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Film & Video – Frequently Asked Questions

2015 NHSI Production student, Lauryn Henry, at The All American Film Festival. Lauryn’s film, Sophia, was 1 of 25 jury selections for the Festival’s “Best of Fest.” As well, Sophia was nominated for “Best Experimental Film” and the “Maverick” award.


The taking of the ACT or SAT, as well as any AP or college credit courses during the program is highly discouraged, as the rigor of the schedule does not allow for proper study time or engagement in these tests or classes.
Admission to the Film & Video Division is competitive. Decisions are made by the Admissions Committee and are based on ability, merit, and interest.
Students applying for the Film & Video Division should currently be in the 10th grade/sophomore year or 11th grade/junior year. Attendance to the Film & Video Division occurs during the summer between students’ sophomore & junior year or junior & senior year of high school.
There are 3 steps to completing a Film & Video Application:

  1. Fill out and submit the initial NHSI Application
  2. Pay the $50 application fee & await instructions via email
  3. Submit all required supplemental materials to the NHSI office by the Admissions Deadline

You will receive further information regarding the supplemental materials (resume, essay responses, letter of recommendation, transcript, and if available standardized test scores) via email once you submit the initial application and application fee.

Students should schedule their travel plans to arrive on campus before 2 pm on the program’s start date. This will give you sufficient time to reach campus and get settled in before dinner and the Film & Video Division orientation. The administrative office must be notified if you must arrive later than 2 pm.

Students are responsible for arranging all travel to and from the Institute. The NHSI does NOT provide shuttle service. However, many cab companies offer flat rates to and from the airports.

Attendance at ALL Institute activities and classes is absolutely mandatory. The Film & Video Division is not a typical summer camp. We offer a serious film and media arts educational program modeled after Northwestern’s Undergraduate Radio-Television-Film program.
Auditions are not required for admission to the 5-week Film & Video Division.  There is no need to submit prior video work along with the application.
Students may not have cars on campus. All Film & Video students live in University housing; there is no commuter option. The safety of our students is of the upmost importance. Students are forbidden to drive vehicles during the program. Furthermore, no student will be allowed to ride in any motor vehicle, or via any CTA transit system, under any circumstance, unless with with written parental permission and NHSI approval, or while on an official NHSI field trip.
We discourage bringing bicycles to the Institute.
Students in the Film & Video Division may want to bring their own personal computers but must understand that they must take full responsibility for their safety. Those that do not have a personal computer to bring with them will be able to use lab computers.
For 2022, the NHSI reviewed the vaccination status of each student upon enrollment. Students were required to provide a negative PCR test result upon check in, taken 48-72 hours prior to arrival, or proof of recovery within 90 days. Students who received positive results delayed their arrival by at least 5 days from the test date, until they tested negative and were symptom-free for 24+ hours. Students who tested positive while on campus were placed in an individual room and withdrawn from the Institute by their parent/guardians. Students removed from the institute due to a Covid-19 diagnosis were not eligible for a refund. Protocols for 2023 are subject to change based on Northwestern and CDC guidelines.
The NHSI is an enrichment program, where students are encouraged to explore and take risks in their craft without fear of failure. Neither grades nor credit are awarded for attending the National High School Institute.
Students must abide by the 11 p.m. curfew hour, unless otherwise determined by the Division Director.
Students must commit to only one NHSI Division for summer study. However, you may apply to more than one Division. If you choose to apply to multiple NHSI programs you must complete separate applications for each Division. However, you only need to submit one $50 payment for the initial application. Subsequent application fees will be $20 each.
There will be one, all-day field trip to explore the city of Chicago. Field trips are included in the tuition cost of the NHSI.
A final screening of student work will be held on the last day of the Film & Video Institute. Time and location will be announced to the students and parents/guardians during the summer via email. The screening will be free and open to the public. Friends and family are encouraged to attend.
If you would like to be considered for financial assistance you should notate your interest in the Financial Aid section of your initial NHSI Application. Once your application has been processed you will receive an email with further directions on how to submit and complete the FACTS Financial Aid Application.

Scholarships and Financial Aid awards are determined by FACTS and the Financial Aid Committee and are made based on financial need.

We encourage students to look into outside funding options as well. Students should inquire with their school about Activities Funds, talk with the PTA, or local service clubs such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, or AAUW. Past students have also run successful crowd funding campaigns on sites such as Kickstarter and Go Fund Me.

We recommend that students in the top third of their class with at least a “B” average apply. Exceptions are made. We look for evidence of high motivation, interest, and scholastic ability.
A standard health form MUST be completed and returned prior to the first day of the Institute. The health form is emailed to students in the general information packet upon acceptance to the Institute.

Students will not be able to check in on arrival day without a completed health form submitted to our administrative office. Any hospitalization, immediate care, or emergency room visits must be covered by students’ own insurance and is not covered by the NHSI or Northwestern University. Students must bring a Health Insurance Card with them.

A packet of information about attending the NHSI will be emailed to all accepted students. The information packet covers arrival and departure from the Institute, items to pack, program overview, and other pertinent information. As well, you will receive a number of forms (Health Record, Standard Operating Procedures, Permission to Treat & Transport, and Photo/Likeness Approval) which you will need to fill out, sign, and return before arriving on campus.
Tuition for the Film & Video Division covers: all programming, room & board in University housing, three meals daily in the dining hall, field trips, and group events. Students may choose to bring additional spending money for the occasional meal off campus, souvenirs, etc.
Students must assume all responsibility for personal property. For the safety of students and faculty, residence halls are locked at all hours. Students are strongly advised to lock their rooms at all times.
All students must live on campus. Most students will have a roommate. Roommate requests will not be accepted except in the case of requests regarding medical conditions. Students who identity as males and females will be separated by floors or by common areas. All residences are air-conditioned. All meals are eaten in University dining halls.
We will attempt to work with students and their families on a case-by-case basis to best accommodate any special needs that an applicant may have. The NHSI has a dietitian on staff for its summer programs to address any specific dietary needs that applicants may have. Please alert us early so that we can have sufficient time to help make the Film & Video program accessible to all students. Visit the AccessibleNU website for more information on campus accessibility.
Faculty-student ratio varies from 1:5 to 1:10. Faculty and staff live in the residence halls as Resident Hall Directors and Resident Hall Assistants. Our Faculty consists of professional artists and experienced educators. Faculty Associates are current college students, from Northwestern and other Universities across the nation. Many Cherubs alumni have returned as Faculty Associates and Faculty.
Standardized test scores are encouraged but not required to complete an application. If you have taken any standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, PLAN, or ACT) you should submit a copy of your scores to be added to your application. If test scores are unavailable, please email the NHSI office stating you do not have any test scores available at this time.

Please mail or email copies of your scores directly to NHSI as CollegeBoard does not have an NHSI option for sending results. Sending results via CollegeBoard to the Northwestern University option will deliver your scores to Undergraduate Admissions NOT the National High School Institute.

A copy of your most current high school transcript is required to complete an application. Official transcripts sent from your school are preferred, however, copies received via email will be accepted.
Once you accept your spot, we will create a student account for you and send your login information via email. A non-refundable, $1,000 deposit is required within 1 week of receiving your student account information to hold your place at the Institute.



Film & Video Division  –  Application Information and Deadlines  –  Tuition and Fees  –  Scholarships and Financial Aid
FAQ’s – Typical Day  –  Sample Film Work  –  Photo Gallery