Summer FAQs

Applications, Admission, and Tuition/Financial Aid:

Who do I contact for questions?

For general questions email or call (800) 334-5353.

What distinguishes your program from others?

JSA has been conducting pre-college enrichment programs since 1941.  JSA Summer School is academically rigorous and requires students to be dedicated to making the most of their time in a college-level learning environment, with a focus on Speech and Debate formats designed to sharpen public speaking skills.

JSA doesn’t hand out value, it builds it within the students themselves. It offers select students an opportunity to participate in a summer program that is proven to build the kind of value that empowers students to succeed in college and throughout their lives.

How competitive is admission to JSA Summer Programs?

Admission to JSA Summer School is competitive, which is why we require school transcripts, letters of recommendation and student essays.  We are looking for academically serious students who are willing to work hard and understand that they will be undertaking a serious summer of study and academic enrichment.

How does my child apply to a JSA Summer Program?

Detailed application instructions can be found here.

What application materials do you need?

Students are to submit a 500-750 word essay on a “Political Issue of Importance to Me.”  In addition, students must also submit a description of their extra curricular activities, a current transcript and a recommendation letter from a teacher or counselor.

How many applications can I make?

Students may only apply for one summer school at a time. If a student wishes to change the campus they will be attending they must contact and request a campus change.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are considered, reviewed and accepted on a rolling admissions basis. Space is limited on each campus so we encourage students to apply early to ensure their first choice campus and course.

How long after I complete my application should I expect a decision?

Students should expect decisions about 10 business days after their application is completed. This amount time may vary due to application volume. Do not email JSA to ask the status of your application, unless you believe something has gone wrong with its submission. JSA will contact you with a decision as soon as it has been made.

What is covered by the tuition?

The tuition for JSA Summer Programs covers tuition for the program, textbooks and all other academic expenses, along with room and board for the student.  During Summer School, students live on single-sex floors in university student residencies, generally two to a room.  Meals are eaten in university dining rooms.  Faculty and college-age residents live on campus with students, providing academic counseling and supervision 24 hours a day.

Expenses not included in tuition are off-campus meals and entertainment, and transportation to and from the Summer School. However, staff members will be available at nearby airports to help transport students to campus.  We also assist graduates in returning to the airport at the end of the summer session.  When attending off-campus speakers programs and optional cultural excursions, students are responsible for their meals and any tickets they might purchase for plays, museums, etc.  Georgetown students spend six days off campus, while students at our other sessions typically spend 1-3 days off campus.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, each summer the Junior Statesmen Foundation awards over $750,000 in scholarships to students who want to attend the program.  In addition, JSA staff conducts very successful Fundraising Academies and provides online tools and resources to assist students with raising funds in their own communities.  In 2017, students raised nearly $250,000!

How do scholarships and tuition credits work?

Students may apply for financial aid by filling out the Scholarship Application once two conditions are met. First, the student's summer school application must be complete. Second, the student must be actively fundraising. If one or both of these conditions are not met then the student's application will be put aside until the conditions are met.

Tuition credits such as the Early Enrollment Credit cannot be combined with any other scholarships or credits, this includes the JSA Scholar Award and Alumni Merit Award. 

To whom do I direct questions regarding scholarships and tuition?

Students may contact JSA's Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator, Felice Judkins, to arrange payments and discuss scholarships and fundraising.


Do JSA Summer Programs count for college or high school credit?

The Advanced Placement courses offered at JSA Summer School (AP U.S. Government & Politics, AP Comparative Government & Politics and AP Macroeconomics) are approved by The College Board.  If a student successfully completes the course and then takes and passes the corresponding AP Exam offered by The College Board, college credit may be applied depending on the institution.

Students participating in the Diplomat Program receive a transcript issued from Beijing Union University. The transcript totals 4 hours of college credit. 3 hours for Chinese Culture and Politics and 1 hour for Mandarin Chinese Language.

JSA courses, which are taught by college faculty, pack a full semester of coursework into a 3 or 4 week program.  Individual schools and school districts must decide if the course can receive credit at the student’s home institution.  We are happy to send a sample transcript and course description to the high school to help them understand the course requirements.

Does this program give my child any admissions advantage to getting into Stanford or Georgetown?

Attending a JSA Summer School not only prepares students for college, it differentiates their college application with a distinguished and widely recognized extracurricular activity.  Many JSA Summer School graduates successfully apply to these and other institutions of their choice, reaping the benefits of their hard work and dedication not only at JSA, but throughout their high school career.

Additionally, each summer JSA arranges a special admissions session on campus for those interested in learning more about attending these specific institutions, and students always have the opportunity to visit the admissions office during their free time.

What is the difference between Georgetown and the other programs?

The Georgetown program includes a high-level Speaker Series that takes students around Washington D.C. to meet with political leaders. Because of the Speaker Series, the schedule at Georgetown can be intense. Students may be at the Pentagon in the morning, and have class in the afternoon, or may have class in the morning and afternoon if there are no speakers on that day. As a result, the Georgetown program is geared toward older, more mature students who can handle the varied schedule and the shorter time frame to write their term paper. Younger students are encouraged to apply to the programs at Stanford, where the schedule is the same Monday-Saturday.

What is the difference between the Summer Schools and the Institutes?

The Summer School is a rigorous 3-4 week residential academic program where students take college-level courses that prepare them for college life and beyond. The institutes are shorter 3-4 day programs focused on thematic topics of state and local government. Generally, an institute has speakers, debates, and simulations. Students learn about government, but the “classrooms” are government buildings and the “teachers” are political and governmental leaders.

I am a freshman. Can I attend Georgetown?

We suggest that younger students attend our programs at Stanford. The program at Georgetown is especially rigorous due to its expansive Speakers Program, which has students off campus and out of the classroom for 4 – 5 days during the 21-day program.

Can I speak with parents of recent JSA Summer School graduates?

Yes, we can provide you with the contact information for parents and students who have participated in a JSA Summer Program.  While these might not be in your local area, they are always willing to provide the information you need to make your decisions about attending the program.

Student Experience and Safety

How can I connect with other students accepted to and attending my program?

If you’re interested in connecting with fellow students who are also attending JSA Summer Programs, or if you’re interested in coordinating travel with fellow students, check out the official JSA Summer Programs 2020 Facebook pages for students who have been accepted:

  1. JSA Summer School at Georgetown
  2. JSA Summer School at Stanford
  3. JSA Diplomat Program in Shanghai, China
  4. Institute on National Civic Leadership
  5. Women's Leadership Institute
  6. Gene A. Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics
Who supervises students?

JSA Summer School senior staff and Resident Assistants reside in the dorms with students. They are available 24 hours a day and are responsible for the health and safety of the students. Faculty and staff members actively participate in non-academic aspects of the program, including recreation, social activities, and off-campus activities. Students have a meeting every night with their Resident Advisors, and have an 11:00 p.m. curfew after which they may not leave their rooms. Freshman Scholar students have earlier curfews and meeting times. Students and parents read and sign community rules prior to attending the summer school.

How do I get into the best course for me?

The best way to ensure the campus and course of your choice is to apply early.  If you have questions about the various programs, you can review the information on this website, as well as discuss your objectives and interests with the JSA Campus Director.

I have dietary restrictions and/or a medical condition. How do you facilitate my well-being while at the program?

We work very closely with parents and students to accommodate these types of restrictions and conditions.  We also require a detailed medical advisory from every student’s family doctor so that we are prepared to deal with any issues which might arise while the student is at the program.

What type of access do students have to campus recreation facilities such as gyms, tennis courts, pools, etc?

JSA students have full access to campus facilities during the program. Many students enjoy these facilities during their free time.

Can students attend religious services on Saturday or Sunday?

Yes, arrangements are made at all campuses to help students attend religious services. In many cases, the services are right on campus. Students often attend religious services as a group.

Do students have the ability to explore off campus?

Yes, students are allowed to leave the campus in small groups on Sundays, which are their day off from classes. They are required to inform program staff about their plans and to check-in when they return to campus.

Are there any social, non-academic activities during the program?

Yes, there are weekly social and non-academic activities planned for students on each campus. Additionally, depending on the campus location, organized Cultural Sundays are coordinated, which allow students to experience the major cultural institutions in nearby cities such as San Francisco near Stanford and Washington, DC near Georgetown.

Will you be able to pick my child up from the airport?

Yes.  JSA coordinates airport pick-up and drop-off on the first and last days of the summer programs.  Our Resident Assistants meet students at the airport on arrival day and assist them with airport departures on the last day.  Alternative arrangements can be made on a case-by-case basis. JSA does not pick students up for Summer Institute Programs.

What if students cannot participate on Saturday because of religious beliefs?

Students need to let the Director and their professors know well in advance if they will not be able to participate in class on Saturday. These students arrange with their professor to cover the materials presented on Saturdays at a different time.

Staff, Faculty, and Administration

Is the JSA Faculty drawn from the specific program campus?

The professors at JSA Summer School are recruited from universities around the world and thrive on classroom teaching.  While professors from Georgetown and Stanford occasionally join the JSA faculty, we focus on building broader relationships with energetic college-level professors from diverse institutions.  The hallmark of the JSA faculty is dedication to learning.  Experts in their field, professors live on campus and form close working relationships with students.

Who are Resident Assistants, and how are they chosen?

Resident Assistants are typically college-age alumni of JSA Summer Programs. They undergo a rigorous application and interview process before being hired.