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Admissions & Tuition

The Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes is for students in grades 8 through 11 at the time of application submission who will be between 13 and 17 years of age at the start of the program.

Individual courses have grade and age restrictions, typically allowing students in a two-year grade range and the corresponding three-year age range. For age and grade ranges for specific courses Courses page.

Participants are admitted to the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes through a competitive application process, which involves the evaluation of grades, test scores, teacher recommendations, samples of student work, and reasons for wanting to attend the Summer Institutes as expressed on the application form. Participants in the program attend only one course, and applications are reviewed for admission to the particular course(s) to which the student is applying (in order of preference indicated on the application). The admissions committee seeks applicants who demonstrate both academic talent and a passion for learning in the subject areas to which they are applying. For more information, see the Apply page.

Grade level refers to the current grade that an applicant is in when they submit their application.

No exceptions will be made to the grade restrictions. As with the age restrictions, grade restrictions are important in providing a social environment that maximizes the value of the Summer Institutes experience.  Also, these restrictions take into account considerations for students in the same courses living together in the same residence. Because the social and academic components are tightly integrated, students will have greater academic benefit by learning alongside others who are close in age and grade.

Students who are outside of the age range by no more than three months may apply, but this will result in lower priority in the evaluation process. The age restrictions help create a social environment that fosters interaction among peers and the formation of friendships that can extend beyond the duration of the program. Also, these restrictions take into account considerations for students in the same courses living together in the same residence. Because the social and academic components are tightly integrated, students will have greater academic benefit by learning alongside others who are close in age and grade.

No. Participants may only attend one Summer Institutes session (and thus one course) per summer.  If admitted, participants may attend one session of our other programs (the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute, Stanford University Mathematics Camp, or Stanford Summer Arts Institute) if that session does not overlap with the Summer Institutes session to which they have been admitted.  Interim housing between program sessions cannot be provided.

There is no test score "cut-off" or percentile requirement. The Summer Institutes seeks students who demonstrate overall academic excellence. All application materials (such as work samples, written responses, test scores, teacher recommendations, etc.) are considered together.
There is no Grade Point Average "cut-off" or rank requirement. The Summer Institutes seeks students who demonstrate overall academic excellence. All application materials (such as work samples, written responses, test scores, teacher recommendations, etc.) are considered together.

Applicants should submit a work sample that fulfills the requirements described on the application for the specific courses to which they seek admission. When deciding between several work samples, the applicants should select the sample that they feel best reflects their abilities as a student. A work sample may include, but is not limited to, a homework assignment, a school project, a presentation, or a piece of work of which they are particularly proud that can be uploaded to their online application.  Work sample materials that are mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Summer Institutes office will not be reviewed.  Summary descriptions of coding work, scientific experiments, or other physical work samples should be uploaded to the online application.

Yes. Applicants must submit a new and complete application, including updated supplemental documents, each year.

Due to the intensive, challenging nature of Summer Institute courses, it is important that the application reflect the interests and abilities of the applicant only – not the parent – as accurately as possible. Therefore, all required work samples and responses to the application questions must be the applicant's own work. While it is acceptable for parents to proof-read the applicant’s work to correct errors, parents should not write any part of the application for the applicant. Any misrepresentation in application materials is grounds to revoke an offer of admission to the Summer Institutes.

Regardless of citizenship, participants must be fluent in English in order to have a successful experience at the Summer Institutes. International applicants who have taken the TOEFL or IELTS should include a copy of their score report with their application materials. However, these specific tests are not required.

Please visit the Tuition and Dates section of the Admissions page for information on fees.

Unfortunately, the Summer Institutes is not able to offer an installment plan.

The test score requirement may be waived for international applicants who have not taken a standardized exam.

Once an applicant has submitted an application for admission, they can log into their Online Application account to see if at least one teacher has submitted a recommendation which indicates that their application is complete. Students can then look at the Admissions Page on our website to find the corresponding admissions round they are in. Admission decisions are sent via email to each applicant.

The Summer Institutes understands that many students have not been exposed to some of our course subject matter in high school. We leave the choice up to the applicant to determine who would best be able to comment on their academic readiness for this intensive program. We recommend that applicants choose someone who knows them well, and can speak to their current academic abilities. 


Applicants will have access to the financial aid application once they have started their Online Application. Applicants will receive an email titled "Instructions to complete your Stanford Pre-Collegiate Institutes Online Application" and in this email the link for the Financial Aid application is located towards the bottom of the email. Applicants will need to be logged into their Online Application account in order to access the application. In addition to completing the Financial Aid request form, applicants will need the last two years’ of their parent's or guardian's tax information to complete the financial application.

Our financial aid funding is very limited, and we typically experience a higher demand for financial aid than we are able to accommodate. Awards are allocated by need and typically take the form of a partial scholarship. Once an applicant has submitted their academic application, they will gain access to the financial aid application.

The Summer Institutes encourage all families who make less than $60,000 a year to apply for aid. If an applicants family is above this threshold, they may still apply, but should include a supplementary letter clarifying the family's circumstances. Aid can be awarded to both domestic and international participants and does not have an effect on admissions decisions as the financial aid committee only views financial aid applications once admissions decisions have been sent.

No.  As the Summer Institutes application is fully online, applicants will upload transcripts directly to their applications; most will use an unofficial transcript to fulfill this requirement.

Admission for the program is competitive and there is never a guarantee of admission no matter which deadline one applies to.  Applicants who apply during Early Admissions have the opportunity to be considered for the program before any seats in the program have been filled and receive their admissions decision much earlier.

Admissions standards do not differ between the admission rounds; however, more qualified students must waitlisted or denied in later rounds due to a lack of space in the program.  Applicants are encouraged to apply to the earliest possible application date.

Applicants should submit their most recent standardized exam score even if it is a bit outdated.  The Summer Institutes accept all standardized exams administered at the state, national, or international level so applicants may want to check with their school's administration to see if there is a more recent score on file.  We do not advise registering for a test simply to fulfill this requirement and encourage applicants to submit their applications in the earliest round possible. 

See the Summer Institutes Materials Required page for a list of the required application materials. All application materials must be received by Summer Institutes by the specified review date to be considered for admission.

Any standardized exam administered at the international, national, or state level is acceptable.

If an applicant has taken the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or PLAN, the Summer Institutes admissions committee would like to see those scores. If the applicant has not, they may have already taken a standardized test through your school. The test given varies from school to school, and state to state. For example, many Californian students will take the STAR, ERB, SSAT, ISEE, IOWA or Stanford Q.  We encourage applicants to check with their school’s registrar to see if test results are on file.

The primary teacher’s recommendation must come from an instructor who has observed the applicant in a classroom environment, preferably in the same subject as the courses applied to (ie. math recommendations from math teachers, writing recommendations from English teachers, etc.). If the applicant is homeschooled, and their parent or guardian is also their teacher, the parent or guardian may write their teacher’s recommendation in this circumstance only. Applicants may submit up to three additional recommendations from other educators who can comment on their academics.

A waitlist decision means that if space were still available in the course the applicant applied to, the admissions committee would have accepted them, but the course is currently full.  Each year a number of admitted participants drop out of their courses as their summer plans change for a variety of reasons.  Therefore, the Summer Institutes rely on having qualified applicants on the waitlist to fill the final seats in the program when they become available.

The program will continue accepting applicants from the waitlist until very close to the start of the program, as there are times when an admitted participant declines their space in the program with little notice.  An applicant will not be removed from the waitlist unless they are accepted into the program or they ask to be released from the waitlist.

The admissions committee does not release information regarding where on the waitlist an applicant resides; however, we can tell applicants which specific courses they are waitlisted for. 

All recommendations and transcripts must be translated into English before they are submitted with an application; the admissions committee cannot translate them for you and will not review materials that are not in English.  Translations do not have to be official; we recommend applicants reach out to their English teacher for assistance or use online translators like Google Translate. Applicants must include both the original document and the translation in the file that is uploaded to their application.

Due to the number of applications received by the Summer Institutes, we are not able to offer any admissions decisions before the designated notification date. Our admission committee reviews applications in a holistic manner, taking into account others in the applicant pool and must review all applications and compare applicants within that applicant pool to determine admissions. All applicants from each round will be notified of their admissions decision on the designated notification date.

The Summer Institutes application is fully completed online; therefore, we do not accept pieces of the application sent to us through email, postal mail, or fax. We also cannot accept physical media (CDs, flash drives, artwork, etc.). The application does not require an official transcript or test score report, so unofficial documents can be uploaded directly to the application. However, if an applicant is unable to upload a document to the application due to a system technical error, please contact our program staff for assistance. 

The Summer Institutes is unable to grant extensions.  Applications that are received after the intended admissions round deadline will be considered in the next application round.

Offers of admission to the Summer Institute are valid only for the year in which the decision was given.  The program will not defer a participant’s acceptance to a different year however, declining an offer of admission has no bearing on an applicant's chances for admission in subsequent years.

Applicants may apply for up to 6 courses.  The Summer Institutes recommends listing the courses applied for the order in which they are preferred. 

Applicants should apply only for courses they are interested in attending.  The number of courses listed on an application has no bearing on admission.

Application fees are non-refundable. Program deposits are non-refundable, except in cases where an accepted participant who applied for financial aid is not awarded sufficient aid to attend and therefore must decline enrollment. To withdraw an admitted participant from the program for any reason prior to arriving at Stanford, the participant or parent must notify the Summer Institutes staff in writing via email. No refunds or discounts will be given for early departures at the end of the program. Refunds will not be considered until a formal (written or email) request is received. 

Date of receipt of written refund request

Amount of tuition refund

Amount of deposit refund
Before April 24 100% None
April 24 - May 14 75% None
May 15 - May 31 50% None
June 1 - June 11 25% None
After June 11 0% None