• Our Program

    By the Numbers

    1:2 Faculty to Student Ratio

    Our average class size is 4 students; no more than 6 students are ever in a Horizon class cohort.

    26 Hours

    Of class time with professors and our instructional staff.

    A 20-25 Page Paper

    Is the final product that students complete.

    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.

    100 Years

    Our team of professors, teaching assistants, and program staff have a combined total of more than 100 years of teaching, mentorship, and program management experience.

    19 Countries

    Last year, our student body hailed from 19 countries and regions.

  • Horizon Academic Program Details


    Horizon Academic is an online research program that connects exceptional high school students from around the world with top university professors. The program's capstone project is a 20-25 page research paper aimed to equip high schools students with the practical knowledge and research writing skills needed to excel in their future academic careers. Horizon uses a unique combination of small group classes (with an average class size of 4 and a maximum size of 6), office hours, writing clinics, and, of course, independent research.

    Choosing a Research Topic

    Students may choose to research any one of the pre-approved topics provided by their respective professor. Alternatively, students may choose to develop a completely original research topic that best connects with their personal interests. Our professors and teaching assistants work closely with students to formulate original research topics that are relevant to course material and ambitious enough to ground a 20-25 page research paper.

    Duration and Time Committment

    Horizon scholars strive to produce a carefully crafted academic essay throughout the course of a 15 week trimester. Students have the option to apply for Spring, Summer, or Fall trimesters. We estimate that students will spend 8-10 hours per week on the project.


    Note: The Summer trimester follows a more compact schedule of 10 weeks.

    • Course Structure


      Our orientation offers a comprehensive overview of how to use our unique teleconferencing software and online submission systems, how to best uphold research ethics and academic honesty, and how to navigate the transition from writing shorter to longer form essays.

      Group Class with Professor:

      Fourteen times throughout the trimester, each cohort of Horizon scholars meets together for either a group class or office hour session led by their professor. Group classes often involve class discussion of suggested readings, peer review sessions, and in-class debates and simulations.

      Discussion & Office Hours with Teaching Assistants:

      Three times throughout the trimester, each cohort of Horizon scholars meets together for a discussion session led by their teaching assistant. Students may also book up to 3 individual office hour sessions with their TA in order to solicit additional feedback about their paper. All Horizon teaching assistants are either MA, MS, or Ph.D. candidates.

      Writing Clinics:

      At Horizon Academic, we aspire to provide the best possible training and mentoring to students as they navigate their research projects. To that end, Horizon offers online writing clinics to assist with general writing and composition, allowing class time to focus on the substance of each scholar’s research. Writing assistants identify stylistic, grammatical, and other procedural areas through which students may improve their draft papers.

    • 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

      25 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

      Grades and assessments show how well you did.

      All students at Horizon Academic get a letter grade from their professor 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 thier 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 thier 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.

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