Frequently Asked Questions
In the interest of clarity and transparency, we've gathered this FAQ for your review, but we highly encourage you to learn about how our program works and to have a look at our courses and instructors!
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 at least 100 hours. On a weekly basis, students can expect 8-10 total hours of reading, writing, homework, and class time. Students are welcome and encouraged to put in more time into their projects if they have additional free time, but our experience is that 100 hours is the total commitment to develop a good long-form research project
What are your requirements for admission?
What is asked in the interview?
How long does the program last?
The program's Fall and Spring trimesters span 15 weeks. The Summer trimester follows a compacted schedule of 10 weeks In order to accommodate different summer holidays across the world.
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. We require that applicants have a 3.67 unweighted GPA or equivalent.
How does Horizon schedule classes?
The exact timing of each class depends on the location and schedule constraints of our students and faculty. Students are never required to take part in classes that conflict with mandatory school activities, and most of our classes are scheduled from between 5:00-10:00PM on weekdays, or on weekends.
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 for group classes?
Because our instructors and students are based in many different time zones across the world, 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?
Are there any costs involved?
Yes. 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?
I'm interested in medicine and research relevant to a future pre-med major. What does Horizon offer in this field?
Horizon offers an extensive selection of courses and topics for a student interested in medicine and health sciences, but selection of a course will depend on what kind of medical interest the student wishes to explore. Our most popular tracks in the health sciences are our Horizon Labs courses in CRISPR & Gene Editing, Machine Learning & Biotechnology, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Protein Biophysics. Our Horizon Seminar classes in Data Science & Machine Learning and Clinical Psychology & Emotion Regulation are also relevant since the pre-approved topics touch on issues in psychiatry, protein classification, and genomics. Lastly, our Theoretical Mathematics class may be useful in understanding additional biophysical concepts.
I'm interested in Machine Learning. What courses in Machine Learning does Horizon offer?
Horizon offers three computer science-based courses: Data Science & Machine Learning, Applications of Machine Learning, and Machine Learning & Biotechnology. Data Science & Machine Learning is a group class that is more beginner-friendly, so it would be a well suited option for students relatively new to or less experienced with coding. On the other hand, Applications of Machine Learning is a 1-on-1 Labs course that is much harder, so a student should have 6 months of either Python or R (or USACO Gold Status and a deep knowledge of Java). Lastly, our Machine Learning and Biotechnology course is also a 1-on-1 Labs course, but it specifically examines applications of machine learning and predictive analytics in key areas of biology and health sciences so background in computer science or biology would be beneficial. Beyond those, Fluid Dynamics is highly computational, and there are computational topics available in CRISPR, Neuroscience, and Psychology as well. We encourage you to view a list of pre-approved topics for these courses that may be of interest on our Courses Page.
What are the course prerequisites?
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?
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