Summer Enrichment Program
Dear SEP Families,
As you may know, Governor Northam released an Executive Order this week requiring all Virginia residents to remain at home except under specific, limited circumstances into June. The Executive Order further orders, institutions of higher education, like UVA, to "cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals." As a result, and in further consultation with the leadership in the Curry School of Education and Human Development, a decision was made to cancel the Summer 2020 SEP residential program. The health and well-being of our participants, staff, and their families remains our highest priority.
Please take care.
Tracy C. Missett, PhD
Director of SEP
In conjunction with the Curry School of Education and Human Development, the University of Virginia announces the 43rd year of its residential summer program for gifted and/or high ability students. Students currently enrolled in grades 4-10 during the 2019/2020 school year are able to apply to attend one of three twelve day, overnight sessions. SEP has three summer sessions:
- Session I: June 21 - July 2, 2020
- Session II: July 5 - July 16, 2020
- Session III: July 19 July- 30, 2020
Applications for the Summer program are available on this website every December 17th and are due on February 20th for this summer's program.
Students accepted into the Summer program spend the morning and afternoon engaged in meaningful learning experiences. Specifically, a variety of course offerings from caring and expert staff across many disciplines provide students the opportunity to engage in interactive learning experiences that model the work of experts. The academic staff utilizes best practices to maximize potential in each students and ignite a passion for life-long learning. As such, the courses at SEP are designed to foster (1) exploration of individual student interests, (2) critical and creative thinking, and (3) production of authentic student products.
Students accepted into the Summer program take one of the morning courses listed on the application. They then receive a second list of afternoon courses to choose from, and these courses are different from those offered in the morning.
The residential component of SEP is a vital part of the SEP experience. The UVA dormitories are home to the campers for the duration of their camp session. For the summer of 2020, participants will be in new, air-conditioned dormitories. Students will share a room with one other camper. Each camper is assigned a counselor who will reside in a room next to each camper, and there are eight campers assigned to each counselor. There are also additional Floor Leader counselors on each floor so that campers have constant supervision in the dorms. Our residential staff is composed of creative, intelligent, and supportive counselors who have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for working with gifted children. In fact, many counselors were themselves SEP campers! These counselors and our additional residential staff members strive to provide a comfortable and safe environment for living and learning, while meeting individual social and emotional needs.
When campers are not in the classroom, they have full days of engaging activities planned and led by the residential staff. Activities vary across a spectrum of mental to physical, individual to cooperative, self-elected to designated, and small group to whole group. Our typical daily schedule is as follows:
Our typical daily schedule is as follows:
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 11:30 Morning Classes
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch
12:40 – 2:05 Special Topics
2:10 – 2:45 Large Group Activity
3:00 – 4:30 Afternoon Seminars
5:00 – 6:20 Dinner
6:30 – 7:15 Evening Activities
7:30 – 8:15 Recreation
8:30 – 9:00 Suite Time
9:00 – 10:00 Quiet Time
Special Topics are two-day long seminars created and taught by our counselors. They are designed to be both fun and educational, covering topics outside of the normal academic offerings. Past topics include: the science of superheroes, film-making, architecture at UVA, survival skills, etc.
Large Group Activity/Evening Activities are non-athletic recreational activities, created and led by counselors. They serve as interactive and fun opportunities for all campers to work together and get to know each other.
Besides the normal daily activities, SEP offers many other fun and exciting experiences such as: swimming, movies, shopping on UVA’s “Corner”, field day, mental challenges, a BBQ, and much more, all while enjoying the beautiful and historic UVA grounds. Since campers spend most of their time at SEP outside of the classroom, our counselors aim to ensure campers remain engaged and active all day long.
Residential life at SEP is where many camp traditions are passed down and fond memories are made.
How to Apply
Applications can be submitted either online or with our paper application. We highly recommend applying online. There are four elements of an SEP application. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to read the "Summer Enrichment Program Application Process" before beginning.
Online applications will be available starting December 17, 2019.
2020 Course Descriptions
Current Grades 4-5 (Rising Grades 5-6 in Summer 2020):
Current Grades 6-7 (Rising Grades 7-8 in Summer 2020):
Who We Are, How We Are, and What We Might Be
The cost is $1490.00. The cost includes tuition, room, board, materials, recreational activities and accident insurance. There is an additional NON-REFUNDABLE application fee of $40. The application fee is non-refundable even if your child ultimately determines s/he does not wish to attend. Complete applications are due no later than midnight on February 16. If accepted, families will see a payment link on your camper’s status page. The tuition is payable in two installments. The first, non-refundable payment will be due on May 1, and the second and final non-refundable payment will be due on June 1.
Financial aid is available based on demonstrated need. Every summer SEP awards approximately $30,000 to $40,000 in financial aid to families who request it based on submission of a completed Financial Aid Form and the relative need of all those applying. The 2020 form will be available on the Summer Application Process page (link above). Families should submit the completed Financial Need Form and all relevant attachments no later than March 1, 2020 to be considered for Summer Aid. Application for aid does not affect a student’s chances for admission.
Admissions decisions are based on a comprehensive review of all applications. Factors considered in the application review process include a combination of test scores, a teacher recommendation, and a written response that reflects critical and creative thinking appropriate for the applicants’ age. Applicants are compared with other applications from students in the same age group and gender. Final acceptance numbers are based on dorm spaces available to SEP for each gender and age group. Acceptance decisions for on-time applicants will be communicated via email on or before April 15, 2020.
The Summer Enrichment Program seeks teachers and counselors who are child-centered, enthusiastic, interested in working with high ability campers, and are willing to be part of a dynamic team. Positions are available in the junior camp (rising 5-8 grade during Summer 2020) and senior camp (rising 9-11 grade during Summer 2020). More about employment opportunities can be found at More about employment opportunities.