Top Summer Programmes: Research Science Institute (RSI)

Research Science Institute (RSI)

On top of the world! This might be the feeling of the 100 of the world’s most accomplished high school students who are admitted to the Research Science Institute (RSI). The selection for RSI is done by the Center for Excellence in Education, a federally and privately funded nonprofit organization, based in Washington DC. The program is held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There are about 3,000 applicants to the program each year and of the 100 selected, around one-third are from abroad, and two-thirds are from the United States. The most competitive and intensive six-week summer program for rising high school seniors is entirely free of cost.

This rigorous academic program stresses advanced theory and research in mathematics, the sciences, and engineering. It is a combination of on-campus coursework in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research. Participants attend college-level classes taught by distinguished faculty members of MIT. They also delve deeper in their research topic in either biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, or humanities.

The program includes a number of activities. For the first four days, every single student, regardless of their interests, reads a humanity book like Frankenstein. It helps them start thinking from the first day, and they have a small essay competition. This is a great ice-breaker for the students. The students take humanities because it helps enhance communication skills.

This course helps them to become well-rounded and effective community members.

RSI scholars first participate in a week of intensive STEM classes with accomplished professors and they get the opportunity to be a part of the five-week research internship. Throughout their internship, the students conduct individual projects under the instructions of mentors who are experienced scientists and researchers. During the final week of RSI, students prepare written and oral presentations on their research projects.

The students utilize their projects to participate in the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) and the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology or the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).


RSI students are chosen for their exceptional achievement in math, science, and engineering. The students who are admitted to the program have an impeccable GPA and they are typically in the top 1%.  Successful candidates typically have a track record of competing in regional, state, and national math, science, and engineering competitions or have completed university-level coursework, research projects, or hands-on STEM projects. They should also have a history of involvement in school and community leadership activities.

RSI is the first high school program to use SlideRoom, which is an applicant tracking and management system. This system makes it easy to share the files of the applicants with a committee of seven to nine people. The process is very intensive because each member presents the students who they would like to be admitted to the entire committee, and the decision is unanimous.

There are two types of applications, U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents and International Applicants:

U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents: RSI accepts applications from the students in their final year of high school. This also includes U.S. students citizens who are studying abroad. U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents submit their applications directly to CEE and are not required to be nominated by their schools. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional academic performance in mathematics, science, and verbal arts, as well as exhibit leadership potential in these areas through their extracurricular activities.

International applicants should reach out to Ms. Maite Ballestero, Executive Vice President of Programs, to determine whether their country participates in RSI and to get in touch with the appropriate representative at the agency responsible for conducting selection in their country. Each participating country has its own selection procedure and timeline.

Applications must include:

The applicant’s essay focuses on details of his or her goals in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

CEE accepts a maximum of 3 recommendation letters:

Recommendations by two teachers (Math/Science or a research supervisor)

Applicants who have participated in a research project of 4 weeks or longer at a university or a laboratory should request a recommendation from the research supervisor. The candidate’s official high school transcript.

All scores from nationwide standardized tests. These include the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP exams. It is recommended that PSAT Math Scores be at least 740 or higher and the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Scores to be 700 or higher. ACT math scores should be at least 33 and verbal scores at least 34.

In conclusion, the Research Science Institute (RSI) program offers exceptional opportunities for highly motivated and academically talented high school students to engage in cutting-edge research and develop their scientific skills. The program attracts students from across the United States, as well as from around the world, and provides them with an immersive and challenging experience that prepares them for success in their future academic and professional pursuits. Through RSI, students have the chance to work alongside leading scientists and researchers in various fields, gaining valuable knowledge and skills that will benefit them throughout their careers. The program’s rigorous selection process ensures that only the most accomplished and promising students are accepted, making RSI a highly sought-after and prestigious program for young scientists and scholars.

We can help you with your RSI application process. Working with study abroad consultants, overseas education consultants, or, as more commonly known, college counsellors, can help you plan ahead and make those high school years count. Ivy Central offers exceptional focus to help you prepare for college admissions throughout the high-schooling years. Start today!

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