FAQs for Prospective Students
- What is COSMOS?
- Who may attend COSMOS?
- Where and when is it held?
- How much does it cost to attend COSMOS?
- Is financial assistance available?
- How do I apply to COSMOS?
- When is the COSMOS application deadline?
- When will I be notified about whether or not I have been accepted into the program?
- Are there prerequisites for the courses?
- What about Teacher Recommendations? How does it work?
- Is there a minimum GPA that I need to be accepted into COSMOS?
- What is a typical day at COSMOS like?
- How many students will attend the program at UC San Diego?
- How are the housing accommodations set up?
- Do I absolutely need to complete the swim waiver/test?
- In regards to the swim test certification form, may I send in a copy of my lifeguard card?
- Who are the COSMOS faculty and staff?
- Can I get high school or college credit for COSMOS attendance?
- May I attend COSMOS more than once?
- Where can I find out more information about San Diego?
- What do I do if I have more questions?
Q: What is COSMOS?
A: The California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) at UC San Diego is a rigorous, four week residential program for talented and motivated students entering grade 9 through grade 12. COSMOS students enroll in short courses that are designed to introduce students to subjects not traditionally offered in high school.
Q: Who may attend COSMOS?
A: California students completing grades eight through twelve by the summer in which they wish to participate may apply to COSMOS. Parents are encouraged to discuss with their child his or her maturity and readiness to participate in a month-long residential program on a public research university campus. Participants are selected in the spring on the basis of their academic performance, test scores, essay responses, extracurricular math and science achievements, and recommendations. A limited number of students from outside the state are considered each year. However, these students must pay out-of-state tuition.
* COSMOS invites applications from outstanding high school students who excel in mathematics and science. Only graduating 8th graders achieving academic excellence in mathematics or science courses beyond the typical 8th grade level will be considered for admission, and must be mature enough to participate in a one-month residential program away from home. A small percentage of applying 8th graders are admitted to COSMOS each year.
Q: Where and when is it held?
A: COSMOS is hosted at four UC campuses: UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz. The 2013 COSMOS at UCSD will run from Sunday, July 7th through Saturday, August 3rd, 2013. Please note that other COSMOS sites may have different program dates.
Q: How much does it cost to attend COSMOS?
A: Tuition for COSMOS 2013 is $2,950.00. The actual estimated cost per student for the full four-week program is $6,000. Out-of-state residents are required to pay the full tuition of $6,000. Tuition includes room and board, classroom materials, academic field trips, and transportation while on campus.
Q: Is financial assistance available?
A: Yes. California residents may be eligible for further tuition assistance based on family income.
To apply for financial aid applicants must write a brief statement about
their situation, submit a copy of Federal tax documents from the previous year,
and complete the one-page Financial Assistance Form during the application period.
Q: How do I apply to COSMOS?
A: Simply complete the on-line application that will be available at this website on January 21st and mail all of the supplementary application materials prior to the COSMOS Office before the February 22nd deadline.
Q: When is the COSMOS application deadline?
A: Applications and supplementary materials for students wishing to be considered for must be received or postmarked by February 22nd
Q: When will I be notified about whether or not I have been accepted into the program?
A: E-mail is the primary form of communication for the COSMOS office. An e-mail message will be sent to applicants prompting them to check their online application account by the end of April. Admission will not be shared to anyone over the phone.
Q: Are there prerequisites for the courses?
A: Some of the courses require prerequisites. Please check the cluster description section for courses marked with an asterisk. Students who select a cluster that they do not meet the requirement cannot be considered for that said cluster.
Q: What about Teacher Recommendations? How does it work?
A: For your convenience, COSMOS is implementing an on-line recommendation submission method. During the course of the application students will be asked to enter the names and e-mail addresses of two of their teachers/instructors. Once the student has completely finished and submitted his/her application an automatic e-mail message will be sent to the teachers. Within that e-mail message there will be a link to the application website asking them to respond to a questionnaire.
It is the student's responsibility to solicit a recommendation from their science, math, or computer science teachers. The student should check with his/her teacher periodically to see if the e-mail message was received and completed. It is important to note that the Recommendation Request will not be sent out until the student has finished their application. In the event that the teacher did not receive the e-mailed Recommendation Request the student can log into their own WeTeach account and resend the teacher the request.
A : To be considered for admission to COSMOS, students must have achieved academic excellence in science and/or mathematics. While grades are one of the elements reviewed, achievement can also be documented through the following: competition in science fairs or other programs, completion of special projects, or high performance on standardized tests. Students who are motivated and have achieved academic excellence in one or more of these areas are encouraged to apply. Our average unweighted GPA for 2012 applicants was around 3.8.
Q: What is a typical day at COSMOS like?
A: Each student's COSMOS schedule is built around a cluster consisting of a science and/or mathematics related course, and a science writing/communications course. On a typical day, COSMOS students attend special lectures, take courses, or participate in labs or course-related field trips. Recreation and study groups are built into the evening and weekend schedules. Special activities and supervised field trips are planned for the weekends. Social and cultural events and friendly competitions, including dorm Olympics, have been popular in the past. Evening activities such as COSMOS Jeopardy, karaoke, and a student-organized talent show are highlights as well. Click here for a look at a typical week in COSMOS.
Q: How many students will attend the program at UC San Diego?
A: COSMOS at UC San Diego is expecting to accommodate a maximum of 165 students in the summer of 2013.
A: COSMOS has acquired the use of two buildings in the newest Residential Halls at UC San Diego in the Eleanor Roosevelt College area. They are located on the northwest portion of the La Jolla campus. Specifically the Latin America and North America Halls, which are regularly assigned to first year ERC undergraduates. COSMOS participants will be separated by gender, and assigned to a building of the same gender and will be under the supervision of Residential Advisors who will also reside with the students in each suite.
A: All students participating in Cluster 3 are required to show proof of swimming comprehension due to the nature of the Living Oceans and the Impacts of Climate Change Cluster. All other COSMOS participants are encouraged to acquire certification as they may wish to participate in Beach Day or other water-based activities.
The Swim Test Certification Form will be available to accepted COSMOS students. It can be taken to a local Municipal Pool, a certified lifeguard, a community college recreation facility, or to UCSD Canyon View Pool one month prior to Opening Day. Our requirements are that a person can do 200 yards of continuous swimming and a 5 minute treading of water. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the safety of all students, however you can opt-out of activities that are water-based and merely decline at the bottom of the provided form.
A: Yes, if the student is a certified lifeguard or has a valid Red Cross Water Safety certification card, he/she can submit a photo copy and attach it. Please complete the Swim Test Certification Form.
Q: Who are the COSMOS faculty and staff?
A: COSMOS faculty are accomplished practicing scientists, mathematicians, researchers, and teachers. Most are university instructors. The student-teacher ratio is roughly twelve-to-one. The COSMOS staff includes a program director, program manager, program specialist, program assistant, residential dean, a senior residential advisor, and trained undergraduate live-in residential assistants (RAs).
Q: Can I get high school or college credit for COSMOS attendance?
A: COSMOS is an academic enrichment program. It is not meant to replace high school or college course work, and does not grant academic credit. COSMOS participation helps students demonstrate their academic excellence and provides a distinctive opportunity to develop integrated skills for success in a college-like residential learning community. Students applying to the University of California may reference their participation in the program under "Special Program Participation" directly on the UC application. COSMOS also gives students a unique opportunity to work closely with university faculty who may be helpful with recommendations to college.
Q: May I attend COSMOS more than once?
A: Due to the high volume of applications, we are not accepting returning students at this time.
Q: Where can I find out more information about San Diego?
A: Online you can visit http://www.sandiego.org/.
(Note: this site is not maintained nor endorsed by COSMOS.)
For information regarding UC San Diego campus crime statistics, visit: www.police.ucsd.edu.
Q: What do I do if I have more questions?
A: Contact COSMOS via e-mail at email@example.com, or call us at (858) 822-4361.
FAQs for Parents
- What is the level of supervision provided?
- Will my child be safe?
- COSMOS seems really strict. Can I authorize my child to have more freedom?
- What is the best way to communicate with my child?
- What should I do if my child is homesick?
- Can I come visit?
- Are there other programs similar to COSMOS?
- Other questions?
A: While students are ultimately responsible for their own conduct, administrative, instructional, and residential staff all work together to provide supervision. When students are not in class, they are supervised by residential staff who live in the dorms with the students. The residential staff consists of one Resident Dean who oversees a staff of 14-16 undergraduate Resident Assistants (RAs) from UC San Diego.
Students will meet with their cluster RA on a daily basis. At this time, the RA will check in with students to see how things are going in their cluster. If a student has any concerns, they should bring it up with one of their cluster RAs, a floor RA, the Coordinator for Residential Assistants, or to any other COSMOS staff member in which the student feels comfortable.
A: The COSMOS policies are put in place to keep the students safe at all times. Some of these policies include:
Students must be in the dorms by 10:00pm.
- No traveling on campus alone. Students must use the buddy system.
- If going off campus, students must be accompanied by a COSMOS staff member or with a pre-approved family member.
- On field trips, students must check in with staff at designated locations and times.
Students and parents should review the Student Handbook for more specifics on COSMOS policies. Parents will know best if a student is capable of following the policies while away from home.
If at any time, a student does not feel safe, they should let a COSMOS staff member know so that the situation can be remedied.
A: Inevitably, there will be students who are given more freedom at home and feel that the rules at COSMOS are too strict. There will also be students who have stricter rules at home and are surprised by the amount of autonomy they are given. The COSMOS policies were designed to help us ensure each student's safety and manage a large group of teenagers on the campus. There is one set of rules for all students, regardless of their age or "freedom" allowed at home.
Older students, or students who are used to operating more independently should consider this before coming to COSMOS.
A: Students are kept very busy at COSMOS and often don't have a lot of time to devote to writing letters, email, or calling on the phone. Even if you don't hear from them, trust that they love to hear from you. Below are some suggestions and comments on different options for communicating with your child while they are at COSMOS. You can also read our "Testimonials" to see what worked (or didn't work) for parents in the past.
Letters: A hand-written (or typed) letter is a great way to communicate with your child and to help them feel in touch with the family. Students are thrilled to receive mail and can read a letter over and over. Encourage other friends and relatives to write letters as well.
E-mail: Students who bring a laptop computer to COSMOS will have an easy time accessing e-mail (please have your child set up an e-mail account with a service such as Yahoo or Hotmail prior to attending COSMOS). All students will have access to the computer lab, but the hours and numbers of computers are very limited. If your child sends a quick note in lieu of a long, detailed update, it's probably because there is a line of students wanting to get on the computer.
Phone: The numbers of pay phones on campus are limited, making it difficult for students to call home on a regular basis. Phone conversations may be shortened due to a long line of other students waiting to use the phone.
Phone Messages: To get a message to a student quickly, you can phone the COSMOS office and leave a message. The RA will give the message to the student that day. .
Cell Phone: Students are only permitted to use cell phones in their resident hall rooms or during free time, therefore, it may be necessary for parents to leave voice messages for their student. If parents must reach their student for any reason, we encourage you to contact the COSMOS office.
Weekly newsletters: COSMOS distributes a newsletter once a week to students. If parents have access to email, they will receive a copy of this newsletter electronically. Many parents find this general piece of communication extremely reassuring.
Please see our "Testimonials" to see what was effective for other families.
A: Four-weeks can be a long time to be away from home (for the student and the parents). Before coming to COSMOS, this should be discussed with your student. The first week is often the most difficult to get through. Our staff will work hard to make sure that students are connecting with one another and feeling like they belong.
If you are concerned about your child's homesickness, please contact the COSMOS office immediately. Our staff will work hard to help the student adjust to life at COSMOS. Nearly all students who initially experience homesickness ultimately enjoy their COSMOS experience.
While it can be extremely difficult, please do not respond to your child's "rescue call" by coming to campus to talk them into staying. Once a student sees a ride home, there is rarely any turning back. If a student is begging to come home, please call a COSMOS staff member so that we can discuss different options. While it may be best for the student to go home in the end, we prefer to try other strategies first.
Please see our "Testimonials" for other suggestions.
A: As many families live too far to visit during the program, it is certainly not necessary to visit your child during the program. Weekend time allows students to establish friendships and become fully involved in residential life. For those who live nearby, parents and family members may come to campus on Family Visitation Weekend. This weekend is designated for families who wish to reunite with their student; specific dates and times will be posted after students are accepted. Students who choose not to or cannot participate will have other activity options available to them. We thank parents for their cooperation in limiting their visits to that designated Family Visitation Weekend and inform the COSMOS Team of their intentions by completing the Family Visitation Weekend Departure Form prior to the start of the COSMOS program.
Please see our "Testimonials" to see how other parents felt about visiting during the program.
A: We understand that COSMOS might not be for everyone. Over the years, we have created a list of other summer enrichment programs in California. Many of these programs offer similar areas of study. The majority of these programs charge tuition, but quite a few offer financial aid or scholarships.
Please note: we do not have any affiliation with these programs, nor can we answer questions regarding them. We offer this list just as an additional resource for interested students and their families.
A: If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
FAQs for Teachers
- What is the COSMOS Teacher Fellow program? Why should I become a Teacher Fellow?
- When is the application due?
- How will the Teacher Fellows be involved with the faculty?
- When is the training for Teacher Fellows?
- Are meals and lodging available for Teacher Fellows?
- Whom can I contact with more questions?
Q: What is the COSMOS Teacher Fellow program? Why should I become a Teacher Fellow?
A: COSMOS encourages local math or science high school teachers to apply as participants in the COSMOS Teacher Fellow Program. Participants choose the cluster topic most interesting to them and receive a stipend. Teacher Fellows are chosen for their personal and professional achievements and the potential impact they have on the academic development of their students. Each cluster has an affiliated Teacher Fellow, whose experience of working with secondary students assists and supports the UC San Diego faculty. While providing instructional support, Teacher Fellows also deepen their own knowledge and experience through working with university instructors, participating in field and laboratory work and teaching a Science Communications course. It is the goal of the COSMOS Program to create a strong academic foundation for our participants. By including Teacher Fellow in this process we are giving them an opportunity to work with gifted and talented high school students from all over the state, form relationships with university researchers and scientists, and gain access to university resources.
Q: When is the application due?
A: All applications from interested high school teachers must be submitted by 5:00 p.m., February 1, 2013. The COSMOS Program Administration will review all applications. Once this initial internal review has taken place, faculty will review the finalists and schedule interviews in collaboration with the Director in order to ensure the Teacher Fellow’s ability closely matches the needs of the cluster. Please note that all finalists must undergo a background check.
Q: How will the Teacher Fellows be involved with the faculty?
A: Teacher Fellows serve as the pedagogical bridge between high school student learning and university faculty teaching. They are chosen for their professional and personal achievements and the impact they have on the academic development of students in their high school classrooms. Each Teacher Fellow comes with high recommendations from their site administrators. They should directly participate in all classroom, laboratory and field work and will serve as a liaison between the residential and academic programs and should be involved in the teaching of the main cluster content. For example, for Cluster 2 – Engineering Design and Control of Kinetic Sculptures, the Teacher Fellow could teach a lesson on the basics of velocity, acceleration, force, momentum and energy. They will also be included in the development of ideas for student final projects. Teacher Fellows work with COSMOS Administrators to improve the Science Communication course through interaction with cluster faculty to ensure the goals of this course as well as the goals of the entire cluster curriculum are met.
Q: When is the training for Teacher Fellows?
A: Teacher Fellows will participate in training sessions in May, June, and early July, with both faculty and the COSMOS Resident Assistants (RAs). The faculty will also use this time to “work though” cluster experiments to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
Q: Whom can I contact with more questions?
A: Contact COSMOS via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (858) 822-4361.
FAQs for Alumni
- How can I keep COSMOS up to date with my activities?
- Is there a COSMOS Alumni Facebook group?
- Are there any UCSD Alumni events that I can attend?
Q: Is there a COSMOS Alumni Facebook group?
A: The Alumni Facebook group is run by the Statewide program and can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2217094078
Q: Are there any UCSD Alumni events that I can attend?
A: Yes, we will be having Alumni events, including the COSMOS Open House at UCSD. These events will be open to all past COSMOS participants, including those that attended at the other three campuses. If you would like make sure to be on our mailing list for these events, please email us.
Admitted & Current Students
- I've been accepted. Now what do I do?
- What should I bring to COSMOS?
- What will the average day be like at COSMOS?
- Can I pick a roommate?
- Can I leave campus during the program? Can my parents come visit?
- I have more questions. Who should I contact?
Q: I've been accepted. Now what do I do?
A: You should have received an email with a link to our Forms and Waivers page, which includes a link to an online survey. Please complete the 2013 COSMOS Acceptance and Roommate Survey to confirm your attendance by May 6, 2013. The package of waivers on the Forms and Waivers page must be postmarked by June 7 , 2013. If you have not received either of these emails, please contact us. If you need access to the Forms and Waivers page but do not have the link, please contact us.
Q: What should I bring to COSMOS?
A: Please see our list of what to bring.
Q: What will the average day be like at COSMOS?
A: Please see the sample of our daily schedule.
Q: Can I pick a roommate?
A: Students are assigned to a gender-specific building, and are housed with other students who are in the same age range. In the interest of developing a diverse housing community, requests for a specific roommate will not be honored.
Q: Can I leave campus during the program? Can my parents come visit?
A: For everyone’s safety, and to help encourage our students to fully enjoy all of the educational and interpersonal opportunities at COSMOS, we have found it best to limit guest visitations and not permit students to leave campus during our program. Due to the intensity of the academic program, students are not permitted to have visitors (including family members) without the prior knowledge and consent of the COSMOS Manager, which must be obtained at least 24-hours in advance. Only in the case of emergency situations will special provisions be made for a student to leave campus or have a visitor(s) during the COSMOS Program.
COSMOS does encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to visit or pick-up their student on Family Visitation Weekend. Parents/guardians may check-out their child between 6-9:00pm on Friday, July 19. Students can be checked in on Sunday, July 21, between 2-5pm. Any student participating in Family Visitation Day/Weekend must sign in and out with a designated COSMOS staff member and give prior notification in writing that they will be participating in Family Visitation Day/Weekend. Family Weekend is an optional activity. COSMOS staff will be on campus to supervise those students who will be staying on campus during the weekend. There will be planned activities for students who choose to stay on campus during Family Visitation Weekend.
Should a parent/guardian need to visit a student, they must inform our staff a minimum of 24-hours prior to the intended visit. Advance notification about parental visits will allow us to alert you to possible COSMOS-related scheduling conflicts. The parent/guardian should call the on-site COSMOS office number and be prepared to send an email (email@example.com) or fax (858 822-3903) to the Assistant Director stating their intent to visit. Please remember, however, that a student who is removed from the program for any period of time may be considered dismissed and ineligible for refund.
Avoid scheduling appointments during the duration of the COSMOS Program: Sunday, July 7 through Saturday, August 3, 2013. Please mark your calendar accordingly!
Q: I have more questions. Who should I contact?
A: Please do not hesitate to contact the UCSD COSMOS office with any more questions. You may also find more answers in the COSMOS Student Handbook.