Summer Enrichment Program

The 2020 Residential SEP has been cancelled.  We are offering SEP 2020 Remote, an unique and engaging online program blending teacher-led academic and counselor-led social/peer experiences.  Currently, SEP 2020 Remote is full.  Application information for 2021 will be available in the Fall.

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 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.  

Residential Life

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.

New for Summer 2020 - Online Course Descriptions


Current Grades 4-5 (Rising Grades 5-6 in Summer 2020):

Solar Circuits – Solar Homes

Explorations in Neurioscience

Financing Your Future

Animal Welfare and Society

Current Grades 6-7 (Rising Grades 7-8 in Summer 2020):

Fundamentals of Microbiology

BioChem Lab For Young Scholars(BC-E, BC-L)

Stories for the Big Screen

Courtesy of the Common Circle: Exploring the Intricacies of Geometric Thought from the Greeks to 2017  

Let’s go to the Arcade:  Designing, Creating, and Making the SEP Arcade

Learning How to Lead: SEP TEDx!!  

Cool Cryosphere! Exploring Earth’s Icy Environments 

Role Playing Games for Adventure and Knowledge

Current Grades 8-10 (Rising Grades 9-11):

Climate Change and the Inner Workings of Mother Earth and Climate Change

Describing the World and the Things We Love

Math Around the World

Greatness through Game Theory

Personhood: Who We Are, How We Are, and What We Might Be

Where to Go from Here?


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

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.

Selection Process

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.

Employment Opportunities

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.