Frequently Asked Questions

Who can register for the Tilton School Summer Institute?
The Tilton School Summer Institute (TSSI) is a three-week boarding adventure for boys and girls ages 11 through 14. Children from every ethnic, racial, economic, and geographic background are welcome. International candidates must submit a letter of recommendation from their English teachers that speak to their proficiency with communication in English. A follow-up SKYPE or WeChat video interview may be scheduled at the discretion of the TSSI director.

Register today!

What are tuition and fees for the TSSI in 2018?
Find a detailed description of TSSI tuition, fees, and scholarships in the Tuition and Scholarships section found here

What is an Advisor?
Each student has a program advisor that he or she sees and works with every day. Advisors help guide students as they navigate the new community and set their goals for the 3-weeks. Advisors liaison, with parents who may contact them with any questions or concerns. Advisors guide students through difficult times, help them celebrate successes, watch over their ISSP progress, and act as mentors. Advisors work in partnership with parents to make sure each child is getting the most out of their experience at TSSI.

What is the difference between a Discovery Track and the add-on courses?
Discovery Tracks are the primary vehicle that a TSSI student travels on to guide their understanding of the Essential Strengths and Skills. They are chosen at registration and are one of the main topics to follow for the time here:

  • Arts with Purpose & Flair - A project of Theater, Dance, Music, Production
  • Sustainable Planet - Farming for the Future, Culinary Culture, How Can Technology Help Us Cope?
  • Cinematography & Videography - A message of ACTION
  • Design-Build - Villages of the Future, CAD meets AI
  • Aerospace and Flight
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Additional Courses are an option to be taken during Studio Time and can be mixed and matched with other activities to set up the perfect summer schedule. Available courses include:

  • English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Reading & Creative Writing

  • ESOL Public Speaking & Interviewing Skills

  • Study Skills & Test Preparation

You may take as many or as few as you would like.

What are the add-on courses like? They sound like school.
It might be easiest to start with what TSSI courses are not: long lectures or pages of exercises copied out of books. People maximize their creativity by maximizing their engagement and exploring new ideas. TSSI courses, therefore, are centered on hands-on student projects, interdisciplinary perspectives, and group collaboration that build on Essential Skills.

Will there be homework in the add-on classes?
Yes, but not work that is to be collected or graded. The purpose of the add-on classes is to shore up skills, keep the material fresh, and plot a course for re-joining your academic community at home in September. So work for outside of class (i.e.: homework) is geared more as a guide going forward; a chance to do some supplemental work either here or after the three-weeks concludes.

Much of this work will comprise the PLANNING for improving skills in the future as you go forth. 

This allows day students to be fully home when they are home and boarding students to enjoy dorm activities in the evening. Staff members are available during studio or free times to assist students with questions about their work. And before you start thinking of homework as completing worksheets and reading lengthy articles, remember that the TSSI is project-based and collaborative. Our work is far more likely to be contemplative, exploratory, or thought-provoking than anything else.

Will students earn grades in their discovery tracks or add-on classes?No. Joyful learners and creative innovators explore new things, take risks, and see an idea’s failure as an opportunity to learn before trying again. Too often fear of grades can get in the way of those things, so we don’t give grades. The purpose of the TSSI is to center on a student’s Essential Strengths and Skills. The Individualized Strengths and Skills Profile (ISSP) that is generated over the three-week program includes a variety of measurable and comparable statistics that give parents and students a snapshot as to their circumstance and a plan to go forward. To recognize a student’s effort, achievement, improvement, or an area of positive performance, an advisor or teachers may award commendations in recognition of growth and maturity throughout their time at TSSI.

Of course, learners and innovators also value feedback, and our teachers would be poor mentors if they didn’t give feedback. Students can expect teacher suggestions and perspectives throughout their work in all activities. Add-on Classes will include a written summary and both students and parents will receive written comments at the end of the program. These comments are praise for effort and suggestions for the future, rather than a final statement about a student’s work. Both class comments and the ISSP will be emailed home to families at the conclusion of the program.

What should students wear?
Dress is informal for almost all activities on campus. Summer sportswear is fine, though, for safety and hygiene, students should wear shoes, sneakers, or sandals when out on campus or in the classroom and dining hall. A laundry service is provided, and clothes are collected weekly. A recommended list of things to bring (including clothing) will be emailed to all families.

Can day students bring and use cell phones?
Just as with boarding students, we want our day students to come to the TSSI to be fully present. For this reason, we also limit electronics and cell phone usage for our day students. Day students will be provided all technology needed for use in coursework during class and study time, so personal electronics should be stowed away and only accessed with permission from an adult. We recognize that cell phones are important for day students to coordinate plans for pickup at the end of the day. Day students may bring a cell phone to campus but must keep it stowed safely away and only use it with the permission of their advisor, at designated times outside of Device Free Zones.

What do students do on the weekends?
We try to model a good life balance at the TSSI and so our weekends take a break from our normal exploratory programming, although that’s not to say we aren’t busy. There are a number of exciting activities planned for each weekend.

Friday nights are spent with dorm mates playing any number of games or bonding with friends and enjoying a more relaxed and impromptu activity outside on our beautiful campus.

Saturday mornings are dedicated to sharing and seeing what the other Discovery Tracks are experiencing and producing. These are informal discussions, demonstrations, or videos shared with the community in the comfort of our auditoriums. After lunch, we will embark on an outdoor adventure that is selected among the most popular of activities from our surveys collected from families during the registration process. We might go whitewater rafting, hiking, camping or participate in team building at a ropes course. Our experienced staff of counselors and faculty joins all trips.

On Sundays, overnight trips return to campus in time for brunch. After cleaning up, students have a more relaxed schedule. This is a time they often go off in smaller groups with a faculty member to visit a Collaborative Partner within a day-trip away.

Day students are enthusiastically welcomed, but not required, to participate in weekend activities during their sessions.

How many students attend each session?
Ask any Tilton School student and they will say that knowing most everyone in a community is what makes it so special. We, therefore, try to focus on the community during the summer as well. We believe this can be accomplished through knowing every student and so our programs are relatively small. We expect only about 60 students total in our session for summer 2018, divided among the four Discovery Tracks.

Studio & Sports FAQs

Are sports offered during the TSSI program?
Every afternoon there is a 90-minute block dedicated to sports and athletics. This is a time for every participant, teachers and students alike, to join in games and activities that break out of the classroom. Athletics during the TSSI are designed to introduce students to different sports, enjoy the school’s facilities and most of all to have fun. Each week students get to choose a sport that they would like to participate in from a list of offerings summarized.

Housing FAQs

What is dormitory life like?
With the guidance and support of the dormitory faculty and advisors, students experience a community environment in which they live, work, and associate with the same people who are their teachers, advisors, and mentors. Developing a close, nurturing relationship that exists between the dormitory faculty and the students is an intentional strength of the TSSI and is the one aspect of the experience that students remember with fondness. Living closely with other students from widely differing backgrounds is one of the most rewarding experiences of the institute. The dormitories are arranged by gender, so girls in one dorm, and boys in another, each with same-sex dorm adults to oversee and guide.

What supplies are included in Residential Life?
Residential Program families do not have to send their children with towels, bed sheets, blankets, or pillows; TSSI will provide upon arrival. Towels and bedsheets are exchanged out weekly basis or sooner if needed. We encourage students to be conscious of the energy use for towels, and laundry in general and help manage this safely and prudently. The dorms have laundry machines available for all to use and Dorm Parents will assist in learning the basics.

Will students have access to telephones and email?
Students are permitted to have cell phones during the summer program. Students also have access to a telephone on each floor of each dormitory. TSSI faculty will provide parents with the student's dormitory number. Parents can reach their child in the dormitory at the prescribed times, which are given to parents in their information packet mailing. An email account and address will be established for each student’s use and shared with parents.

Will students have roommates?
Although our final dorm arrangements for next summer are still being determined, it is likely that students will have roommates during our 2018 program. Our double dorm rooms are spacious to give both roommates ample space and their own furniture. Admitted students will be notified of their room assignment in the weeks before the program starts in order to give roommates the opportunity to get to know each other before they arrive.

Can family visit students?
Parents or friends are invited to visit after the first week. We do not have an official parents’ day or weekend, but we like to see parents visit students if it is convenient for both the school and the parents. Sunday is the best day to plan a visit, as students and faculty are off campus on Saturdays. A request to spend a night off campus with parents must be approved by the TSSI director.

What happens if a student is homesick?
Homesickness is both natural and universal. Psychologists call it “separation anxiety,” and few people are unaffected by it. The faculty are prepared to support students who may experience homesickness, but getting over homesickness rests with the student. The best cure is to simply stay busy and get involved in the many activities that will be offered.

Can boarding students bring their personal electronic devices with them? Can they bring and use cell phones?
We want our students to come to the TSSI to be at the TSSI, and often electronics encourage us to withdraw rather than engage with others. Because we value the community that is formed in face-to-face communications, we limit electronics and cell phone usage to designated times, places and purposes. Students will be provided access to all technology needed for use in coursework during class and study time. They are valued essential tools for our programming when used properly. Students will also be given a Tilton School email address that will allow them to communicate and share documents with home and within the program.

Having a cell phone while at TSSI is a great way for students to keep in touch with their families while away from home. It is also a good way for the staff to maintain contact with students when traveling off campus on field trips. However, there are certain rules that students are required to follow in regards to cell phone use. When students first arrive on campus, they are required to call or text/email their families to let them know they arrived safely. After these phone calls, we ask the students to safely store their devices and be fully in the moments as we open up the session. This allows students to adjust more quickly to being away from home through the development of new friendships and full engagement in activities. Should a parent ever feel the need to contact their student during the day, they may do so directly through the office. Students should leave all non-essential electronic devices at home, such as gaming consoles and TVs. In our student center, we have table games, board games, TVs, the gym next door, and plenty to do all the time.

Health & Wellness FAQs

What happens if a student gets sick?
To ensure the physical well being of students during their stay, a registered nurse is on campus daily for four hours and on call for the remainder of the day. In addition, a physician remains on call at all times. For situations that require overnight care, a student will spend the night in the Health Center under the supervision of the registered nurse on duty. Hospital facilities are available for emergencies nine miles away in Laconia, N.H.

Who can students talk to if they need help during TSSI?
There are many sources of help and guidance during our institute. Students are encouraged to approach any faculty member, counselor, intern, office staff, medical staff, or the director with any issues they encounter. TSSI staff is well trained on how to help with needs that arise, from academic questions to homesickness.

What if a student is homesick?
Given that this is the first time many of our students are away from home, we understand that students may be nervous and/or homesick. It is important that parents talk about this as a family before the program begins and create a plan for how to handle homesickness. Our staff is trained in how to work with students who are homesick. Usually, after a few days, students realize that they are not alone and that their experience is a normal transition in building confidence.

What is the dining experience like?
Dining at TSSI during the summer is a treat. The menu features foods from around the world including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options. Though many meals are buffet style, students will also experience sit-down meals with assigned tables every weekday at lunch. This is a cherished tradition!

Will there be food choices to accommodate students’ allergies and food restrictions?
The dining hall offers vegetarian options for every meal, and its staff is ready to accommodate any allergies, medical restrictions, and cultural or religious restrictions. Our director of dining services is also readily available to discuss any specific dietary needs students might have. Students will have the opportunity to explain any and all allergies and food restrictions in the comprehensive health enrollment forms after registration.

Financial FAQs

What are the payment methods I can use?

Please login to your CampInTouch account and follow the payment instructions.


Please make your check out to "Tilton School" and mail it to: 
c/o Tilton School
30 School Street
Tilton, N.H. 03276

10 Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02109
ABA # 011002343

FBO: Tilton School 
Account # 953180727


10 Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02109
Swift Code: BPTCUS33
ABA # 011002343

FBO: Tilton School 
Account # 953180727

IMPORTANT: Please be sure that the student’s name, or your name, is in the “Beneficiary” advice to credit your account.

Do you offer a payment plan?
Yes. Monthly payment plans are available with a credit card on file that bills on the first of each month, beginning with the month after registration and ending on July 1st when balances must be paid in full. You have the option to pay with any of the methods available once you receive the monthly invoice.

What discounts are available?
Discounts available include:

  • Early Registration: Sign up by March 30 for a 5% DISCOUNT on the basic tuition and boarding. (excludes additional trip fees and added classes);

Do you offer Financial Aid?
In an effort to ensure access to the Tilton School Summer Institute (TSSI), Tilton School has created the Tilton School Community Scholarship. The Scholarship is intended to award financial assistance to children whose families could not otherwise afford to send their children to Tilton School Summer Institute.