Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM, see below for pronunciation) is basically a magnet school for the state of Oklahoma. It's campus on North Lincoln Blvd, down the street from the state capital, and across the street from the Oklahoma Health Center.

OSSM is a high school for juniors and seniors of Oklahoma. They currenty have an enrollment of 60 to 80 students per grade, however their goals call for an ultimate enrollment of about 150 per class. It is a residential high school, having one dorm on campus (with plans for a second).

Not suprisingly, OSSM focuses on excellence in science and mathematics, offering high school students advanced courses in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. The also offer upper level course in the humanities, wellness (also known as gym), foreign languages, and fine arts. Students also have the opportunity to do mentorships, working in research labs at universities and other research organizations in Oklahoma.

OSSM accepted their first class in 1990, graduating that class of 44 in 1992, although the foundation of the school lies in legislation from 1983.

Besides teaching their own students, OSSM runs a variety of programs for other students and teacher through-out Oklahoma, helping to promote science and mathematics instruction for the entire state.

OSSM's web site is

The pronunciation of OSSM is a point of disagreement between the faculty and the students. The faculty prefer the pronunciation 'awesome' while the students prefer 'oh-sum.' (since Oklahoma is not pronounced Ahklahoma, and 'awesome' seems pretentious).

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.

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