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A Summer Seminar for High School Students

Dates: Sun June 16-Sat June 22, 2024 

Place: Austin, Texas

What is the Summer Seminar?

The Austin Institute high school seminar, is a highly interactive, week-long seminar that plumbs the depths of the human person.

What are the topics covered?

Each day we will address a different aspect of what it means to be human:

  • A human person is an embodied soul.

  • A human person changes over time, and not always for the better.

  • A human person has a conscience and a moral sense.

  • A human person strives toward a specific goal: happiness.

  • A human person must discriminate between competing claims. 


Who can apply?

High school students who have completed their sophomore or junior year.

Who teaches the classes?




Are other activities included in the program?

Classroom instruction will be supplemented with outdoor activities, cultural outings, film viewings, and all the best Austin offers. So, students can expect a generous dose of fun mixed in with their studies. 

What is the cost, and what is included? 

A non-refundable $350 registration fee will be required of all accepted applicants to reserve a place in the seminar. This one-time fee partially covers the cost of tuition, room, board, and books. All other costs (except for travel expenses) are covered by our generous donors. 

Are scholarships available? 

Scholarships are available for those with proven financial need. 

Where would I stay?

Men and women will be housed in separate wings of a private dorm near the University of Texas at Austin. Resident advisors will stay in the same wings as students to advise and assist students during the duration of the program.

What are the application requirements?

You need to submit the following: 

  1. One letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or tutor.

  2. A 500-word essay answering the following question: “Is virtue something that can be taught? Or does it come by practice? Or is it neither teaching nor practice that gives it to a man, but natural aptitude or something else?” (Plato, Meno, 70a).

Who should I contact if I need more information?

Please direct all the questions to our Director of Curriculum, Ms. María José Ruiz, at

Why should I apply?

Take a look at last year's seminar.


Dr. Paul Fortunato

Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston Downtown, where he teaches various literature and composition courses. His specialties include Nineteenth-Century British literature and drama, as well as aesthetic theory and post-secular theory. 

MHist. Lauren Spohn

Lauren Spohn is a Rhodes Scholar and Doctor of Philosophy candidate in Theology at the University of Oxford, where her research focuses on dis/reenchantment and the philosophical anthropology of John Henry Newman. 

Submit your application here.

(you will need your essay and recommendation letter)


Previous years videos

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