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THINK Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply?

Fill out the online application and upload the supporting documents (transcript, essays, etc.). See the How to Apply page for more details.

When is the application deadline?

The online application typically opens in December or January and accepts submissions through March, although specific dates vary each year.  See the How to Apply page for more specific deadlines. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis due to limited space availability. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible in order to be placed in their preferred courses. 

How are students selected to attend the THINK Summer Institute?

Applicants must demonstrate both exceptional ability and the potential to benefit from the course offerings, as well as the social and emotional maturity and organizational skills to thrive in this three-week residential environment.

How many applications do you receive each year, and what is the acceptance rate?

Application numbers vary year to year; last year we received about 80 applications. Most students were accepted, since we typically only receive completed applications from qualified students. From our experience, we have found students who are looking for a challenging academic experience and have taken the SAT, ACT, PSAT 10, or PSAT 8/9 at an early age are generally highly motivated and qualified for entry level college courses. This is why we ask for either the SAT, ACT, PSAT 10, or PSAT 8/9 score in addition to the other application materials. Since students take these tests at different ages and performance score scales adjust year to year, we do not have a rigid minimum score. Instead, we review applications as a whole (test scores, teacher recommendation, and essays) to determine if an applicant is ready for an college-level, residential program. If you have concerns about scores or other components of the application, we invite you to contact

When will students be notified if they have been accepted?

Students will be notified of acceptance within one month of application completion. Please note, applications are considered complete when all components have been received and the recommendation form has been completed by the educator.

What is the minimum score required on the SAT, ACT, PSAT 10, or PSAT 8/9 for admission?

We do not require a minimum score on these tests. Applications will be reviewed as a whole (test score report, essay, resume, and teacher recommendation) to evaluate student preparedness for a rigorous academic experience. If you are a member of another Davidson program, different requirements may apply—contact us for more information.

ACT: Test DatesRegistration
SAT: Test DatesRegistration

What if I want to make a change to my application once it has been submitted?

Please contact us at to make changes to your submitted application.

What if I am accepted, but don't get my first-choice class?

Students are placed in their course on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner you complete all parts of your application, the better your chances of getting in your first-choice course. You will be placed in your second or third choice course (depending on availability) if your first preference course is full. We can place you on a wait list for your first-choice class in case a space becomes available throughout the application and final enrollment processes. You will be notified before any changes are made to your course placement. Keep in mind that regardless of class selection and placement, all payment deadlines still apply to reserve your place at THINK.

I am a Davidson Academy student. Do these courses affect my high school transcript?

Yes, all THINK courses will be listed on your official Davidson Academy transcript and will be factored into your GPA. Additionally, your THINK course credits will be reflected on a University of Nevada, Reno transcript.

Should my child apply if they have a medical condition requiring specific care? What about mental health? 

If your child has a medical or mental health concern, please contact us before applying to discuss program eligibility and specific support we may be able to offer. We want to be as prepared as possible to welcome students and make their stay with us safe, comfortable and of course, fun! We find that the more honest and detailed you can be with our staff ahead of time, the better the student’s time at camp will be. We want to work with you to the best of our ability to ensure your child is set up for success and appropriate support while in our care. 

Tuition and Financial Assistance

What does the Davidson THINK Summer Institute cost?

The application fee, deposit, and remaining tuition fee covers course credits, room and board, textbooks and course materials, laundry fees, and the cost of all planned program activities. Participants are responsible for additional charges associated with transportation to and from the program as well as any desired spending money. Applications for financial assistance should be submitted concurrently with the program application. All THINK program fees are non-refundable.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

Please complete the Financial Assistance Application concurrently with the Davidson THINK Summer Institute application. This process can take some time, so we recommend starting as soon as possible. You can find more information on the Tuition and Fees page.

How much spending money should I bring?

Bring as much as your habits and comfort level would indicate. We usually recommend $75-$200. You will have the chance to visit the university bookstore, general store for snacks/drinks, and various gift shops. You may want to bring additional funds if you need to pay for checked baggage at the airport.

What if I cannot pay my deposit fee right away—can I get an extension?

Extension on a payment deadline is decided on a case-by-case basis. Please keep in mind that even if an extension is granted, we cannot hold your place in the program or class if it reaches capacity. 

Another opportunity or circumstance came up, and I can't attend THINK anymore. Can I get a refund?

All THINK fees and tuition are nonrefundable. However, we understand that students may not be able to attend due to unanticipated hardships. A partial refund may be awarded to students who cannot attend due to extenuating circumstances. These include:

  • Severe unexpected medical condition
  • Death in the immediate/nuclear family
  • Severe unexpected financial hardship

The decision to grant a partial refund is under the discretion of the Davidson Institute and refunds issued will be less any expenses already incurred in the application and preparation process. A refund request may be requested in writing along with any supporting documentation, if needed. 

Will I receive a 1098-T (Tuition Statement) for my THINK payment?

No, neither the University of Nevada, Reno nor the Davidson Institute issue a 1098-T. The University and the Institute have a contractual billing arrangement for THINK. The Institute collects the payment for THINK which includes tuition, room and board, and additional program costs; however, the Institute is not an eligible educational institution by IRS definition and cannot issue a 1098-T. Furthermore, the University operates THINK through Extended Studies as a special program offered only to the Institute. Although THINK students earn college credit, the University does not maintain separate financial accounts for THINK students as they are not enrolled as part of a degree seeking program at the University. Please keep in mind that the Davidson Institute cannot and does not issue tax advice; please contact your tax advisor for further consultation.


Are THINK courses official University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) courses?

Yes! The courses offered at THINK are actual college courses through the UNR. College credit earned by participants may be transferable to other universities, and in some cases, even high school programs. Courses are taught by faculty members of the University of Nevada, Reno and are offered exclusively to THINK participants during the program dates.

How many courses are taken during THINK?

Students will be enrolled in a single UNR course during their time at THINK (private to THINK students). Depending on the enrolled course, they will be receiving 3 or 4 UNR credits.

During THINK, am I considered a UNR student?

Yes. As a "THINKer," you are registered as a non-degree seeking college student—congrats! You'll receive a UNR student ID card and a UNR transcript after completing your courses.

Are prerequisites required for THINK courses?

Most classes do not have prerequisite requirements, as they are introductory level college courses. However, some courses (particularly math courses) require prerequisites. These will be indicated on the course page, and you will have the option to upload documentation of prerequisite completion in the online application. Documentation must be sent by an assigned deadline in May unless otherwise prearranged with our staff.

What information will I receive about my courses prior to attending THINK?

You will have access to a description of the course, including a biography of the instructor, and a tentative syllabus. The final syllabus will be given at the start of THINK during your course orientation with the instructor.

Do I need to purchase textbooks before the program?

No. Textbooks are provided by THINK for each course. Students will receive textbooks and other course supplies during the course orientations.

What do I need to do to prepare for my course? Will I have homework prior to the start of the program?

Some instructors will have you do some pre-reading before the first day of class, but generally, you do not need to do any homework or prep before THINK begins.

We will provide you with the textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, a small bag to hold these items and a laptop. You may bring other supplies if you would like (calculator, planner, etc.).

Where will the courses be taught?

Courses are held at various locations on UNR campus. Some courses may be held at the Davidson Academy (also located on the University campus).

How large are the classes?

Class size varies year to year but are typically capped at 15 students per course.

Will I attend an orientation session for my course?

Yes. Course orientation will take place on the second day of THINK. During this time you will receive your textbooks, meet your instructors, and learn what to expect in each course.

What is the course load like during THINK?

On a typical night at THINK, you can expect anywhere from one to three hours of homework. But, please don’t be intimidated! You will be living with other students in the same classes creating a collaborative, academically-focused environment that we hope you will find supportive and encouraging. Part of what students gain from THINK is a strong sense of time management and accomplishment—feeling more confident to enter a full semester of college in the future.

How can I access my grades and progress throughout the courses?

You can access your grades online through WebCampus/Canvas, which is an online tool to connect with your classroom and instructor. It provides an easy way for students to access course materials and for online submissions of course work. Not all THINK courses may use WebCampus/Canvas and there will be other ways to receive grades and materials, if so. The most accurate way to check your grade is directly with your instructor. At least one official progress report is required from instructors at the end of the second week of class (though your instructor may provide more).

You are responsible for monitoring your own academic performance, including grade calculations and anticipated final grades. Staff will remain aware of general course outcomes, but details regarding specific grades need to be addressed directly between you and your instructors.

Will my parents/guardians have access to my grades?

You can provide your parents with your WebCampus/Canvas log-in credentials if you feel comfortable doing so. However, it is up to you to provide this information as THINK staff does not have access to student usernames and passwords.

If parents have questions or concerns, we recommend that they first connect with you, as you will have the most direct access to your assignments and grades. However, our staff is also here to offer support should any additional questions arise.

What happens if I am struggling in a course?

THINK staff is here to support you! You are encouraged to reach out to Program Assistants, attend study sessions, and ask your instructor for help. Know that during your time at THINK, staff will be checking in with you to ensure you are on track and keeping up with the workload.

At the end of the second week of instruction, we will send a progress report via email to you and your parents which includes your cumulative grade up through that point in the program. This should help to give you an idea of what your final grade might look like in relation to the remaining course work and allotted points available.

In some cases, students who are unsatisfied with their academic performance and/or feel they are unable to complete the course with a grade they are comfortable receiving, may consider the option to audit their THINK course. The participant, the parent/legal guardian(s), program staff, and instructor must be in agreement with this decision. Per university policy, the decision to audit a course rather than earn a letter grade needs to be determined and delivered in writing (via email) to the THINK staff by the following Monday (first day of the final week of the program). 

What is auditing?

In rare circumstances, students explore the option to audit a course rather than take the class for credit. THINK staff will work with you and your family to determine if auditing the course is an appropriate option. The decision to audit involves both parents/legal guardians, student, THINK staff, and the instructors. Our goal is to help students successfully complete their course for credit with a letter grade, and students are expected to complete their course to the best of their ability. However, on occasion, a student may decide that the anticipated grade they will earn is unsatisfactory by their standards. If this is the case, you may decide to audit a course rather than receive a letter grade. If you choose this option, an audit (AU) will appear on your transcript indicating you participated in the course without earning credit or a grade. The decision to audit has a strict deadline of the last Monday of the program.

What happens to my courses if an unexpected circumstance comes up and I need to leave the program early?

As with a typical university class, family emergencies, illnesses and other outlying circumstances bring a number of factors into play: timing (how far into the course the student is), the instructor, the course structure, and student and family desires. Such situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

How can I access my final grades?

You may be able to view your grade through WebCampus/Canvas. However, this tool does not always reflect final grades as it is used as a communication tool between instructor and students and is not officially reported to the university and not all courses may use WebCampus/Canvas. Once final grades are submitted by instructors, usually about 2 to 3 weeks after THINK ends, you can also view your final grade in MyNEVADA. You will need to set up your account and can do so with the MyNEVADA instructions after THINK has started.

An unofficial copy of your UNR transcript will also be emailed to you about one month after THINK ends and it will reflect your final grades in your courses.

When will I receive a copy of my UNR transcript?

A copy of your UNR transcript will be sent via email by mid-to late September. This copy will be considered an unofficial transcript. You can order additional copies of official or unofficial transcripts directly through the UNR Transcript Requests page. We cannot provide any additional copies of official or unofficial transcripts as they come directly through the university.

Do I have to report my UNR grades received at THINK on college applications?

This will depend on the school(s) to which you are applying. Many schools will ask for a comprehensive list of college credits earned at other institutions. It is your responsibility to reach out to prospective schools and/or programs regarding their policies on credit reporting.

Can I transfer the college credit I receive at THINK to my high school or college?

It depends. It is up to the school you are trying to transfer the credits to if they will accept the credit or not. At the high school level, some students have advocated to have their college credit count towards high school credit. Individual colleges and universities have varied policies regarding credit transfer. All decisions to count credits are ultimately up to the school. It is your responsibility to reach out to prospective schools and/or programs regarding their policies on credit transfers.

I am a Davidson Academy student. Do these courses affect my high school transcript?

Yes, all THINK courses will be listed on your official Davidson Academy transcript and will be factored into your GPA. Additionally, your THINK course credits will be reflected on a University of Nevada, Reno transcript.

Student Life

Where will the students reside?

Each participant will be sharing a room and bathroom with one or two students on a private, locked floor in a dormitory on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Can I go home on the weekends?

This program is an intense academic residential experience. As such, students are expected to remain on campus for the full three weeks and are expected to fully participate in all courses and activities. Only those who are interested in a full-immersion college learning experience should apply.

Can my parents/guardians visit?

Yes. There are two opportunities for parents to check students out of the program for a brief visit on the second and third Sundays of the program. Due to campus security, these visits will need to be pre-scheduled with our staff at least 24 hours in advance.

How is the program supervised?

THINK participants are ultimately responsible for their own behavior. Administrative staff, program assistants, and instructors work in partnership with students to uphold program policies with the shared goal of creating and maintaining a safe, healthy program environment. Students are assigned a program assistant, who will serve as the primary contact during the program. Program assistants live in the dorms alongside students, attend classes, and supervise activities. They are available to offer assistance and support during the program and as well as implement program policies

Are special dietary meals provided?

Yes! Almost all meals during the program are eaten at the resident dining hall. This University of Nevada, Reno dining facility is experienced at accommodating student's special dietary needs. We work closely with the university dining staff to create a food allergy action plan to determine what accommodations can be made for specific student needs. It is not required, but students are also welcome to bring their favorite nonperishable snacks from home. If you have any questions or concerns about diet accommodations, please feel free to contact us.

When will I find out who my roommate is? Can I make a roommate request?

You will learn who your roommate is on arrival day. You will have the chance to fill out a dorm life survey before the program to help us match you. There is also a roommate request form where you can submit a request for a specific person, if you would like to do so. We will do our best to accommodate roommate requests, but cannot guarantee placement.

Are laundry services available?

Yes. There are laundry machines available within the residence hall. We provide laundry detergent and the funds needed to access the machines.

Are medical services available?

All program staff are CPR and First Aid certified. Emergencies will be directed to either St. Mary's Regional Medical Center or Renown Health. Students also have access to the University's Student Health Center. We also have a program nurse that checks in on a daily basis.

Will there be a chance to exercise during the program?

Students can regularly visit the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center with access to aerobic equipment, group fitness classes, running track, fitness stairs, and basketball courts. Students do not have access to strength areas. In the past, students have organized running groups and sporting events at or around the historic campus quad. 

Can I bring my musical instrument?

No. As a university policy, musical instruments are not permitted in the dorms.


When is the 2024 THINK Summer Institute?

THINK will be held from July 13 - August 3.

Who sponsors the Davidson THINK Summer Institute?

THINK is a program of the Davidson Institute in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno. THINK is a nonprofit program and the costs are subsidized by the Davidson Institute.

Where do students attend from?

Students come from all over the country! We have had attendees from almost every state.

Can homeschooled students participate?

Yes. Students who are being homeschooled are eligible, provided they meet the qualifications. Please email if you have questions about nominator information for homeschoolers.

How long has THINK been around?

Since 2004, THINK has served over 950 students.