Governor's Schools

Two students studying in the library Maggie L. Walker Governor's School

The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies (MLWGS) is an innovative public high school offering a comprehensive college preparatory program emphasizing government, international studies, science, mathematics, languages, and fine arts. The school serves students selected on the basis of aptitude and interest in its mission.

Who can apply?

8th-grade students are eligible to apply if they meet the following criteria:

  • Reside in Hanover County
  • Are enrolled in Algebra I or higher-level mathematics course for high school credit at time of application
  • Have a B average in the core subjects for the 7th-grade year (according to the local school division’s grading scale).
  • Students who do not have a B average but would like to be considered as an applicant due to special circumstances must provide a letter of explanation according to the local school division’s guidelines.

Student working on a project with a balloonHow many students usually apply?

In 2021, 112 students applied for admission to Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. 15 students were admitted.

How are applications evaluated?

A composite score is calculated using the following criteria: recommendations, rigor, GPA, and items from the regional evaluation session (timed essay and timed evaluation activities). Applications are ranked by this composite score and the top-scoring division applicants are offered admission to Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, according to the number of seats available for the next academic year.

The Regional Selection Committee, comprised of teams of educators representing each of the participating school divisions, is trained to evaluate each portion of the student’s application. The MLWGS coordinator of admissions and members of the Regional Planning Committee, comprised of gifted education program administrators representing the participating school divisions, supervise the evaluation process.

Level of Rigor   
 5 Geometry & World Language II
 4 Geometry & World Language I
Algebra I & World Language II
 3 Geometry
Algebra I & World Language I
 2 Algebra I


Student smiling in class How is rigor calculated?

Program rigor is a comparison of the courses listed on the applicant’s transcript with the most challenging courses offered in the local public middle school. Students can receive up to five points for rigor.

How many Hanover students will be offered admission to Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School?

The number of MLWGS upperclassmen graduating, internal transfers, and any students not returning to MLWGS in the fall determines the number of entering freshmen. Hanover County has a total of 52 allocated positions (grades 9-12) at MLWGS. Typically, the number of entering freshmen is 11 to 15 Hanover students.

Is there a waitlist?

Five students are placed on the waitlist. If a student declines an offered slot, the next student on the waitlist is notified via phone. The waitlist is ranked by composite score.

What do I need to know as a private or homeschooled student?

Private and homeschooled students may pick up an application at their zoned middle school. Private and homeschooled students will be asked to verify their residency. Homeschooled and private school transcripts will be evaluated based on Hanover County Public Schools course offerings.

Student working on pottery Summer Residential Governor’s Schools

Summer Residential Governor’s Schools provide high school juniors and seniors with intensive educational experiences in visual and performing arts; humanities; mathematics, science, and technology; or through mentorships in marine science, medicine, and health sciences, or engineering.

Each Summer Residential Governor’s School focuses on one special area of interest. Students live on a college or university campus for up to four weeks each summer. During this time, students are involved in classroom and laboratory work, field studies, research, individual and group projects and performances, and seminars with noted scholars, visiting artists, and other professionals. In the three mentorships, students are selected to work side-by-side with research scientists, physicians, and a variety of other professionals. A director and a student-life staff provide supervision of students 24 hours a day, throughout the program.

Student Nominations

Nominations may be made by teachers, school counselors, peers, or by the students themselves. A school or division selection committee chooses the nominees from each school or division and forwards the nominees to a state committee. Consideration is given to students’ academic records, test scores, extra-curricular activities, honors, and awards, creativity, original essays, and teacher recommendations. Students applying for the Visual and Performing Arts Summer Residential Governor’s School participate in a statewide adjudication where they audition or present portfolios for review before a pair of professionals in the specific arts field. Because of the limited number of residential placements available, not all students who are nominated by their schools can be accepted for participation.

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