Explore Engineering Frequently Asked Questions

2017 Explore Engineering Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ Navigation

Explore Engineering Program: Program Details | Costs | Housing/Meals | Student Visas
Explore Engineering Application: Eligibility/Enrollment | Transcripts | Test Scores | Online Application Details | Application Deadlines

Online Application


Q:  What grade level can apply to the program?

A:  We are accepting applications from freshman, sophomores, and juniors in high school.  This means the applicant must be a returning international high school student (15-17 years old at time of application). Seniors who are already applying to college cannot apply to Explore Engineering.

Q:  Who is considered an international student?

A:  A person who is not any of the following: U.S. citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or asylee who currently lives and studies outside the U.S.  According to the UCLA freshmen admissions criteria, a person who requires a visa to study at UCLA is considered an international student.

Q:  Are domestic students accepted to the Explore Engineering program?

A:  No, we do not accept applications from domestic students for Explore Engineering. Please refer to the ESC domestic student programs: Tech Camp and HSSRP.

Q:  How can I access the online application for the 2017 Explore Engineering Program?

A:  The Explore Engineering online application will be open to all students on December 1, 2016. Students must enroll in the course, but no enrollment key is required.

Q:  I’ve tried to apply for the 2017 Explore Engineering Program, but the website tells me that I’m not eligible to take the questionnaire. Can you please direct me to the next step in order for me to sign up for the program?

A:  This error message usually happens when a students has forgotten to follow step #2, Click on “Enroll me in this course” in the left-hand column of the CCLE website.


Transcripts & Grades

Q:  Is there an official envelope from the program that our transcript senders must use to insert their hard copies? What would make it “official” and “sealed”?

A:  There is no official Explore Engineering envelope. Usually each high school has its own envelopes printed with school logo and letterhead. What makes an envelope “sealed” is usually the transcript sender signing along the back flap after the envelope has been sealed shut or using an official school stamp along the sealed envelope. What makes a transcript “official” is usually the transcript sender signing the transcript or stamping it with a school seal.

Q:  If my school is already sending an “official” copy of my transcript, why do I need to upload an “unofficial” pdf version of the transcript?

A:  We like to start reviewing applications as soon as possible due to the large amount of applications we receive and the very short turnover time we have to read and make decisions. We cannot review an application if we do not have at least an “unofficial” transcript. Waiting for the “official” transcript simply delays the review process and reduces the chance of admission.

Q:  My transcript request has been delayed because my school has not submitted first semester grades yet. Is there any other option if I cannot get my official transcript mailed by the application deadline?

A:  Submit your current transcript immediately so that your application is complete by the deadline. When your first semester grades have been entered into your records, you can send us a second transcript with the most recent grades to replace the original submission. If we do not have an official transcript on file at the time of the application deadline, then your application will be considered incomplete.

Q:  My school’s policies will not permit a PDF of my transcript. Is it possible for the office to fax my unofficial transcript to you?

A:  No, you cannot fax us any “Unofficial” transcripts. The purpose of uploading these documents is so that we have a digital copy we can begin to review before receiving “official” hard copies. The easiest thing for you to do is to scan the paper copy of the “unofficial” transcript. You can then save that scanned version as a pdf file and upload to our online application website.

Q:  Has my official transcript come in the mail?

A:  Please wait an adequate amount of time (~2 weeks) before emailing us () about the status of your transcript.  There are many factors affecting the delivery time of your transcript that we do not have control over! We highly recommend using an insured carrier (such as DHL) that requires a signature upon delivery, so you can track your transcript in the mail.


Grades & Test Scores (SAT/ACT/TOEFL/IELTS)

Q:  Are test scores required?

A:  Test scores are not required, but highly recommended. Test scores are a great way to demonstrate English proficiency.

Q: The application asks for an average score of all my high school courses.  What is an average score?

A: For example, in the US, all high school grades are on a 4-point scale.  Therefore, US high school students report their grade point average on a 4.00 scale.  We understand that other school systems use different grading scales, so please report your average score on the appropriate scale your school uses (For example, 8.5 average score on a 10 point scale, or 90 point average score on a 100 point scale).  If your school does not have a numeric grading system, then list your grades exactly as they appear on your transcript.

Q:  I have not yet taken the SAT or TOEFL. Will it affect admission into the program if I do not enter any scores on the application?

A:  Entering your scores on the SAT or TOEFL is strictly optional and does not affect admission into the program. However, if you have taken the SAT or TOEFL, we highly recommend you send us your scores.

Q:  If we have not taken the SAT, but have taken other exam scores taken in my home, can we report these scores?

A:  Yes, you can upload any test scores if you have not yet taken the SAT (AP exams, IELTS, A level exams, etc).

Q:  What do I do if I want to include other test scores?

A:  You can upload your ACT scores to the Supplemental Materials upload if you feel like they will add to your application. The inclusion of exam scores is optional, but highly recommended.


Online Application Details

Q:  Does every applicant have to complete the Online Video Interview?

A:  Yes, every applicant must complete the Online Video Interview.  The purpose of the Online Interview is two-fold:

  • To assess English proficiency.
  • To assess genuine interest in studying Engineering in the United States.

Therefore, all applicants must complete it.

Q:  I found an error in the application, what should I do?

A:  Please email us () immediately with a detailed description of the error! DO NOT press the “Need Help” button on CCLE, as that directs you to an entirely different department from Explore Engineering.

Q:  The application asks for the most advanced class I have taken in math/science. Do I enter the current class I am in?

A:  Those questions refer to the most advanced class you have completed. So if you are currently in Calculus BC, you would not enter it. Instead, you would enter the last math class you have completed and the grade assigned to that class (in this example, Calculus AB). If your high school’s semester has ended before you submit your application, you should submit the grades you received from that semester. For example, if you finished a semester of Calculus BC on December 02, then your most advanced class would be Calculus BC, first semester.

Q:  I’m not sure which supplemental application materials need to be mailed in and which materials should be uploaded online. Is the official transcript the only material that needs to be mailed?

A:  Your official transcript is the only material that must be mailed in as a hard copy. If you have taken college courses please also have an official transcript sent from the college as well.  The other supplemental application materials: PSAT/SAT/ACT/AP/IELTS/A level exam scores and unofficial transcripts must be uploaded online.

Note: You will need to mail in a hard copy of your official transcript AND upload an unofficial transcript online.

Q:  I did not format my response correctly on the online application. Is there a way to fix this even after I have submitted the questionnaire?

A:  Unfortunately, once applications are submitted, they cannot be changed by students. The only solution is to email  and ask to have your entire application deleted so that you can complete a brand new one.

Note: Please DO NOT submit duplicate applications until after you have notified us at 

Q:  I forgot to include something in my Supplemental Materials Upload but I have already submitted it, how do I fix it?

A:  You can email  to have your submission reverted to a draft so you can fix and resubmit your supplemental materials uploads.

Q:  How do I confirm my application has been submitted?

A:  After you submit the application online you will be redirected to a page stating “Thank you for submitting your application!” This is your confirmation for the questionnaire. For your online uploads, you can view yourself what uploads you’ve submitted, or you can email us at  to inquire about your application materials.

Application Deadlines

Q: What are the advantages of applying in the different application windows?

A: The cost increases with the later application windows. For Early Applicants (December 1, 2016 — December 31, 2016), the cost is $7500 USD. For Regular Applicants (January 1, 2017 — February 1, 2017), the cost is $8000 USD. For Late Applicants (February 2, 2017 — program start), the cost is $8500 USD.

Q:  When will I know if I am accepted into the program?

A:  We will start notifying admitted applicants on Febrary1, 2017 on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified of their admission 3-4 weeks after we receive all application materials. If you do not hear from us regarding your admission or waitlisting within this time, please send an email to .

Q:  How do I make a decision about other summer programs versus Explore Engineering?

A:  Our program is highly competitive. We recommend you accept other program offers if you have not heard from us by the end of March. You can contact William Herrera before you accept another program offer, but there is no guarantee you will receive a definitive response.


Program Details

Q:  When does the program run?

A:  The 3-week summer program runs from July 22, 2017 to August 12, 2017. In addition, there may be an overflow session that runs from July 1, 2017 and ends on July 22, 2017.

Q:  What if my high school starts before the end of the program (August 11, 2017)?

A:  This is not a problem if you attend an Boarding school in the United States; we have dealt with this successfully in the past. We will work with your school and principal in obtaining an independent study contract. This will allow you to complete the Explore Engineering program, preventing you from being marked absent at school. It also guarantees you as a student will complete all school work and will not fall behind.

A: This is a problem if you attend a high school outside of the United States.  In that case, we recommend you indicate you are only available for the overflow session, scheduled from July 1-July 22.

Q:  What will I be doing on a daily basis during the 3 weeks?

A:  Students will be working on their hands-on project in lab every day from approximately 8am-5pm. Students will be pulled out of lab periodically for Explore Engineering meetings for approximately 20% of each work week. Explore students will be assigned to specific groups and projects. The actual projects will be designed and selected by the professors and engineering student mentors.

Q: Can I choose the project I work on?

A:  Students will not be able to choose which project they work on. However, students will have the opportunity to rank their first-choice projects, and we will do our best to assign students to their top choice project.

Q:  Can I still learn about my first-choice project even if I get assigned to a different project?

A:  Yes. Every Friday, students will have the opportunity to learn about the other projects through peer-to-peer presentations.

Q:  What is a normal week for Explore participants?

A:  Students are expected to work in lab 40 hours a week, which averages out to an 8am-5pm daily work schedule. However, Explore Engineering students will be under mentor supervision 24 hours a day for the entire 3 weeks. Keep in mind Explore Engineering will schedule mandatory evening and weekend activities for ALL Explore students.

Q:  Does Explore Engineering have any weekend commitments?

A:  Yes, Explore Engineering does have weekend commitments.  Social and Cultural activities are scheduled in conjunction with our Domestic student summer programs (Tech Camp and HSSRP).  These activities are essential to experiencing the American culture and immersing fully in the American University experience.  In addition, Explore students will be using their free time for studying, completing assignments, and learning as much as possible about their hands-on engineering project.

Q:  Are we allowed to take a break or vacation during the program?

A:  No, Explore Engineering is an extremely competitive program and we expect a full 3 week commitment from students.

Q:  Can we take just one day off for a weekend trip with friends or family?

A:  No, there are always many highly qualified students on the waitlist who can commit every day and would like to take the spot.

Q:  What do we do if we want to visit family or friends during our stay in LA?

A:  We urge you to schedule these visits several days before the program begins or several days after the program ends.

Q:  Do I have to bring a laptop?

A:  A laptop is highly recommended, but it is not required as there will be computer labs available for participants to do their work.

Q: Do I have to bring a cell phone with an international data plan?

A: Yes, a cell phone with an international data plan is essential to communication with mentors and staff.


Q:  Is there an application fee?

A:  No, this year there is no application fee.

Q:  How much does the program cost?

A:  The program tuition depends on the date the application is completed.

  • Early Admission (December 1, 2016 — December 31, 2016): $7500 USD
  • Regular Admission (January 1, 2017 — February 1, 2017): $8000 USD
  • Late Admission(February 2, 2017 — program start): $8500 USD

  This tuition covers 3 weeks of the program costs and 3 weeks of housing and food.

Q:  What if I apply during the Early Admission window but I’m not accepted to the program until a later admission window?

A:  You will pay the tuition for the admission window your application was completed in. For example, if you complete the application in the Early Admission window and you are not notified of your acceptance until after February 2, you would still pay the Early Admission tuition of $7500.

Q:  What is not covered in the tuition?

A:  Transportation to and from UCLA/Airport is not covered in the tuition.  Lunch meals and any miscellaneous food costs during weekend trips away from the UCLA campus are not covered.  Any shopping or extra expenses the student incurs are not covered in the tuition.

Q:  What is included in the on-campus housing and food?

A:  The tuition covers a triple-bed dorm room (which will be shared with other Explore Engineering participants), and meal plan of 21 meals a week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in the dorm dining hall.

Note: The Engineering buildings have many adjacent eateries where student will be able to purchase food. Students should plan accordingly to accommodate for lunch meals.



Q:  Is food provided?

A:  Students who live on campus will have 21 meals provided in the dining hall (3 meals/day).

Q:  What type of supervision is available for the students staying in the UCLA Residence Hall?

A:  There will be a Residential Director and Residential Mentors to supervise all Explore Engineering students, which is approximately 1 supervisor for every 10 Explore students. The residential team is responsible for nightly curfew checks and morning wake up calls for the entirety of the program. The residential team will also provide evening and weekend social activities for the Explore Engineering students.

Q:  Are students allowed off campus during the weekend?

A:  No, students are not allowed to leave campus during the weekends for non Explore Engineering trips. However, Explore Engineering mentors will set up social activities and trips for the students during that time. For example: trips to Santa Monica Pier and beach, the Grove shopping mall, etc.


Student Visas

Q:  What type of visa will students need to participate in the Explore Engineering Program?

A:  Students will be allowed to participate in the program with any valid tourist or visitor visa.

Q:  Will the Explore Engineering program provide accepted students with a formal letter to help students attain this visa in their home country?

A:  Yes, Explore Engineering will be providing a formal letter acceptance letter which can be used to apply for a visa.

If your question is not listed, please email .