• What Is Horizon Academic?

    Horizon Academic (HARP) is a trimester-long online research program for extraordinary high school students to refine their interest in an academic subject. Students will develop a college-level research project under the individualized guidance of a professor from a globally renowned university. Have a look at our courses, find out more about how it works, or ask us a question!


    Horizon scholars choose their own field of inquiry and work with their professor to develop a unique research proposal. After a trimester of reading, writing, and exploring, Horizon scholars finish their final projects, most often a 20-25 page research paper. By showcasing a student's very best work, Horizon gives students the opportunity to get letters of recommendation, seek outside recognition of the quality of their work, and demonstrate their exceptional talent to universities.

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  • Our Purely Online Program, By the Numbers

    Since 2016

    We have had the privilege of working with some of the best high school students in the world on academic research projects since 2016.

    391 Students

    We have worked with 391 students to complete independent research projects though our program.

    450 Years

    Our team of instructors, teaching assistants, and program staff have a combined total of more than 450 years of teaching, mentorship, and program management experience.

    26 Hours

    Of class time with professors and our instructional staff.

    A 20-25 Page Paper

    Is the final product that students complete.

    57 Instructors

    With whom we collaborate, drawn from every Ivy League university, as well as Oxford, Cambridge, UCLA, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and MIT.


    65% of our students in Summer 2020 hailed from the United States.

    34 Countries

    Our international students and faculty hail from 34 countries.

    14 Subjects

    We offer 14 subjects and more than 300 subtopics for student research.

  • How Does Horizon Academic Help Students in the College Admissions Process?


    In an ever-more competitive admissions landscape, "standing out" matters.

    Standing Out, So Colleges See

    Who You Really Are

    In a stack of thousands of applications, how is yours different?

    Completing college level research projects as a high school student makes you unique. Professors are busy people, and it's rare for a professor to work with a high school student on a research project. Most college students don't write a 20 page research paper until well into their college careers. Doing so in high school is exceptional and helps you stand out among thousands of other candidates.

    An Assessment from a Professor or Researcher


    Grades and assessments show how well you did.

    All students at Horizon Academic get a letter grade from their professor or instructor as well as detailed final project feedback on what they did well and areas for improvement.

    A Supplement to the College Application

    Many universities allow supplemental documents in their applications.

    Many universities such as Cornell, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania allow students to send supplemental documents along with an application. Many of our students have send their paper abstracts as application supplements.

    Letters of Recommendation and Publication

    For students who truly excel.

    Our students who do their very best work and impress their professors or TA can request a letter of recommendation for admission to college. Students whose papers are truly exceptional can even get their work published in a journal, accepted at a conference, or selected by an essay contest.

    Proof Positive You Can Succeed

    In a high-intensity selective program.

    Perhaps the best proof that you're capable of college-level work is to do college level work, early on in your academic career. By working with college faculty in a challenging and selective program, you signal to admissions officers that you are up to the challenges of being a student at an elite university.

    Depth in Your Extracurriculars

    Demonstrate commitment and depth in your after school activities.

    More and more colleges such at the University of Chicago, George Washington University, and many top liberal arts colleges have become test optional. Without the SAT or ACT, how you spend your time after school matters more than ever. Yet many students commit to a wide range of extracurriculars, at the expense of depth and long-term improvement. Doing a long-term research project demonstrates that you're different and that you finish everything that you start.

  • What They're Saying About Us

    Reflections from Our Alumni

    "It’s an opportunity to showcase my work to the entire world. Horizon has invested a lot into helping me through the process."

    Karthik, James Logan High School

    "This project was the highlight of my year."

    Malika, the American International School

    of Lagos

    "A big thank you to you for all that you've done for me, from the Horizon program to the publication process after. You have gone over and beyond."

    Darynne, Branksome Hall

    "I got into the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program at UMICH, largely because of the work I did with Horizon."

    Danielle, John L. Miller Great Neck North HS

    "I feel better prepared to go to the London School of Economics next fall because I participated in Horizon Academic."

    Keyun, Ulink College of Suzhou Industrial Park

    "It was a great learning experience, and I will carry what I learned throughout college and in my future career."

    Harshitha, Canton High School (Massachusetts)

    "Horizon was instrumental to for me in writing this paper and getting published in a journal."

    Furui, Northeast Yucai School

    "This was a very interesting experience and it gave me a good idea of the kind of research I will have to do in the future."

    Jedidiah, St. Mark's School of Texas

  • Examples of Past Student Work

    In 2020, Horizon Academic worked with 217 extraordinary high school students in the creation of undergraduate-level research projects. While we can't showcase every great paper that students have written in our program, we're pleased to share a few examples with you!

    Application of Machine Learning to Medical Diagnosis


    DaTscan SPECT imaging enables the assessment of dopamine transporters in the striatum and is widely used in the clinical diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). In this study, we design and implement a 3D Convolutional Neural Network for the diagnosis of PD using DaTscan SPECT images. Our system achieves high performance while avoiding the influence of observer variability seen with the clinical standard of visual interpretation and other computer aided diagnosis methods. We also show improvement over current results in the classification of a subtype of PD known as scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit (SWEDD). The performance of our system indicates the possibility of clinical use for the identification of dopaminergic loss in DaTscan SPECT imaging and the diagnosis of PD, as well as validation of SWEDD classification.

    A Review of Three Methods to Remove Heavy Metals from Water

    This paper analyses three methods—chemical precipitation, coagulation and flocculation, and biosorption—for removing heavy metals from water. This paper concludes that out of the three methods, biosorption seems to be the most effective. Nevertheless, biosorption has its own problems such as the saturation of active sites of metal binding ligands and the reversible sorption of metals on biomass. Biosorption can act as an eco-friendly alternative and also cost efficient method for treating heavy metal contaminated water bodies, but it needs to be massively industrialized by executing more field experiments with heavy investment like the other two methods.

    The Impact of China on ASEAN


    This paper focuses on the relationship between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. I first analyze various positive and negative impacts that China has had on various ASEAN member states. I conclude that, overall, China exerts a positive influence on ASEAN member states. Competition from Chinese firms drives down prices for consumers in ASEAN countries, while China’s growing economy offers a large market for ASEAN nation exports. As a result of China’s growing presence in ASEAN economies, ASEAN firms may struggle to compete with Chinese firms, and the economic gains of Sino-ASEAN cooperation will likely be uneven, increasing inequality. I contend that these short-term challenges can be mitigated by well-crafted policies and the long-term economic benefits of free market competition.

    Applications of Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning in Education Policy


    Particularly in the Anglophone world, there is a persistent belief that sports play a key role in the social and emotional learning traditionally done in high school. There is also a persistent belief in many education policy circles that female students are less likely to participate in sports and that measures are sometimes necessary to encourage female participation in athletics. Using large publicly available datasets on high school sports participation and predictive analytics, we put this assumption to the test.

    An Analysis of the Effect of Economic Recession on Health Outcomes

    Our study tests the relationship between unemployment in the counties of Florida and mortality outcomes. Since previous papers have alluded to the worse health outcomes suffered by the unemployed, we wanted to see if we can derive a strong relationship that shows how a prevalent indicator in a recession affects extreme outcomes regarding mental health, drug use, alcohol use, respiratory health, and cardiovascular health. This study shows a significant change in slope between unemployment rate and crude rate for mental health and drug death over different economic periods.

    The Republic: An Analysis of Socrates’ and Plato’s Rhetorical Skills


    Rhetoric has the power to convince people, to inspire change, or even to galvanize revolutions. Many modern writers and thinkers unknowingly use rhetorical techniques originally developed by ancient Greek philosophers. This paper explores three key rhetorical devices used in Plato’s Republic that have gone on to color discourse for more than two millennia. Both Socrates and Plato appeal to their audience’s desires, adopted guided dialogues to illustrate and to persuade step by step, and used deliberately crafted thought experiments to form ideal situations in support of their claims. By carefully analyzing these rhetorical devices, we not only gain insight into the thought processes of Plato and Socrates, but we also gain a deeper appreciation of the origin of rhetorical techniques that are ubiquitous in the modern world.

    Can Britain Benefit From Brexit


    The outcome of the “Brexit” referendum on June 23, 2016 came as a shock to observers and Britons around the world: the U.K. had decided to become the first European Union member state to leave the Union. This paper argues that the U.K. is very unlikely to benefit from exiting the European Union. Many of the jobs lost to foreign competition are unlikely to return after Brexit, and many more jobs are likely to go after the U.K. loses its membership in the European Common Market. A less open U.K. is less attractive for tourists who flock to London and Scotland. Finally, foreign students who study in the U.K. value the country’s connectivity with Europe and the corresponding economic opportunities after graduation. Unless the U.K. is able to negotiate miraculously favorable terms for Brexit, the U.K.’s departure from the E.U. is likely to trigger a recession in the U.K. and possibly a political crisis.

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