Summer STEM Institute Summer 2021 AMA

Hi Everyone! I’m an alum of SSI 2020, part of the research cohort for their inaugural year. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about SSI.

@Nano1337 Hey i was planning on applying to SSI. but the early deadline is over. Can u tell me whether applying after early action does it reduce my chance of getting in a lot?

Also, I’m an international student and I require financial aid. Do SSI provide u full financial aid if u get in?

Lastly, please share ur experience about the research program!!!

@IntoBerkeley Hi There!

To answer your question, applying to regular decision doesn’t exactly reduce your chances of getting in, but you’ll just be compared to a different pool of applicants. If you complete the application to the best of your ability, then you can have a good chance of getting in.

Just like applying to college financial aid, the amount given depends on your financial situation. To quote from SSI:

The Summer STEM Institute (SSI) provides financial aid for families and students who cannot afford to pay full tuition. Cost is not intended to be a barrier to participate in the program. Students and families in need of financial assistance are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

Be sure to complete your application, then follow instructions listed here to complete the financial aid process within three days.

Finally, alumni and myself included have posted our honest experiences in this thread for potential applicants to read.

I hope this helped!

I was actually admitted to SSI. When the time came around for classes, I soon realized that the whole program was just a programming course taught by a Harvard student and at 10x the pace of a typical programming course. It got way too fast for me to keep up and I ended up dropping out. SSI is the type of program you attend if you couldn’t get into any better summer programs. Didn’t find anything valuable about this program and I strongly do not recommend it. It’s run entirely by college students, and I think there were a couple posts last year about how it was not worth the money. :woman_shrugging: https:// www. removeddit. com/r/ECAdvice/comments/kg9v3z/words_of_caution_to_summer_stem_institute

This thread is def coordinated by the founders given that they posted the exact same thing in another thread asking the same question. There are many other more established and legitimate programs for half of the cost. Even if it is as amazing as you claim it is, there is no way it’s worth that 6.5k price tag. There’s a similar program by Dr. Serena McCalla called the iResearch Institute and many of her students have won awards at top competitions like ISEF. I hear they’re more generous with their financial aid than SSI.

Also thought I’d drop some resources I used to learn more about research and opportunities instead of this camp:

  • A free, school club based program (about research, publication and science fairs) https:// restem.ysjournal. com/
  • A directory of basic info about the process: https:// www. sciencebuddies. org/science-fair-projects/competitions
  • A list of legit, competitive camps: https:// mitadmissions. org/apply/prepare/summer/

Hi @wintermelonkoala,

I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t able to take advantage of the program. As I said before, it is a very fast-paced program that provides all opportunities to you, as long as you’re willing to act on them.

A few bits of misinformation from your post that I would like to clear up:

  • I own this thread. I am in no way endorsed by SSI or its founders, but just an alumnus that would like to clear up the misconceptions of SSI from last year.
  • The programming courses were custom-made and mainly taught by a University of Washington student (not a Harvard student), which you may know as a top 10 university for Computer Science, so they are well qualified to teach beginner/intermediate data science and programming.
  • SSI is in no way just a “backup” program. It in itself holds the same opportunities as other reputable programs from USA __ Olympiads to RSI (which much of the staff had attended). The skills and experience I gained from SSI was unlike any other and has prepared me to currently work at my tech internship, using reinforcement learning (subfield of machine learning) technologies to solve the most pressing energy engineering issues.

However, thank you for the links you’ve provided as they are all valid approaches for high schoolers to gain more science experience. To be completely transparent, while SSI is a rigorous program, it is an enriching experience that I hope many more students can learn through. I wish the best for you in your future endeavors.

Nano1337