We have one considering NCSSM. IF that child gets in, the thought is to go mainly because our school option currently is quite elitist and non diverse. The public school is horrible. So, NCSSM is as much of a desire for a diverse, safe, strong academic environment than for the ultra competitive math and science. For this type of child, who will happily go about taking enough to meet graduation requirements and spend more time outside of class on sports and music than bragging about grades and doing math competitions, would ncssm work? SATs are quite strong and grades and extra curriculars are stellar. This one will have a shot at getting in (who knows) and go with confidence, not arrogance, and not compete to be top dog academically, but to be away from their rather non diverse, yuppie school. She is not afraid of hard work and sees NCSSM as a means to still get a good education, but be in a very different pond then the current one.