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All About the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

Everything You Should Know about the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

The High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program (HSHSP) serves as an ideal summer opportunity for aspiring college students aiming for a STEM major. For those entering their senior year of high school, this program offers a unique chance to delve into scientific research beyond the confines of a standard classroom setting. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the HSHSP, guiding you through all the essential information about this premier science research program. If you're passionate about pursuing a STEM career, gaining hands-on experience in a laboratory setting through HSHSP could be a pivotal step in your academic journey!
1. What is HSHSP?

HSHSP is the “oldest continuously running” summer STEM research program in America, hosted by Michigan State University since 1958. This prestigious summer program is 7 weeks long and costs $4,000, with financial aid and scholarships available. Students will live on Michigan State University’s campus for the duration of the program.

To thrive at HSHSP and get the most out of your time, you have to be an exceptionally hard-working, driven, and committed student—this program is sure to reward you for all the efforts you put in. The HSHSP summer program is not a pre-college or summer course, and it doesn’t offer college or high school class credit. It’s more similar to an apprenticeship because it offers real-life, hands-on STEM research experience. Students take charge of their research projects and receive mentoring from renowned Michigan State University professors. HSHSP provides an experience unparalleled to any high school or undergraduate college science class. Students at HSHSP “undertake detailed, focused investigation of challenging problems, and participate in many dimensions of the research process” (HSHSP).

2. Who is eligible to apply for HSHSP?

HSHSP summer program accepts rising senior high school students from all over the US. Students attending HSHSP in the summer must be entering 12th grade in the fall. Hence, applicants must be high school juniors (in the 11th grade). HSHSP only accepts applications from students with US citizenship or US permanent residency (aka green card holders).

Competitive applicants will be in the top 20% of their classes at their respective high schools. HSHSP applicants are required to have taken 3 or more years of college preparatory/level math and 2 or more years of college preparatory/level science classes.

3. Is HSHSP competitive?

HSHSP has a highly selective acceptance rate! Each summer, only 24 of the most talented and passionate students are accepted into the program, making the HSHSP acceptance rate a competitive 4-5% (unofficial stats, collected from education consultancies).

4. Important dates
  • March 1st – Applications due
  • May 1st – Decisions released
  • June 16th – Program starts
  • August 3rd – Program ends
5. Why should you apply to HSHSP?

Michigan State University is ranked in the top 50 of all research institutions in the US. Apply to HSHSP to dive deep into a topic of your own interest, and to work with state-of-the-art facilities and world-renowned university professors. HSHSP will teach you many research skills you couldn’t learn in a typical high school science classes with the same repeated short-term experiments—skills such as pitching an innovative research question, checking for experimental bias, fulfilling humane research requirements, recording daily progress across a long period of time, determining significance, critically reading, writing peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, and much more.

Students’ research projects from HSHSP are well-known for winning awards at prestigious science competitions. Such accolades give high school students an incredible boost, more impactful than pre-college credits, in the college application process.

Additionally, HSHSP is well known amongst college admissions officers for its distinguishing hands-on learning approach, showing colleges that HSHSP alumni have the intellect, passion, and technical skills to excel in innovative, impactful scientific research. Liberal arts colleges and research universities alike seek dedicated learners who spend their summers pursuing their intellectual curiosity through researching solutions to our world’s challenges, more so that taking the typical summer science class following a predetermined curriculum. HSHSP students work on solving impactful, real-world problems that don’t have an answer yet. At HSHSP, students are real researchers.

After HSHSP, students are fully prepared to have a powerful kick start in their STEM majors, and are independent young adults ready to thrive at any college campus. Alumni of HSHSP go on to attend America’s top research universities such as Harvard, Stanford, CalTech, Brown, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Michigan State, UMich, Duke, UPenn, Carnegie Mellon, UNC Chapel Hill, and more impressive colleges. Take advantage of HSHSP’s impressive, attentive college counseling services to boost your college application!

At HSHSP, students will also build a network of long-lasting friendships and colleagues who will support them immensely in their future scientific pursuits and careers. HSHSP gives students a first-hand look at what it’s like to collaborate with a professor in university labs and to lead scientific research and development (R&D) in their future career pursuits.

6. Application Materials

Here’s how to apply to HSHSP:

Prepare the following materials to include in your application.

  • Two letters of recommendation from your science teacher and another teacher of your choice.
  • Two 400–600-word essays
    • One will answer “what do you think you can contribute?” and describe an impactful event in your life that relates to your interest in scientific research.
    • Second will answer “describe the impact a book you have read has had on your thinking or any aspect of your life.”
  • High school transcript
  • Standardized test scores
  • List of current courses you’re taking
  • Financial aid application, if you’d like to apply
  • $25 Application fee

Are you ready to spend an intense summer pursuing the most exciting scientific research?

7. Spend your summer with Aralia Education

If you’re interested in conducting science experiments with your own research questions, try out one of Aralia Education’s science research courses. We offer a course catered towards the AP Research exam, a course for Psychology Research, and many more. Check out all our courses and inquire about your specific needs. With our expert instructors that have backgrounds from teachers at top-ranking US prep schools to former AP exam readers, Aralia Education will provide you with the engaging and rewarding education you need to succeed. Take a research course with Aralia to get ready for HSHSP! Read more about other research opportunities for high school students. 

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