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2023 COVID-19 Policy Update:
We plan to have our program in person this year. However, we may be forced to move our program online due to circumstances beyond our control. All field trips and in-person lab activities will be canceled if so, and the program continued online. We will update this website and our applicants on the status of the YRP program if needed. If we're online, you must have access to a computer and WiFi to join our weekly seminars and research activities with your mentor. We cannot provide you with a computer of WiFi. Please email us at if you have any questions. 

I am still confused about YRP. What is it?
YRP is an opportunity for rising seniors to gain real-world scientific research experience by completing hands-on research projects with the guidance of a graduate student mentor. Our goal is to expose students to scientific ideas and experiences they may not know about otherwise and to encourage them to consider a future career in science. The research skills and laboratory experience that students gain during YRP will be beneficial to their college application and to their development as critical thinkers, even if students decide to major in a different scientific field in college.

Who is eligible to apply?
Only high school students who are finishing their junior year and entering their senior year in Fall 2023 are eligible to participate. All applicants must be attending high school in the Los Angeles, Lynwood, Compton, or Inglewood Unified School Districts. Charter schools are okay! Please see our "Apply" tab for more information about eligibility requirements.

How much time does YRP take?

YRP is a six-week program lasting from mid-June to the end of July. Each participant is expected to work with their mentors on their science project for 15 hours per week. Your specific schedule will be determined by you and your mentor. There will also be mandatory field trips and weekly seminars (2 hours weekly).

Does it cost anything to participate in YRP?
No! YRP does not charge our students any fees. 

How do I apply?

To apply, click here.

When is the application deadline? Can I apply late?
March 31, 2023. Exceptions will only be considered in extreme circumstances. Please email us at if you believe you need an extension.

When will I know if I'm admitted into YRP?
By late April.

What kinds of laboratories are available for me to do research in? Will I get my first choice specialty?
Laboratory specialties are dependent on what fields our mentors are for the particular summer. In the past, research topics have spanned a wide variety of fields, including geology, oceanography, astronomy, physics, mathematics, neuroscience, psychology, molecular biology, chemistry, marine biology, and engineering. We cannot guarantee that you will get your first-choice science field, but we will do our best to match you with a mentor with as similar a specialty as possible. Keep in mind that all research experience is useful!

What if I cannot attend a field trip or other mandatory event?
You must let us know this by the date of student orientation. Only absences due to 
emergency situations will be excused. Any other absences may result in your termination from the program.

Do I need to have vaccinations to participate?

Yes. USC requires all minors to be up-to-date on their vaccines, including measles and two COVID-19 vaccinations. We are required to ask for proof of vaccinations upon program acceptance. No exceptions can be made.

Is help with housing or transportation available?
YRP does not provide housing for students. You are responsible for your own transportation to and from USC's campus. LA metro passes will be provided to students to help with transportation costs!

I don't live in Los Angeles, but I visit every summer. Can I apply?

No. Our funding is limited and we are focused on mentoring students living in and attending high school full-time in our Los Angeles community.
Will YRP provide college recommendation letters?
While there is no guarantee, YRP is an excellent opportunity to network with graduate students and faculty at USC who may later be willing to write you a college recommendation letter. This is at each individual's discretion. We hope you'll use your time in YRP wisely by making connections with mentors and potential future letter writers.

Does my GPA or SAT scores matter? Can I submit them to boost my application?
No and no. We do not request your GPA or SAT scores in our application.

Do I need to know how to swim to participate in YRP activities?
No! You do not need to know how to swim to participate in YRP.

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