Application Information


    Admission to Horizon Academic is competitive, and our admissions team considers a variety of criteria in our decision to accept, waiting list, or decline a candidate. We evaluate including the applicant's demonstrated interest in the subject they wish to study, accomplishments outside of the classroom (eg. extracurricular activities, internships, or service work), performance in traditional school coursework, personal statement, writing samples, and performance oral interview. View more about our application process on this page, or click the button below to get the process started.

  • Horizon Labs features flexible start dates. Students should apply 4-6 weeks prior to their preferred start date.


    Horizon Seminar Term Dates

    Please note that these do not apply for Horizon Labs.

    Summer 2021: July 3, 2021 - September 11, 2021

    Application Deadline: June 9, 2021

    Financial Aid Deadline: May 22, 2021


    Fall 2021: October 23, 2021 - February 21, 2022

    Application Deadline: September 30, 2021

    Financial Aid Deadline: September 13, 2021

    Please feel free to join our upcoming information session about the program! If you're unable to join but would like a recording, please complete the interest form above, and a recording will be sent to you by email.

    [Q&A Only] April 19 8:30PM Eastern Time: Register Here

    April 28 10:00AM Eastern Time: Register Here

    May 4 8:30PM Eastern Time: Register Here

    May 11 10:30AM Eastern Time: Register Here

    May 19 8:30PM Eastern Time: Register Here

    May 26 10:30AM Eastern Time: Register Here

  • Application Procedure


    Go to Apply Now and fill out the Horizon Academic application form. Once the online form is submitted, our admissions committee will review your application. Horizon staff will contact you within three business days after the submission of your application to update you about whether you have advanced to the interview stage of the admission process.


    Interviews are typically conducted over Zoom. We will inform you if you have been admitted to the program within seven days of the interview.


    If necessary, an interview will be conducted with your prospective professor.

    *Not all professors require a secondary interview following the interview with Horizon staff.​


    Students receive a final admissions notification by email, advising them that they have been accepted, rejected, or placed on a waiting list. Admitted students will receive an admission letter with the relevant details of the particular program to which they applied as well as an enrollment agreement. Students not accepted to the program may re-apply no sooner than 90 days after the admission notification. Students placed on a waiting list will have the option to accept the position on the waiting list without any upfront financial commitment.


    If accepted, students are given 10 days to consider whether to enroll in the program.


    If a student chooses to accept the offer of admission, they will complete necessary enrollment formalities, and their legal guardian will sign the enrollment agreement, thereby formalizing their participation in the program.

  • Program Costs and Requirements

    Program Requirements

    Horizon Seminar has the following admissions requirements:

    • Students must be enrolled in high school at the time of application (defined as grades 9-12). Most accepted students are in grades 10 and 11.
    • Students must have a strong GPA and demonstrate meaningful interest or achievement in their subject field. We do not maintain a hard minimum GPA, but most successful applicants have at least a 3.67 unweighted GPA.
    • Students must have an average of 10 hours each week of free time to dedicate to the program.
    • Students must be punctual and have excellent time management skills.
    • Students must have reliable access to an internet connection, a microphone, and headphones.

    Program Costs

    At Horizon Seminar, it’s important for us that applicants fully understand the program's details and costs. Please contact a Horizon representative for more complete program information. Needs-based financial aid is offered for some of our group-based courses. Our one-on-one "Labs" courses do not have any financial aid options at this time. Admission to the program is completely need-blind; applicants are admitted purely on the basis of merit. If you are admitted and wish to apply for financial aid, this is a separate process from admission and is determined on the basis of need and availability. If you request financial aid, you will be asked to complete a separate financial aid application after admission in which you will need to report family income and articulate your financial constraints. If you request financial aid, you will not be asked to make an upfront commitment, legally, financially, or otherwise to participate in the program until you are a final update from us about your financial aid status. Financial aid deadlines are generally 6 weeks prior to the program start date, and candidates can expect to hear an update regarding their request for financial aid 3 weeks prior to the start of the program. On average, about 25% of students in Horizon Academic receive a significant fee waiver.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Horizon Academic a selective program?

    The rate of acceptance at Horizon Academic is generally about 30%. When evaluating applications, we look for strong grades, good time management skills, a demonstrated interest in the course topic, and excellent communication skills.

    What is the expected time commitment?

    The total time commitment for Horizon Academic is about 100 hours. On a weekly basis, students can expect 8-10 total hours of reading, writing, homework, and class time.

    How long does the program last?

    The program's Fall and Spring trimesters span 16 weeks. The Summer trimester follows a compacted schedule of 10 weeks.

    Does Horizon require prior research experience?

    Horizon does not require that students have prior research experience. Our faculty, as well as our writing advisors, work closely with students on learning the fundamentals of academic research and writing.

    How does Horizon schedule classes?

    Since our professors and students are located around the world, and we strive to ensure that classes are scheduled at flexible and mutually convenient times and dates. Students around the world are divided up into cohorts based on their times and dates of availability.

    How are online classes conducted?

    All online sessions are conducted using advanced video-conferencing software that offers scholars an experience similar to a small seminar or face-to-face meeting. Students and faculty can see, hear, talk, and text chat with each other. Our platform also allows for screen-sharing so that students can view texts, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other visual aids.

    How do you choose course dates?

    We select our program dates with the schedules of busy high school students in mind and time the ending of each trimester to avoid conflicts with final exams.

    How do you choose course times?

    Each class time is carefully considered in order to maximize the convenience of all students. The timing of each course cohort is different, so please reach out to us if you are curious about what time during the day or evening a particular class will be offered.

    At the end of the program, what do students get from the program?

    Students who successfully complete the program will complete a college-level research paper, most often about 5,000 words. This process offers students an avenue to improve as writers, to learn to interpret academic journal articles, and the They will receive a certificate of completion and a grade report, generated by their instructor using a university grading rubric. Grades are given on a "plus/minus" system (A+, A, A-, for example) as well as a score with a maximum of 100. Students who complete the program gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter and often describe how the process of doing research changed their worldview or helped them in deciding what to study in university, something which they often write about in their university application personal statements. Students who do exceptional work also have the opportunity to earn letters of recommendation or to pursue outside recognition of the quality of their work through essay competitions, science fairs, or academic journals.

    Are there any costs involved?

    There is no application fee, but a tuition fee does apply for admitted students who wish to participate. Horizon Academic provides extensive support to students as they complete their projects and offers a low staff-to-student ratio. Please contact us for more information regarding tuition and questions about need-based financial aid.

    Do students own the rights and intellectual property for their work?

    Yes. Students retain all intellectual property and authorship rights on the work that they complete.

    What age or grade level should a student be to consider Horizon?

    Horizon Academic welcomes all high school students as well as students who are taking a gap year between high school and college. The majority of our students are sophomores and juniors (meaning that, from the time that they enroll in the program, they expect to graduate high school in 1-2 years).

    How does topic selection work?

    Students apply to Horizon to work with us on a research project in a subject, and, when the apply for the program, they declare 3-5 "sub-topics", drawn from our list of 300+ pre-approved topics, which they are interested in exploring further. If a student is admitted and enrolls in the program, we work with the student in refining a specific research proposal and topic, supporting them in the process of identifying their research scope and focus. Ultimately, students are responsible for choosing their own research topic and a corresponding thesis statement or hypothesis. We advise and mentor students through this process in our program, but our mentors do not outright define or assign the research topic for the student, since the research proposal is a deeply personal choice and one which has educational value for students to determine themselves.

    Are there any physical classroom or laboratory spaces for students?

    Horizon Academic is a completely online research program for high school students to do a college level research paper after school or during the weekends or the summer. It is rare that any students in the same class live in the same state or even the same country, so in the interest of fairness to all of our students, there is no physical lab space for student use. Even for our more STEM-related topics like environmental engineering and machine learning and biotechnology, most quantitative research projects use desktop research methods utilizing publicly available data sets. Our students sometimes independently find local university lab resources, utilize citizen lab spaces, or gather original data in the field (for example, through surveys or through collecting water or soil samples).

    I want to get published in an academic journal. Can you help with that?

    Our program's objective is to mentor students through the process of doing college level research. After all, before worrying about publication, it’s important to write and develop an idea worth sharing. Many of our students are more interested in attempting college level work in a specific topic, gaining a better sense of certainty about a possible college major, doing a project they find fun and engaging, or earning a letter of recommendation.

    Some of our students see value in publishing their work after completing their papers. We do offer free guidance on publication if a student gets an A grade or better, and we provide a free list of publications and competitions that students may use regardless of their grade. We are proudly partnered with the Journal for Emerging Investigators, a leading high school research journal, and our students have been published in other journals including The National High School Journal of Science and Low Carbon Economy. Other students have been invited to present at national academic conferences such as the National Aquaponics Association National Conference. Others still have adapted their papers to win or place highly in competitive state science fairs. However, you should not apply for this program if you do not value doing the research in its own right; our program's goal is educational and focuses around the process of academic research. We are not a publication factory.

    Why don’t all of your students publish?

    Saying that all students who do research should publish is like saying that all students who learn music should play in the New York Symphony Orchestra. While getting into the New York Symphony Orchestra is (very) impressive, the symphony orchestra is no home for a jazz pianist, a player of the air guitar, or someone who doesn’t want to spend their working life wearing a tuxedo. Similarly, students who do research have different objectives when they sign up to work with us, and we strive to respect those goals when we work with them. Also, publication in prestigious journals that PhDs publish in is a process that often takes about many months (12-18 months is not uncommon). Some high school students simply do not have the time to commit to that. Publication editorial boards have a variety of considerations in mind besides the raw quality of the work (thematic considerations and networks or connections with authors, for instance). And students cannot submit to multiple journals at once; they can only have one pending submission of their work at one time. Because of these considerations, we suggest pursuing publication very selectively to students. Once more, apply for our program if you're interested in doing research as an inherent goal, or to build skills that will serve you well into your time in university. If you view research as valuable purely as a vehicle for publishing or winning a science fair, please look elsewhere as it is logistically impossible and ethically dubious to promise any publication or competitive outcome. Our top students have been successful in these efforts, but we make no guarantee about publication outcomes, nor are we prima facie able to assess the probability that a student can publish their work prior to the completion of this work.
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