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      EXCITING NEWS: Our Application Deadline has been extended to June 1st! Admission is rolling, don't miss out, apply for one of our Summer Pre-College Programs Today!


      Due to overwhelming demand for Summer 2020 lab placements, this program has reached its capacity and we are not able to accept additional applicants.

      Welcome to Tufts Summer Research Experience - Virtual! All of Tufts University's world-class research laboratories began operating virtually in March 2020 and, as such, we are excited to welcome you to this new world of virtual research. Thanks to the wonders of digital platforms, we are able to bring the exciting and rigorous academic experience of TSRE safely to you in your home. 

      We welcome high school juniors and seniors with prior research experience to join us for a virtual (web-based) summer research experience at Tufts under active mentorship by Tufts' world-class researchers and their teams. Students will learn about laboratory techniques, research methods, and data collection and analysis skills. Students will work with Tufts research laboratories, actively participating in the rigorous research activities conducted in them. Students will gain proficiency in authentic scientific practice as they work with faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and students on real life, cutting edge research projects. While the particular techniques and research areas will depend on the individual host team, all students will be directly involved in the day-to-day research work. They will learn about research ethics and how to evaluate information objectively. Live sessions will be complemented with asynchronous work, both individually and in groups. Guest lectures, team learning, and a virtual lab time will be capped with a virtual poster session to round out the experience.

      Each student selected to participate in this competitive program will be paired with a Principal Investigator who directs one of Tufts' many outstanding research laboratories. The majority of time in the program will be virtual mentored research through a Tufts laboratory. Students will be fully integrated into the research team, which may include post-doctoral scholars and graduate / undergraduate students, along with including team meetings and research presentations, an incredible opportunity to interact with world-class researchers. Students will Zoom in to all mentoring sessions and online meetings. They will also perform research activities on their own and in groups. 

      While most participating labs are located on the Medford/Somerville campus, others are on our Boston Health Sciences campus (Medical, Dental, and Nutrition) and our Grafton Campus (Veterinary). This summer, all research activities are conducted remotely and all student research experiences will be integrated with this web-based approach. All of Tufts University, including its world-class research labs, is learning how to adapt to this new online environment in order to demonstrate our commitment to public health and the specific well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Although we know the virtual lab will not be the same as being a part of a physical lab, we believe the virtual setting offers new and exciting opportunities to augment both research and student experiences.

      Join us for your summer studies and share the Tufts experience! Need more information? Explore our content below, join us for our virtual open house on April 21 at 1pm ET, (RSVP here), or write to us at

      Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

      Video disclaimer^


      • Study at a top-ranked R1 university
      • Work with and learn from world-class faculty and researchers
      • Gain experience in evaluating real data sets as a part of conducting lab research
      • Investigate a question related to the lab’s research and develop a poster to present at a virtual poster session
      • Participate in journal clubs, guest lectures, and networking events
      • Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world


      • Improved ability to interpret, use and analyze real experimental data
      • Increased understanding of and comfort working with a rigorous laboratory and research team
      • Research poster and lab notes for future applications
      • Refined verbal and written communication skills from participating in a poster session and in-depth conversations with other researchers
      • Enhanced understanding of college-level research

      ^ This video is a general representation of the general educational experience this program provides, but should not be taken as indicating specific activities that will occur in Summer 2020, as it was created for Summer 2019 when all programs ran on-campus.

      Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

      This program is amazing because it allows you to do real college-level research over the summer, and you can choose from a very wide range of  subjects. While many similar programs at other schools only focus on a few narrow subjects, TSRE is unique in that you can choose anything from sociology to chemical engineering. You get to meet like-minded high school students and Tufts students, forming friendships that can last after the program ends. Additionally, you can choose between commuter or residential programs, which few similar programs let you do. It takes place at a phenomenal university in a great location, so you really can’t go wrong. If you love research, or want to try it out, I think you should seriously consider TSRE.

      This program is an intensive research experience meant for students who have a passion for the social or natural sciences. It provides six weeks of meaningful exposure to college-level research at a prestigious university. The program is run well, and the staff are very nice and helpful. If you know students who are interested, I would definitely recommend TSRE for them.

      It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, I felt I had learned a lot.

      The quality of the program was fantastic: not just the research, but also the lectures and exposure he had to other faculty and campus resources.

      “[My student] loved her work in the lab.  She developed a wonderful relationship with her mentor and learned so much both about doing research in general and about the specific research she was assisting with in the lab. Creating and presenting her final poster was also a fantastic experience for her.  She left this program feeling as though she had accomplished so much.



      Our program begins with a virtual orientation and welcome event on Sunday, June 28 at 5:00pm ET. During this required orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Staff will be on-hand to address any issues. The required orientation will continue on Monday with a series of virtual lab safety training sessions in advance of students' first lab session. Additional training will be provided throughout the program.

      Monday - Friday: Program Days

      The morning block of time in the program (9:00am-3:00pm ET each day) will be virtual mentored research with the student’s home laboratory. During this time, students will be introduced to and participate in research happening in the lab and will be fully integrated into the research team with activities including team meetings and presentations - an incredible opportunity to interact with world-class researchers. Mentors will guide students in understanding the ongoing scientific inquiry and will work with the students on interpreting journal articles related to that research. Throughout the program, students will work virtually with their mentors and PIs to build their research skills and interpret and extrapolate on real experimental data. Where possible, each student will be able to complete a research project they design with their mentor. All of this learning will culminate in the student producing a poster about their lab’s research to be presented at the program’s virtual poster session at the end of each term.

      In the afternoons, students will participate in a variety of activities to supplement and prepare them for their mentored research:

      • Journal Clubs: begin to distill critical information from previously published scientific research through weekly meetings led by a program Classroom Assistant (CA). Journal clubs are designed to prepare students to interpret data and published scientific research, including being able to answer the following types of questions:
        • Problem - what is the problem? why is this needed?
        • Significance - why do we/public care?
        • Approach - what technique(s) did they use?
        • Results - what were their major conclusions?
        • Analysis - what did you think about the results, techniques etc.? do you find them reliable?
        • Figure Interpretation - what was the best figure that helped you come to this conclusion?
      • Library Seminars: learn the practical skills necessary for conducting database research, illustrating data, poster design tips and tricks … and more! Students may also use this time to conduct database research on their own and begin working on their research posters.
      • Guest Presentations: hear from Tufts faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and senior members of Tufts' administration about their research, career path, experience in the field of research and their current research. Plenty of time will be allowed for Q&A.
      • Networking Sessions: students will have the opportunity to informally discuss their ongoing research with their peers and program CAs.

      Closing Event: Poster Session

      One of the highlights of our program is the opportunity for each student to develop a poster on a research question being investigated in their lab. The student's mentor will help them develop this poster, a critical skill for any researcher. At the end of the summer, all of our students will display their posters at a Virtual Poster Session with the opportunity to explain their research and answer the questions of their peers, researchers, and scientists from across the University. The virtual poster session will take place on August 7, 2020 at 3:00PM ET. Friends and family are welcome to view all posters and participate in the digital discussion! All posters will be available for virtual viewing along with a recorded (or written) presentation from the student. A digital discussion board will be available so viewers can comment on student's posters and ask questions and, for students who can attend live, a Zoom discussion forum will be available for guests to ask questions live!  

      Sample Student Schedule (Weekly)

      Please note: the below is a sample schedule based on information at this time, considering an individual student attending the program scheduling independent work / recorded sessions in particular time slots. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program and speaker list to be as meaningful as possible for our students and will look different for students choosing to attend live or independent work / recorded sessions differently. All times are in EASTERN TIME (please see "Attending from Outside the Eastern Time Zone" section below for concerns regarding those not in ET).Because this is a virtual program, meals will not be provided for students even if a meal is stated on the schedule - this is for demonstration only. Activities may occur during meal times.  


        A critical part of this experience is developing a lab notebook, which we will be mailing to you in advance of the program. Additionally, we will be mailing you some fun Tufts Pre-College Programs materials and your Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. Besides this and the technology requirements listed under "Tufts Virtual Campus," no materials will be necessary for participation in this program. 

        Note: if you live internationally, we are not responsible if the materials we mail are delayed (which we will try to avoid) or held in customs.


        Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual safety protocols.

        Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.

        Application Materials & Deadlines

        Tufts Research Experience is a highly competitive program that fills up quickly. We highly recommend applying as early as possible. Update 4/15/20: Due to overwhelming demand for Summer 2020 lab placements, this program has reached its capacity and we are not able to accept additional applicants.

        Remind me when applications open!


        Priority deadlines may apply. Admission granted on a rolling basis.

        Note: all dates are as of 11:59PM ET

        Program Application Opens Deadline: All Materials* Deadline: Deposit^ Deadline: Payment Deadline: Enrollment Forms
        Fall July 1 August 26 10 days after acceptance September 1 September 18
        Spring October 1 December 15 10 days after acceptance December 30 January 15
        Summer December 1 May 1 10 days after acceptance May 15

        June 8

        * Admission is granted on a rolling basis and a wait list for seats may begin before Deadline for All Materials. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible if you are interested in this program. ^ Includes weekends and holidays


        General Requirements

        • Entering high school grades 11-12 *or* a Spring 2020 high school graduate
        • Must be age 16 by the first day of the program

        Residential Students (summer only; not available Summer 2020)

        Students electing to live in the dorms or to attend a residential program must be at least 15 and no older than 17 at the start of the program.

        International Students

        Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program during the academic year.

        Non-Native English Speakers

        If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.


        Step 1: Complete an Online Application

        The online application will ask you for the following information:

        • Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
        • Program preferences (e.g., whether you would like to be a residential or commuter student)
        • Up to 3 lab preferences, indicating your order of preference
          • Please note that students indicating only 1 lab are not typically considered for additional labs if their first choice is unavailable
          • For each lab preference, you will need to submit one 250-word statement describing your interest in that specific lab
        • One 250-word Personal Statement describing your research experience and your interest in research
        • Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf.
        • Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
        • Warrants and signatures

        If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.

        Step 2: Email or Mail your High School Transcript

        After submitting your online application, you must contact your high school and ask them to send a transcript to us. They can send us this information in two ways: by email to or by mail to Tufts Pre-College Programs, 108 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155.

        Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation

        As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.

        Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.


        Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.

        Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 days (including weekends and holidays) of Tufts receiving all required materials.

        If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at or 617-627-2926.

        Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.


        Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:

        • Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 days (including weekends and holidays) of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
        • Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
        • Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline

        Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.

        Tuition & Fees


        Virtual Program Fee: $7,500

        • Includes: all program activities, PI mentorship, opening/closing events, poster session, lab notebook, included daily activities
        • Excludes: anything not explicitly stated above.

        Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee

        • A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
        • This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
        • The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than May 15
        • This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program


        If you have been admitted to the program, we will be updating the fees posted to your student account over the next several days. The Program Fee balance associated with your Residential or Commuter tuition will be removed and your new Virtual Program Fee balance will be added. Please do not be alarmed if you see any anomalies, they will be resolved.

        If you have already paid program fees in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, the balance will be available to you as a refund. Please see the "Refund Policies" page for more details.


        If you received a financial aid award, in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, your award will be adjusted downward such that your total payments and waivers do not exceed the total new Virtual Program Fee and will not be available to you as a refund. This will allow us to make financial aid awards to more students.


        Refund Policies - COVID

        Billing & Payment Policies

        All Policies

        Financial Aid


        Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds to Tufts’ campus. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.

        Each of the programs offering financial aid in this way offers a very limited number of scholarships, typically covering 75—100% of the program fee based on demonstrated need.

        • Fall: we will distribute any available aid in August
        • Spring: we will distribute any available aid in December
        • Summer: we will typically distribute two awards in February and will continue to issue awards once a month in March and April, until all available funds have been distributed

        Please note:

        • International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc.
        • This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement


        1. Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
        2. Upon admission into the program, you will be prompted to submit the Admission Agreement Form in your student portal. Indicate that you are interested in being considered for financial aid.
        3. After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
        4. We will review your financial aid application. Your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
        5. If you receive an award,
          1. You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
          2. You will have 10 days (including weekends and holidays) to accept the award by completing your Financial Aid Award Form and submitting your deposit
          3. Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
          4. Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
        6. If you do not receive an award, your application will be automatically considered in the next application cycle for the program term in which you are applying, unless funds are no longer available.
        7. Once all of our funds have been distributed, we will notify all remaining applicants.

        Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.


        We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:

        • Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
        • Canvasprovides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.


          Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.


            As we are learning from this period of quarantine, virtual interaction can approximate, but rarely replaces in-person interaction. With that said, technology offers us with tremendous opportunities to facilitate various kinds of social interaction that allow us to instantly connect students from around the world in the environments in which they thrive. We will be hosting a variety of virtual social experiences for students to interact with each other within their program and across programs! We firmly believe your ability to make new friends from around the world will not be hindered by the virtual environment!

            Technical Needs & Support


            Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:

            • Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
              • Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 
              • PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
            • Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
            • Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
              • If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability. 
            • Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
            • Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates: 
              • Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
            • Software: programs capable of

            We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software will include Zoom and Canvas.


            Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable! 


            Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link.


            First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.

            If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.

            Social Activities


            Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of virtual social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students from all time zones can participate. Here is our tentative schedule to-date:

            • Morning Meetups: start (or end) your day by catching-up with your classmates and classroom assistants about current events, last night's late night show, recent lectures or events over breakfast! Tentatively scheduled for M / W / F 8-8:45am ET
            • Lunch & Learns: join your peers from around the world to discuss an interesting topic in a staff-led discussion every Tuesday 12-12:45pm ET. Can't attend live? No problem, we'll post recordings so you can view them later!
            • Trivia Night: Thursday nights at 9PM ET are for trivia! Unwind with your classmates and some friendly competition. Students who cannot play live will be able to form teams and submit their answers (timed!) digitally in advance. We will be keeping a running scoreboard across teams throughout the summer!
            • Wellness Courses: To get you moving and feeling your best, attend at-home guided meditation, yoga, or other workout classes, offered Saturdays at 9AM ET. These will be recorded so you can attend them later as well.
            • Game Club: Create teams and play games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Chess, and more. Teams will make moves when on their own time and games will play out over the course of the program or summer. 

            And more! Look out for a social events calendar that may include a virtual talent show, dance party, cooking classes, photo challenges, scavenger hunts, 'quarenTHEME' spirit days, museum tours, and more!


            Most programs will offer independent study time for students in a shared (and monitored) "Common Rooms" "Studio Spaces" or "Study Rooms" that will allow students to work in the company of their peers, sharing questions and chatting.

            Many programs are also planning their own program-specific activities, often thematically relevant to the program content itself. Look out for these activities in the program description above and in the information provided after you enroll!

            Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone

            If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in this program. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in the program will be able to attend - whether in live or recorded sessions. We have done our best to note places where we feel there is an incremental benefit to live attendance and will be focusing our efforts on these parts of the schedule. All of the below is tentative and subject to change as we seek improved ways of our students needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students. 

            Students should always feel free to get in touch with program staff at any point to let us know how we can best accommodate the challenges of distance learning and we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate where possible.

            Tentative Accommodations

            Lab Sessions: You will coordinate with your PI to make your mentored research schedule, though many labs operate on a traditional 9am-5pm ET schedule. It is possible that you may be asked to work on projects independently for a large part of the session, with a more limited amount of mentor overlap. Please note that labs are unlikely to adjust their lab meetings for students outside the Eastern Time Zone, and due to IP restrictions are unlikely to allow recording, and it will be up to you to determine whether you can make their lab schedule work. Please take a look at our Available Labs PDF for some additional information on lab opening times. Live attendance is strongly recommended.

            Library Seminars and Speakers: Guest lectures and panels will be held live, and recorded and posted for students who are unable to attend live. Students unable to attend live will be able to submit questions and thoughts in advance through a digital discussion board. 

            Journal Clubs and Networking Sessions: Students will be grouped together by geographic region and time zone and will schedule their meetings at a mutually-agreeable time (brokered by a CA), to the extent possible, to ensure that activities can be completed in real-time, together. Sessions will also be recorded and posted, but live attendance is strongly recommended.  

            Poster Session: All posters will be available for virtual viewing along with a recorded (or written) presentation from the student. A digital discussion board will be available so viewers can comment on student's posters and ask questions and, for students who can attend live, a Zoom discussion forum will be available for guests to ask questions live! Live attendance is strongly recommended.

            Orientation (Sunday/Monday): These will be held synchronously and attendance is required. If a student will be unable to attend either of the orientations, we may be able to make accommodations but cannot guarantee it.

            Social Activities: We will be offering virtual social activities at different times throughout the day or night (to the extent possible) so that students from across time zones will be able to participate! Some activities, like our virtual board games, will be played throughout the program - with moves made by players and teams when they can check in.

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