What is the difference between middle school explorations and pre-college explorations?
The only difference is the age of the students. See our course catalog for more information.
What grade do I use when signing up? Current or next year?
Use your child's current grade level they are in, not what they will be attending the following fall.
How large is each exploration?
Most explorations are limited to 20 students or fewer to allow one-on-one instruction. Some programs—like backpacking and mountaineering—are kept smaller to ensure safety. We train and employ more than three hundred instructors, activity counselors, residence counselors, and staff. We intentionally keep our student-to-staff ratio low at approximately 10:1.
If I stay for more than one exploration, do I have to leave campus during the weekend?
No, you do not have to leave campus! If you elect to come for two or more consecutive weeks of Summer Youth Programs (we call these students “stay-overs”), we offer exciting weekend activities in the area. Read our cost of attendance for more information.
Where will I stay?
Our live-in participants enjoy a taste of campus living in Michigan Tech's largest residence hall, Wadsworth Hall. Tap-access is required to enter both the building and the individual halls. Participants have access to residence hall laundry facilities (minimal fee), recreation areas, and lounges. We have a full-time, live-in counseling staff who provide supervision, interact with participants, and help ensure safety.
See the live-in vs. commuter page for more information.
Who will I room with? Will they be close to my age?
See the live-in vs. commuter page for more information.
Will there be college students in my residence hall?
While we share Wadsworth Hall with Michigan Tech students during the summer, Summer Youth Programs participants will have exclusive use of two of the floors. Swipe access points limit the access only to Summer Youth Programs participants and staff.
Are the residence halls or campus buildings air-conditioned?
While a few classrooms may be air-conditioned, the majority of spaces and all residence hall rooms are not. We recommend that all students bring a small personal fan; it can get quite warm!
Do I have to stay in Wadsworth Hall?
Programs are available at a reduced fee for students who wish to provide their own daily transportation (we call these students “commuters”). See the live-in vs. commuter page for more details about commuting.
Is there recognition for my participation?
Upon successful completion of your program, you will be awarded a certificate. We recommend that you put it in your high school portfolio. You may wish to refer to it when applying for jobs, colleges, or honors programs.
You also are eligible to apply for the Summer Youth Scholars Award, a scholarship available only to Summer Youth Programs alumni who enroll as undergraduates at Michigan Tech.
How much do Summer Youth Programs cost?
We remain one of the most affordable programs in the nation, and we intentionally keep our costs low so that our programs are accessible to as many people as possible. Note: fees may vary; please see exploration descriptions as well as the cost of attendance page for specific costs.
Are there any financial awards available?
Can I cancel my enrollment?
See cancellation policy for information.
When are all of my payments due?
See dates and deadlines for more information about deadlines and payment schedules.
What if my program is full?
We are always happy to help you find another exploration to fit your interests. Or if you prefer, we can place your name on a waiting list and notify you if space becomes available. If you haven't been transferred from a waiting list to an exploration by the start of the program, your entire payment (including the deposit) will be refunded.
See the transportation page for detailed information on transportation options.
How do I get to Michigan Tech? Where is it?
Michigan Tech is located in Houghton, Michigan, near the shore of Lake Superior in the beautiful Upper Peninsula. Check out a campus map for more information.
Arranging transportation early will ensure smooth travels. Early arrangements will also allow our staff to prepare for your arrival and be ready to give you a great welcome. See the transportation page for more information about transportation options, including car, air, and bus.
Where is Wadsworth Hall relative to the rest of campus?
The hall is located on the south side of US Highway 41, near the east side of campus.
Where can my family stay in the area?
Many people use the trip to Michigan Tech as a vacation for the entire family. The area is well known for its scenic beaches and waterfalls, unique shopping, historic downtowns, and tourist attractions. Cottages, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and camping are available in the area.
For more information, visit www.keweenaw.info. There are also options to rent guest rooms in Wadsworth Hall or the Memorial Union Building (MUB).
Is someone available to pick me up from the airport/bus/etc. when I arrive? Will they drop me off when I am departing?
Yes! Summer Youth Programs staff members will pick up and drop off any participant as long as we have prior notice. Please complete the transportation section of the application, indicating the time of your arrival and departure. If your plans change, please notify our office as soon as possible so we can make the appropriate arrangements.
Can I arrive a day early, or leave a day late?
See cost of attendance for more information.
Can I drive myself to campus?
See the live-in vs. commuter page for details about parking.
When does a specific program run?
Our programs start in mid-June and run through the first week in August. To find the dates of a specific program visit the course catalog for more information.
When will we receive information regarding the programs?
After you are enrolled in your course, there will be a set of paperwork we call a Confirmation Packet that you will be asked to complete. Confirmation Packets are mailed starting in March, so if you enroll before then, don't worry! Confirmation Paperwork contains items like your transportation information, health history, and roommate requests. All paperwork is due by no later than two weeks prior to your program.
Closer to the start of program (usually in May), we will also send you a Welcome Packet. The Welcome Packet will contain travel confirmations as well as packing lists and other general information.
PDF copies of all forms will be available on the applications and forms page.
When will I need to return my Health History, Community Standards, and Parental Consent Forms?
Forms for all programs must be returned to the Summer Youth Programs office no later than two weeks before you arrive on campus. See applications and forms for more information.
Do I need spending money?
We recommend bringing $30 to $40 of spending money per week, but it is not required. The exploration fee covers all instructional materials, so you only need spending money to buy snacks, merchandise or for some optional evening activities.
Where do I go to register when I arrive?
Come to Wadsworth Hall, and someone will help direct you from there. See check-in and check-out for more information.
Does a parent/guardian need to be there for registration days?
We encourage parents/guardians to attend registration, but it is not necessary if all forms have been submitted.
What meals are provided on registration and checkout days?
Lunch and dinner are served during Sunday check-in for live-in participants, and breakfast is served during Saturday checkout. Families, friends, and commuters may also buy meals on these dates. We encourage families to have a meal in the residence hall to get a taste of what participants will experience during their stay.
What does the schedule for a day at camp look like?
What types of things will I do in my classes?
Who teaches the classes, or explorations?
Michigan Tech faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and other specialists teach our explorations. All instructors are trained to work with students of pre-college age and meet extensively with the Summer Youth Programs coordinators to ensure that their curriculum is age-appropriate yet challenging.
To what address can my family and friends send a letter/package/money?
ATTN: (Student's Name)
Summer Youth Program
Michigan Technological University
1703 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1193
Will I have contact with students from other explorations?
Yes. Other than the classes/explorations, all recreation areas, activities, and events are open to all participants.
Is anyone allowed to check me out to go off-campus for the day/evening if they live around the area? Can I leave by myself?
You are not allowed to leave campus without an adult. Personal friends or relatives not associated with Summer Youth Programs are only allowed to visit during evening recreation time (around 4:30–10 p.m.); they must be listed on your Health History Form in the Release of Student section in order for you to go off-campus with them. Please make sure that you are signed out and back in with the residence hall coordinator at the time of the visit. No guests may go upstairs in participant rooms.
Who supervises the students in the residence hall?
Counselors, residence hall coordinators, and head counselors supervise participants whenever they are not in their explorations. We hire undergraduate mentors after a comprehensive screening process, which includes intensive training in safety, age-appropriate activities, and diversity.
Do students have constant supervision?
Yes. Participants are not allowed to leave the designated campus area without accompaniment by an SYP staff member. During recreation times, you are welcome to walk around campus, but you must sign out and sign back in when you're done.
How secure is the campus?
While we rarely have problems, we recognize the value of keeping valuable possessions safe. Summer Youth Programs provides a free "safe deposit" service where participants can store money and valuables such as extra cash, laptops, or other items. Valuable possessions are individually stored where the participant can access them at any time. The balance of stored cash is tracked, and participants must initial each withdrawal.
- The residence halls are locked from 10 p.m.–6:30 a.m.
- Individual rooms lock and participants are responsible for their own room keys. Summer Youth Programs is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
- No one is allowed on the SYP floors of the residence hall without a Summer Youth Programs ID.
- Michigan Tech is ranked as the safest college campus in the nation.
- Campus is patrolled by full-time police officers.
Will I be able to do laundry?
Laundry facilities are available for you to use on site. The washers are free, but dryers are 25 cents per unit of time, and are very large and can hold multiple loads. Detergent is available for purchase at the front desk.
All participants must have a completed and signed Health History Form on file at least two weeks prior to the start of their program. See applications and forms for more information.
I have special dietary needs (lactose intolerant, allergies, unable to eat x, y, or z). Will you be able to accommodate this?
Please note any special dietary needs on your Health History Form. If we need more details about your needs, one of the residence hall coordinators will contact you prior to the start of the program.
Our dining hall has a variety of options to fit almost any diet, including salad and sandwich bar, made-to-order stir-fry, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, cereal bars, toast, bagels, fresh fruit, and desserts, in addition to the hot dishes of the day. For more information, refer to Dining Services.
I take medication-what do I need to do?
Make sure to note any medications you are currently taking on the Health History Form, including when you take it and the dosage. Medication will need to be turned in to the SYP front desk. We make exceptions for epi-pens and emergency inhalers, which you can keep with you. We prefer that medication be in its original bottle, but feel free to bring it in a case if it's more convenient for you.
We have some over-the-counter medicine available in our office for students, but we do not have everything. If you choose to bring over-the-counter medicine, it will need to be turned in to the SYP front desk. You can request it anytime you need it.
I have a special medical condition-what do I need to do?
Be sure to note any conditions on the Health History Form. One of the residence hall coordinators will contact you if necessary to ensure that we are prepared to accommodate your visit.
Where can I receive health care?
All SYP staff members receive first aid and CPR certification and are capable of handling minor first aid needs. If you need professional attention, treatment for minor ailments and injuries is available at the Portage Medical Clinic, which is located on campus. We also have a rapid-care facility near campus. Clinic staff includes physicians, nurses, and lab assistants. If a student needs to be taken to the clinic during their stay at SYP, please know that applicable fees and insurance will be the responsibility of the family. Portage Hospital, located less than ten minutes from campus, is used after clinic hours and for emergencies.
Are you representing a school looking for an opportunity to bring a group of students to our program? Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about the special Youth Ambassadors Abroad program we set up to accommodate international groups.
Participants should apply for the B-2 tourist visa (citizens of some countries may not need visa stamps but will need pre-approval through the ESTA system) which allows for brief stays—usually less than six months—that may include participation in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree. According to the visa guidelines, international students participating in the Pre-College Program do not qualify for F-1 student visas as this is a non-degree program. Additional Visitor Visa Information.
Consult the US embassy or consulate in your country, Please visit the US Embassy website to locate the embassy in your country. There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the US Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
If you will by applying for a visa and would like an invitation letter from Michigan Tech SYP to include in your application to the embassy, please indicate so on your confirmation packet or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to provide an official letter.
As Michigan’s northernmost airport, Houghton County Memorial Airport (CMX), is located in Houghton County, nine miles from campus. Flights into CMX are only offered through United Airlines. If a student will be 15 years old or younger during their time of travel, please see United’s unaccompanied minor policy. These students will need to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, school chaperone or someone who is at least 18 years of age or older.
We provide airport pickup to and from CMX for participants at no charge.
Should I Accompany My Child?
Ultimately that is up to you! Most parents do not fly with their child, but you know your child best. The airlines will not release unaccompanied minors until the proper staff member with identification picks up your child. Please see United’s unaccompanied minor policy. If students are flying into the Houghton County Memorial Airport, we will have easily identifiable staff (wearing our SYP shirts) waiting for their arrival. They will then be transported to campus by our staff in a university vehicle.
What Should I Pack?
The weather in the Upper Michigan can change quickly and may be very different for some students. Temperatures at night in June could get down as low as 5°C, while a nice day in mid-July could be 27°C at midday. It is best to pack for a range of weather and temperatures. There are also certain items that should not be brought to camp. A detailed packing list explaining what to pack and not pack will be sent to students in their SYP Welcome Paket once they have applied. For more information, you can also visit the what to bring page.
How to Handle Jet Lag
Some people have a more difficult time adjusting to different time zones. One way to help is to arrive a night early. (Early arrival fee is $75/day if before Sunday morning.) It can also help to encourage your students to sleep on the plane. The first couple days will be an adjustment, but the excitement of it all will keep them awake!
Our program has a set on-floor time of 10 p.m. and students must be in their room for the night from 10:45 p.m. until 7 a.m. We want participants to be well-rested, and sleep is important after a day filled with excitement.
Should I Buy Medical Insurance For My Child?
Yes, please make sure your child has some insurance coverage while abroad. Our program has medical services on location, but in the case of an emergency, it is necessary to have medical insurance coverage. If your current policy does not cover international travel, you may obtain a low-price policy for child while they are away. Here is one plan to consider.
Who Will Be Your Roommate?
Roommate requests are honored whenever possible. However, BOTH friends must request each other. If you request to room with a friend, but your friend does not request you, you WILL NOT be placed together, and it will not be possible to switch rooms when you arrive. We do our best to create the rooming list based off these requests, and to pair roommates of similar age groups. You will have a chance to request your roommate in your SYP Welcome Packet.
How to Handle Homesickness
Attending our program is going to be new and exciting, but some students may miss home and the foods, language, and culture they know best. One way to deal with homesickness is to get involved! By participating in class and during evening activities you will keep your mind off missing home and meet other students. Also, try packing a few of your favorite snacks to bring with you and enjoy or share with your new friends.
Am I Eligible For Competitive Scholarship Programs?
Yes! Any student is eligible to apply for most of our competitive scholarship programs that are privately funded. These programs are a great option for international students, as attendees receive a scholarship valued around $1,000 to attend. The only scholarship programs that do not accept international participants are the Rail and Intermodal Transportation program and National Summer Transportation Institute.
Competitive program options that are available for international students include:
- Junior Women in Engineering
- Women in Engineering
- Engineering Scholars Program
- Women In Computer Science
* These programs do have a non refundable registration fee of $295 or less.
Is There Recognition For Participating?
Upon completion of a program, students will be awarded a certificate. We recommend this be included in their high school portfolio. You may wish to refer to it when applying for jobs, colleges, or honors programs.
Additionally, following graduation from high school, past participants who enroll at Michigan Tech are eligible to apply for the Summer Youth Scholars Award, exclusively available to SYP alumni who are new incoming first-year undergraduate students. Visit summer youth scholars page for more details.