Samford University


High School Students

The University Fellows Great Ideas Summer Institute and Quantitative Finance Summer Institutes are both unique week-long academic experiences hosted on the campus of Samford University. Each week offers an opportunity for intellectually ambitious students to enjoy the energy of a college classroom, engage ideas that form the essence of humane learning, and develop friendships with exceptional high school students from around the country. 

What will I learn? 

The Great Ideas Summer Institute (GISI) traces the theme of "Greece, Rome, and the American Republic." Throughout the week, you will learn how Greek and Roman philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Livy, and Plutarch form the foundation of western politics. You will also gain insight into the American Revolution and subsequent Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates surrounding constitutionalism. Finally, you will explore later iterations of these ideas through the works of John C. Calhoun, Abraham Lincoln, and Thurgood Marshall. 

The Quantitative Finance Summer Institute (QFSI) aims to give high school students a practical knowledge of the quantitative and analytical methods used in modern finance. QFSI offers students a challenging curriculum that goes beyond basic financial market education and utilizes advanced skills sets such as calculus, data analysis, and multi-level critical thinking.

What makes GISI a unique academic experience?

Most high schools teach using secondary texts (traditional textbooks written about key events or summaries of important documents). At GISI, you will read the original texts themselves - not someone else's interpretation of those texts. This may sound daunting, but in a community of intellectually curious students, engaging these core texts is fun. Furthermore, our faculty are committed to helping you understand these texts. However, you won't learn via lecture; you'll learn through discussion. Our professors will ask probing questions that challenge you to think about the material on a deeper level. This experience will prepare you not only for the rest of high school but also for collegiate seminars. 

When is the institute?

This year, we will have two week-long options for your high school student to attend The Great Ideas Summer Institute, the Quantitative Finance Summer Institute, or both. Session 1 will take place July 6 - July 12, 2014. Session 2 will take place July 13 - July 19, 2014. You may indicate if you are available for one or both of the sessions on your application. While we appreciate those who wish to come to both sessions, they will be conducted with the exact same readings and activities. Because of this, each participant can only attend one session. However, students may attend one week of GISI and one week of QFSI. 

Am I eligible to apply?

If you will have completed your sophomore or junior year of high school by the summer of 2014 (rising junior or senior), you are eligible to apply. Although we do ask for your GPA and other academic information on our application, we do not have a specific academic requirements to apply.

How do I apply?

The application will be available online no later than February 7, 2014 and will be due by Friday, April 25, 2014. 

What does it cost to attend?

The registration fee of $495 covers the costs of reading materials, housing, meals, and organized activities on and off campus. If students wish to attend both QFSI and GISI the cost is $700. 

Who do I contact for additional information?

Email Caroline Williams at or call her at 205-726-2841.

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