- Summer programs for 7 - 12th graders
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The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Summer Accelerator Program extends to a global audience our 30 years of experience offering innovative courses and opportunities to talented students.
The Accelerator program offers unique, high-level courses in an innovative format that incorporates both residential, hands-on learning and online education. Explore aerospace engineering by designing and launching your own rocket. Determine the role of a target gene in affecting cancer. Solve crimes through the use of real-world forensic techniques.
In Accelerator courses, highly skilled faculty focus their talents on building upon the strengths of high-achieving students in advanced science and math topics in the classroom. Student Life Instructors offer a valuable resource and help provide a safe and enjoyable residential experience for students out of the classroom. NCSSM crafts unique high-level academic experiences, as a constituent and flagship high school of the University of North Carolina system, in a setting designed specifically for younger students.
Join us in 2015 to explore complex topics, collaborate with peers from around the globe and get hands-on experience that will kickstart college readiness and career interests next summer.
NCSSM is known for being academically rigorous and unique in both topics of study and approach. Accelerator courses address some of the hottest topics in biotechnology, aerospace engineering, automation and more. With inspiration and guidance from NCSSM’s expert faculty, you’ll develop new skills and get a head-start on a major or career in an exciting field.
In 2015, we will offer Accelerator and our new Early Accelerator courses, each specifically designed for a certain age group and field of study.
|Rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders||Rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders|
|One week on campus (Sun - Fri). No online work.||Two weeks of online work followed by one week on campus (Sun - Fri).|
|Tuition: $1,465||Tuition: $1,875|
|Can choose day-only option for $1,265*||Can choose day-only option for $1,675*|
*Local participants can choose a day option and not participate in evening activities or stay overnight on campus.
All Accelerator and Early Accelerator courses are designed to provide students from around the country and the world the opportunity to come together in diverse groups to live and learn together while gaining hands-on experience with intriguing topics in science, technology, engineering and math.
Early Accelerator (for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders only)
We will offer Early Accelerator courses for students entering 7th, 8th or 9th grades in 2015 during two weeks in the summer. There is no online component to the Early Accelerator courses. When you apply, you will have the chance to choose one course during one week.
On Campus: July 12 - 17
- Explorations in Computer Simulation and Modeling
- Investigative Science: Finding Clues and Solving Crimes
- 3D Printing: An Introduction to Digital Fabrication and Design
- Urban Stream Research Experience: The Mud Creek Case Study
On Campus: July 19 - 24
- Science in Big History: Natural History of the Cosmos
- Bones and Behavior: An Introduction to Anthropology
- Engineering Explorations (waitlist only as of March 2)
- Investigative Science: Finding Clues and Solving Crimes (Session B)
Accelerator (for rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders only)
Please choose one course. If you would like to register for more than one week, you may, but each course is it’s own Accelerator program.
Online: June 8 - June 19
On Campus: June 21 - 26
- Attack of the Cloning Strategy (Session A)
- Aerospace Engineering: Rocketry (Session A)
- Bone Detectives: Applied Methods in Forensic Anthropology (Session A)
- Genetic Analysis of Signaling Networks in Cancer (Session A)
- Neuroscience Research Methods (Session A)
Online: June 29 - July 10
On Campus: July 12 - 17
Online: July 12 - July 24
On Campus: July 26 - July 31
- Aerospace Engineering: Rocketry (Session B)
- Cryptography and Cryptanalysis (Session B)
- The Science of Food: How Science, Math and Culture Affect What We Eat
Student Services and Counselors
The Student Services staff provides social and recreational opportunities outside of class times, sets guidelines for acceptable behavior, interprets and enforces NCSSM policies, responds to disputes and administers discipline when necessary. The Student Services staff, including a full-time Summer Programs Coordinator and various support staff, along with our Student Life Instructors are in charge of the day-to-day supervision of the residential buildings and help ensure the safety and well-being of students.
Overnight Accelerator and Early Accelerator participants will be provided breakfast, lunch, snacks throughout the day, and dinner while on campus. Students selecting the day-only option will be provided with lunch. All meals and snacks are included in the cost of tuition.
In addition to coursework, Accelerator and Early Accelerator participants may choose from a variety of enrichment activities while in residence at NCSSM. Activities include visits to local museums, Durham Bulls baseball games, outdoor movie nights (often featuring films with content related to course concepts), trips to local restaurants, “college cooking” lessons, organized and informal athletic events and information and demo sessions about cutting-edge technologies. Students can also organize their own activities, such as ping-pong tournaments, board games and musical jam sessions.
Each Accelerator course consists of one week of on-site work on NCSSM’s campus. Accelerator courses for rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders are supplemented with two weeks of online work prior to their week onsite (see individual course descriptions for specifics of each class, as exact dates may vary). The online materials introduce, enrich and expand upon the face-to-face learning that happens on campus. This combination of learning experiences has proven successful at NCSSM for STEM education, and distinguishes the Accelerator program from most other programs currently offered for exceptional students.
Early Accelerator will have a similar schedule with a larger break in the afternoon for activities and rest.
Sample schedule for in-person week of course:
- 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Students arrive / Registration / IT Desk Support
- 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Campus tour and Student Life programming
- 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Dinner
- 7:00 p.m. Welcome session
Monday - Thursday
- 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
- 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Class time
- 11:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Class time
- 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Dinner
- 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. Optional activities (Durham Bulls baseball game, Nasher Museum tour, free gym time, capture the flag, “college cooking” lesson, outdoor movie nights with popcorn, trips to local restaurants and more!)
- 10:30 p.m. Check time! Students must be in their residence halls
- 12:00 a.m. Lights out
- 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
- 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. Class time
- 11:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Presentations to family and friends and check-out
Sample schedule for students enrolled in day option
Monday through Thursday
- 8:30 - 12:00 p.m. Class time
- 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Class time
- 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
- 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. Class time
- 11:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Presentations to family and friends
Online (for Accelerator courses only)
Online content typically requires students to complete 15 hours of work during the two weeks before the on-campus portion of the course. This time includes: time for students to introduce themselves and share common interests (which can help build the cohort before they arrive on campus), and time for readings, discussions, video content, reflection questions, inquiry and/or data collection. Exact requirements vary by course. Some instructors require the group to virtually meet-up at a designated time during the week, while others have their students work entirely independently. .
Students must have access to high-speed Internet and the time available to commit to online assignments. Each course has different online dates and requirements, so please check the course description for the specifics of each class.
Accelerator and Early Accelerator courses are for exceptional rising 7th through 12th graders. Any student who meets the requirements for the course for which they are applying may apply to that Summer Accelerator course. Applicants do not have to be residents of North Carolina. Students from all over the globe are encouraged to apply! Students who apply will be notified about their acceptance two to three weeks after they submit their application.
Students in the Online Program at NCSSM are eligible for tuition awards. They should fill out the online application and will be notified of their acceptance in two to three weeks. Any Online student who is accepted will receive an award.
The tuition for Accelerator courses is $1,875 with a day option available for $1,675. Early Accelerator courses are $1,465 with a day option for $1,265. Tuition for overnight students includes room and board for the on-campus portion of the course (including breakfast, lunch and dinner), as well as shuttle transportation from the airport, bus or train station if needed. Tuition does not include transportation to and from Durham, NC.
Once a participant has been accepted into the program, a non-refundable deposit of $250, due within seven days of acceptance, will reserve the student’s spot. There will be a discount for those who register early and for those who register for two or more weeks over the same summer.
Students already admitted to the NCSSM Online program may apply for a limited number of awards covering all costs for tuition and fees. Students in the Online Program at NCSSM are eligible for tuition awards.
Cancellations made at least 60 days prior to the start day of your course (your first course, if registered for multiple) will receive a full-tuition refund, less the $250 non-refundable deposit. Cancellations between 60 and 15 days prior to the start of your course(s) will receive a 50% tuition refund, less the deposit. Cancellations within 15 days prior to the start of your course(s) will NOT receive a refund. In the case that the minimum requirements for running the program are not met, we reserve the right to cancel a course at least 14 days prior to the course start date, and will provide registered participants a full refund, including the deposit amount.
Who Can Apply?
Any rising 7th through 12th grader with an excellent academic record and a keen interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is encouraged to apply. Students entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade at the conclusion of the summer the course will take place may apply to Early Accelerator courses. Students entering 10th, 11th or 12th grade at the conclusion of the summer may apply to Accelerator courses. And students who meets the requirements for the individual course for which they are applying may apply for that course.
May I apply if I live outside North Carolina or the US?
Yes! Students from all over the globe are welcome to apply.
What are the requirements?
We accept students who excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Each course has different specific prerequisites, such as Algebra or Biology. Please check the course listings for each course’s requirements. Every student is required to fill out the online application themselves in order to be considered for the program.
How do I apply? What does the application process look like?
Applications must be completed by the prospective participant. Applicants should be thoughtful in their responses. The application will take around 30 - 60 minutes to complete. Please be sure to provide correct email addresses for both the participant and the parent contact. Applicants are asked to rank the courses for which they are applying and about their interest and experience with the course topic on the application.
Students who apply after February 1 will be notified about their acceptance two to three weeks after they submit their application. Space in each course is limited, so participants are encouraged to apply early.
Once you have been accepted into the program, a non-refundable deposit of $250, due within seven days of your acceptance, will reserve your spot. Tuition is due in full by May 1, 2015.
If I apply for the Accelerator program, am I also accepted into the NCSSM Online or NCSSM Residential program?
No. You are accepted only into the Accelerator summer course for which you apply. Application for the NCSSM Online and NCSSM Residential programs is a separate process. Click here for more information on these programs. Though participation in Accelerator signals a strong interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Accelerator participants do not receive preferential treatment when being considered for the NCSSM Online and NCSSM Residential programs.
When will I know if I am accepted?
You will receive notification within two weeks of your application being submitted.
What if I have to cancel?
Cancellations prior to 60 days before the start of the online portion of the course for which the participant is enrolled will receive a full-tuition refund less the $250 deposit. Cancellations between 60 and 15 days before the start of the online portion of the course for which the participant is enrolled will receive 50% of the tuition refunded less the deposit. Cancellations within 15 days before the start of the online portion of the course for which the participant is enrolled will not receive a refund. In the case that the minimum requirements for running the program are not met, we reserve the right to cancel a course at any time, and will provide registered participants a full refund, including the deposit amount.
If I am an online student, and received an award in 2014, will I be eligible for one in 2015?
Yes, however, neither acceptance or an award is guaranteed.
Who are the instructors?
The lead instructor for each course is typically a current NCSSM faculty member. Additional classroom instruction may be provided by other experts in the field. See individual course descriptions for more details on each instructor.
What is required of me during the online component weeks?
That depends on the course. Some of the courses require you to be online at a certain day and time each week to do work as a group, while other courses require that you do a certain amount of work on your own during that week. In the second case, you could even be on vacation or at camp, and still be able to participate as long as you have Internet access. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Are there tests?
Accelerator courses have different methods of assessment depending on the content. Though some courses may include a test, it is more common for instructors to use other means of assessment, such as the creation of a rocket and the success of its launch, a poster presentation or a research report.
Should I bring my laptop?
Yes. A laptop is required during the on-campus portion of the program. If you do not have a laptop, notify us in advance, and you may “check out” an NCSSM-issued laptop for the duration of your on-campus stay. NCSSM offers wireless Internet access at most points on campus, and additional computer access in the library. During the online portion of the course, students must have regular access to a computer with an Internet connection.
How do I get there?
NCSSM is located at 1219 Broad Street in Durham, NC. Directions to campus can be found here. NCSSM will provide shuttle transportation from the airport, bus or train station. Transportation to and from Durham, NC, is the responsibility of the participant.
Where will I live?
NCSSM's campus has dormitory space for up to 680 students. For more information about dorm room layout and dimensions, including photographs of rooms and common areas in all six dormitories, visit http://connections.ncssm.edu/dormrooms.
Am I able to leave campus?
During daylight hours, participants are able to walk to the Ninth Street area of Durham, where they will find a number of restaurants, a grocery store and numerous shops. Participants are required to travel with another participant, a Student Life Instructor or a Counselor, and must comply with the established sign-out procedures. Students may only leave campus after daylight hours provided they are in the presence of a parent or NCSSM staff member.
What if someone wants to visit me?
A visitor is defined as any person who is not a current student or a current employee of NCSSM; this includes former students and alumni. All visitors must be registered and accompanied by their hosts at all times while on campus. Visitors can register at the Bryan SLI Office. Participants are allowed to have guests on campus during the following hours, with the exception of their parents or guardians, who may visit at any time (except overnight).
- Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 10:25 p.m.
- Friday 9:00 – 11:55 p.m.
- Saturday 9:00 – 11:55 p.m.
- Sunday 9:00 – 10:25 p.m.
Visitors are required to abide by visiting hours and all rules governing student life. Participants are responsible for the actions of their guests including any misbehavior or damage. Participants are expected to accompany their guests at all times while they are on campus. No guests, including parents/guardians, are allowed access to a student room if the occupants are not present. Participants may not have guests of the opposite sex, including siblings, cousins, off-campus friends, etc., in their rooms, on their halls or in their lounges unless permission has been secured from a staff member. Overnight guests are not permitted.
Visitors and guests of students or staff are not allowed to use the activity areas (fitness center, dance studio, racquetball courts, training room, wrestling area and main gymnasium) of the Eilber Physical Education Center (PEC). Visitors are not permitted to ride in school vans or buses.
What happens at night and on the weekends?
A comprehensive Student Activities program is designed to complement the academic program at NCSSM and may include organized activities both on and off campus for Accelerator students. Each night, participants are able to choose from a variety of activities. NCSSM’s Student Center offers a place where participants can watch TV and movies, study, play games or socialize while the gym provides participants a place to play sports or workout.
Can I have my car on campus?
Due to concerns for student safety, students are not permitted to have access to a personal automobile (or any motorized vehicle) or have a personal automobile on campus while under the jurisdiction of NCSSM. This includes the immediate area of campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. Even under the jurisdiction of parents, students still are not permitted access to an automobile on campus.
What is the campus area like?
Our campus is located in the historic Watts-Hillandale residential neighborhood, and at the end of the Ninth Street commercial district, adjacent to Duke University’s East Campus.
What about safety?
Campus Resources proactively manages the safety and security of our students and campus 24/7 with dedicated officers and Durham Police officers. Staff monitor cameras throughout campus and the campus emergency telephone line, and emergency call boxes are located throughout campus and in classrooms. Emergency speakers reach the entire campus. NCSSM’s emergency procedures are detailed here.