Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Summer Institute?

The Summer Institute is a three-week introduction to liberal arts learning at Lawrence University. Each fall, just prior to new student orientation, new Lawrentians participate in a credit-earning curriculum including the SI Seminar - based on the First Year Studies model of close reading, discussion, and writing; and Topics in Psychology - a larger lecture and discussion class. Co-curricular programming emphasizes the development of academic skills through writing and discussion workshops, peer-tutoring, and interaction with campus resources and services. The extra-curricular social programming is led by student Program Assistants.

How much does participation in the Summer Institute cost?

Please be aware that the actual cost to students will vary, as some students may be eligible for partial scholarships. For information about your specific program cost, please refer to your invitation letter.

Program Costs - Tuition: $1,030 + Room: $260 + Board (Meals): $550 = Total: $1,840

How are students selected to participate in the Summer Institute?

Lawrence invites all new students to express their interest (apply here) in participating in SI and to provide their reasons for wanting to participate - be they academic, social, or personal. Through careful consideration of a student's expressed interest in participating, prior academic opportunities and record, and personal experiences, the admissions committee selects several dozen students whom the committee believes will most benefit from the SI experience.  Due to the limited number of spaces available, Lawrence is not able to invite all interested students to participate.  

What happens if an interested student is not invited to the Summer Institute?

Don't worry, there are resources available to help all students succeed during the academic year at Lawrence.  These resources include peer-tutoring, writing and discussion workshops, academic success courses and specialists, academic counseling, and the Con Brio Music Theory E-Course for music students.  Students should speak with their academic (faculty) advisor early in the Fall Term to express their interest in any of these resources.

Does participation in the Summer Institute affect a student's college admission status?

Not at all. The Summer Institute has no bearing on a student's enrollment.  Since participants have already been admitted to Lawrence through the university's competitive admissions process, we are confident that they possess the potential to thrive at Lawrence. The Summer Institute is just one of many supports in place to help students reach their full potential as Lawrence students.

Can students earn academic credit through the Summer Institute?

Yes, after successful completion of the two SI courses, participants earn three academic credits for the class UNIC 104: Introduction to Liberal Learning, which can be applied towards graduation.

Do students have to stay on campus during the weekends OR between the end of the program on Sept 5th and beginning of New Student Orientation on Sept 9th?

During the Summer Institute, all students must reside on the Lawrence University campus. If students have a prior commitment that falls during one of the SI weekends, they should discuss this commitment with the Directors of the Summer Institute. Upon the return from Bjorklunden (our northern campus in Door County) on Sept 5th, students are allowed to leave campus and return Sept 9th for the start of New Student Orientation. Any activities starting the evening of Sept 5th through the morning of Sept 9th are optional.

Who can provide more information about the Summer Institute?

Prospective students, applicants, and new matriculants should contact their Lawrence Admissions counselor for more information regarding the Summer Institute.  They may also contact Amy Nottingham-Martin, Director of the Summer Institute (

Can international students participate in the Summer Institute?

Yes! International students are also invited to participate in the Summer Institute alongside their American peers. The only distinction is that international students may be enrolled a specific seminar section aimed at multilingual learners, with help to support students transitioning into English-speaking courses.There may also be additional costs for insurance for International students as well.

How do I share my interest in Summer Institute?

Potential students who are interested in Summer Institute can go here and share their interest to participate!

Do students choose their courses?

No - students will be automatically placed into the Topics in Psychology lecture and one of several SI Seminar groups. Participants will learn more on arrival day at the Welcome session.

Where will students live during the Summer Institute?

Upon arrival on campus, most or all of SI students will move directly into their fall term housing assignments. As construction work finishes on campus, there should be no need for them to move again before the school year begins unless directly contacted by one of the SI directors. If a student is required to move to a temporary room, they will be contacted about this as soon as possible.