and chat.

Graduating Scholars Luncheon

Each year, a luncheon is hosted the day before graduation to honor the scholars who are graduating. The celebration includes the scholars' families, Furman President Davis, members of the scholarship boards, and generally is a great time to reflect and recognize our scholars hard work as well as cheer them on in their next endeavors.

This TFA slider describes the students journey, a year per slide.

Student Stories

Sam Schaich '27

"The lectures and activities in Advantage Scholars were incredibly interesting and opened my eyes in countless ways. I also met a ton of new people that are now some of my closest friends on campus! The scholars community continues to remain a strong and engaging part of my life at Furman."

Natondi Mokeba '26

"Through the Community of Scholars at Furman, I not only discovered incredible academic opportunities but also forged lifelong friendships that made my college experience truly special. It's a supportive network that transformed my time at Furman into a home away from home."

Nabila Wilson '27

"The Advantage Scholars program made my transition to college much easier. Going in the summer, I got to meet people and learn about the campus so I wasn't as scared for move-in day. Now I know wherever I go on campus, there will likely be a fellow scholar that I can talk to."

Coming Full Circle: From Scholar to Scholars Coordinator

How Ali Collins ‘23 went from participating in the Community of Scholars summer program herself to helping design programming for the next generation of scholars

For Ali Collins ’23, her Furman experience has come full circle through her post-baccalaureate fellowship with the Riley Institute, where she currently serves as the scholars coordinator. When Collins kicked off her Furman studies in summer 2019, her very first campus experience was participating in the Riley Institute’s Advantage Scholars Summer Program, a three-day residential program open to all incoming scholars.

Read more about Collins's fellowship
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Frequently Asked Questions

Student Takeaways From the Advantage Scholars Program 2023

  • “The program opened up so many conversations for my peers and me that we never would have had otherwise. It was a great experience to connect with so many people so quickly.”
  • “This showed me that we’re all connected. I loved meeting such a diverse group of people and seeing how many connections we all share together that bring us closer and help us understand each other.”
  • “My biggest takeaway is how much we can affect the world around us, and how many young people actually care to address our world's problems. It has encouraged me to actively seek out others who are desiring change, and to personally help make positive shifts in the world.”
  • “Furman is definitely my place. These people are my people, and I definitely belong here.”