Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Summer Institute?

The Summer Institute is a three-week, residential 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 and includes recreational activities throughout the Fox Cities and Door County.

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: $1000 + Double room: $260 + Board (food): $540 = Total $1800

How are students selected to participate in the Summer Institute?

After the May 1 National Decision Day, Lawrence invites all new students to express their interest 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  the CORE peer-mentoring program for all freshmen, the Advising Corps, peer-tutoring, writing and discussion workshops, academic success courses, academic counseling, learning specialist services, and the Con Brio Music Theory E-Course for music students.  Students should speak with their academic 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.

What does a typical day look like at the Summer Institute?

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, students participate in classes in the morning and afternoon; Tuesdays and Thursdays are devoted to co-curricular workshops addressing writing, discussion, and academic skills.  Opportunities exist in the afternoons and evenings for preparation of class assignments and spending time with new friends.  On weekends, upperclassmen serving as Program Assistants lead social activities such as picnics, movies, bowling, and hiking.  Programming also includes a trip to Björklunden - Lawrence University's northern campus on the shores of Lake Michigan, as well as points of interest in the surrounding area.

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?

Upon arrival on campus, all SI students will move directly into their fall term housing assignments.  There will be no need for them to move again before the school year begins.

Do students have to stay on campus during the weekends?

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 Director of the Summer Institute.

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 Prof. Claire Kervin, Director of the Freshman Academic 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. If you're an international student, check out our website aimed at international students.