Summer Enrichment Program

Due to inclement weather we have extended the summer application deadline to Friday February 26.

 We are currently planning the 2021 Summer Enrichment Program.  It is our hope that the 2021 Summer Enrichment Program will take place on grounds at UVA.  However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, final decisions concerning whether we will be able to offer our traditional, residential program will be made by April 15, 2021 in consultation with the leadership team in the School of Education and Human Development, based on University of Virginia policies concerning the pandemic, and based on state, federal, and local guidelines.  If we are unable to offer a residential program, we will most likely offer a remote camp similar to that hosted in the Summer of 2020.

In conjunction with the UVA School of Education and Human Development, the Summer Enrichment Program 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 2020/2021 school year are able to apply to attend one of three overnight sessions. In addition, students who are currently in grade 11 can apply to Session 1. SEP offers three summer sessions: 

  • Session I: June 26 to July 3, 2021
  • Session II: July 4 to July 15, 2021
  • Session III: July 18 to July 29, 2021

Applications for the Summer program will be available on this website December 14, 2020 and are due on February 19, 2021.

If the program is to be offered remotely, we will update our website to reflect this by April 15, 2021.


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 multiple 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 student 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 described on the application. Accepted students receive a second list of afternoon courses to choose from in late Spring, and these courses differ from those offered in the morning

2021 Course Descriptions


Level I – Rising 5-6

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

Financing Your Future

Introduction to Game Theory

Aristotle's Rhetoric: Learning the Art of Persuasion

Level II – Rising 7-8

Cracking the Code

Who’s Up for a Round of Mini-Golf – SEP Style?  Designing, Creating, and Making the SEP Mini-Golf Course High fives and fists pumps all around. 

Comic Book Workshop: Creating Stories Through Words and Images

Wandering Through Enchanted Forests: A Walk You Will Never Forget!

Uncover Clues with Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology!

Cool Cryosphere 

Podcasting:  Process and Production   

Role Playing Games for Adventure and Knowledge  

Level III – Rising 9-11

Electric/Automated Vehicles: How these technologies will change the world

Recycling Mythologies in the Twenty-First Century  

Describing the World

Climate Change: The Scientific Basis and Choices for the Future 

The Music of Poetry    


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 2021, participants will be in air-conditioned dormitories. Absent any countervailing health protocols, students will share a room with one other camper (and in some instances 2 other campers).  Each camper is assigned a counselor who resides in a room adjacent to campers, and there are eight to ten 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 counseling staff is composed of creative, intelligent, and supportive individuals who have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for working with our participants.  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
8:30 – 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 additional 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 online. While we will make paper applications available on request, 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 14, 2020.

Online course descriptions will be available no later than December 14, 2021.

Program Cost

The cost for Session 1 is $1100; the cost for Sessions 2 and 3 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.  Please note the application fee is NON-REFUNDABLE under any circumstances including the cancellation of the program, cancellation of one or more sessions, cancellation of classes, the inability to hold the camp On Grounds, the decision to offer the program remotely, or if your child decides not to attend for any reason.  Please remember, SEP is a not-for-profit organization which relies entirely on fees (including application fees) and tuition for its operating expenses. 

Complete applications are due no later than midnight on February 19. 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 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 2021 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, 2021 to be considered for Summer Aid. Application for aid does not affect a student’s chances for admission.  We CANNOT accept financial aid forms via email. They must be mailed to SEP P.O. Box 4264 Charlottesville, VA 22904 or faxed to 434-982-2008.

Selection Process

Admissions decisions are based on a comprehensive review of all applications.  Factors considered in the 2021 application review process include a combination of test scores, a teacher recommendation, and evaluation of the most current report card. Applicants are compared with other applications from students in the same age group and gender.  Final acceptance numbers are based on dorm and course 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, 2021.

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 2021) and senior camp (rising 9-11 grade during Summer 2021).  More about employment opportunities can be found at  More about employment opportunities.