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High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP): 7 Reasons Why You Should Do It

If you’re a high school junior interested in STEM, you’ve likely explored various math and science classes and tried different extracurriculars, but you may be at a standstill because you’re not sure what to do next summer.


If that’s the case, don’t worry! You may have an opportunity to participate in the Michigan State University High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP), which is a seven-week research program for peers of different backgrounds who share a love for science and/or mathematics.


Is HSHSP program prestigious?

Yes! HSHSP has been operating since 1958, which makes it “the oldest, continuously running program of its kind in the U.S.,” and its history of connecting high schoolers with a rich research environment makes it a respected program.


Annually, roughly 24 participants are chosen for the program. Although the program does not release its application statistics, an acceptance rate of 4%-5% is estimated, and these students will be within the upper 20 percent of high school classes who have taken multiple years of college preparatory mathematics and science. If you are selected, you’ll be recognized for your strong aptitude for sciences and engineering.


Who can apply to HSHSP?

US citizens and permanent residents who are a high school junior may apply to the program. For most high schools, this will be referring to high school students who will be entering senior year in the summer the program will be taking place.


When is the application due?

Although it may be subject to change every year, application materials are expected to be due in early March. Please check the website for updates as the application cycle approaches.


What do I need to submit in the application?

As with any summer research program application, you will need to submit a high school transcript, which needs to be mailed to the program director’s address as stated on the website.


The other application materials can be uploaded to their website. This entails uploading two teachers’ recommendation letters, two essays, a list of courses you are taking currently, a list of books and magazines you read outside of school, test scores (if available), rank in high school (if available), and financial aid application if you would like to apply.


Beyond simply learning about your resume and accomplishments, HSHSP emphasizes that the application reveals your personal characteristics and your ability to reflect on readings. For example, the essays should refer to any important events in your life and be an honest reflection of yourself, and similarly, the recommendations should highlight the strengths of you as an individual.


Program structure and information

The program will take place from June 25 to August 12, 2023, during which accepted high school juniors will reside in Michigan State University’s campus. They will have indicated a preference for a research area from a list of general descriptions, and once on campus, they will discuss with the faculty advisor to determine which research faculty and project they would like to be involved in.


At the conclusion of the program, the students will deliver a presentation in their high school science class or other appropriate forum at home regarding their research experiences and their thoughts on the program.


The fee for the 2023 HSHSP will be $4,000. This fee covers room, board, and some instructional costs.


7 Reasons Why You Should Apply for HSHSP


1. You will gain valuable experiences in research.

Because of the history of HSHSP, the program has long been dedicated to providing an extensive and comprehensive research experience for the students. You will be guaranteed a research mentor and project in the summer, along with trying other activities that include but are not limited to: daily record-keeping, research proposal and final report writing, use of the science reference library, use of lab safety procedures, and a visit to the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/FRIB and campus observatory/planetarium.


Especially if you are unsure if you’d like to pursue research in college, HSHSP can help you decide whether you love it once you’ve tried it out for the summer.


2. You can build a network in the research community.

One of the most immediate connections you can make is with your research mentor, who may provide you with more information and guidance when you ask them about career choices and research questions. Moreover, throughout the summer, you will live with a group of like-minded science-passionate students who are bound to make great strides in science. Upon completion of the program, you will be invited to join the HSHSP Program Alumni group, where you can stay in touch with not only your year’s cohorts of students but also in past years’ as well, who are attending or have attended prestigious schools like the Ivies, MIT, Caltech, and more. Overall, you will likely find at least one person you can learn from and make long lasting relationships with!


3. Your research project can be used in future science competitions.

Once you have completed your research, you have great submission material for local and national scientific fairs, which HSHSP directly encourages you to try. If you’re looking for further enhance your accolades in your senior year, then HSHSP can yield long-term benefits in boosting your research accomplishments.


4. You can apply for financial aid, if you qualify.

While the program has a participant fee of $4000, families who find this cost difficult to pay for have the option to apply for financial aid. As stated previously, it will be included in the online application that you will be required to fill out. If you are offered a scholarship for financial aid, you will enjoy room, board, and instructional costs at a heavily reduced rate.


5. You have a lot of resources in the application process.

While it may seem daunting to apply for HSHSP, luckily, the program offers easily accessible information on its website that effectively details its requirements, deadlines, and expectations for its applicants. They even have listed several past participants and their contact information, who will be available to answer any questions, making it specifically unique from other summer research programs. If you are confused about anything, HSHSP will likely guide you through your questions easily.


6. You get to experience campus life in high school.

For a lot of high schoolers, they may feel nervous and even afraid of what to expect in college, but as a HSHSP participant, you can get a head start on experiencing firsthand what being a college student may be like. Michigan State University is an especially great choice because it is one of the top 50 research institutions in the United States, and is an important center for teaching and research. Not only will you be able to study or research in its laboratories and facilities, you can try non-research related activities such as visiting lecturers, dramatic events, musical performances, films, and planetarium programs. There are facilities for canoeing, swimming, tennis, and team sports as well. In addition, you will also live on their beautiful arboretum campus, which has a common lounge, recreational, and dining areas. The residential experience is sure to impress!


7. You can attend seminars and talks on college admissions and scholarships.

The college application and financial aid process can be stressful to work through, but HSHSP has dedicated time on its program to include discussions on college admissions, scholarships, and careers in science. This may be your chance to have specific questions be answered and receive guidance on how to succeed in the science- and math-related college application process with people who have gone through the process.


Final Thoughts

Overall, HSHSP is a great experience that will surely increase your exposure to the STEM field and foster close relationships. Whether you are curious about research or want to develop a long-term career in it, the program is an excellent choice if you are looking for an opportunity to try something new this summer. Be on the lookout when the application opens next year!


If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!


Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 


The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 


The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.


You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship.


In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 


Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. 


These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Location: Virtual

Cost

  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 


Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research then you could consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students to connect with researchers from prestigious universities. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Lydia is currently a junior at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. During high school, she was the captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team and attended the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. In her spare time, she likes to create digital art while listening to music.

Image source: HSHSP logo

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