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Exploring Frontiers

Drawing upon a rich tradition of pioneering scholarship and rigorous inquiry, University of Chicago students and professors are known for pushing the frontiers of knowledge. This summer, learn about new concepts in critical thinking and cutting-edge research from distinguished faculty and discover the splendor of the City of Chicago with a community of other talented students from your home state. 

exploring frontiers students pose for a group picture

“I am grateful to have been a part of the Exploring Frontiers program and learned some really valuable insights about UChicago, its Core curriculum, and got a wonderful feel for life on campus. I particularly enjoyed Dr. Gorski’s Public Policy class and appreciated her conversational approach to teaching. Dr. Gorski emphasized how Public Policy at UChicago amalgamates several fields like political science, anthropology, and economics.”
Tanvi C., 2023 Exploring Frontiers Scholar -

Program Description

Outstanding students who attend high school in California or Texas, who are eager to learn how interdisciplinary study brings together different fields, and who seek an insider's view into the capabilities and resources of a top research university are invited to apply. Through a week of readings, lectures, discussion, and hands-on applications, learn from leading faculty on topics including Chicago-style Economics, Problems in Policy Implementation, Ancient Greek Thought, Neuroscience, Black Holes, and experience the College’s distinctive Core Curriculum. Become part of a community and make lasting friendships through interactive House activities on campus and excursions in the city to take in breathtaking architecture, live music, world-class museums, and of course, deep dish pizza. Most of the activities and lectures will be shared between students from California and Texas, though some programming will be separate.

 A schedule for Summer 2022 can be found here.

Program Contact: All questions should be directed to Mason Heller at (California) or Marce Sanchez at (Texas).

Application Requirements

Eligibility: Current 10th grade students, who are at least 14 years old, and enrolled in high school in either the state of California or the state of Texas, are invited to apply. 

Applications will be accepted online. The deadline to apply is our Regular Deadline, March 5, 2024. All application decisions for this program will be released at the same time in late April. 

Applicants must complete the Summer Session Application, and all the related requirements, which can be reviewed in the How to Apply section.

When applying, make sure your Program Selection, either "Exploring Frontiers - CA" or "Exploring Frontiers - TX," matches your high school's location.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript
  • Supplement and essays
  • A nomination from a teacher or counselor is also recommended, and can be completed here.
  • At least one parent/guardian confirmation email received.

Applicants will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:

  • Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)
  • "Since its founding, the University has been committed to the idea that a culture of rigorous inquiry requires an environment where diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas inform and stimulate intellectual exchange, challenge, and engagement.” -UChicago Office of the Provost. How would you contribute to this culture of inquiry in this program? What do you hope to gain or learn by engaging with peers from all over the U.S. or from different parts of the world? (Limit: 300 words)

Review the Application Overview pages for more detailed information.

    Costs & Fees

    The application fee is automatically waived for any applicant who selects any Enrichment Program as their first choice.

    Selected students will be expected to pay a one-time, non-refundable $1,000 program fee. This fee covers housing and dining costs, and confirms a student's enrollment in the Exploring Frontiers Program. Students will need to have their own health insurance and will need to provide their own transportation to and from campus.

    Some financial assistance is available. Students who require financial assistance for roundtrip transportation to and from campus may apply for additional funding by completing the Financial Aid Application as part of the Summer Session application. Participants who are awarded financial assistance for roundtrip transportation will also receive a waiver of the program fee.

    Program Dates

    July 28 - August 2, 2024
    Arrival date: Sun. Jul. 28
    First session: Mon. Jul. 29
    Closing session: Fri. Aug. 2
    Move-out: Fri. Aug. 2