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Frequently Asked Questions



Penn offers other summer programs for high school programs. What is unique about the SAAST program?

SAAST is offered through the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Penn, with each of the six programs modified from actual first and second-year engineering courses. If your student is interested in engineering, the practical applications of science, or would like to explore a subfield (e.g. biotechnology) within engineering before applying to college, SAAST may be a great opportunity to do so.

Is SAAST admissions selective?

Yes, admittance to the SAAST program is highly competitive. We receive almost 500 applications from around the world for approximately 200 seats in the program.

What are the requirements?

  • Online application
    Official high school transcript (sealed, sent directly from your school)
    Personal Essay and Short Answers
    2 Letters of Recommendation (one from a Math/Science teacher, on official school letterhead, signed and sealed)
    Test scores, if applicable (PSAT, SAT I, II, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, AP, IB)
  • $75 non-refundable application fee

When will the SAAST application be available? Is there a deadline?

The SAAST application will be available on our website in mid-January. Please send us an email to request to be notified when the application becomes available online. The priority deadline is mid-March.. We continue to accept applications after the priority deadline on a rolling basis, space-as-available.

How does the waitlist and rolling admissions process work?

Please see the Admissions section of our FAQ for more information about the waitlist.

What are the costs to attend the SAAST program?
Is financial aid available? What are the deadlines?

Please see the Financial Information FAQ.

Do participants of the SAAST program receive college credit?

Yes, participants who successfully complete the SAAST program receive 1 Penn credit (usually the equivalent of 3 credit hours).

What will a typical weekday be like for my student? 

Schedules vary from course to course, but students will typically spend mornings attending lecture, and afternoons working in the lab, for a total of 40 hours of in-class and lab time. Industry site visits, as well as tours of facilities and an admissions workshop, are all scheduled into the program to round out the student experience. Please see the specific course pages for more detailed information about the academic components of SAAST.

Are parents allowed to visit the students during the program? 

Parents are welcome to visit students when on campus.  However, please bear in mind that students participating in SAAST are generally in class or lab during the weekday and attend off-campus program activities on weekends.  Please write a letter to saast@seas.upenn.edu and inform us of your day and time of arrival, as well as your relationship to the student.  You will need to register at the dorm office and with campus security when you arrive.  Only parents and relatives may visit the dorm rooms with the student. 

Are students allowed to leave the campus during evenings and weekends?

Students are not permitted off campus for non-program activities.  SAAST is a rigorous academic program with a significant amount of group activities and projects in the evenings and on weekends, and to be fair to group members all SAAST participants agree to remain on campus and available to take equal part.  Additionally, for security reasons, please do not put us in a difficult position by sending siblings, relatives or friends to take students off campus.

What security measures will be taken for student safety?  Where will students live, eat, attend classes?

Yes. SAAST students are housed in one of the high-rises on Penn's 285-acre urban campus. All entrances are monitored 24/7 by Penn Public Safety, and students must swipe their ID and enter a secure, private keycode to enter the buildings. Residential Teaching Assistants (RTAs), supervised by a full-time Residential Director in the dorms and instructors in the classrooms, are current Penn undergraduates who live in the dorms with the students and serve as TAs in the classrooms. Meals are taken at either 1920s Commons or Houston Market, and all classes take place in the Engineering Quad.

Do you provide health insurance coverage during the program?

No. SAAST does not provide health insurance coverage. Students and their families are responsible for acquiring appropriate health care coverage for the duration of the 3-week program.

I understand there is a Graduation Ceremony at the conclusion of the SAAST program. Can family attend?

Each SAAST participant may bring up to 2 guests to the Graduation Ceremony on the last day of classes. Depending on the course, guests may attend the final presentations in the morning and/or afternoon as well. The final Robotics competition is usually the Thursday evening prior. Parents will be informed with a schedule.

Are SAAST courses graded? When and where are grades posted?
How can students request an official transcript showing the SAAST grade?

Yes, SAAST courses are treated as college courses, and all of the work is evaluated and graded.

Grade Availabillity: Grades are usually available about two weeks after the course ends. While your student's PennKey is still active (up to 1 to 2 weeks after graduation), he/she can view grades and unofficial transcript through PennInTouch.

Ordering Transcripts: While your student's PennKey is still active, he/she may order official transcripts online through PennInTouch for a fee (login to PennInTouch; on the left-hand side, click Academic Records, then beneath it click Order Transcripts). Once your student's PennKey has become inactive, he/she will need to request official transcripts through the Registrar:

http://www.upenn.edu/registrar/student-services/transcripts.html

If you have additional questions about ordering transcripts, please contact the Registrar's office directly.

My student loved SAAST, and I wish to contribute to making it possible for other students to attend.
Can I make a donation to the scholarship fund?

Yes! Please visit our Online Giving page to give now! Contact us directly at saast@seas.upenn.edu for more information on how to give to SAAST.