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Q: How old are the students in the program?
Q: Do I have to be a Philadelphia resident to apply?
Q: What schools do your students attend?
Q: What is the ethnic breakdown of your students?
Q: When does the program meet?
Q: What costs are associated with participating in the program?
Q: How do I apply?
Q: What type of student is admitted?
Q: If accepted as a freshman, do I need to stay in the program all four years?
Q: Do you ever accept non-freshman students?
Q: Do students receive any test prep or help with college applications?
Q: What if I plan to travel or work full-time in the summer?
Q: I'm interested in the STEM Scholars program, but I'm not in high school yet. What can I do?


Q: How old are the students in the program?
A: All students are in high school (grades 9-12).

Q: Do I have to be a Philadelphia resident to apply?
A: The STEM Scholars program accepts students from Philadelphia, as well as surrounding regions; however, the majority of our students are within the School District of Philadelphia.

Q: What schools do your students attend?
A: STEM Scholars currently come from 14 different schools located throughout Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. Our students live in 23 different area codes.

Q: What is the ethnic breakdown of your students?
A: Currently, STEM Scholars is comprised of 72% African-American students, 12% Hispanic/Latino students, 7% Caucasian students, and 9% students who identify as "other."

Q: When does the program meet?
A: STEM Scholars meet weekly during the academic year and four days per week during the five-week summer session. All meetings are from 9:30AM-2:30PM at The Franklin Institute unless otherwise specified. Academic-year meetings take place on Saturdays and summer session meetings take place Monday - Thursday. The academic-year start date varies by cohort (from October to February), while the summer session begins the Monday after the 4th of July and ends in early August.

Q: What costs are associated with participating in the program?
A: Costs for STEM Scholars and their families are minimal. Students must find their own mode of transportation to and from The Franklin Institute, though costs associated with any field trips (on buses or public transit) are covered by the program. Students should plan to bring their own lunch or come with money to purchase a lunch each day. STEM Scholars are rarely, if ever, asked to pay a portion of the ticket cost for special events. Students will occasionally be provided with food by the program or field trip hosts.

Q: How do I apply?
A: Interested 9th-graders must submit a complete application between the time it is made available—usually late September or early October—and the due date in mid-December. A complete application includes a general electronic form, an essay, a school transcript, and at least two letters of recommendation from teachers or other adults who can speak to your academic and personal qualities. CLICK HERE for the application.

Q: What type of student is admitted?
A: The ideal STEM Scholars student shows academic skill, a dedication to learning, a passion for one or more STEM areas (e.g. math, biology, computing), and a need for additional resources. Students must have at least a 3.5 GPA, though most students' GPA is higher, and show an interest in and aptitude for their STEM classes. STEM Scholars staff relies heavily on the judgment and recommendations of teachers in selecting members of its freshman cohort.

Q: If accepted as a freshman, do I need to stay in the program all four years?
A: Yes. All new STEM Scholars sign a contract signifying their commitment to the program for four years. The program content builds upon each previous year and evolves as students progress through it, so retention is extremely important.

Q: Do you ever accept non-freshman students?
A: In rare circumstances, older students may be accepted to fill a slot vacated by a student who is no longer part of the program. However, since students commit to STEM Scholars for four years and content builds upon each year, these vacancies are few and far between.

Q: Do students receive any test prep or help with college applications?
A: Yes. While freshmen and sophomores spend time learning about a variety of STEM disciplines, juniors focus mostly on SAT prep, while seniors focus mostly on the college application process. The program contracts with Teach LLC, a local tutoring and test prep company, to provide these resources to students. All juniors take the SAT on the same day in early May following approximately 15 weeks of preparation.

Q: What if I plan to travel or work full-time in the summer?
A: Program administrators understand that many families will travel during the summer, but ask that vacations are planned before or after the five-week summer session if at all possible. Students miss out on a great deal if they are gone for even one of these weeks. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis if travel cannot be avoided. Staff also understands that many students work during the summer. Ideally, work will be scheduled around the program. Exceptions may be made for students pursuing a STEM-related summer internship. Rising seniors are paid for their lab research experience, which is set up by administrators and takes place during a 10-week window between late June and early September. These paid lab internships should take precedence over other jobs.

Q: I'm interested in the STEM Scholars program, but I'm not in high school yet. What can I do?
A: The Franklin Institute has a number of other Youth Programs geared toward elementary and middle school students. Please see the Educational Programs tab on the Institute's website, www.fi.edu, for more information.