Frequently Asked Questions

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 Welcome Week, new Lawrentians participate in a credit-earning curriculum including the SI Seminar - based on the Freshman 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 and fees: $1,000

Technology Needs: Access to internet, access to tablet/laptop/desktop computer with web camera and microphone; if you will have difficulty with access to these items, please indicate this on your application. This is for information purposes and will not affect your chances of being admitted to the program.

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.

Where will students live during the Summer Institute?

Since all SI activities will be remote in 2020, students will remain in whatever living situation they have been in for the summer. We anticipate a decision about the mode of instruction and whether students will be on campus for Fall Term around mid-July.

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!