Stanford High School Summer College, United States

Publish Date: Sep 29, 2016

Deadline: May 15, 2017


Stanford High School Summer College offers academically outstanding high school students the opportunity to take Stanford college courses and earn university credit.

What is Stanford High School Summer College?

It's Not a Camp or a Casual Summer Activity

Stanford’s Summer College is a college program for high school students. The university has offered bright, motivated high school students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses since the late 1960s. The High School Summer College office works hard to ensure that all the students we admit are ready to handle the challenges of the program, both socially and academically.

It's a College Experience

The experience starts with the application process, which mirrors the Common Application used by many college admissions offices. We require that students complete their own application online. Parent and guardian contact details are provided as part of the application, and our office strives to keep our parent and guardian population up-to-date with a parallel online checklist and copies of critical email messages. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading emails regarding attendance in our program. We strongly encourage parents and guardians to add to email address books to avoid missing important updates.

Be a Stanford Student This Summer

High School Summer College gives qualified high school students the extra guidance they need to be self-reliant and master their college-level courses. Program participants enroll as visiting undergraduates in Stanford’s Summer Quarter and take the same courses, taught by the same Stanford faculty, as matriculated Stanford students.

Students interact with peers from across the U.S. and around the world, and have ample opportunity to explore the unique recreational activities available on campus and in the culturally rich San Francisco Bay Area. By embracing a diversity of socioeconomic, cultural, and racial backgrounds, Summer College creates an inclusive community of learning where students are challenged to reach their fullest potential—while at Stanford and beyond.

Stanford High School Summer College is one of the leading college-credit bearing programs in the world. Learn what sets us apart from the other college summer programs. 

 Start the Application

  • Create an Account by visiting the application page.
  • Open the Verification email to confirm your email address and to start your application. Select from the short list of Summer College programs. If no programs are listed, please contact the High School Summer College Office.
  • Enter parent/guardian contact information. The first named person will receive an email giving access to the Parent Portal. The High School Summer College office can’t disclose an applicant’s information to anyone not listed with in the application.

Teacher and Counselor Recommendation

  • Ask a teacher for a recommendation. The recommender will receive an email, which includes instructions on how to submit the recommendation materials. All recommendations must be in English.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Fill in your extracurricular activities. These may include academic and athletic clubs or teams, membership organizations, communities or religious groups, volunteer work, employment, leadership positions, etc.

High School Transcript

  • Submit your high school transcript. Transcripts must include the school’s grading system and the most recent completed semester grades. Transcripts don’t need to be official. They must be in English.

Standardized Test Score (Optional)

  • Submit your test scores. These don’t need to be official, but must clearly show the student’s name, date the test was taken and scores. The High School Summer College office requires only the page showing the score summary. The High School Summer College office doesn’t accept PSAT 8/9 test scores. It does accept the PSAT (pre-2015), PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Note: Standardized test results aren’t a required component of the Summer College application, but students who have taken these tests are encouraged to submit them for consideration as an indication of their preparedness for college-level courses. 

Stanford-Peking University Program

  • Identify whether you are interested in participating in the Stanford-Peking University Program outlined on the Intensive Studies & Special Programs page.  If admitted to Summer College, an additional Stanford-Peking University Program application is required to participate.

English Proficiency Requirements (International Students Only)

  • Submit TOEFL/IELTS/Cambridge Exam Scores. Scores must be uploaded within the application, or a photocopy may be sent by mail, email, or fax.
  • Note: If you attend a school in which English is the primary language of instruction, please indicate this on your application in lieu of test results.


  • Complete the two Essays: The Summer College program requires all applicants to submit two personally written essays, in English, on a specific topic.  Both essays must be 200 to 300 words long.
    • All students must answer this question:

 Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging.
    • All students must choose one of the following:

      • Reflect on a difficult decision you have made recently. How did you go about making the decision? What was the effect of your decision?

      • Write a top five list (to be interpreted by you). Explain your list and your choices.
      • If you had a day to spend as you wish, how would you use your time?

Completing the Application

  • Review all completed checklist items. Now, digitally sign the application.
  • Parent/guardian digital signature. This is also required after review of the student’s application via the Parent Portal.
  • Payment via credit/debit card. Payment may be made only via the Parent Portal after the parent/guardian has reviewed the student’s application.

Check Your Application Status

  • Uploaded documents will show as “Unverified” until the High School Summer College office staff has reviewed them. The verification process can take several days depending on the volume of applications.
  • Applications must have moved to “In Review” status before the admission review process can start.
  • Note: Students, Parents/Guardians, and Recommenders will receive a email with important information and reminders to complete application items.

Admission Decision

  • Applicants will receive their admission decision approximately three weeks after receiving their completion email.

Acceptance & Securing a Spot

  • Accept Admission Offer. In the event that a student is offered admission, it is that student’s responsibility to formally accept the offer.
  • Complete Acceptance Checklist. Upon acceptance of the admission offer, students must complete the Acceptance Checklist. Parents/guardians must review the checklist via the Parent Portal.
  • Complete Acceptance Checklist/International Students. Those international students requiring a Stanford-sponsored I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status) must submit their visa-related documentation as part of the acceptance process.
  • Receive Stanford ID Number. After the High School Summer College staff verifies all acceptance checklist items, students will receive their Stanford ID Number.
  • Important Note: Your spot in the program isn’t secure until you have received your Stanford ID number; we advise against making travel plans until then. A written confirmation will be sent from the High School Summer College office when your spot in the Summer College program is secure and your Stanford ID number is created.
  • Important Note/International Students: You will receive your Stanford ID number when your visa-related paperwork has been forwarded to Stanford’s International Center for processing of the I-20. Once the I-20 is generated, it will be sent to your mailing address via Express Delivery service.


Age Level Requirement: 16 – 19 years old
To be eligible to apply, applicants must be currently in High School or gap year students at the time of application, and must be 16 on the first day of instruction, June 26, 2017, and no more than 19 by the last day of instruction, August 19, 2017. Applicants may not be matriculating into Stanford as freshmen.

There are no exceptions to these guidelines.

Financial AId

Financial Aid Scholarship awards are determined by family need and are intended to assist students who would not otherwise be able to attend Summer College. Partial scholarships are by far the most common type of scholarship awarded to those admitted to the program.

Scholarships typically cover a portion of the total cost, and families should be prepared to pay a majority of the program expenses and fees. Students should talk with their guidance counselors and others in the community about alternative sources of financial assistance. Application fee waivers aren't available for the Summer College residential, commuter, and online programs.

The High School Summer College office will make financial aid determinations on a rolling basis, continuing until all funds have been depleted. It is suggested that students who require a scholarship complete their applications early and carefully review their admissions offers if admitted to the program. Scholarship awards are time sensitive and must be accepted within the timeframe stated in the formal offer. As overall funds diminish, total award amounts may decrease in size. All financial information is confidential. It doesn't figure into program admissions decisions, which are need-blind.

Financial Aid Eligibility

To be eligible for a financial aid scholarship, students must complete the High School Summer College application and indicate that they wish to apply for financial aid. Students must upload their family’s tax returns from the previous year. U.S. Federal (1040) tax returns are appropriate documentation for domestic students. International students should provide proof of year-end family earnings in the form of a tax return required by your country of residence. Specific information about required documentation is available in the application. We reserve the right to request further documentation regarding family income, as needed.

International students seeking scholarship funds should also talk with their guidance counselors and others in their home countries about sources of financial aid. Some organizations, such as the Ivy Education Group, help high-achieving, low-income students from China and Taiwan find funding for academic summer programs. Other countries may have similar organizations committed to promoting higher education opportunities for high school students.

Scholarship are determined by the High School Summer College office. An applicant's scholarship information is retained by the High School Summer College office and won't be shared with Stanford University or any outside party. Summer College financial aid scholarships are awarded based on internal policies which are not the same as those used by the university in calculating student financial aid packages.

NOTE: High School Summer College is actively looking to partner with schools and outside organizations to remove the financial obstacles that prevent top-performing secondary-school students from coming to campus for the Summer College program. We invite inquiries from such organizations and schools about possible partnerships in this regard.

To APPLY click "Further official information" below and fill the application form.

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