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High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP) Application Essay Guide 2024

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activity resume bookHigh School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP) 2024 Application Essay Prompt Breakdowns

Requirements: 2 essays of 400-600 words

Deadline: March 1, 2024

Fee: $4,000 (this cost covers room, board, and some instructional costs)

Before submitting your online application please be sure you have completed the following information: 


A personal essay of 400-600 words. The essay must be neat and should address your interests in scientific research and in attending the HSHSP; what do you think you can contribute and any other significant related events in your life that you feel would be helpful to the Director in evaluating your application. I do not want to receive an essay that details your lifetime awards and honors, but rather an honest and compelling story about why you want to spend 7 weeks of your summer away from family and friends, doing full-time research, and why your participation would make [a] difference in your life. Your personal essay will be typed or copy/pasted into the application. 

We love prompts like these, in which programs provide applicants with hyper-specific instructions regarding what they are looking for in a response. The Director is not looking for a brag sheet; instead, they are hoping to read authentic stories about your interests and goals. As you begin freewriting your response, consider the following questions: What do you hope to have learned or developed by the time the program has come to a close? What are your goals as it relates to scientific research and how will HSHSP get you closer to achieving them? How will you know whether your experience was successful or not? What motivates you to learn, explore, and discover? A distinct response will tell a story that will make the director eager to accept your application and meet you this summer.

A second essay of the same length in which you describe the impact a book you have read has had on your thinking or any aspect of your life. This book can be one assigned in a course or one you chose to read for pleasure. Your second essay will be typed or copy/pasted into the application.

While the first essay prompt was pretty straightforward, this one provides you with a little more flexibility regarding your topic. The book you choose to discuss can be any genre and launch a variety of responses; it’s up to you to select the one that serves your application best. Did you read a memoir that changed the way you think about courage and vulnerability? Did you read a book about outer space that shifted your perspective and the way you approach more trivial things in life? Maybe you read a speculative fiction novel that ignited your imagination. Whatever book you choose, make sure it’s one you thoroughly enjoyed and/or thought about long after you put it down. Your essay should be less about summarizing the book and more about revealing the way you think, process information, and reflect on new data.

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