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Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program - Should You Do It?

Attending a pre-college summer program is a valuable and unique way to enhance your college applications. Many lab programs, like the Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program, offer opportunities for laboratory discovery, professional growth, and communication of knowledge all under the guidance of experienced mentors.

The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program specifically sets itself apart from other programs by offering its services at two campuses, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Farmington, Connecticut while providing a valuable experience in genetics and genomics research.

As a participant, you will spend the summer in classes and labs, working towards an independent research project alongside experienced mentors, who will guide you through analyzing data and performing experiments before presenting your findings at the end of the summer.

In this blog, we will cover all you need to know about the Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program, its dates, eligibility, costs, as well as our review on whether you should do it.

When does the program run?

The program runs from June 3 - August 11, 2023, so you can expect dates for future cohorts to be around the same time.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is Monday, January 30 and a notification of admission will arrive no later than March 31st.

Altogether, attending the Jackson Laboratory SSP will add a valuable extracurricular to your college applications and future resumes. Choosing to take a summer course with a program like the JLSSP will showcase your initiative and dedication to your academic future. Before deciding to apply to any summer program, however, you should compare the pros and cons of dedicating your summer to research. This article will dissect and dive into both the pros and cons of attending the Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program and list important dates, along with need-to-know information.


1. Research immersion: The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program provides hands-on experience in genetics and genomics research, allowing students to deepen their understanding of these fields in a real-life setting. On the “Research Areas' ' tab on the JLSSP website, there is a list and brief description of the different research areas pursued at the program, including Bioinformatics and Computational Biology to Developmental Biology and Aging.

2. Independent research project: As a participant, you will have the opportunity to develop and implement your own research project, thus gaining valuable skills in experimental design, data analysis, and scientific reporting. An example of a past research project can be found in the Summer Student Program profiles on the “Summer Student Program” page where you can watch videos of past students describing their work on biomedical sciences.

3. Experienced mentors: The program provides students with guidance from experienced scientific mentors, who provide support and expertise throughout the entirety of the program. A list of faculty and staff can be found under the “Research and Faculty” tab on the JLSSP website.

4. Presentation of findings: At the end of the program’s duration, you will present your findings to researchers, peers, and parents. This aspect of the SSP allows students to improve their communication skills and gain exposure to the scientific community.

5. No cost of attendance: Many of the usual costs associated with attending a summer program like this one are taken care of by the program. For example, travel, room and board accommodations, and meals are all provided, along with an extra $6,250 stipend.


1. Competitive selection process: The program is highly competitive, with a limited number of spots available. To apply, in addition to standard personal and school information, you will need to provide: Two letters of recommendation, your informal or unofficial transcript, a list of the science, technology, engineering, and computer science courses you have taken within the past three years, your current CV or resume, a ranked list of your top three research interests, or labs, after reviewing Jackson Laboratory’s Faculty Research Summaries, and a written description of your research interests and rankings of your research area choices along with four short answer responses.

2. Hard for high school students to get accepted: Bar Harbor campus accepts applications from eligible high school seniors and undergraduate students while the Farmington campus accepts applications only from eligible undergraduate students. This lowers the chances for high schoolers to join the summer program.

3. Time commitment: The SSP typically runs for the duration of the summer. For the 2023 term, the dates are June 3rd - August 13th, which is 10 weeks and would require a significant commitment of time and potentially limit other summer activities.

Attending The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program would be a valuable opportunity for any high school student interested in genetics and genomics research. However, you should carefully consider the competitive nature of the program and the time commitment required for the Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program (and any other potential program) before applying. This being said, the pros outweigh the cons; from the full financial support, to the independent research project and presentation, this summer program has cultivated an experience worthy of any student’s time and effort.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research in STEM, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.



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