When and where will the camp be held?
SPARC typically takes place at California State University, East Bay for two weeks in late July. SPARC 2022 will be held at UC Berkeley, from July 18 - July 30.
How much does the camp cost?
In order to attract the best students possible, SPARC is completely free. Boarding and food are also provided.
Need-based scholarships to cover the cost of travel are available. You’ll have the chance to apply for one if you are admitted to SPARC.
What is a typical day at SPARC like?
We have four to five hours of classes or activities each day, and an invited speaker many evenings. The rest of the time students generally relax, talk with each other and the instructors, or participate in optional activities.
What does SPARC stand for?
Summer Program for Applied Rationality and Cognition
What is "applied rationality"?
Applied rationality is the practice of using techniques from decision theory, behavioral economics and statistics to form beliefs about the world as accurately as possible and improve mental habits.
I'm not a high school student. Where can I learn more about the content that SPARC teaches?
SPARC is loosely affiliated with the Center for Applied Rationality, which leads workshops for people of all ages.
Have a different question? E-mail us at
How do I apply?
You can submit your application by opening the form on the Apply tab. The 2022 Application is now closed. 2023 applications will open around February 2023.
What is the application process like?
We create our own custom written application, which is followed by a short candidate interview if necessary.
We aim to notify everyone of their acceptance status by April 15th at the latest.
What does SPARC look for in students?
Historically, we've looked for students who are curious and driven to get answers to their questions, or self-reflective and thoughtful, or good at simplifying and solving hard problems.
Who is eligible?
You are welcome to apply if you are currently in high school or have not finished your first year as an undergraduate.
In general, we expect to mostly accept students who are in at least 11th grade of high school or equivalent (e.g. homeschooled). Younger students are accepted too and are welcome to apply, but if you are not accepted this year, we encourage you to apply in future years.
If you do not meet these criteria but would still like to come, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss exceptions.
I don't live in the United States. Can I still apply?
International students are welcome.
Optionally, our sister camp ESPR is also open for applications.
Should I apply to SPARC if I don’t know [X]?
Yes. The SPARC curriculum mostly requires a curious mind and a willingness to reflect. The mathematical requirement can be challenging but is not the basis for the entire application. Some classes are taught in several tracks to accommodate students’ varying backgrounds.
How many people will be accepted?
SPARC will admit about 30 students, of an average applicant pool of 250 students.
What grade reports, test scores, or recommendation letters will I need to apply for SPARC?
None! We look for accomplishments, projects or awards you are proud of, but don't require any specific tests.