Questions?

Please see below for answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Participants gather on a sunny day at Lake Lagunita.

Requirements & Eligibility

What materials must be submitted with an application?

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There are several step to complete an application for the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes course: Preliminary Application, Online Application, teacher recommendations, recent standardized academic test scores, recent grade reports and transcripts, work samples, and application fee. Students 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). All application materials must be uploaded into your application to be considered. No materials sent by email, mail, or fax will be accepted. Please see our Admissions page for more information on all of these required components.

How are students selected to attend Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes? Are there requirements other than the required materials on the application?

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Students are admitted 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 Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes. Students in the program attend only one course, and Online 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.

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes is for students in grades 811 at the time of application submission and 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 please see our Courses page.

How many courses should an applicant apply for? Is there a benefit to applying for more or less courses?

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Applicants may apply for up to six courses. Please list your courses in the order of preference. Applicants should apply only for courses they are interested in attending. The number of courses listed on an application has no bearing on admission.

What does "grade level" refer to?

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

Will exceptions be made to the age and grade requirements?

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No exceptions will be made to the grade requirements for any reason.

Applicants 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. As with the age restrictions, grade restrictions are important in providing a social environment that maximizes the value of the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes experience. These restrictions are also important because students enrolled in the same course also live together in the same residence. Because the social and academic components are tightly integrated, students will have greater academic development by learning alongside others who are close in age and grade.

Can the application deadline be extended?

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No. Stanford Pre-Collegiate 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. We cannot make exceptions.

Is it OK for parents to help write an application?

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No. Due to the intensive, challenging nature of our courses, it is important that the application reflect the interests and abilities of the applicant only—not the parent—as accurately as possible. Therefore, applicants complete all responses in the application on their own and parents only sign after reviewing the completed application. Any misrepresentation in application materials is grounds to revoke an offer of admission to our programs.

What kind of work sample should I submit?

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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.

Can I send new materials after I submit the application?

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No. Students must fully complete the applications before submitting. No changes can be made after submission. Due to the high volume of application, we cannot accept any materials sent to us through email, postal mail, or fax.

Do applicants from previous years need to apply again for this summer? Do they need to send in all new materials for this year?

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

Letter of Recommendation

How can a recommender be changed or deleted?

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Students can not delete a recommender once that recommender has been entered into the Online Application system. Students may list up to four recommenders, so one of the remaining spaces may be used for a new recommender. As long as one recommendation is received by the deadline, the application will be complete. If the application has been submitted, applicants cannot edit recommender information. However, they can send a reminder email to their recommender(s). To do so, the applicant should sign in to the Online Application system and click the "recommendations page" button below the list of recommenders. Applicants then click "Edit" next to the recommender they would like to send a reminder email to the recommender. We suggest also sending a personal email to your recommender as well, in case our automated emails get filtered into a junk or spam folder. If there is an issue with the email address please email our offices at precollegiate@stanford.edu and let us know of the issue.

Do recommendations and transcripts need to be in English?

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All recommendations and transcripts must be written in, or 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.

Which teacher should be chosen as a recommender if an applicant hasn't taken a course in the subject area?

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Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes understands that many applicants have not been exposed to some of our course subject matter in high school. Therefore it is the applicant's choice to determine who can best speak to 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. At least one recommender must be a current teacher.

Do teacher recommendations need to be received before an application is submitted?

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No. Recommenders may submit a recommendation before or after the Online Application is submitted. Once an Online Application is submitted, applicants will be able to check the status of their recommendation requests by logging onto their Online Application account. Please note that applications will not be considered complete, and therefore will not be reviewed, until a letter of recommendation has been submitted. It is the applicant's responsibility to communicate with their recommender and make sure the letter of recommendation is uploaded and submitted by the application deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor the progress of their teacher recommendations. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes staff will not monitor the status of teacher recommendations for any applicant.

How does a recommender get notified of a recommendation request?

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On the “Recommender Info” page of the Online Application applicants will enter the name and contact information for their recommender(s). When applicants click “Submit Recommendation Request” the system will generate an email to the recommender with a web link to the online recommendation form. The email will have the applicant's name in the subject line. The recommender can then click the link provided and complete the online recommendation form on the applicant's behalf. If the recommender would like to submit a written letter of recommendation in addition to the online form, they will have the ability to upload a supplemental document on this page. Depending on the spam filters for your recommender’s email, the automated email could end up in their spam or junk folder.

We suggest that the applicant send a personal email or speak with their recommender(s) prior to and after they have submitted the recommendation request to ensure that they receive the request in a timely manner. One teacher recommendation is required to complete an application, but applicants may request up to four recommendations. After applicants have submitted their application, they must log into their Online Application account to track their recommender's progress in submitting letters of recommendation.

Please note that an application will not be considered complete, and therefore will not be reviewed, until at least one recommendation has been submitted. It is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor the progress and receipt of their recommendations. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes staff will not monitor the status of teacher recommendations for any applicant.

Can a tutor, coach, mentor, counselor, or former Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes instructor write the required teacher recommendation?

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The primary teacher’s recommendation must come from a current instructor who has observed the applicant in a classroom environment, preferably in the same subject as the courses applied to (i.e. math recommendations from math teachers, writing recommendations from English teachers, etc.). If the applicant is home schooled, and their parent or guardian is also their teacher, the parent or guardian may write the teacher’s recommendation in this circumstance only. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes applicants may submit up to three additional recommendations from other educators who can comment on their academic performance and potential.

What should I do after I submit my Online Application?

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Once you submit an application for admission, you may log into your Online Application account to check if at least one teacher has submitted a recommendation;  then the application is complete. It is the applicant's responsibility to communicate with the teacher to ensure that the letter of recommendation has been submitted by the deadline.

Test Scores & Transcripts

What are the cut-off scores for the standardized test requirement and grade point average requirement?

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There is no test score or grade point average "cut-off" or percentile requirement. The Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes seek students who demonstrate overall academic excellence. All application materials (such as work samples, written responses, test scores, teacher recommendations, etc.) are considered together.

Can domestic applicants apply if they do not have a standardized exam score?

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The standardized test requirement may be waived for applicants who have never taken a standardized test. If the applicant does not have any standardized test scores because they are a home schooled student, this requirement can be waived. If the applicant is a student who attends a school in the United States and their school does not administer any standardized exams, applicants must include a letter from their school administration, on official letterhead, verifying the school's testing policy. Applicants must upload this letter into the test score section of the online application and label it "Other" to satisfy this application requirement.

If the applicants attends a school in the United States but does not have a test score for another reason please send an email to precollegiate@stanford.edu with an explanation and someone in our office can assist.
 

Do applicants need to provide an updated score if their standardized test scores are over 2 years old?

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Applicants should submit their most recent standardized exam score even if it is outdated. The Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes accept all standardized exams administered at the state, national, or international level. Applicants should 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.

Can international applicants apply if they do not have a standardized exam score?

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The test score requirement will be waived for international applicants who have not taken a standardized exam, and if the primary language of instruction in your school is not English.

Does the Online Application require sending an official transcript?

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No. As the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes application is fully online, applicants can upload transcripts directly into their applications. Most applicants upload an unofficial transcript to fulfill this requirement.

Technical Support

Can I send new materials after I submit the application?

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No. Students must fully complete the applications before submitting. No changes can be made after submission. Due to the high volume of application, we cannot accept any materials sent to us through email, postal mail, or fax.

The Online Application has been submitted and the application fee paid, but the Student Page still says the application is incomplete. Why?

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A complete application consists of three parts: a submitted Online Application, a teacher recommendation, and receipt of payment for the application fee, if any. If an application is incomplete, it is possible that the recommender has not yet submitted a recommendation. Applicants should contact their recommenders or check their Online Application account page to manage their recommendations.

Can applicants skip ahead in the application?

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Yes. Applicants may skip around in the application by clicking on any one of the pages listed on the left menu bar. Keep in mind that certain pages are not visible in that menu until the Courses page has been completed and course preferences have been indicated.

What should I do after I submit my Online Application?

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Once you submit an application for admission, you may log into your Online Application account to check if at least one teacher has submitted a recommendation;  then the application is complete. It is the applicant's responsibility to communicate with the teacher to ensure that the letter of recommendation has been submitted by the deadline.

I didn't receive the instructions email, how can I access my Online Application?

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Applicants should check their spam or junk folder (of the email address where you received the Preliminary Application email). Sometimes the instructions email will get filtered into spam or junk. Applicants can also go to the Online Application account login page and click "forgot password." This will prompt another email to be sent with temporary credentials so that you can create a new password and access your application. If you do not receive the forgot password email please email our office at summerinstitutes@stanford.edu and we will check to see if there is an issue in our system. Please note that while parents receive the Preliminary Application email (to the parent email provided), parents do not receive the Instructions email. That email is only sent to the applicant's email address since they are the ones who should be filling out the application.

Can alterations be made to an application after it is submitted?

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No. Students cannot modify applications once they have been submitted. Similar to placing a paper application in the mail, all applications are final once they have been received by the Admissions Committee.

International Applicants

Do recommendations and transcripts need to be in English?

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All recommendations and transcripts must be written in, or 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.

Can international applicants apply if they do not have a standardized exam score?

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The test score requirement will be waived for international applicants who have not taken a standardized exam, and if the primary language of instruction in your school is not English.