Frequently Asked Questions


Do students receive grades or credits?

No course grades or credits are given for completing a Summer Arts Institute course. After the conclusion of the program, students are sent a written evaluation from their Instructor and a certificate of completion.

May I participate in the on-campus portion of the program as a commuter student?

No. All students in the Summer Arts Institute must participate fully in the residential portion of the program. The Summer Arts Institute places a high value on the integration of the program's academic and social components, which is accomplished by bringing together students and mentors who share interest and talent in a particular subject. Students interested in non-residential opportunities should explore other Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies programs.

What type of visa do international students require?

International students who have attended our program in the past have been able to enter the U.S. on a visitor’s visa. The number of hours per week in the classroom is 12–15 hours on average. This is below the 18 hours per week typically required for a student visa. Please visit the U.S. State Department’s website or your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for official information. Please note that the Summer Arts Institute can't assist participants in obtaining visas. This is a process that students and their families must undertake themselves with the U.S. Immigration office. If you need a formal acceptance letter to use in your visa application, we can provide one.


To what does “grade level” refer?

Grade level refers to the student's current grade when he or she submits an application (in Spring). No exceptions will be made to the grade restrictions, but age restrictions allow for some flexibility. Those who are within three months of the age requirement will be eligible. These restrictions are important in providing a social environment that maximizes the value of the Summer Arts Institute experience, and take into account considerations for students in the same courses living together in the same residence. Because our social and academic components are tightly integrated, students will enjoy greater academic benefit by learning alongside others who are close in age and grade.

Are there grade point average or standardized test cut-off scores?

There is neither a test score “cut-off” requirement nor a GPA cut-off that limits applicants' eligibility for the program. The Summer Arts Institute seeks students who demonstrate passion for and overall academic excellence in subjects related to the courses for which they apply. All application materials (such as work samples, written responses, test scores, teacher recommendations, etc.) are considered together.

Is it okay for parents to help me write my application?

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.

I haven't taken a standardized test. May I still apply?

The standardized test score requirement may be waived for those attending a school outside the U.S. where testing is not available. If you attend school in the U.S. but do not have test scores, you will need to provide a letter from your school on school letterhead certifying that there are no testing records for you, and that the school does not require tests.

I don't have a work sample of the right type. May I still apply?

On the application, we provide some prompts that you can use to create a new writing sample. You may select any of the prompts to write about; you need only select one. Be sure the sample you submit is at least five pages long. We recommend that you ask a teacher or tutor to provide some editorial feedback on your essay before you submit it.

The Summer Arts Institute administrative team would be happy to assist you if you have additional questions about this requirement. Send an email to or call 650-721-9325.

Financial Aid

Does Stanford Summer Arts Institutes offer financial aid?

Yes. Our financial aid funding is limited, and we typically experience a higher demand for financial aid than we are able to accommodate. Awards are allocated by need and typically take the form of a partial scholarship. 

We encourage all families who make less than $60,000 a year to apply for aid. If your family is above this bracket, you may still apply, but should include a supplementary letter clarifying your family's circumstance in your application. Aid can be awarded to both domestic and international participants and does not have an effect on your admissions decision as the financial aid committee only views financial aid applications once admissions decisions have been sent.

What is the deadline for the financial aid application?

We ask for applicants to submit their financial aid application within one week of submitting their academic application. Financial aid applications are due by the corresponding admissions deadline of which applicants submitted their academic application. Applicants can look at the Admissions Page on our website to find the corresponding admissions round they are in. 

Where is the financial aid application?

Applicants can submit a financial aid application once they have started their Online Application. Applicants will receive an email titled "Instructions to complete your Stanford Summer Arts Institute Online Application." The link for the financial aid application is provided in this email. Applicants must be logged into their Online Application account in order to access the financial aid application. In addition to completing the financial aid application, applicants will be asked to provide their parent or guardian's tax information from the past two years.

Can tuition be paid in installments?

No. Unfortunately, Summer Arts Institute is not able to offer an installment plan.

Does Stanford Summer Arts Institute have a refund policy?

Application fees are non-refundable. Program deposits are non-refundable, except in cases where an accepted participant who applied for financial aid is not awarded sufficient aid to attend and therefore must decline enrollment. To withdraw the student or parent must notify Stanford Arts Institute staff in writing via email, prior to the start of the program. No refunds or discounts will be given for early departures once the program has begun. Refunds will not be considered until a formal (written or email) request is received.

Online Application

I am having trouble with the Online Application. Who can I contact for help?

Contact the Summer Arts Institute staff at or call us at 650-721-9325. We will be glad to assist you.

I submitted my Online Application, but it is still showing as incomplete. What am I missing?

A complete application consists of a submitted Online Application, a Teacher Recommendation, and receipt of payment for the application fee, if any. If your application is incomplete, log in to your Online Application status page, which will display information about what may be missing. In many cases, your application is not complete because your teacher has not yet submitted a recommendation on your behalf. Contact your teacher, or check your Online Application account page to manage your recommendations.

How do I change or delete a recommender?

To Delete a Recommender: You cannot delete a recommender once that person has been entered into the Online Application system. Applicants may list up to four recommenders, so you may use one of the remaining spaces for your new recommender. As long as one recommendation is received by the deadline, your application will be complete for that round of review.

To Change a Recommender’s Information: You can edit your recommender information or send a reminder email to your recommender through the Online Application system. Sign in to the system; from your status page, scroll down to the Application Checklist. Just below the list, there is a link to the Recommendations Page of your application, where you can add new requests or edit/change the recommender information as long as the recommender has not yet begun the recommendation process. You are able to send a reminder email to your recommender at any point in the recommendation process.

How is my recommender notified of my request?

In your Online Application you will enter the recommender’s contact information. Your teachers will receive an email with a link to the recommendation system. If they cannot locate the email, please first instruct them to search their spam folders for your name—it is not uncommon for the emails ended up there. If they are still unable to find the email, you can send a duplicate “reminder” email to them with the link on the Recommendations Page.

There are two options for resending this email to your recommenders. If you have not yet submitted your application, return to the Recommendations Page of the application. You can add a new recommender, edit or change information, change your waive status, and send a reminder email to your recommender from this page.

If you have already submitted your application, log in to your Online Application status page and your list of recommenders will be visible; it will also indicate clearly whether the recommendation has been received.

Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor the status of their recommendations and assure that recommendations are received by the Summer Arts Institute by the intended admissions deadline.

How will I know when a recommendation has been received in support of my application?

An email will be sent to the student email address provided on the application when a recommendation has been received. The applicant's status page will also show this information.

Must I wait for teacher recommendations to be submitted before I submit the Online Application?

No. We encourage applicants to submit teacher recommendation requests as early as possible, and to submit your Online Application as soon as you have provided all the information required. Don't wait for your teacher to respond. Your recommender may submit a recommendation before or after you submit your Online Application. Once you submit your Online Application, you will be able to check the status of your recommendation requests by logging onto your account.

Admitted Students

I have been admitted, but not to my first-choice course. May I change courses?

Students are reviewed on a course-by-course basis, therefore qualifying for one course does not mean a student will be selected for a different course. To be reviewed for admission into another course, it is our policy that you must first give up your seat in your admitted course, with no guarantee of being admitted into your new course. We will then place your application into the next application cycle to be compared in the pool. If you end up not being accepted in that cycle we would not be able to readmit you into your first course. We encourage students to keep their current seat. Students are allowed only one switch request each summer.

Will I have an opportunity to visit with undergraduate admissions while at Stanford?

While not guaranteed, a representative from the Stanford Office of Undergraduate Admissions is often scheduled to give a presentation to program participants during their stay at Stanford. If you are interested in a more formal meeting with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, please make arrangements independently. Please note that these arrangements must not interfere with any scheduled program activities.

Can you accommodate students with food allergies or other special needs?

Yes. Upon admission into the program, students will be asked to provide health information and information regarding any other specific needs. The Summer Arts Institute administrative staff will work with students to plan necessary accommodations.

What if a student gets sick or injured during the program?

The Summer Arts Institute staff strives to maintain a safe environment for all participants. Palo Alto Medical Foundation Pediatric Urgent Care and the Stanford Medical Center are in close proximity to the program’s residence, and residential staff members—supported by a team of registered nurses—are trained to facilitate treatment for the full range of medical and health needs of the students in the program.

Does the program provide airport transportation to and from Stanford?

The Summer Arts Institute provides transportation to and from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) as long as participants arrive and depart on the designated days for the session they are attending. The Summer Arts Institute is not able to provide transportation for students if they arrive or leave on other days.

Students who are admitted to the program will be given detailed information regarding airport transportation procedures. Students using the airport shuttle service will provide their flight information to the Summer Arts Institute, and Summer Arts Institute staff members will meet students at the airport and accompany them back to Stanford University.  The Summer Arts Institute also provides transportation to take students to the San Francisco airport on the day of departure. The use of airport shuttle service on Arrival and Departure days is included in Summer Arts Institute tuition.

Can I participate in other camps while I am attending the Summer Arts Institute?

No. The Summer Arts Institute is an intensive, full-time program, so students are expected to participate in all course and program activities for the duration of the session. Students are required to arrive on the first day of the program and depart on the last day; late arrivals and early departures are not permitted.