The scholar's program is the USCGA version of the prep school. USCGA does not have it's own prep school so it uses Marion Military Institute in Alabama, Georgia Military College, and the US Naval Academy Prep School. Participants in the scholar's program have a three week basic training at USCGA where they are given initial training and formally inducted into the Coast Guard. After finishing the training, they then head to one of the schools and take a curriculum of math, English, and science courses. Tuition to the schools are paid by the Coast Guard and they also get paid as active duty members of the Coast Guard. This program is aimed at recruited athletes, under-represented minorities, and other candidates with high leadership potential who need extra help in academics before they arrive. This program is not aimed at students who are already qualified academically and physically.
My DS is in the scholars program and just finished summer orientation in New London. A good deal of the cadet leadership comes out of this program . The many reasons that candidates are chosen are varying. It's another tool that the academy uses to fill the cadet pool with future officers who represent the varying demographic that make up the ranks. My DS attended AIM last year and also was invited to USNA and USAFA for visits. His SAT and PFE was within the average for incoming cadets. In fact he was hoping for the scholars program and was ecstatic to get chosen EA. When he and his shipmates attend Swab summer next year they will have experienced it "in part" already( cadre say that summer orientation is harder than Swab summer in some ways I'm told)and be able to help other swabs with the initial shock of it. When he had his interview with an officer off of the local cutter one of the questions was , "would you accept an offer to the scholars program". He was also asked this by BGO who interviewed for Navy and the ALO for Air Force. These prep schools are a great resource. Many of the leaders at each academy have gone through the prep program.