Answers to the most common questions.

Find the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions in the Following Categories:

Before You Apply

I see a lot of Stanford summer program options? What are the differences?

Stanford University offers a variety of programs to students during the summer. Program offerings are available for high school students and college students; for college credit and enrichment based; and for three weeks to ten weeks. Depending on your eligibility and availability, Stanford has a summer program that may be right for you.  An overview of the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies programs can be found here, and of the Stanford Summer Session programs can be found here.

Am I eligible for your program?  

To attend High School Summer College, you must be at least 16 by the first day of instruction and be no older than 19 at the last day of instruction. Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions to our age requirements.  

If you do not meet our age requirement, the good news is there are many other options available for bright, focused students like you within Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies. Please visit Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies to learn more about the summer programs Stanford offers for high school students. University students looking for courses to take over the summer are welcome to look into Stanford Summer Session.  

How long is the program?  

High School Summer College is 8 weeks long following the Stanford University summer quarter schedule. Our high school students are required to have 100% attendance and may not miss any class time.  Please visit our Dates and Deadline page for more information.  

Can I arrive/depart outside our designated days or miss a day of the program? 

We cannot accommodate or permit arrival before or after the start date, or departures before a student’s final exams are completed. Our high school students are required to have 100% attendance and may not miss any class time. Students who arrive before the start date are responsible for finding their own accommodations before the start of the program. Please visit our Dates and Deadline page for information on program dates.  

What is the deadline to apply?  

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis which means we do not have a hard deadline to send out decisions. While applications are accepted on a rolling basis, we will not accept new applications after May 15th, and therefore, we encourage our applicants to apply early. Please note that our residential option will likely be filled long before the deadline, and so in order to avoid being added to the waitlist, it is recommended to apply as soon as possible. To begin your application, please visit our Apply page.  

What is the cost of the program? 

The estimated tuition and fees can be found on our Tuition and Fees page. Since the cost of the program is based on the enrollment option (Residential or Commuting) and the number of units a student may take during the summer, the overall cost may differ from student to student.  

Which courses can I take? 

Course lists for the Stanford Summer Quarter are not released until April. Students are applying for admission into the program as a whole, not a specific course (with the exception of Online students). Students who are confirmed into the program and have been issued a Stanford ID can enroll in courses in mid-April when course registration opens. For more information visit our Courses page.   

What is a unit?

A unit is every unit for which credit is given. Stanford’s calendar is based on the quarter system. The unit of credit is the quarter unit. A unit of credit represents approximately three hours of work per week, which of these three hours per unit, it is expected that only one will be class time. For more information about unit of credit, please visit our Units & Course Load page.

How much time should I expect to devote to my studies?

A typical 4-unit course will require about 12 hours of work per week (only four hours of which may be class time). A 8-unit study list (2-3 courses) thus will require about 24 hours per week (only 8 hours of which may be class time). During the Summer Quarter, the typical 10-week term is condensed to 8 weeks, the amount of work given in each course will be more intensive and rigorous.

What kind of course credits do I receive for High School Summer College? 

High School Summer College students receive Stanford University credits for their coursework; the courses they take are open to the University as a whole through the Registrar, and their classmates include Stanford undergraduates, graduates, and other visiting summer students. Stanford’s calendar is based on the quarter system; therefore the unit of credit earned is the quarter unit. For more information visit our Unit & Course Load page.  

Will the course credits transfer? 

Whether or not the credits on the Stanford University transcript transfer to other institutions is up to the receiving matriculating university. We recommend students hold onto each course syllabus in addition to the transcript they receive.  

I am an international student. Do I need a proof of English proficiency to attend? 

International students attending schools where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to submit proof of English proficiency. Our office accepts scores from three English tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or Cambridge Exams. For more information and minimum test score requirements visit the English Proficiency & Test Requirements page. 

International students who attend U.S. schools or international schools where English is the primary language of instruction or native English speakers will not be required to submit English proficiency scores. Stanford Summer Session reserves the right to request additional information for proof of English proficiency. 

I am an international student. Do I need a visa to attend? 

All international students that do not have a study-eligible visa, are required to obtain a F-1 student visa in order to enroll at Stanford for the Summer Quarter. Details about this process and information on how to obtain your F-1 visa are available under Visa Requirements. Please review your visa status, and if you have any questions, contact our office via email at summercollege@stanford.edu  

I’m a Canadian. Do I need a visa? 

As a Canadian citizen, you will need to apply for an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status) although you do not need to obtain a F-1 student visa prior to your arrival in the US. Canadian citizens can receive their visa stamp at the port of entry by presenting a valid I-20 document from Stanford. For more information, please visit the Visa Requirements section.  

Do you offer financial aid?

Students may apply for financial aid during the application process. Please be aware that financial aid is not guaranteed, and it may only cover up to 50% of the overall cost of the program. If you are interested in applying for financial, please indicate this on your application. Our admissions process is need-blind, so your request for financial aid has no effect on your admissions outcome.  

What does the financial aid cover?  

Our financial aid covers a portion of the tuition cost (university tuition and fees), and families should be prepared to pay a majority of the program expenses and fees. The application fee and program fee cannot be waived. If financial aid is awarded, the award amount will be reflected in the student's university bill. 

Do you offer additional financial aid? 

Our financial aid decisions are final, as there are many students who apply for financial aid. We do our best to offer as much aid as possible to as many applicants as possible. For alternative financial aid or scholarship options, we recommend that you reach out to your high school guidance counselor or community organizations; often they know of scholarships options that might be available to you.  

Can I use government financial aid programs to the cover the cost?  

Since High School Summer College is a summer enrichment program for non-matriculated visiting high school students, government financial aid – such as FAFSA or 529 College Saving Funds – may not cover this type of program. We recommend checking with the company holding your 529 College Savings account for more information on whether these funds may be used towards High School Summer College.  

Will this program help me get into Stanford University? 

Admission to High School Summer College does not guarantee admission to Stanford University. It is what you take from this experience, how you share that experience through your essays and how that experience has enhanced your intellectual life that is of importance. Unfortunately, there is no golden ticket to admission to Stanford. To find out more, please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website.  

What are the benefits of this program? 

High School Summer College gives students the opportunity to experience college life and take undergraduate courses on-campus during Stanford’s Summer Quarter with current undergraduate students. This gives students an opportunity to jumpstart their college experience. Students have the chance to live in residence, eat at the dining hall, and participate in evening and weekend activities with all of our summer high school students. Please visit the About page for more information about our program and for a welcome note from our program director.  

While You Apply

What is your admission criteria? 

Our admissions committee reviews individual applications in a holistic manner taking every section of the application into consideration.  We recommend reviewing the Application Guide for information on all the sections that are reviewed in the application.  

I am a returning student who attended High School Summer College last summer. Do I have to apply again?  

Returning applicants may be given an application code to complete an abbreviated application. Please contact our office at summercollege@stanford.edu if you are a returning student.

Can I get an application code?  

The application code is distributed by our office, usually to returning student. If you did not receive an application code, you do not need to fill in this field. Please feel free to proceed with your application without an application code.  

How do I send in transcripts? What do you need for transcripts? 

Our office does not require official transcripts directly from your school. We request that students upload scanned copies of unofficial transcripts, report cards, or online score reports directly to their applications. The transcript documents must include the student's name, grades, and semester. We require grades from all high school semesters starting from grade 9 to the fall semester of your current grade level. Students are still required to supply grade 9 scores even if grade 9 is part of their junior high school. Please visit the Application Guide for more information.  

How does my recommender send in my letter of recommendation? 

The recommender listed on the student's application is sent a verification email with instructions on how to complete the Recommender portion. These automated emails sometimes go to spam/junk folders. Recommenders who have set up their account from the email can log in from our secured Recommender Portal to submit the letters of recommendation.    

How does my parent/guardian complete the parent portion? 

The parent/guardian listed as Relationship 1 on the student's application is sent a verification email with instructions on how to complete the parent/guardian portion and submit the application fee. These automated emails sometimes go to spam/junk folders. Parents/Guardians are not able to complete their portion of the application or submit the application fee until the student application is complete. Parents/Guardians who have set up their Parent/Guardian Portal accounts from the email can log in from the Parent/Guardian Portal login page. 

How do I apply for financial aid? 

Students must indicate that they wish to apply for financial aid within the program application. Students will be asked to 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. More information can be found on our Financial Aid page. 

How do I make payment for the application fee? Can I send a check? 

The application fee payment must come through the Parent/Guardian Portal of the application. The parent/guardian listed as Relationship 1 on the student's application should have received an email to log in to the Parent/Guardian Portal. Once logged in, they will need to complete the “Payment/Electronic Signature” for the desired application. The purpose of the Parent/Guardian Portal is for your parent/guardian to view the information submitted, provide an authorized signature, and make payment in order to complete the application process.  

Payments must be made with a credit or debit card through the online Parent/Guardian Portal. Unfortunately, we do not accept checks or cash.   

Can I get a payment code? 

The payment code field is for our office use. Please feel free to proceed with making payment without an applying a code.  

After You Apply

Why have my documents not been verified? 

The verification of documents is completed by our office, and may take some time to process. Please confirm that your application status displays "Submitted" – not "In Progress" – and that both the parent/guardian and recommender portion display "Completed." If your application is "Submitted" and complete, please be patient as our office is working as quickly as possible to verify your documents.    

What does my application status mean? 

Your application status appears next to the application's name in the applicant portal. Please visit the Application Statuses page for more information.

How do I make payment for the program fee? Can I send a check? 

The program fee payment must come through the Parent/Guardian Portal once the student has accepted and completed all acceptance checklist items. This is the same Parent/Guardian Portal used to submit the application fee by the parent/guardian listed under Relationship 1. Once logged in, the parent/guardian listed as Relationship 1 will need to electronically sign all acceptance checklist items and make payment for the program fee.

Payments must be made with a credit or debit card through the online parent portal. Unfortunately, we do not accept checks or cash.  

I have completed my acceptance checklist and made payment. Is my spot in the program secured? 

No, you must be in the "Confirmed" status before your spot in the program is secured. Once confirmed, students are issued Stanford ID numbers which allow them to access Stanford's Axess system. Until you have a Stanford ID, your spot in the program is not secure. Please visit the Application Statuses page for more information about your current application status. 

When do I get a Stanford ID? 

Students will receive a Stanford ID only after they have been confirmed into the program. If your status is Acceptance Materials Submitted, there is no required action at this time. Please continue to be patient as our office is working accordingly to process Stanford IDs for our students. Once your Stanford ID number is available, you will receive an email with your Stanford ID and instructions for the next steps.

When should I make travel arrangements? Is there transportation from the airport? 

Our office does not recommend making any travel arrangements until the student has a "Confirmed" status and has received a Stanford ID. We do not provide transportation to Stanford's campus. Please visit Arrival on Campus for more information on transportation options.  

I have been admitted, but received a waitlist email, is this correct?  

If you received an email regarding the wait list, it indicates that we have reached capacity for the residential option of our program. As attrition does occur, we will enroll students on the wait list as soon as space becomes available. Students who wish to remain on the waitlist must still complete all required acceptance checklist items to be considered. Alternatively, students may consider the commuting or online enrollment option.  

After You Become a Confirmed Student

I've been confirmed. Now, what? 

Congratulations! You should visit our Current Student website. Confirmed students should continue checking the "Important Documents" tab in the applicant portal for updated information.  

How many courses should I take? 

Residential students in High School Summer College must enroll in a minimum of eight units, six of which must be from academic departments, and maintain this enrollment for the duration of the Summer Quarter. Students may enroll in more than eight units, but costs will increase accordingly. We recommend that students stay in the 8- to 10-unit range to allow time to balance academics with extracurricular, social, and educational activities planned through the residence. 

Commuting students may enroll in as few as three units. For more details, please visit our Credit and Course Load page. 

International students (whether residential or commuting) with a Stanford-sponsored I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status) need to enroll in a minimum of 8 units of study to maintain their international student status. High School Summer College's office will monitor enrollment throughout the quarter to ensure compliance. 

I want to take a specific course. How do I guarantee enrollment?  

High School Summer College students may have the opportunity to choose from up to 145 courses between 30 different departments. Our office cannot guarantee enrollment in any one specific course as courses tend to get filled, our students may not meet the prerequisites, or the course may not be available that summer. When students are confirmed into the program, we recommend they show interest in a wide range of courses. Our office will have pre-summer advisors available to discuss course options with our confirmed students when course registration opens in April.  

What form of ID do I need to present at check-in? 

Stanford University requires students to present government-issued photo ID before receiving Stanford IDs. Examples of such ID may include passport, driver's license, learner's permit with photo, or state ID card.  

For students who do not currently have a government-issued photo ID, we recommend getting a state issued ID card which can be issued to minors. School photo IDs will only be accepted if accompanied by a birth certificate and are not preferred.  

Can I request my roommate? 

We do not take roommate requests. In fact, to further enrich our participant’s experience, we will purposefully pair students from different geographical areas in the same room. Similar to the Stanford freshman experience, you learn the name of your roommate when you arrive at your dorm room. 

I am having problems paying the university bill. What should I do? 

Student Financial Services oversee the tuition payment on the university bill and High School Summer College is not permitted to make any changes to University bills. Contact Student Financial Services with any billing questions. 

I can no longer attend the program. What do I do? 

You must fill out the Annulment of Summer Registration Form. Once the form is filled out, please send it back to our office using the information given on the form. Failure to send this form back to us in a timely manner may result in the university billing you for various fees and tuition. For more information, please visit our Change of Plans page.  

After You Attend the Program

Can I receive tax documentation for the summer program?  

Stanford Student Financial Services do not send out 1098-T for visiting summer students, as these students are not considered matriculated in a degree-seeking program at Stanford University. They recommend using your university bill as proof of payment if documentation is needed for your taxes.  

How do I get my High School Summer College transcript? 

Stanford does not permit our office to hold any transcripts; for this, you must request them from the University Registrar on your Axess account. Under “Academics,” you will be able to select “Request Official Transcript” and follow the directions on the new page. Please visit the University Registrar’s website for a step-by-step guide to requesting an electronic copy of your official transcript.

If you have questions regarding earned credits or grades, please contact the University Registrar at 866.993.7772 or send a HelpSU Request online.  

Problems with Axess  

If you have problems with Axess, please contact the University’s Help Desk or call them at 650.725.4357.