If you are an advanced high school student in grades 10-11, this highly selective and intensive summer research program may be for you. SSTP offers you rare access to elite opportunities that help realize your academic and professional goals. You will conduct research under the mentorship of world-class faculty at a research-intensive university. Participate in classes, evening tours, lectures, and events that will stretch you as a researcher and scholar. Explore your interests, enhance your academic skills, and make meaningful friendships with intellectual peers.

About the Program

We are hard at work planning an exciting 2021 SSTP! Stay tuned for 2021 program dates.

Spend weekdays working with your research group, under the mentorship of University of Iowa faculty. You may be further supported by post-doctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, or undergraduate research assistants within your research group. For the duration of the program you will live in a residence hall and experience life as a university student. Evening and weekend activities include seminars, recreational activities, and off-campus field trips.

You will be conducting university-level research on a project agreed upon by and in collaboration with your faculty mentor. To see examples of completed research, browse last year's posters.

There is almost no other place where you will find people so like each other, yet so diverse and different. The results are long-lasting friendships.

Riley DeJohn - Urbandale, IA

How to Apply

While the application process is straightforward, planning ahead is essential. Here's all the information you'll need in order to submit your application.

Application Process

All application materials must be submitted online by January 10, 2020 11:59 PM CST.

Here’s how to apply:

  • Pay non-refundable application fee of $95
  • Enter your demographic information
  • Provide e-mail addresses for two adults, not related to you, who are willing to complete an online letter of reference prior to the application deadline. One reference is an academic reference (e.g., teacher) and one is a character reference (e.g., teacher, mentor, group leader).
  • Respond to essay 1: Briefly describe each of your research areas of interest. This is used to help determine which faculty mentors will be sent your application materials. If you have particular interests, technical skills, or experience with a research method this is the appropriate place to highlight those talents. (750 words max)
  • Respond to essay 2: Why are you applying to the Secondary Student Training Program? Describe your career aspirations and explain what you hope to gain from the SSTP experience. (750 words max)
  • Upload your transcript
  • Enter a score report of one of the following: ACT, SAT, PLAN, PSAT, or other standardized assessment

Still curious about the application process? Checkout our video walkthrough.

Please note the following: You may only attend SSTP once. Due to the large number of SSTP applicants, questions about your application may not be answered immediately. We answer all calls and emails in the order we receive them. We process inquiries as quickly as possible, but recommend completing your SSTP application in advance of the deadline to avoid encountering issues at the last minute that may impact the timely completion of your application. Inquiries submitted 1-2 days prior to the SSTP application deadline may not receive a response until after the deadline has passed.  


Faculty and staff from the University of Iowa will evaluate completed applications based on the following criteria, ranked in priority order:

  1. Quality and content of essays, grades, and scores
  2. Letters of recommendation
  3. Alignment of your research interests with a participating faculty mentor's research

Ready to Apply?

Applications for SSTP are currently closed, but you can still log in if you've already applied.

After You're Accepted

You can look forward to a fun and enriching summer! Here you can find answers to all the pressing questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

Cost & Financial Aid


The program fee for SSTP is $6,395 if you are from the U.S. and $6,945 if you are an international student. This covers your room, board, materials, admission to all regularly scheduled activities, and 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit from the University of Iowa.

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.

If you are an international student, the additional program fee covers insurance, one additional day of room and board, pick-up and drop-off at Eastern Iowa Airport (CID), and filing documents to secure your visa.

Payment Deadlines

You must meet these payment deadlines to participate in SSTP. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

  • January 10, 2020: Nonrefundable application fee of $95
  • Date and time TBD: Nonrefundable deposit of $1,599
  • June 1, 2020: Remaining program fee of $4,796
  • June 1, 2020: International student fee of $550

Payment Options

There are three options to payment program fees:

  1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  2. Pay in four equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  3. Set up an individualized payment plan for the balance remaining after the application fee and deposit are paid. Payment plans are available by contacting the Belin-Blank Center at 800-336-6463 (+1-319-335-6148 internationally).

Financial Aid

You may be awarded financial aid for up to half the cost of the program. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Eligibility is typically determined by qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch. 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.

International students are not eligible for scholarships or financial aid for SSTP.  International students must also pay in full and are not eligible for installments or payment plans.

Daily Schedule

You will be working with your research group from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The typical schedule for each day looks like:

  • 7:30—8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:00—12:00 Research
  • 12:00—1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00—4:00 Research
  • 4:00—5:30 Free time
  • 5:30—6:30 Dinner
  • 6:30—7:30 Seminars, tours, class, activities
  • 7:30—10:30 Evening activities
  • 11:00 Lights out

Evening and weekend activities include seminars, recreational activities, and off-campus field trips. We carefully select activities to complement the program. For this reason, all activities, including the weekend 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.

In addition to academic programming, you will be able to participate in a variety of scheduled recreational activities selected by the staff. You will also have access to the University of Iowa libraries, computer facilities, and study areas.

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 the first day of the program if you are from the United States. and the day before the program officially begins if you live outside of the United States. The check-in process will begin at the residence hall front desk. If you are unable to check in during these times, please contact the Belin-Blank Center. A brief student orientation will begin at 4:00 pm.

Check-out for the program will be held after the closing session on the last day of the program.

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel, please call the Belin-Blank Center at 800-336-6463 (+1-319-335-6148 internationally) as soon as possible to decline the acceptance so that a student on the waiting list may attend. Your non-refundable down payment will be retained for all cancellations. Cancellations after June 1st may not be refunded.

International Students

While most of the information on the SSTP website is the same for everyone, there are some differences if you do not live in the United States and also do not have United States citizenship.

  • You will be required to obtain a student visa to participate in the program. The Belin-Blank Center will file necessary documents to make visa procedures as efficient as possible.
  • You will arrive one day earlier and depart on the last day of the program.
  • The Belin-Blank Center will provide transportation to campus and back to the airport when you fly into the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID). This is the only airport to which we provide service.
  • The Belin-Blank Center purchases health insurance to cover you while you are at SSTP.


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.

Arrival / Departure

If you need to arrive a day early, you will have an opportunity to make these arrangements once you have been accepted to the program and are asked to fill out enrollment forms. You will also have an opportunity to request the Belin-Blank Center to provide your transportation to campus and back to the airport when you fly into the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID).

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