High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

June 16, 2020
By AdmissionSight

Solve Challenging Problems in the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program at Michigan State University

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program at Michigan State University offers juniors in high school who are interested in a career path science, math or engineering a research project that is one of a kind. The HSHP program offers students to work on a project at Michigan State University under a research mentor who will motivate and challenge them. If you desire solving challenging science, math or engineering problems while learning, making friends, and gaining experience, the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program at Michigan State University could be the right opportunity for you.

a group of students talking each other in the library

There aren’t many summer programs that last almost two months and have been successful for 60 programs, in order to be a part of the HSHSP, students must be mature with high interest and passion in science, math, or engineering while also able to work independently. The High High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program is a non-credit program but the experience of working in a real research setting on an actual college campus and creating mentorships, all while gaining experience for college admissions is set up as an enrichment program.

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program is competitive, but it’s not like a normal summer program. The HSHSP is formed as an enrichment program to give high school students a unique experience that won’t be similar to anything in high school and maybe replicated in the later years of college. The HSHSP is about research and inquiry in-depth, its achievable through Michigan State’s 60 past programs and the length and quality of the HSHSP itself.

Continue reading if you’d like to learn more about the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program, if you are eligible to apply and how to, as well as more about Michigan State University. If you know you want to apply but aren’t sure where to begin, help with the Summer Program Application might be exactly what you need.

What is the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program?

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program began in 1958, it is the oldest, continuously running hands-on science, engineering and math enrichment program in the United States. It began as a program for local high school students and, over it’s 60 past programs has evolved into a national, very selective on-campus program.

AP physics exam

It began with offering research apprenticeships in the life sciences and since 1989, the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program has offered research opportunities in all areas of science, engineering, and mathematics. There is an abundance of alumni from HSHSP, as well as 2019 alumni here, who are listed in case you need any questions answered.

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program Program takes place at Michigan State University for seven weeks, so students can gain more experience conducting research while living on the Michigan State University campus, which is one of the top 50 research institutions in the United States.

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program has various purposes and objectives: 

  • To help students gain a deeper knowledge about the process of inquiry
  • For students to experience living on a real university campus away from home with students of similar interests and knowledge but different backgrounds
  • Providing intellectual, social, community resources from Michigan State that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to the students so they can learn about the various careers and preparation needed to ender science, engineering or math

There are various math, science, engineering and tech programs and competitions. Participating in a program like HSHSP can set you apart from other college applicants as can winning an award, or honourable mention on a project you created or worked on. It’s a good idea after participating in a program, internship, science fair etc, to look into various competitions in order to be recognized for your work. AdmissionSight provides a list of Math and Science Competitions to submit work to, as well as a list of Research fairs and fellowships.

student explores STEM as one of her extracurriculars.

After accepted participants choose a preference for an area of research from a list of general explanations. After arriving, advisors will speak with students to figure out the research project to be assigned to. The program allows for independence as well as mentorship, the research project each participant works on will be apart of the mentor’s larger research program. HSHSP is led by faculty, staff and graduate students who are also researchers. Past students provide general answers as well through Youtube videos, such as this one,

The program participants will learn:

  •  Different methods to attack the problem they’re assigned to solving
  • How to define a scientific problem
  • How to recognize errors when they happen and how to benefit from errors

After the student’s research and the program is complete, the student must give a presentation about their project and experience in their science class or in a similar setting. HSHSP also encourages students to prepare their project for science fairs.

 Goals of the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program aims to provide students with a special opportunity to indulge and focus on the research they’re assigned while working in a university space. Not only should HSHSP educate participants about the research, but HSHSP aims to include individuals on the research process and allow participants to learn why the research is important and to know the context for the research to be productive.

The main goal is to provide students with opportunities that enrich their knowledge about research work in science, mathematics and engineering while making friends and gaining mentors.

Most often students don’t receive the chance to study a specific topic or research project until later in their undergrad. The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program provides high school students with the chance to focus on one experiment, research project and challenge to dive deep into their interest to identify things in their project as well as themselves.

A male student using his laptop and writing at the same time.

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program does not set up students to succeed in their project, it’s an actual real-world science, math or engineering research project that’s purpose is to give the students the experience of working with research for a longer period of time in a university environment.

What does a day in the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program look like?

Each day, students work independently in their area of research, but this is what an average day will look like:

  • From 7 to 8:30 AM: Breakfast
  • From 8:30 AM -12:00 PM Independent research projects in the laboratories
  • From 1:00-5:30 PM: Flexible lunchtime
  • From 5:30-7:00 PM: Dinner
  • From 7:00-9:00 PM: Various activities depending on the day including, discussions, seminars, class and special activities on campus

Other activities the program may include:

  • Record-keeping
  • Use of the Science Reference Library, or lab safety procedures
  • Visit the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/FRIB and campus observatory/planetarium
  • Discussions about college admissions landscape, applying to college, scholarships, careers in science, scientific responsibility and implications of scientific discovery
  • Conference-style research presentations presented by students

Learn more about the day to day of the HSHSP program here.

Who are the program facilitators?

Gail Richmond is a professor of Science & Urban Education at Michigan State University and she has been the director of The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program since 1988. Find out more about Dr. Richmond’s research, journals and teaching background here.

As well as Dr. Richmond, each program participant is assigned a senior faculty advisor turned mentor. The faculty member assists in the participant’s research by choosing lab techniques and potentially providing supervisory personnel.

The mentor will outline the objectives of research to the student. And students will be able to collaborate with the other researchers from their mentor’s research group, researchers who could be undergraduate students majoring in science or graduate students, professionals,  postdoctoral research associates or technicians.

Older undergraduate or graduate students with science and research backgrounds whom Dr. Richmond selects will also help as program counsellors. Residence hall staff are also provided to make sure students are safe when not in classroom spaces.

About Michigan State University

Michigan State University is a large campus with the Red Cedar River running through it, as well as various parts work as experimental farms and natural areas for educational instruction and research.

Michigan State University’s acceptance rate is 78% from U.S.News.

aerial view of Ann Arbor Michigan

Biological research at Michigan State University focuses on molecular biotechnology, food production, genetic diseases, environmental toxicology, new man-made plant species, and pest control systems that reduce hazards to the environment. Michigan State University is home to a national plant biology centre that the U.S. Department of Energy supports, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and has over 400 research projects with more than 300 scientists.

There are three different medical colleges, human, osteopathic and veterinary at Michigan State University. National Superconducting Cyclotron, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, the Center for Material Sciences and an Electron Optics Center are also stationed on the Michigan State University campus. There is an abundance of research opportunities, topics and resources on the Michigan State University. What better place to have a program revolving science, math and engineering? Learn more about the campus here.

What’s beneficial about the HSHP program is the combination of professional and recreational college opportunities. There are various campus activities available during the program including visiting lecturers, dramatic events, musical performances, films, and planetarium programs. There are also facilities open for canoeing, swimming, tennis, and team sports. There are opportunities for various activities planned by both the participants and counsellors.

Can I apply?

As long as you are a junior in high school in the upper 20% of classes and have taken at least 3 years of college preparatory mathematics and two of science, as well as you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident you may apply. It may be a good idea before applying to utilize IvyCollgeAdmit’s Academic and Extracurricular Profile Evaluation to ensure you’re on the right path to being in the running for HSHSP. Acceptance into The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program is based on:

  • Scholastic ability
  • Maturity (Maturity can be a hard personality trait to show on paper when up against very knowledgeable students, a good example to prove maturity would revolve around leadership, whether its the leadership shown on a group project, on a sports team, maturity along with the character, and leadership can be greatly explained in an under-pressure example)
  • Interest in science, engineering, or mathematics

It’s important during any application process to show your strengths in multiple categories, from test scores to extracurriculars, the modern-day student is more than just a 4.0, not only can the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program put you on the map of college admissions counsellors, but it gives you a leg up when it comes to personal career goals as well.


In order to apply you must submit:

  • The HSHSP application form 
  • A 400-600 word essay addressing your interest in scientific research, what you can contribute to HSHSP, and why you want to attend HSHSP
  • A 400-600 word essay reflecting on a book that you read that has impacted your life, this book could have been assigned by the school or a personal read
  • You must list the classes you currently take
  • You must list books and magazines you have read in the past year that were not assigned, including non-science books or magazines
  • Two recommendations from two teachers, one is to be a science teacher
  • An official high school transcript
  • Screenshots of test scores from the College Board or ACT are encouraged

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program costs just under $4,000, this includes room, board and other costs but transportation is not included. Financial aid scholarships are available and forms can be found here.

When submitting applications, materials are to be sent to the director of the program, Dr. Richmond. To get an extra look on the program application to ensure perfection, as well as to stand out to be one of the 24 that gets accepted, AdmissionSight can provide guidance and detailed essay editing and recommendation, contact us.

Alumni of the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program

Alumni of HSHSP have gained recognition for their research work by receiving awards in competitions and publications. Many students have gone on to do well in local, state, regional and nation science competitions, some sponsored by Westinghouse, Intel, and Siemens. All participants have gone on to college at such institutions as Harvard, MIT, Brown, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Stanford, Cal Tech, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Duke, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, UNC, and many others. More than 95% of participants majored in a science or science-related field, and most have gone on to graduate or professional schools.

There are alumni groups for High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program participants to stay in touch and connected, it’s a public group so prospective participants can take a look as to what alumni have accomplished.

The High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program is a prestigious program that gives students with a passion for science, engineering or mathematics the chance to be a part of an in-depth project that could not only provide them with knowledge but potentially set them up on a career path of their choice.

The fact that Michigan State University is home to numerous facilities revolving science, agriculture, experimental studies and biology, makes it the perfect place to house the program as well as to give students a sneak peek into what attending college can be like. To learn more about the High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program read through their website, and to ensure you’re on the right path to getting into the  High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program, contact us.


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