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 from a research-intensive university. Participate in classes 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

SSTP will take place June 17, 2021 – July 23, 2021, 9:00 – 4:00 pm Central time, with one evening seminar. Accepted students commit to full participation for the duration of the program.

Application Timeline:

  • February 18, 2021 (11:59 pm CST): Application closes
  • April 1, 2021 (5:00 pm CST): Students receive notification of acceptance status

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to offer SSTP online for 2021.

SSTP research mentors are world-class faculty at the University of Iowa who have the expertise to guide high school students in university-level research. You will be conducting research on a project agreed upon by and in collaboration with your faculty mentor. To see examples of completed research, browse a previous year's posters.

Research areas include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Health & Human Physiology
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Psychiatry
  • Religious Studies

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 February 18, 2021 by 11:59 pm Central. 

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 

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 and transcripts
  2. Letters of recommendation
  3. Alignment of your research interests with a participating faculty mentor's research

Ready to Apply?

The first step in applying is to choose whether you will apply to the online option or the on-campus option. Please note that we are unable to accommodate requests to apply for both options.

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 is $4,500. This also covers 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit from the University of Iowa.

Payment Deadlines

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

  • February 18, 2021: Nonrefundable application fee of $95
  • April 8, 2021: Nonrefundable deposit of $1,100
  • June 1, 2020: Remaining fees of $3,305

Payment Options

There are three options to payment program fees:

  • Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  • Pay in four equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  • 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 am to 4:00 pm Central time, Monday through Friday. You will attend a seminar on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 pm Central time.

Cancellation Policy

Application fees and down-payments are non-refundable.  Remaining program fees are refundable. 

If you must cancel, email summer@belinblank.org as soon as possible to decline your acceptance so a student on the waiting list may attend. Cancellations after June 1st may not be refunded. 

Contact Us