Sample Tasp Essay

Are you a highly motivated, intellectually curious high school junior? Apply to the Telluride Association Summer Program!

Telluride Association Summer Program

Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) is a free six-week summer education experience for high school juniors who are looking for an intellectual challenge. TASP works with institutional partners to offer seminars that will test each students thinking and provide an environment where motivated students can engage and learn from one and other.

Accepted students, TASPers, will attend a seminar, in which they are placed in based on their submitted application materials, led by university scholars and participate in many other educational activities in and outside the classroom.

TASP looks for students from different education backgrounds who demonstrate intellectual curiosity. While a strong academic background is recommended, the TASP does not look to test of the seminar’s subject matter but rather focuses on how students engage with the subject at hand in the classroom, and with other highly motivated students. No grade or college credit is offered through the program.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

  • All current high school juniors (11th grade)

  • Application is open to U.S. citizens and international students

  • Applicants do not need to attend high school in the U.S.

Every year, TASP accepts approximately 70 students. Students cannot choose which seminar to participate in. While applicants are given the opportunity to rank their preferences, they are placed based on the student’s submitted application materials.

TASP Program Details

The main focus of TASP is the academic seminar you are placed in. For six-weeks, students will attend the simar every weekday morning for 3 hours. Each seminar is led by two faculty members and are discussion-based classes. Students should expect to spend several hours on assigned reading or other preparation for each class to properly participate in the seminar discussions. Additionally, students will be tasked with a number of writing assignments over the six-week program. Students will receive feedback, but will not be graded on their assignments.

Additionally, TASP also enroll students in a public-speaking program and invite guest speakers to give lectures to TASP students. Some past guest speakers include a Nobel laureate physicist, a DNA researcher, and a college president. They come from many different academic disciplines to allow TASP students to explore new fields of study.

Finally, TASP gives students the freedom to pursue their own intellectual pursuits. Students are responsible for organizing their activities outside of the classroom, like community service projects, reading groups, excursions to museums. There will also be time for students to get to know each other and enjoy their summers on a college campus. There will also be college students facilitating the program, giving TASP student a chance to learn more about other things like applying to college, college classes and campus culture.

The 2018 TASP offers 4 different seminars:

1. Cornell I Program

Pleasure and Danger: Bodies in History, Science, Literature, and Philosophy

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

June 24 – August 4, 2018

2. Cornell II Program

Facing Fictions

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

June 24 – August 4, 2018

3. Maryland Program

Protest Poetics: Art and Performance in Freedom Movements

University of Maryland, College Park

June 24 – August 4, 2018

4. Michigan Program  

Just Comics

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

June 24 – August 4, 2018

Here is the complete overview of the offered seminars for the 2018 TASP.

TASP Application Requirements

Applying to TASP will also be good practice for applying to college. The application requires:

  • Applicant Information

  • Academic Information

  • Essays: Students are required to write 3 essays of 9,000 characters (approximately 1,500 words) or less. Here are the essay prompts for the 2018 application:

Essay 1: Reflect on the education (formal and informal) you have received: What experiences have you felt fortunate or unfortunate to have? What part of your education (formal or informal) has challenged you the most? If you attended TASS, please reflect on that experience and explain what you in addition you would hope to gain from and contribute to TASP.

Essay 2: At TASP, you will discuss texts and ideas in a college-style seminar. You should feel comfortable thinking deeply about an issue, communicating a well-reasoned stance, and genuinely engaging with others’ positions. To that end, tell us about a time a text (a piece of writing, movie, song lyrics, etc.) influenced your ideas about an issue. What did you think at first, and how did your thinking change? Refer to specific parts of the text to analyze how it affected your ideas

Essay 3: TASP is comprised of small education communities that rely greatly on the maturity of individual members. Tell us about a recent time you did something that upset or hurt a peer in a community you were involved in. How did you respond to this situation? Reflect on your response, and evaluate it. What would you do the same, and what might you do differently? Why?

  • Short Answer Questions: In addition, students also have to respond to 3 short answer questions, each with a response with no more than 1,500 characters (or 250 words). Here are the prompts:

Question 1: A brief explanation of why you are interested in each seminar and an order of your preference for attending them. If there is a seminar that you would definitely not attend, explain why. (If you are selected for TASP, we will use your answer to help place you into an appropriate seminar.)

Question 2: A list of your favorite books and other media (such as films, exhibits, newspapers, magazines, lectures, music, works of art, etc.)

Question 3: A list of your most relevant activities, work or volunteer experiences, scholarship programs, honors and awards. For each, include a very brief description of its importance to you.

You also allowed to submit an optional essay up to 1,500 characters (250 words) of any other information you feel would help the committee understand your application. This essay can be used to explain any anomalies in your academic record, or a semester off.

TASP Application Deadline & Timeline

  • Application Deadline: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Early March: Applicants selected for interview will have to submit a transcript, recommendation letter by a teacher or counselor, and a paper written for class.
  • Mid-March to Mid-April: Interviews are conducted
  • Late April: Final admissions decisions are made

You can find the application PDF and online form here.

TASP Summer Program Feedback

Many of our College Admits recommend applying to TASP, including those who never applied! It is a well-known, competitive program for rising high school seniors. In fact, some even wrote about that she learned at TASP in her college supplemental essay:


Lia_Columbia, Columbia University ‘19

“TASP, like Columbia, brings together people from vastly different backgrounds. Most of us had never been exposed to the ideas and philosophers we studied. We debated Plato’s view on the value of art late into the night, and discussed the merits of communism in the bathroom in the morning. We built a common repertoire of experience through reading the same texts, discussing our responses, and enduring the absence of decent produce. In only six weeks, my fellow TASP participants and I were able to communicate things like “panopticon” and “Proust” to each other without saying a word. I had one of the best summers of my life.”

She was accepted to Columbia University Early Decision to study creative writing. Unlock her Columbia profile to read her full application essays and her TASP experience in her advice section!

Applying to college?

View the app files and essays of accepted students.


It’s not too early to start planning out your summer! Many of these competitive summer programs have early January application deadlines. So don’t miss out on these opportunities and prepare your application over the holidays! Here is a list of other summer programs you should look at.

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the summer between your junior and senior year of high school is a great time to differentiate yourself. Here’s a list of ten extremely competitive summer programs for people interested in business and technology. This list was compiled by our intern, Sultan R.. He’s currently in the ENDEVVR program listed below, which accepts jus 15% of its applicants! If you’re a rising junior, I recommend looking into these programs now!

Applying to college?

View the app files and essays of accepted students.


1.  Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

Since 1975, this six-week residential program has leveraged a demanding academic atmosphere to help students develop the skills and confidence needed for success in technical fields. Along with calculus, physics, natural science, and humanities courses, students take a hands-on elective course and participate in lab tours and social events. MITES serves up to 80 student per year

No Cost

2.  Harvard Secondary School Program

Alongside college and adult students, you can earn college credit in Harvard courses and explore subjects not available at your high school. You study with distinguished faculty, use state-of-the-art labs, and have access to the largest university library system in the world

Cost: $11,000, which includes tuition for two 4-credit courses or one 8-credit course, room and board fees, and a health insurance fee (if needed)

3.  UPenn Management & Technology Summer Institute

The Management & Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI) is a rigorous and rewarding for-credit summer program for rising high school seniors and a select few rising high school juniors interested in exploring the integration of technological concepts and management principles. Open to all high school students.

Cost: $6,000.00 (including tuition, housing, meals, and weekend excursions)

4.  Wharton Leadership in the Business World

Sponsored by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Leadership in the Business World (LBW) is an intensive summer program for a select group of rising high school seniors who want an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business education and the opportunity to hone their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Open to rising juniors and seniors. Available in San Francisco and Pennsylvania.

Cost: $6,595  (covers tuition, housing, most meals, activities, and weekend trips)

College Students:

Share your application journey and make some money!


5.  Wharton Leadership Education and Development

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program at Wharton engages youth of diverse backgrounds in the world of business. Founded at Wharton in 1980 by Harold Haskins and Bill Whitney, the four-week LEAD Program hosts 30 bright and accomplished students from across the nation on the University of Pennsylvania campus.Open to rising juniors and seniors.

Cost: $2,800.00 (Includes $2,450.00 tuition and $350.00 activity fee) 

6.  Yale Global Scholars

An official Yale University program, participants in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program for Outstanding High School Students can expect an amazing summer experience studying in beautiful campus lecture halls and classrooms, living in Yale’s historic residential colleges, eating in award-winning dining halls, meeting a talented community of fellow students, engaging with world-renowned professors, and interacting with extraordinary visiting practitioners.

Cost: $5,000  (instruction, housing in one of Yale’s historic residential colleges, three meals per day, linens, and processing fees.)

7.  Telluride Association Summer Program

A Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) is a six-week educational experience for high school juniors that offers challenges and rewards rarely encountered in secondary school or even college. Available at UMichigan and Cornell.

No Cost

8.  MIT Launch

Entrepreneurship program for high school students held at MIT in Cambridge, MA. High school students will become entrepreneurs in each of two programs during the summer of 2014. Launch also inspires interest in entrepreneurship at the high school level and provides foundational concepts and tools through Launch Weekends 

Cost: $5,290, including tuition, housing, and activities 

9.  ENDEVVR at Georgia Tech

Summer entrepreneurship program for high school students. Every year endevvr helps talented students start and fund real companies. By leveraging their university, corporate, and startup partnerships, they rapidly turn their students into successful entrepreneurs over the course of the summer at Georgia Tech.

Cost: $5850,  (housing, all meals, activities and tuition)

10.  PAVE at Vanderbilt

PAVE is a five-week Vanderbilt summer program designed for students who are planning to enter a college engineering, pre-med/healthcare, science, or technology program. In addition to strengthening your background and having fun, PAVE can help you decide if an engineering, medical/healthcare, science, or humanities degree is really the field for you.

Cost: Commuter: $895 / week; Residential: $1,240 / week

Don’t forget to check out college application files and essays of accepted students! Unlock a package of profiles at your top choice school to learn about more summer programs accepted students have participated in! 

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.


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