Students presently in the 10th or 11th grade in high school whose custodial parents or guardians established legal residency in North Carolina no later than December 1 of the current year. These students must have high academic ability and motivation and have a keen interest in science and mathematics. The program is not designed to provide incentive for students whose academic performance reflects a lack of self-motivation or discipline. Consideration is given to students whose abilities are not accurately reflected in grades and standardized test scores, such as those for whom English is a second language and those who are hearing impaired or have cerebral palsy.
The state coordinator's office in Durham mails out applications to the guidance offices in all public and private high schools in the state. The guidance counselors and science and mathematics teachers endeavor to make students aware of this opportunity. They may show the Summer Ventures video to create interest or have a director of the program from one of the universities come to the high school and make a presentation.
Applications are turned in to the guidance counselor who then mails them in to the Durham office postmarked no later than January 31 of the year in which the summer program is run.
An admissions committee, made up of professionals in education, science and mathematics from across North Carolina, selects the approximately 400 finalists invited to participate in SVSM. Each finalist is assigned to a specific campus based upon availability of the student's preferred academic program and that assignment is final.