The Blank Summer Institute for the Arts & Sciences (BSI) is a prestigious one-week residential summer program for 60 of Iowa’s most talented 7th- and 8th-grade students, nominated by their schools. BSI provides exceptionally talented students with an intensive and advanced educational experience designed to enhance their intellectual and social growth. Each student selected for BSI will receive a $1000 Blank Scholarship to cover the majority of the Institute's costs.

About the Program

Application Dates:

  • December 1, 2023 (5:00 pm CST): Teacher nomination opens. 
  • February 1, 2024 (by 5:00 CST): Student applications due.
  • February 15, 2024: Student notification.

Program Dates:

  • June 23-28, 2024

Spend time on the University of Iowa campus, immersing yourself in one of your favorite subjects, in a class full of other kids your age who share your level of interest and ability. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Iowa's brightest and most promising middle school students. For the duration of the program, you will live together in a residence hall and experience life as university students. Evening activities include seminars, cultural and recreational activities, and off-campus field trips.

BSI's plan of study is intended to complement and enrich the regular school curriculum, offering courses in Creative Writing, Engineering, Math, and Science.

I liked developing new ways to see the world that I had never thought about before.

BSI Student


Advanced Science

Grades 7-8

June 23 - June 28, 2024

Through laboratory experience and hands-on learning, students will have an opportunity to examine advanced science concepts.

Creative Writing

Grades 7-8

June 23 - June 28, 2024

This course will be devoted entirely to the craft of writing. We’ll explore multiple genres and we’ll look at how other writers approach their work. Much of our time together will be devoted to your own writing and there will be lots of prompts to help inspire you. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or wanting to develop a writing practice, this might be the course for you!


Grades 7-8

June 23 - June 28, 2024

This program will build on students’ engineering talents through a fast-paced curriculum that includes computer-aided design, 3d printing, and other inventive tools.


Grades 7-8

June 23 - June 28, 2024

In this course, students will use their mathematical and critical thinking skills to explore data and solve real world problems. The ideal student for this course is curious about the world around them, enjoys collaborative problem solving, and is excited by the messiness of mathematics outside the traditional textbook.

How to Apply

While the application process is straightforward, planning ahead is essential. Schools must first nominate students then students must submit a complete application. Here's all the information you and your school will need to complete the process.


You must be nominated by a school official in order to apply for the Blank Summer Institute. Parents may not nominate students. All current 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in Iowa are eligible for nomination. You do not have to be identified by or enrolled in a talented and gifted program to be nominated.

All nominated students should be highly motivated and possess high levels of task commitment and emotional maturity.

Nomination and Application Process

Nominations open: December 1, 2023

All application materials must be submitted online by February 1, 2024.

All nominations must be made by school officials, not parents. Nominated students DO NOT have to be enrolled in a talented and gifted program. We encourage developing a nomination process that supports your school in increasing access for students to advanced opportunities by identifying students with domain-specific talents or deep interests.

Who to Nominate?

Excited and curious students! Students DO NOT have to be enrolled in a talented and gifted program. This program is a great opportunity for students who are passionate about a subject area to connect with peers and instructors who share their interests.  

Consider nominating students who are highly motivated in the area of nomination and would benefit from having a community of peers who share that interest. Ideally, nominate different students for each subject area, since students can only attend one class. Students will be spending a week away from home, so it is beneficial for them to have the emotional maturity to handle such an experience. Most importantly, students should be open to growing and learning in a community of their peers and expert instructors. This is a program that can truly ignite a learner’s interest and leave them with the skills and enthusiasm to continue pursuing it on their own. This flyer can give nominated students a starting point for thinking about whether the program is a good fit for them. 

Applying for the Class

Once a student is nominated, they must apply for the class. You can see a walkthrough of the application on Instagram. When applying online, they will need to submit the following:

  • Demographic information
  • Teacher recommendation
  • Grades
  • 1 Essay (100-200 words):
    Thinking about the class you are nominated for, tell us what excites you about this topic and how it shows up in your life already.What are you hoping to get out of this class? In the past, students have talked about things like why they like writing stories or how they think math will help them in a future career.  
    Example: I am excited about Creative Writing because it gives me a chance to use my imagination and play around in my own head. I really like reading and that led me to wanting to tell stories of my own.  


Faculty and staff from the Belin-Blank Center will evaluate completed applications. Selected students will be notified by February 15, 2024.

Nominations are closed

After You're Accepted

You can look forward to a life-changing week! Here you can find answers to all the pressing questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

Cost & Financial Aid


Each student selected for BSI will receive a $1000 Blank Scholarship to cover most of the Institute's $1,200 costs. Each student will pay a program fee of $200 to cover the remaining costs. Additional financial aid is available if cost is a barrier to attendance. 

Together, the scholarship and the program fee cover all instructional costs, room, board, books, and admission to all regularly scheduled activities. The program fee does not include transportation to and from the University of Iowa or incidental expenses, such as souvenirs and snacks. You and your family are responsible for these expenses.

Payment Deadlines

You must either pay in full or have arranged monthly installments by June 1 in order to participate. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

Payment Options

  1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  2. Pay in three equal installments using a credit card.

Financial Aid

Once you are accepted into the program, you may apply for financial aid. Financial aid may cover up to 50% of the remaining cost of the program. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees. After your information is reviewed, a decision will be made, and you will receive an email regarding the amount of your award. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees. Additional scholarships may be available.

Daily Schedule

You will attend classes from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and Friday until noon.

The typical schedule for each day looks like:

  • 7:30–8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:00–12:00 Class
  • 12:00–1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00–4:00 Class
  • 4:00–5:00 Free time
  • 5:00–6:00 Dinner
  • 6:00–10:00 Evening activities
  • 10:30 Lights out

Evening activities include special seminars, on/off-campus field trips, and recreational activities. We carefully select activities to complement the program. For this reason, all activities are required.


You will be supervised at all regularly scheduled events and activities. Supervision at the residence halls will be provided by a Belin-Blank Program Coordinator and a residence hall staff specially selected and trained to work with and supervise students. There is approximately one resident advisor for every ten students. You are expected to live within the policies of the residence halls, the university, and the program.

Living on Campus

You will be housed in a residence hall located near the Blank Honors Center on the University of Iowa campus. Most program activities will take place within brief walking distance of the residence hall. Male and female students will be assigned to separate floors and all students will share a room with at least one other student.

Family Visits

We ask that your family inform staff of their plans so that arrangements can be made to facilitate any family visits. Because the program is dedicated to the development of a cohesive community, you may not have non-family visitors during the program.

Check-in / Check-out

Check-in for the program will be held from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm on Sunday.  All students should be checked in during this time. If you are unable to check-in during these times, please contact the Belin-Blank Center.

Check-out for the program will be held after the closing on Friday. The closing for students and families will begin at 1:00 pm and will conclude by 2:00 pm. Students should pack all their belongings prior to the closing.

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel, email as soon as possible to decline the acceptance so that a student on the waiting list may attend. A $100 administrative fee will be retained for cancellations received by June 1st. Cancellations made after June 1st will not be refunded.


You may request a roommate once you have been accepted to the program and are asked to fill out enrollment forms. If you do not have a specific request for a roommate, you will be matched with another student from the program. Students who have medical conditions or other unique circumstances may request a single room.

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