Application Process


Who can apply?

Rising North Carolina junior and senior high school students who have not participated in the Summer Ventures programs.

What do I need to apply?

The student must complete an online application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ask their teacher and counselor to complete an evaluation on their behalf and add that information in Blackbaud after January 15. Applicants must also provide a current transcript with first semester grades to be eligible.

Where do I apply?

Click here to begin the online application. Applications open on October 15.

Is the PSAT, SAT or ACT required?

No. Summer Ventures does not require any test scores for 2023.

When do I send my transcripts?

Transcripts must include first semester grades. Students will need to authorize NCSSM to access their electronic CFNC transcript between February 15 and February 28. Check with your school to make sure first semester grades have been posted before requesting the transcript.

How do I submit my transcript starting on February 15?

The window for submitting transcripts and report cards will open in February and close on February 28. Applicants can submit or report their grades using one of the following methods:

Summer Ventures will accept transcripts from February 15 until February 28. Remember, submit transcript requests only after fall semester grades are recorded.

If my school does not partner with CFNC where should they send my official transcript?

NCSSM Office of Admissions, P.O. Box 2418, Durham, NC 27715-2418. Transcripts can also be emailed to admissions@ncssm.edu.

How do my teacher and counselor submit a recommendation?

Once the application period is complete you will get an email link to register for Blackbaud, a secure NCSSM system where you will be able to continue the application process started on CFNC. You will provide contact information for the teachers and counselor who will provide your recommendation. 

Read the Evaluation Guidebook for more detailed information on the recommendation process.

When are the teacher and counselor recommendations due?

February 28 is the deadline for receipt of completed Teacher and Counselor Evaluation Forms.​

Can I apply to both NCSSM and Summer Ventures?

Yes, applicants may apply to both programs. However, Summer Ventures also allows applications from 11th-grade students.

Can I attend NCSSM Durham or Morganton and Summer Ventures?

No. Students must choose between Summer Ventures or the NCSSM Residential program (Durham or Morganton) if accepted to both programs. NCSSM Online students can attend Summer Ventures.

Can I attend Governor’s School and Summer Ventures?

No. Students may not attend Governor’s School and Summer Ventures in the same summer. 

Is there a fee?

No, the program is cost free to students. Summer Ventures is a state-funded program for NC residents with room and board provided.

When will I know if I have been selected?

Students are notified of admission decisions April 5 (2023). If you are selected as a finalist or alternate, you will also find out to which campus you have been assigned.

How can I follow my application progress?

After the application deadline on January 18, and by January 25 at the latest, each applicant will be emailed a link and password to monitor their application process and final status on Blackbaud, a secure NCSSM admissions platform. Applicants will be able to see whether or not their evaluations and transcripts have been received and will use Blackbaud to see their final status on April 5 (2023).

Selection Process


How many apply and are selected?

These numbers vary each year. Two hundred students were selected in 2022; 167 in 2023; 165 in 2024. Students are selected by Congressional District. We had almost 800 applicants in 2024. In 2024, approximately 60 alternates were selected per campus.

In its initial year in 1985, 600 students were selected and participated in Summer Ventures. The program still operates on its original annual recurring funding established in the year 1984, and due to inflationary costs fewer students are served. Over 10,000 students have participated in Summer Ventures since 1985.

What is the difference between finalist, alternate, and not selected?

Finalists are students selected to attend the program at a specific campus. Alternates are assigned to a campus where they may be called to participate if space becomes available. Not selected means that the applicant will not become a participant.

Who will notify alternates?

Alternates first must accept their Alternate offer in Blackbaud by the date stated in their offer. Starting in 2024, the Summer Ventures State Office, part of NCSSM Extended Learning, will notify an alternate by phone or email if an available position becomes available at their assigned campus. Each campus is different in how late they can accept an alternate to fill an available space. Alternates will be notified when their assigned campus is no longer able to accept alternates. The alternate list is not ordered, and students are chosen based on a variety of factors used in the admissions selection process. 

Are selection decisions final?

Yes. The Summer Ventures selection process is highly competitive and the statewide admissions committee thoroughly reviews all applications to select the most qualified candidates from each congressional district for selection.

How are selection decisions made? How competitive is the process?

The Summer Ventures selection process is highly competitive and the statewide admissions committee thoroughly reviews all applications to select the most qualified candidates from each congressional district. By a state law specific to the program, the Summer Ventures program selects finalists from each Congressional District. As a result, the competitiveness is based on the number of applications we receive from each Congressional District. 

Is there an appeals process?

No, there is no appeals process. All Summer Ventures selection and assignment decisions are final.

If I decline an offer, can I apply again?

10th-grade applicants who are selected as alternates and finalists that decline their offer prior to the start of their campus program can apply again — if they are a rising senior (finishing third year of high school) and continue to meet the other eligibility criteria for the program.

Can I choose my campus?

We added an option to indicate a campus preference in your application, but an applicant may be assigned to any Summer Ventures campus. Summer Ventures State Coordinators assign students to a campus based on student’s expressed content interests as well as a range of program and demographic criteria.Students can be assigned to any campus. Starting in 2024, we will ask you to rank your campus interests/preferences, but your admissions offer can be to any campus. The Summer Ventures State Coordinators assign students to a campus based on student’s expressed content interests as well as a range of program and demographic criteria. Since students cannot know which campus will be assigned we suggest that you do your best to reserve mid-June through early August.

Can I change campuses after I have received my decision notification?

No. Admissions decisions for finalists and alternates are assigned to a specific campus. Summer Ventures State Coordinators assign students to a campus based on student’s expressed content interests as well as a range of program and demographic criteria.

The program is 4 weeks long but the website says that it takes place mid-June to the end of July. Why do you indicate a 7-week window if the program is only 4 weeks? 

Each campus runs a 4-week program but some begin mid-June and run through mid-July whereas others may not begin until after July 4. The current year program dates are listed on the main Summer Ventures page.

For reference, in 2023, campuses started their program the last week of June or first week of July. Those dates are subject to change due to their campus summer conference, camp, and housing availability.

Where do I find my Admissions Decision?

Applicants log into Blackbaud, the system they used to track their application and submit post-CFNC application details. In the horizontal sub-menu, click “Decisions.” If a Finalist or Alternate, you can click the “Contact Card” to see your campus in the horizontal sub-menu. This menu lists “Admissions Progress” “Decision” “Official Notes” and “Contact Card.”

Placement Process / Post-Admissions


How are campus/session placement determinations made?

Finalist and alternates are assigned based on academic program topic preference, space availability at each campus, while balancing gender, geography, race/ethnicity, and other special considerations.

In the application, a student could indicate if they wanted placed at a campus within 250 miles of their residential address. A student may be placed further than 250 miles (straight line distance, not road distance) for the reasons above if they did not check that box. For the 2024 cohort, all finalists, and most alternates, were placed at a campus at least 50 miles (straight line distance) from their residential address.

If you indicated in your application to be placed closer than 250 miles and were not, please reach out immediately. These are linear distances, so the road distances will often be longer.

I am waitlisted for NCSSM-Durham or NCSSM-Morganton. Can I still participate?

Potentially. Finalists notified on the notification date to NCSSM-Durham or NCSSM-Morganton that accept their offer cannot participate in Summer Ventures. Wait-listed students that become finalists and accept the offer prior to June 1 cannot participate. Students accepted or wait-listed to the NCSSM Online program can participate in Summer Ventures.

Can I choose my campus?

No. Summer Ventures State Coordinators assign students to a campus based on student’s expressed content interests as well as a range of program and demographic criteria.

I have a question about how placement worked.

You can contact summerventures@ncssm.edu. Campus assignment decisions are final. Admissions offers are to the campus a finalist or alternate is assigned.

I am a finalist or alternate, which campus am I assigned?

In Blackbaud, you can click the “Contact Card” to see your campus in the horizontal sub-menu. This menu lists “Admissions Progress” “Decision” “Official Notes” and “Contact Card.”

I’m a finalist or alternate. When will I get more information?

The State Coordinator will send a brief message on after students accept their offer to those that accept their finalist or alternate status about the online Research Preparation Course. About 10 days after the decision window closes, the campus Director at your assigned SVSM campus or their program staff will reach out to students that accept their offer at each campus.

I’m a finalist. What will I do at my campus?

Campus directors will reach out with more information on the format, schedule, housing, paperwork, and being assigned to a specific topic preference. Each campus is different in this process. Read below in this FAQ for more details on some common questions.

Campus Directors are listed on the Summer Ventures Student Life page.

Program Information for Finalists


May I arrive after the first day or leave before closing ceremonies due to scheduling conflicts?

No. Summer Ventures asks that students and families carefully consider all of their summer options as attendance is required for the full four-week program.

What can I study?

Summer Ventures offers a variety of courses that cover the STEM spectrum. As part of the application, students are able to rank their preferred top four areas of study. Options include Applied Mathematics, Life Science, Computer Science, Data Analysis, Earth Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science.

Are there any exams?

No. Students are encouraged to explore their science or math interests without the pressure of exams.

Do we have homework?

No. Students will spend their time conducting research and investigating topics through intensive study in areas of preferred program topics.

Will I earn college credit for my Summer Ventures work?

No. However, the various skills used at Summer Ventures (such as designing projects, conducting research, technical writing, proposing and defending solutions) are all skills colleges and universities look for in applicants.

Can I choose my roommate?

Each campus determines their roommate selection process.

Are there laundry facilities on the campuses?

Yes. Each university has laundry facilities located near residence halls.

What happens at night or on weekends?

Each campus has a residential life staff that provides required or optional social, recreational, or enrichment activities, which may be on or off campus. The goal is to create an inclusive and engaging environment to interact with peers outside of the class and research time.

Research Prep Online Course


What is the SVSM Research Prep course?

Research Prep is an online, asynchronous, orientation to research and information skills short course. You may work at your own pace over a specified three-week time frame, and expect it to take a total of six to nine hours to complete.

Who gets to take this course?

All SVSM finalists will complete this course prior to arriving at their SVSM campus. All alternates are invited and encouraged to take the course in the event they are moved to finalist status and because the learning is applicable for their future research. 

How do I register?

For all the details, see the Research Prep webpage.

Policies and Procedures


Do all campuses have the same policies and procedures?

No. Each campus must comply with the Summer Ventures Statewide Student Policies. However, each site may have additional regulations, as long as they do not conflict with the statewide policies. For example, some campuses may not allow students to have cell phones during the four-week period.

How do curfews and residence hall expectations work?

For the safety of participating students, there will be sign-out systems at each campus. In addition, attendance will be taken in every academic class, and curfews will also be in place.

Residential Life


Attendance 

Due to the nature of the SVSM experience, students are required to be in attendance during the entire four-week period, including weekends (with the exception of the planned break weekend).

Each campus has a residential life staff that provides required or optional social, recreational, or enrichment activities, which may be on or off campus. The goal is to create an inclusive and engaging environment to interact with peers outside of the class and research time.

Meals

Students are provided meals, typically using the campus dining facilities at their campus, at no cost. 

Cars and other motorized vehicles

Cars, motorcycles, mopeds, and other motorized vehicles are not allowed at SVSM institutes, and students are strictly prohibited from driving or riding on such vehicles.

By enrolling students in the program, parents extend permission for them to travel in school and private vehicles operated by the faculty and staff, by any professional driver hired by the program, and by other adults officially connected with the program.

Transportation

SVSM is not responsible for the transportation of students to or from the institutes. The faculty and staff of SVSM will not use official or personal vehicles to transport students to or from the campus, at the beginning or ending of the institutes, during any home weekends, or at any other time during the four-week period except for official SVSM activities (e.g. field trips).

Sign-outs, rolls, and curfews

For the safety of the participating students, it is essential that SVSM staff know the students’ whereabouts at all times. To ensure this, each campus will follow these procedures:

Break weekend

Each campus may have one “break” weekend during the four-week period. Students must return home or, with their parents’ permission, may spend the weekend at the home of a relative or friend.

Visits by family members at times other than to pick up students for the break weekend are strongly discouraged since such visits interrupt students participating fully in some SVSM activity.

Personal belongings

All personal items brought to the SVSM institutes are brought at the students’ risk. Each campus will provide students with a list of recommended items, some of which will be unique to a specific institute. At no site may students have televisions, conventional or microwave ovens, hot plates, air conditioners, weapons of any sort, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, or tobacco products.

Religious matters

Because SVSM is a state-run program, it cannot provide religious services for the participating students. No SVSM activities will be planned for most Sunday mornings. If any of the students at a particular institute belong to a religious group that has services on days other than Sunday, the director and staff will take this into consideration when scheduling activities and assignments.