The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) is at the center of controversy, especially to many of its students.
It is a two year program, full-time. It is residential, so students stay on campus, and live a rather strict and spartan lifestyle. There is no leaving campus during the week, unless you have a doctor's appointment or some other urgent necessity, and on the weekend there are, more often than not, three hour long tests on Saturday morning. And all that free time often gets eaten up in studying. The faculty do allow trips almost reasonable access to the mall, Walmart, and bricktown of Oklahoma City, OK, but for the most part, students either stay and study, or go home. Either way, sleep is a very popular activity.
The rules are very strict about the things most high schools are strict about, but even more so, because the administration is paranoid about anything bad happening. Personally, I don't blame them too much.
Many students say that the experience is not worth it. I disagree, and I would do the whole thing over again in a heartbeat. I felt I learned more in my short stay there that I have in college, or ever did before.
The rigor the curriculum is to blame for my positive attitude, and for many people's negative attitudes. Since it is a school for science and mathematics, there is of course an extreme emphasis on these. Required classes include:
All of the real classes are definitely the equivalent of 3 or 4 credit hour college classes. The fine arts would be closer to 1 or 2 credit hours. I personally took 8,8,9, and 8 (3+ credit hour) classes each semester, plus P.E. and at least one fine art (sometimes as many as two or three). But I stayed, studied hard, and made good grades, and it made college so easy.
In addition, research is also encouraged (especially amongst seniors), and almost every student attends summer programs.
It's like starting college two years early, only the college is really hard.