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 2021 graduates and those who will be rising ninth- and 10th-graders are welcome as well.

Q: How do I pay and register?
A: Registration will be available via Eventbrite soon.  Check back for registration updates.

Q: How do I sign up for specializations and electives?
Specializations and electives are still being finalized. Check back for updates about what classes will be available.

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 130 to 150 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 that 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 not to have instructors attend with the students 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 have friends or family to stay with in Gainesville?
A: Yes, staying in the dorms is not required. Students who live or have family in Gainesville can be dropped off daily. However, they cannot be picked up to leave campus at the end of the day without checking in with a supervisor. The person picking them up must meet the supervisor to ensure they are leaving with the appropriate guardian or family member. There is a small discount if students notify in advance that they will not be staying in the dorms. Let us know well enough in advance so that we can discuss the particulars.

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 photojournalism students do have their own cameras and prefer to bring those 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 WiFi available in the dorms?
A: No, it is not.

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 (khakis?) 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: No, we do not have staff on site to supervise students prior to the registration time for the program. Arriving an hour or two early is fine. Arriving a day in advance is not.

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 students have supervised free time to work on projects or resumes, or to have any yearbooks or any video work critiqued by the resident advisers or class instructors. We will also plan fun evening activities that are to be determined. These could include a scavenger hunt and karaoke/dance party.