Frequently Asked Questions

What is Academic Connections?

Academic Connections at the University of California, San Diego is a pre-college summer academic and residential experience targeted to highly motivated, high achieving, college bound high school students, grades 9 - 12. The program invites students to explore the best UCSD has to offer.

What are the program goals?

The goal of the Academic Connections program is to connect select high school students with UCSD, by providing hands-on college subject matter courses, which provides students with the opportunity to experience life and learning at this top-ranked research university located in the beautiful San Diego area.

Who may attend Academic Connections?

Students who are entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade by July 1st are eligible to apply and must be at least 14 years old before the program starts. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and provide a recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

Does Academic Connections offer Financial Assistance/Scholarships?

The UCSD Academic Connections pre-college program is a self supported program that does not receive any State or Federal funding. As a result, we are unable to offer financial aid, scholarships, or grants to our program participants. Students should reach out to their school counselors and community for scholarship opportunities. 

What does tuition cover?

For Residential Students: Tuition covers room, meals, supervision in the university residence halls, course instruction, field trips, and all daily activities outside of class. SAT prep is not included and optional. Students will be able to request SAT prep in their application and will pay an additional $100 fee. 

How do I apply to Academic Connections?

If you are interested in applying for Academic Connections, please visit the Apply Now section of our website. You can complete the application, download the recommendation form and pay your application fee online. Applications for Academic Connections 2019 will be accepted beginning early December 2018- May 31st, 2019 at 4:00 pm or until the courses are full.

Can non-California residents apply?

Yes. Students who reside outside of California are encouraged to apply. Students who live outside of the United States are encouraged to apply as well.

When is the Academic Connections application deadline?

The application closing date for Academic Connections Courses is Friday May 31st, 2019 at 4 pm. Applications received after this deadline will not be eligible for Academic Connections 2019.  

Is Academic Connections a first come, first served process?

Yes. Applicants are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The earlier applications are received, the greater the chance of reserving a space in the program.

When will I be notified about whether or not I have been accepted into the program?

For Academic Connections courses, you will be notified of your acceptance within 3-5 days of receipt of your complete application packet. 

Do I need to have my Teachers or Guidance Counselor mail the recommendations directly to Academic Connections?

You will need to attach the recommendation to your application file. Teachers and counselors can send them directly to academicconnections@ucsd.edu or they can give them to the student to upload to their application. The application is incomplete without all of the required materials.

Is there a minimum GPA that I need to be accepted into Academic Connections?

To be considered for admission to Academic Connections Research Studies, students must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better. While grades are one of the elements reviewed, students with a lower GPA will be considered based on their Teacher/Counselor Recommendation and/or extenuating circumstances.

What is the curriculum like at Academic Connections?

Academic Connections offers classes that span many disciplines. Whether students are interested in Marine Biology, Journalism, Political Science, Engineering, Creative Writing, or Economics, to name just a few, there are classes offered that will match many interests.

What is a typical day at Academic Connections like?

Academic Connections strives to balance a demanding academic schedule with a busy residential life. Classes are held 5 hours per day, Monday – Friday, with social activities and meetings filling up the remainder of the day. On a typical day, Academic Connections students attend course lectures in the morning 9-11:30 AM, break for lunch, and participate in laboratories and study sessions in the afternoon 1:30-4:00 PM. Special activities include, but are not limited to: supervised field trips, SAT training, and social events planned during the non-academic hours/days. The following trips have been weekend excursions in the past: a Padres game at Petco Park, Sea World, Balboa Park, La Jolla Shores and Birch Aquarium.

What is residential life like at Academic Connections?

Students participate in various athletic and recreational activities, and also have the opportunity to form friendships with peers who share their same academic motivation. An emphasis is placed on community and how to live within that community.

Can I request to have my own room?

Yes. Students may request their own room on a first come, first served basis. In an effort to encourage students to experience residential life in a collegiate environment, however, we recommend that students have roommates, just as it will be when they attend college. Male and female students will be housed in separate residential halls.

How many students will attend the program at UC San Diego?

Academic Connections is planning on accepting approximately 400 students for Summer 2019.

Who are the Academic Connections faculty and staff?

Academic Connections Research Studies faculty members are typically UCSD doctoral students who design and instruct their own courses. Class enrollment is limited to 22 and all classes with an enrollment of 12 or greater have the option of hiring a teaching assistant. The Academic Connections staff includes a Program Director, Program Manager, Program Assistant, Resident Dean, 2 Assistant Resident Deans and approximately 20+ experienced, live-in Residential Assistants (RAs).

Can I get high school or college credit for Academic Connections attendance?

Each student who completes the program will be given a Certificate of Completion and will earn six units of UCSD Extension Pre-College credit. A transcript will be available on-line once the course is completed and grades received. An 'official' transcript to send for college applications can be ordered for an additional fee. Although most colleges will accept appropriate UCSD Extension credits, the decision to accept the transfer of credits rests solely with the college you attend. Similarly, the decision to accept the units as part of a high school curriculum depends on each individual high school.

May I attend Academic Connections more than once?

Yes. Students are welcome to attend Academic Connections as many times as they would like, as long as they meet the GPA and grade level requirements. We have many students who attend all four of their high school years.

What do I do if I have more questions?

We expect the highest standards of behavior from our students both in personal conduct and in commitment to academic pursuits. Students and parents are required to adhere to the Academic Connections rules of conduct guidelines, which you will receive in your Course Assignment Packet.

We expect students to:

  • strive to do their best work possible in their courses
  • tolerate and respect individuals of different races, cultures, religions, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, and national origins
  • behave in a friendly, cooperative, and responsible manner
  • attend all classes, activities, and meetings
  • observe all rules for student conduct

Students who are unable to live up to these expectations will not be accommodated.

Students may be dismissed from the programs for any of the following reasons:

  • not attending to their academic work in a satisfactory manner
  • cheating, plagiarizing, or committing other acts of academic dishonesty
  • being in restricted areas of campus, or leaving campus, unaccompanied by a staff member
  • being in an opposite-sex building or suite
  • leaving their suite after lights-out
  • stealing or vandalizing property
  • possessing or using tobacco, alcohol, or any drug
  • hazing
  • undermining the safety or well-being of self or others

No tuition refunds will be made to students dismissed from the program. If a student damages property, the cost of repair or replacement is added to the student account balance and is the responsibility of the parent(s).

Prohibited Items

We reserve the right to seize for the length of the program any items that, in our judgment, demonstrate the potential for distracting students from the goals of the program, pose undue risk to the safety and well-being of people, or pose undue risk to property.

The following items should not be brought to the program:

  • weapons of any kind (including pocket knives and martial arts devices)
  • any flame-producing device (including matches, lighters, and firecrackers)
  • trading cards, including Magic®
  • pets of any kind
  • products that damage surface finishes (brand names Slime®, Gak®, etc.)
  • televisions, or computer games or video games
  • bicycles, skateboards, surf boards, roller blades, scooters, or skates
  • water guns
  • halogen lamps, refrigerators, or hot pots
  • laser pointers

All residential assistants are first aid and CPR certified, so they are able to screen student medical complaints and provide first aid. In general, students who become ill or injured during the program are referred to UCSD Student Health or local emergency rooms for treatment. A program staff member accompanies the student on any such trips, and parents are informed as soon as possible. The costs associated with these referrals are the responsibility of the student's family.

UCSD Extension reserves the right to cancel or reschedule courses, or to change instructors. Because Extension receives no state revenue support, classes may be canceled at or prior to the first scheduled meeting if fewer than the required minimum number of students enroll. Refer to complete details in this catalog regarding refunds of fees. The State of California Information Practices Act of 1977 (effective July 1, 1978) requires that the university provide the following information to individuals who are asked to supply information about themselves. The principal purpose for requesting information on the enrollment form is for processing your enrollment in UCSD Extension courses. University policy authorizes maintenance of this information. Furnishing all of the information requested on this form is mandatory if you are enrolling for credit or contact hours. Failure to provide this information will delay or may even prevent completion of the action for which the form is being filled out. Furnishing the information requested on this form is voluntary if you are enrolling for non-credit.

The information furnished may be used by various university departments for verifying enrollment status and will be transmitted to the state and federal governments if required by law. Individuals have the right of access to this record as it pertains to themselves. Maintenance of the records mentioned above is the responsibility of the chief operating officer, UCSD Extended Studies and Public Programs, University of California, San Diego. Federal Privacy Act of 1974.

Disclosure of your social security number is mandatory, as it is used to verify your identity on transcripts and other records. This recordkeeping system was established prior to January 1, 1975, by authority of the Regents of the University of California under Article IX, Section 9, of the California Constitution, and complies with the provisions of the Federal Privacy Act of 1974.


The University of California, in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or age in any of its policies, procedures, or practices; nor does the university discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, university programs and activities, including but not limited to, academic admission, financial aid, educational services, and student employment. Inquiries regarding the university's equal opportunity policies may be directed to office of the dean, UCSD Extended Studies and Public Programs, (858) 534-3412.

University of California: Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy Regarding Academic and Staff Employment

It is the policy of the University not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed or seeking employment with the University of California on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran (special disabled veteran, Vietnam era veteran, or any other veteran who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized). This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, merit increase, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation. This policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable State and Federal laws and University policies.

In addition, it is the policy of the University to undertake affirmative action, consistent with its obligations as a Federal contractor, for minorities and women, for persons with disabilities, and for special disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, and any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized. The University commits itself to apply every good faith effort to achieve prompt and full utilization of minorities and women in all segments of its workforce where deficiencies exist. These efforts conform to all current legal and regulatory requirements, and are consistent with University standards of quality and excellence.

In conformance with Federal regulations, written affirmative action plans shall be prepared and maintained by each campus of the University, by each Department of Energy Laboratory, by the Office of the President, and by the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Such plans shall be reviewed and approved by the Office of the President and the Office of the General Counsel before they are officially promulgated.