Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the age limit for students to attend?
A: SMI is a summer program for high school students. Most of our students will be rising high school juniors and seniors, but rising 10th-graders are welcome as well.

Q: How do I pay and register?
A: Registration will be available via Eventbrite. Click here for registration.

Q: How do I sign up for specializations?
Learn more about the different specializations that we will offer here. Select your desired specialization during the registration process via Eventbrite.

Q: How do I sign up for electives?
Students will receive an elective preference survey after registration. The elective preference survey is usually emailed to students during the month of April.

Q: Does my child have to apply for the program?
A: No. Students are accepted first-come, first-serve until we reach capacity. We are expecting between 120 to 160 participants.

Q: Are there any additional costs that I should be aware of?
A: No. There aren’t any additional costs. We do suggest sending a small amount of cash for students to use for snacks or meals outside of Gator Dining. The fee for food is included in the registration fee but some students will occasionally choose to buy a separate meal elsewhere on campus. There are several fast food options in Reitz Union next door to our college, which is located in Weimer Hall.

Q: Can teachers/media advisors attend?
A: No. It’s our policy to welcome students only in order to allow them to have an independent experience in a college setting. This gives them the opportunity to explore and live up to college-level expectations regarding behavior and performance. They are encouraged and expected to go beyond the closely-supervised style of learning that they experience in their high school programs.

Q: Can students attend without staying in the dorms if they live in Gainesville or the surrounding area? Can a student from out of town stay with a friend or sibling who lives in Gainesville during SMI? 
A: No, students attending SMI must stay in the residence hall.

Q: Should students bring iPads, laptops or other electronic equipment to the institute?
A: They are not needed – and we do not recommend it, because we cannot guarantee the security of any electronic devices at the Institute, in dorm rooms or in the College. Some students do have their own equipment and prefer to bring it with them. It is up to the student to protect/secure his or her equipment at all times, if they choose to bring it along. Any electronics or other gear brought to the camp is solely the responsibility of the student and cannot be secured, protected or insured by the Institute.

Q: Is Wi-Fi available in the dorms?
A: Yes. Students will have access to Wi-Fi in their rooms.

Q: Is professional clothing required?
A: No, it is not required, but students who are taking part in reporting or anchoring specializations should consider bringing clothing that would be appropriate for field reporting/interviewing work or on-air performance. For example, a nice pair or slacks and a polo shirt would be more appropriate than cutoff shorts and a t-shirt or tank top.

Q: Is prior media experience required?
A: No, students come to the camp with varying levels of experience. We expect this. They will be taught new skills and will work at their own pace.

Q: Can students traveling from out of town or internationally arrive early?
A: We are able to accommodate students arriving a few hours in advance. However, we do not have staff or lodging available for students arriving a day in advance or departing the day after check out.

Q: Can students traveling from out of town be picked up from any other airports besides Gainesville Regional Airport?
A: No, we do not have shuttle service available from any other airports. Students can be picked up from the Gainesville Regional Airport or a Gainesville bus stop by a camp supervisor, if they provide pickup and drop off information, including flight or bus times, when they register.

Q: What should I bring to the camp?
A: You should bring a pillow, a pillowcase and hygiene products, as well as bed sheets and a blanket, or a sleeping bag. The beds are twin XL. Fitted sheets are not necessary. Flat sheets of any size can be wrapped around the mattress. You should also bring towels and washcloths. For the outdoors bring clothes to be comfortable in hot weather, but keep in mind that the air conditioned buildings can be chilly so be sure to bring a sweater or a jacket to stay warm indoors. Also, be sure to bring any medications you might need.

Q: How many students will stay in each dorm room?
A: Boys and girls will be in separate rooms. Two or three campers will share each room.

Q: Can my son/daughter share a room with a friend also attending?
A: Yes, a student can request to share a room with a friend by submitting a request. This is one of the questions you are asked when you fill out your application/registration form.

Q: What do students do in the evenings?
A: After dinner, we have fun nightly activities planned for each evening. These could include things such as a scavenger hunt and karaoke/dance party.

Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Any requests for tuition refunds will be informed by the UF SMI Refund Policy:

  • Cancellation requests received before March 1 will be refunded less $100.
  • Cancellation requests received before April 1 will be refunded less $350.
  • Cancellation requests received before May 1 will be refunded less $550.
  • Cancellation requests received before May 15 will be refunded less $750.
  • No tuition refunds will be offered on or after May 15.

Requests for tuition refunds must be submitted via email to The tuition refund amount will be dictated by the date and time (Eastern) stamp when the email is received.

Q: How can I help? Is there a way to donate to UF SMI?
A: We welcome your support. This transformational experience relies on generous gifts from alumni, families, and supporters. Donate here.