Academies FAQs

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page for the American History and Civics Academies! Here you will find some commonly asked questions about the Congressional Academy that will help you on your journey to participate in this unique learning opportunity. We will soon be adding questions and responses related to the Presidential Academy. Do you have a question that is not listed below? Feel free to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Congressional Academy

General Information 


When will the Congressional Academy be held?

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the summer institute planned for July 11-25, 2020 at Goucher College is postponed until the summer of 2021. We are continuing to work with Goucher College to plan the next institute, and we will post the new dates on this website as soon as they are determined.


Where will the Congressional Academy be held?
The Academy will take place at Goucher College, Baltimore, where we held the 2019 Academies.

Who is eligible to attend?

This opportunity is open to students who will be in high school in the academic year following the summer institute, particularly students who will be in eleventh and twelfth grade. Priority is given to students who are high-need. High-need includes students from low-income families (receiving free or reduced lunch), ethnic/racial minorities, English Language Learners, students with special needs, and other high-need groups.

Are there any costs associated with participating in the Congressional Academy?
Participation in the Academy is free and all costs are covered. Major costs---including flights, transportation from Baltimore-Washington airport to Goucher, lodging, meals, field trip costs, and materials---will be paid directly by the Center. Participants will receive a stipend at the summer institute, which can be used to support any other costs, such as transport from home to local airport, snacks, and incidentals.
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Application Process


How do I apply to the Congressional Academy?
See our Academies webpage for information on how to apply https://civiced.org/academies. First, you need to find a teacher and another student from your school or the same district to apply with you. Then fill out the online Congressional Academy application to apply.

I’d like to apply, but I don’t know a teacher who is applying to the Presidential Academy. What do I do?

We request that all students apply in a team of one teacher and two students. Please talk with teachers or administrators at your school for assistance in seeking a teacher to apply with you.

How do I know if the other student and teacher applying with me have completed their applications?

Please talk directly with the other members of your team to confirm that they have applied prior to the deadline.

When will I hear whether or not I’m accepted?

We anticipate making selections after the application period closes.

Who can I contact with questions regarding the application process?

Please email all questions regarding the Congressional Academy to John Hale at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Academics

What happens in a typical day at the Academy?
Most of the days will take place on the Goucher College campus. Those days will feature sessions with noted scholars focused on one of the four institute topics. At least two on-campus days will be devoted to each topic. Scholar sessions will be accompanied by breakout sessions with mentor teachers, who will engage you in discussions and activities with other Academy students to deepen your understanding and civic skills. As the days progress, you will become more and more engaged in preparing for a simulated Congressional hearing with a group of other students. Also, four days will include field trips to historical and civic sites, such as National Park Service sites and the U.S. Capitol.

Who are the scholars?
The scholars for the next Congressional Academy are being finalized from the Center’s national network of superb history and political science scholars. The scholars that participated in the 2019 Congressional Academy included GlyptusAnn Grider-Jones, PR & Research Coordinator, McConnell Center; Dr. Joseph Stewart, Professor of Political Science, Clemson University; Professor Christopher Riano, JD, Columbia University; and Dr. David Hudson, Professor of Law, Belmont University.

Who are the mentor teachers?
The mentor teachers are current classroom teachers of American history and civics who have extensive knowledge of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum and years of experience working with students.

What is the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum and how does it relate to this Academy?

The Academy participants are immersed in the study of constitutional history and principles following the intellectual framework of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum. To learn more about the We the People curriculum visit http://www.civiced.org/we-the-people

Are all lectures and activities mandatory?
Yes, all lectures and academic activities in the agenda are mandatory. (Any optional recreational activities will be noted as such.) Attendance will be taken. If you do not show up for an activity, we will immediately contact you.

What do I do if I get sick and cannot make it to a session?
Please inform the Academy staff immediately. Cell phone contact numbers for Center for Civic Education and Goucher College on-call staff will be provided. Academy staff will check on your condition and needs.

Where will we go on the field trips?
Our field trips will include visits to National Park Service sites, the U.S. Capitol, and other interesting and historic places! To give you an idea of the type of sites we might visit, the 2019 Congressional Academy went on field trips to: Gettysburg, Fort McHenry, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, Smithsonian museums, and Mount Vernon.

Will I get opportunities to work with the teacher and student I applied with?
Although the Presidential Academy teachers and Congressional Academy students have different agendas, there will be a session during the summer institute for teacher and student teams to discuss what they’ve learned and begin planning for an academic-year activity at their school. Teachers and students will also be visiting field trip sites at the same time. In addition, teachers and students can schedule time to meet before or after the sessions in their respective institute agendas.

When can I see the agenda for the next summer institute?
We will provide a draft agenda to accepted applicants by email with a pre-departure travel memo.

What do I need to do during the academic year, after the summer institute?
You will work with other students and teachers at your school to organize or participate in a history or civics activity. This can include—but is not limited to—participating in the We the People program or National History Day, preparing a PowerPoint presentation to share with class on the most interesting aspect of the Academy, preparing a presentation to share with the administration of the school and others at a school board meeting or a Parent Teacher Association meeting, and helping your teacher prepare classmates to take part in a congressional hearing. We will discuss this further while we are together during the summer institute.
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Transportation


What transportation will be provided?
Provided transportation includes round-trip economy-class flights to Baltimore, ground transportation to/from Baltimore-Washington International airport, and bus transportation for field trips. If you are within driving distance of Goucher College, you can come to the Academy by car and will be reimbursed for the cost of mileage.

Who is paying for the transportation?
All transportation costs are covered. The Center for Civic Education will pay directly for flights, ground transportation to/from Baltimore-Washington airport, and field trip buses. Mileage for driving to the Academy will be reimbursed upon arrival at the Academy. Any costs incurred for travel from home to your local airport will initially be incurred by the participant and recovered through the stipend received upon arrival at the event.

How do I book my transportation?
If you are accepted to the Academy, the Center will provide all booking and transportation details by email with your acceptance letter.
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Accommodations


Where will I be staying?
You will be staying in a double room in a dormitory on the campus of Goucher College, where you will enjoy the environment and amenities of a small college campus. The dormitories are conveniently located near the dining area and a five-minute walk from your academic sessions. Your room will be in a residence hall building reserved solely for participants in the Congressional Academy.

Are the dormitories single-gender or mixed?

The room assignments will be single-gender, and only students of the same gender will reside in your hall.

Can I room with the other student from my school/district?

Yes, if that student is the same gender. You can indicate a roommate preference in the registration form that you’ll receive after being accepted to the Academy. If no preference is indicated, we will randomly assign a roommate.
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Free Time


Will there be time for recreational activities?
Yes. There will be free time most evenings. We will provide ideas for activities, and Academy staff will plan optional organized activities on some evenings.

What can I do during free time?
Your free time will be an opportunity to relax, study, and meet with other Congressional Academy participants to have fun and prepare for the culminating congressional hearing. In addition to participating in organized recreational activities, you can enjoy the open green spaces on campus for a pick-up game of frisbee, soccer, etc. Or go to the common areas of your residence hall to hang out, play a board game, and make new friends. Goucher College also has a fitness and recreation center, though summer hours are limited. If you’re wondering about going off campus, please see the next question below. All students must return to their rooms by curfew each night.

Will I be allowed to go off campus?
On several evenings, there will be enough time before curfew to leave campus for shopping or other recreational/educational outings. Only students with a Free-Time Activities Waiver signed by a parent or guardian will be allowed to leave campus for any purpose that is outside of Academy field trips. Depending on the permissions granted by the parent or guardian, allowable trips may include attending a religious service, going to the mall or other stores within walking distance, or visiting an educational, sports, or cultural venue with a teacher chaperone and at least one other student.
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Parent/Guardian FAQ


How will my child benefit from this program?
This is a unique, high-quality educational experience that will empower your son/daughter with sought-after academic and career skills and increase his/her capacity for effective civic engagement! Georgetown University’s evaluation of the 2019 Congressional Academy highlights some of these results. Also, please see the Academies’ webpage at https://www.civiced.org/academies, under What will Participants Gain?, for a summary list of the benefits of this Academy.

Who will supervise the students?
Center for Civic Education staff will be supervising all activities, will reside on campus, and be on-call 24 hours. Interactive classroom sessions will be led by mentor teachers contracted with and supervised by Center staff. A night chaperone assigned to each residence hall building will be keeping watch of their assigned hall throughout each evening and be available should any need arise.

Will there be any out-of-pocket expenses?
All expenses will be covered. Major expenses will be paid directly by the Center for Civic Education at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Mileage for people driving to the event or round-trip flight baggage fees for one suitcase will be reimbursed upon arrival at the event. Incidentals and any cost for transportation from home to your local airport will recovered through the stipend you receive at the event. More details will be provided in your acceptance materials.

Once my child is accepted, how do we guarantee his/her spot in the Academy?

The acceptance materials will include a registration form with waivers that must be filled out and signed and returned by fax or email in order to guarantee his/her spot.

When should we make flight reservations?

Please make flight reservations after receiving the acceptance materials. Please follow the directions provided in the acceptance letter.

When will we receive the agenda for the next Academy?

A draft agenda will be provided with the acceptance materials.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the Academy?

Please contact John Hale, Associate Executive Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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