(MS)2 FAQs

FAQs

GENERAL

What is (MS)2?

Mathematics & Science for Minority Students – better known as (MS)2 – is a 3-summer, residential program at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Established in 1977, (MS)2 supports academically talented high school students of color with math, science, and English enrichment opportunities as well as college counseling.

Who can apply?

(MS)2 currently is open to 9th grade students of color who attend publicly-funded high schools (i.e., traditional, charter, Bureau of Indian Education or tribally-controlled) from across the United States.

When should I apply?

Eligible students should apply in the fall of their 9th grade; (MS)2 does not accept applications from students in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade. The online application can be found here and is due January 15.

Is there an application fee?

No. There is no fee to apply to the (MS)2 scholarship program.

What is the cost to attend the (MS)2 program?

(MS)2 is free of charge for all accepted students, thanks to philanthropic support.

Scholars attend on full scholarships for three consecutive summers. Included are room and meals, textbooks, course materials, and transportation to and from the program. Scholars are responsible for incidental personal expenses during the five weeks each summer.

Does (MS)2 cover transportation to and from the program?

Yes. (MS)2 will purchase round-trip airline tickets each summer for those scholars traveling by air. Scholars who live closer to Phillips Academy are reimbursed for mileage based on the current IRS rates.

How much spending money should I bring?

Since personal buying habits vary, approximately $100-150 is recommended for incidentals and personal expenditures (e.g., souvenirs, snacks).

Do I have to attend all three summers?


Yes. We ask that all admitted scholars commit to attending all three summers, since we only accept scholars during 9th grade year.

Do I have to attend all 5 weeks each summer?


Yes, scholars are required to attend the full five-week session each summer. In special circumstances (e.g., health, educational conflict), the (MS)2 Director may grant an exception.

What are the characteristics of a successful applicant?


We are looking for motivated students who have a demonstrated interest in math and science, are interested in working hard during their summers, and are prepared to experience living away from home. Preference is given to applicants who excel in academics (score in top 10-20% of their class) and have a demonstrated financial need (i.e., first generation and low income).

Is there an admissions interview?

All applicants are notified in early February by email if they are finalists for the (MS)2 program. Finalists must have a personal interview that will take place in their home city or remotely (e.g., ZOOM). We encourage an adult family member or guardian to attend the 30-minute interview. During the first 20 minutes, the finalist is interviewed individually, and then the family member(s) is invited to ask questions.

What should I wear for the interview?


Applicants are encouraged to treat the interview like a job interview and thus dress accordingly. Suggestions include: a shirt with a collar and trousers, a button down shirt with tie and dress pants, a sweater and pants, blouse and skirt or slacks, a dress, a pantsuit.

Can my parents bring me to campus?

Yes. Most families do not live close enough to bring their student to Andover, but for those who do, it is the expectation parents leave campus once their child is registered and settled into the dorm. Parents will need to cover the cost of their travel to and from campus (e.g., plane ticket, hotel).

Can my parents visit me during the summer?

Yes, but you may not miss any of your obligations. (MS)2 scholars have classes five days a week and are typically “free” Wednesday afternoons as well as from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening. We request that parents notify the (MS)2 office if they do plan to visit.

What if my parent needs to reach me during the summer?

If there is an emergency at home, parents can call the (MS)2 office at (978) 749-4402, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. During non-class hours and on weekends, parents may call the Public Safety office at (978) 749-4444 which is open 24/7 and can get hold of the (MS)2 Director and the scholar.

What should I bring?

Scholars should pack lightly and bring appropriate summer clothing, including athletic attire and a more formal outfit for college trips, graduation, dances, etc. Click here for a suggested Packing List. Students may not bring refrigerators, televisions, or things considered a fire hazard (e.g., stringed lights, appliances, irons).

Can I receive mail or packages?

Of course. Mail should be addressed to:

Student’s Full Name
c/o Phillips Academy
180 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810

Students may retrieve mail and small parcels from their student mailbox in the George Washington building. Items that cannot fit in a mailbox will be delivered to the common rooms of student dorms. It may take up to 48 business day hours for items to be delivered to dorms during peak volume periods or during times when Academy offices are closed. Items received on Friday may be delivered to dorms the following Monday.

Please adhere to the Academy’s mail service policies regarding weight and restricted items as outlined below. It will be your responsibility to arrange return shipping for rejected items. Items left longer than ten business days will be donated or discarded.

  • Items may not exceed 40 pounds.
  • Beverages of any kind (including bottled water) will not be processed by mail services.
  • Do not order anything that requires refrigeration. We do not have the ability to safely store these items in mail services.
  • Items can be shipped from online vendors using UPS, FedEx, DHL, LaserShip, and the US Postal Service. We cannot accept same-day orders from retailers like Walmart or Target, or grocery outlets/delivery services including Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Peapod, Shipt, Weee! or similar services. We also cannot accept deliveries from local fast-food locations or restaurants (these will be immediately discarded.)
  • Flower arrangements cannot be delivered to dorms and must be picked up within three business days of our email notification to you or they will be discarded. PLEASE NOTE: Mail Services is open for deliveries Monday thru Friday from 8am to 4pm and closed on weekends. Our pickup window is open for students on weekdays from noon to 4pm.
  • Packages that may contain medication are delivered to staff at the Sykes Wellness Center who will then contact you to pick up your item there.

ACADEMICS

What courses will I take?

All (MS)2 scholars take a 90-minute math class (algebra, pre-calculus or calculus) and a 90-minute science class (biology, chemistry or physics). In addition to their core academics, first- and second-year scholars are enrolled in a 90-minute English class that focuses on the development of writing and literary analysis skills. Third-year scholars replace English with a 90-minute college counseling course that focuses on the college application process as well as financial aid. Identity workshops are integrated into both the English and College Counseling curriculum.

What does a typical day look like?

(MS)2 scholars attend classes five days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning). On Wednesdays there are no academic classes; instead, there are conference periods, an All-School Meeting, college trips, and down time. Afternoon activities include sports, career and college fairs. Mandatory study halls are held five evenings. Here is what a typical day in (MS)2 looks like:

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Morning Meeting
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Math or Science
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Math or Science
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. English or College Counseling
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Free Time
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Afternoon Activities
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Study Hall
9:30 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. Presence required in Dorm

    How will I be graded?

    At the end of each summer you will receive instructor reports that include a mastery-based assessment based on course learning goals and core competencies. The rating scale progresses from Emerging to Extending Mastery. Emphasis is placed on on-going formative assessment, reflection, and revision throughout the summer, with a focus on students' demonstrated learning and skill development.

    Can I select electives and/or afternoon activity preferences?

    Afternoon activities fill on a rolling basis, so it is advantageous to submit your enrollment forms as early as possible.

    Will I receive credit or a certificate after completing (MS)2?

    (MS)2 does not issue course credit. Whether you will receive course credit will be determined by your high-school. You will receive end-of-session comments along with a mastery-based assessment from (MS)2, which you can provide to your high school advisor along with a course syllabus. All graduates of (MS)2 receive a certificate of completion at graduation.

    How much homework will I have?

    (MS)2 scholars should except to have ~45-60 minutes of work per course, so about 3 hours each day.

    Do I need a computer?

    Scholars are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to (MS)2; however, it is not required. (MS)2 can lend you a Chromebook during the summer for academic use. All scholars are provided with an Andover email address and Wi-Fi credentials allowing them to access the internet and online tools from anywhere on the Phillips Academy campus. Internet access is turned off from midnight to 6 am in the dorms to encourage sleep and self-care.

    STUDENT LIFE

    Is there a dress code?

    Phillips Academy does not have a formal dress code. Students are expected to be neat and clean and to dress appropriately for each occasion while embracing their own personal style.

    How do I do my laundry?

    (MS)2 scholars are given laundry cards (with enough funds for 5 loads) to be used in the card-operated washing machines and dryers located in each dorm, along with detergent and a laundry bag. Students can add funds to the card from card dispensers located in the basement of George Washington Hall and Paresky Commons.

    Are worship services offered on campus during the summer?

    While Phillips Academy does not offer worship services on campus during the summer, scholars may attend local services, provided they have the appropriate parent/guardian and Dean permissions.

    Will I have free time?

    Yes. Days are structured to allow time for required classes, activities, and appointments. There is also ample time for individual study and relaxation, as well as social events or a 5-minute walk to downtown Andover. During free time, students may use athletic facilities, visit campus museums, study in the library, walk to town for ice cream or to stock up on snacks for their dorm rooms, or simply hang out with friends on the Great Lawn. Part of the (MS)2 experience is learning how to manage one’s time and be independent.

    What will my weekend look like?

    There are many possibilities for fun and entertainment on and off campus after Saturday morning classes—movies, dances, special events, and field trips to area attractions, beaches, malls, and towns. These school-sponsored activities are optional and do not require additional fees to participate.


    HOUSING/DINING

    Where do (MS)2 scholars live?

    Scholars live in dorms on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, MA with other high school students from around the world. Dormitories vary in size, ranging from five to 45 students with a house counselor to student ratio of ten to one. Every dorm room is outfitted with bed linens, a pillow, blanket, towels, dresser and desk. Laundry machines are available in most dormitories and are pay-per-load.

    During quiet evening study hours, many students choose to settle in their rooms to prepare for class the next morning, while others choose to study in groups in the dorm common room or head to the library, science center, or other designated place of study. The dorms also serve as a comfortable social environment in which students develop lasting friendships with peers and faculty. Living closely with other young people from widely differing backgrounds is one of the most rewarding experiences of (MS)2.

    Can (MS)2 scholars request a roommate?

    We do not allow first- or second-year scholars to request specific roommates. Third-year (MS)2 scholars do have the privilege of requesting a roommate; however, these requests are not guaranteed.

    For students who soon will be faced with the responsibility and independence of college life, a summer of living in a dorm is a great opportunity to develop self-discipline, time management skills, and respect for others from different backgrounds. With guidance from trained faculty members who also live in the dorms, students learn the flexibility and spirit of cooperation needed for living happily with others.

    May I choose the type of dorm I want to live in?

    Only third-year scholars have the privilege of requesting a specific dorm, though not guaranteed.

    Dormitory placements include consideration of age, grade, geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity. You will receive a card that has your dormitory assignment when you arrive on campus for during the registration process.

    Who will look after me during my stay at Andover?

    Experienced, enthusiastic, and caring house counselors get to know each student personally and help students adapt to dorm living. House counselors, who often serve as teachers during the summer, will help with any questions or concerns. The main point of contact for students and parents, house counselors, write a report at the end of the five weeks about each student’s experience.

    If parents have questions or concerns, how should they communicate with the school?

    All students are assigned a House Counselor/Advisor, the primary adult communication contact for students and families. This point person coordinates communication among the various adults on a student’s team.

    Where will I have my meals and is the food good?

    Delicious meals are served in Paresky Commons, our central dining hall. The building features a variety of entrees, a pasta bar, stir-fry station, a sandwich bar, a salad bar, and a pizza oven. The food is delicious, and you’ll often have a hard time choosing between all the tasty options.

    Can my dietary restrictions be accommodated?

    Yes, Paresky Commons teams with the Sykes Wellness Center to ensure that healthy, vegetarian, and allergy aware options are always available.

    HEALTH & SAFETY

    How is Phillips Academy responding to COVID-19?

    The Academy is following local and state public health guidelines to make informed decisions about its covid-19 response. While we strongly encourage students attending our on-campus programs to be vaccinated for influenza and covid-19, these vaccines are not required at this time. We will communicate if data and public health guidance suggest we need to reconsider in the future.

    What is expected of me?

    We expect all students to come to Phillips Academy for a serious purpose and be prepared to engage in a challenging academic experience. Our Andover Summer Core Blue document reflects fundamental community standards and expectations for all students participating in summer programming offered at Phillips Academy. Students sign a community agreement, thus committing to living honestly, safely, responsibly, and respectfully in a multicultural setting.

    What happens if I get sick or injured during my time at (MS)2?

    Health and Safety are of paramount importance here at Phillips Academy. The Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center, located in the center of campus, is open for urgent and routine care Monday—Friday,  9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There is also a nurse at the Sykes Wellness Center 24/7 and a physician and counselor on-call while (MS)2 is in session. Students can drop in anytime for medical care, guidance, or information.

    How safe is campus?

    Phillips Academy Campus Safety (PACS) officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These friendly faces seen all around campus can be reached quickly at 978-749-4444 and are always ready to assist. Every dormitory is locked from the outside and each dorm room has an individual lock. Andover also utilizes a blue-light system where students can quickly access emergency services from a variety of locations across campus. As a result of these precautionary measures, issues of security on the Andover campus are kept to a minimum.

    What is the town of Andover like?

    The Town of Andover, located within Essex County in Massachusetts, is a quintessential New England town with a variety of dining and retail options. The town is a quick 5-minute, sidewalk safe walk from the Phillips Academy campus. Students regularly frequent the local eateries and enjoying spending time at destinations such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Dominos, Café Nero, CVS, Cup 89 Boba and more.

    EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

    How does the Academy keep parents informed in an emergency?

    In an emergency on campus when parents are not immediately able to contact their children or their children’s house counselors or cluster deans by telephone, parents should: Call the Office of the Dean of Students’ 978-886-1792. If there is no answer, dial Campus Safety at 978-749-4444. Check for email messages from the school.

    What would you do if you had to evacuate the campus?

    As long as the campus is not specifically affected by an emergency, the Academy has the ability to shelter students in place for an extended period of time. Paresky Commons has the ability to feed students for up to a week without outside delivery. The campus power plant can operate even when regional electric services are affected. However, the Academy has worked in partnership with local public safety officials to plan for an emergency that might require students to evacuate the campus. Within Andover the Academy would work with local public safety officials to evacuate to one of Andover’s public schools. If the Academy needs to evacuate beyond the town of Andover, local public safety officials will assist in arranging transportation, if the Academy’s usual transportation carriers are unable to respond.

    What would the Academy do if it had to shut down and air travel were not possible?

    In a situation where students were unable to travel from campus by air, the Academy would attempt to make other arrangements for transportation. If other means of transportation for students were not available or practical because of distance, the Academy would keep the student on campus or make arrangements for him or her to stay with a local family, with the approval of the student’s parent.