Welcome students to BWSI 2021! !

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) re. Beaver Works Summer Institute

  • Note: BWSI is managed with just a few people, *PLEASE* make every effort to read or *search for your keyword/question* on this FAQ and to find the answers prior to emailing staff

  • The online courses opened on Feb 1, and will remain open to students through the summer.  Additional modules will be added in some of the courses after April.

  • Check our website for updated information and how to apply to the 2021 program.    



Update June 1:  Enrolled students will be given MIT emails soon to enable access to the MIT zoom meetings.  We will be launching the student dashboard soon.

For students who are not participating in the summer program, the online courses will remain open until November 30 when we need refresh for our 2022 program!

  • Registered students will receive an email with login information for the online course to complete the online course registration with the steps stated below. The email (from or similar) will prompt you to complete the registration for the online course.

  • The link will take you to Login page, you will need to select “Forgot Password” to reset it immediately.

  • When prompted for school: select MIT

  • Make sure you select "Spring 2021" for term

  • Start typing in course fields, i.e. BWSI, Racecar, Python, or Cog... [LESS TEXT IS BETTER! ] and it will autofill to available course.

  • You may take more than one online course (some courses like RACECAR require it)

Courses for 2021


General Information



Which programs are available?

2021 Information pamphlet is here

Where can I get more information?

We try to keep our website as up-to-date as possible

Are these courses individual or team-based?

The online courses are independent study and therefore individual performance based.  Our July program is rigorous, challenging and team-based so that students can achieve more than as an individual.

What is the daily schedule?

We will be hosting classes from 10am - 6pm EDT, Monday-Friday, July 6-Aug 1. (Monday July 5 will be a half-day with orientations from 12-5pm EDT. )There will be a mix of lectures, labs, and office hours. As we accept students from across the US, some classes may be adjusting hours for different time zones based on their students.

Do you offer programs for middle school?

We piloted our first course in 2019 with the Mini-RACECAR course, we will not be able to host a middle school program this year. Here is info on our Middle school program.

What other STEM programs are available?

MIT has many programs here, Lincoln Laboratory has more listed and pleased to link to Media Lab's All are adapting to policy changes based on COVID-19.  Here is a list of our favorite resources.

I'm a freshman/sophomore, can I apply?

We encourage interested students to be nominated to access the online course, but as we can only accept a limited number of students, accepted students are generally finishing their junior year (i.e. rising seniors)

Do my scores/grades in the online course affect my enrollment?

Enrollment for the summer program is competitive and score in the online courses are an important part in our enrollment decisions, so follow instructions and do your best!  The number of times you can answer is limited so guessing may hurt your score.

What does the program cost? Is there a fee for the program?

The program is free for students, and we make every effort to provide all the unique supplies needed for course-related projects.


Nomination Process for Online Courses

The online courses provide the prerequisite background for BWSI summer program, if more than one course is required to participate in the summer program, it will be listed in that course's overview.

Question Answer

I'm a teacher/parent/mentor/coach - how do I nominate a student?

Please use this link to nominate, up to 5 students per form and you can submit additional forms as wel|.

I'm a teacher/parent/mentor where can I get more information?

We try to keep all the relevant information on our website, check links at top of page as well.  If you need more, please contact


Registration Process for Online Course

Question Answer

How do I apply?

See our website for information.

Have I been nominated for online courses?

After nomination, students are sent an email that contains a link to register.

What is my Unique ID (UID) number?

You receive your UID via email when you complete the student registration form for For prior year students, you should continue to use your current UID for online course access.  This is also your username for once your account is created, and is located in the top right of bwsix course pages after you are logged in.

My school is not listed on the student form?

 Select "Not listed"  and enter in school name in next field

Do I need teacher a recommendation?

Yes, a nomination for the online course and a recommendation for the enrollment application. You will need a teacher (or mentor) to nominate you to register for the online course, and you will need a teacher (or mentor) recommendation for the enrollment application - DUE April 15.

I did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email- why not?

Emails are sent to the addresses provided by your teacher, very often our emails are blocked by school network firewalls

I used my gmail/hotmail/icloud address and still did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email- why not?

Please check your spam or junk mailbox to make sure it wasn't filtered, See this document for more in-depth answers.

I did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email after I completed the online form- why not?

Did you check the email entered was correct? The automatic response is sent to the email provided on the form, please contact to see if this needs to be corrected.

How can I get BWSI emails at my school?

Talk to your school administrator to allow emails from "" through the school firewall

How can I get BWSI emails at non-school email address?

Provide a non-school email address to your teacher when you ask them to nominate you for BWSI

Can you change my school email address on the form?

Due to our limited resources it may be faster to ask your teacher to resubmit a new nomination form with an email that won't be blocked

What do I do after I get the BWSIX email?

We are updating based on making the program virtual as we are not having an in-person program this year, but this document has more in-depth answers.

Can I apply if I'm not a US Citizen?

Every student can enroll for online course, but acceptance into the July progam is limited to US Citizens or students already attending school in the US.  Students must be living in the United States during July  to be accepted.

Can I apply for the summer program if I'm not in the United States?

We cannot accept students outside of the US due to logistical challenges, all students must be living in the US for the July program.

Can I apply if I am homeschooled/go to alternative school?

Yes, the process is the same, (nomination for online, registration for online, enrollment for onsite) contact us if your instructors/mentors cannot access the required forms.

What does the error code mean when I try to use the registration form?

If you try to submit the student registration form twice, you will get an error  (Error ID: 665cd1a0933a2edcb9c8), we prevent students from filling out the forms multiple times, please contact if you need to update or correct information on the form.

Why can't I continue to fill out the registration form- I only see "Save and Resume" ?

Formstack has chosen to use a dark format for the "Next" button in the lower right corner- see this image.


Enrollment Application Questions for the MIT BWSI Summer program



How long can my essays/short answers be?

The formstack website counts characters, not words, and the limits are listed under the respective field.  Most word processing applications will provide word and character counts for you to check before sumbitting.  Please be concise and list the most important facts about you.

My first choice course was canceled/ not accepted into - how much progress do I need to do in the new course?

Start the new course to demonstrate your interest, get as far as you can by Enrollment due date, we will take progress on your original course into consideration

What do I need for the enrollment application? What are the enrollment instructions?

Here is the 2021 link that provides information on the required fields and information that you will have to provide on the enrollment application.

You ask for 3 choices (1st, 2nd, 3rd) for courses- do I have to do all three?

Enrollment is competitive and you may not get your first choice. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be placed into one (1) course and will need to complete the online portion for that course.

When is the teacher recommendation due for enrollment application?

Your teacher recommendation will be due on April 15, 2021.

What should I enter for my GPA if my school does not calculate it?

If your school does not calculate GPA,  please enter 0, and enter "Not Calculated"  in the field "What is your school's GPA scale?"  We do not request official transcripts from schools or students.



Passwords for Registered Students

Question Answer

What's my password??

For see 1) below,

for piazza- see 2) below.

1) What's the password for my BWSIX account on the login page?

At first login, simply select the "forgot password" link on this page, and you will be able set it (or reset it) at any time.

2) What's my password for Piazza?

Piazza is self-registration (select sign-up)

How do I get to correct course on Piazza?

Go to sign-up, select green Students get started, enter MIT, and select "Massachusetts Institute of Technology", type "bwsi" in the course field and a course selection list will appear.

Where's my access code to register for course on Piazza?

Access codes are located in introductory module for your course or in Course Updates.


Online Course- For Registered Students

Question Answer

I was a student last year; do I need a new UID?

If you are a returning student, your account will remain tied to last year's UID, please continue to reference that in correspondence.  Online course registration for this year will ensure that you continue to receive notifications and updates for this year.

I can't find the correct bwsix course- what do I do?

On the BWSIX dashboard page - you should see all the available 2021 courses, names may not be a complete match, but the choice will be obvious looking at the page.

I did not get into my first choice course - how much progress do I need to do in the new course?

Start the new course to demonstrate your interest, get as far as you can by March 31 (the enrollment application due date), we will take progress on your original course into consideration.

I registered but cannot access/find the correct course?

Check you have selected the correct semester (Spring 2021) and the courses for 2021 (not 2020)

Can I just do the online course (and not apply to the summer program) ?

Yes, the online course is open to all high school students who are interested. The process for the online course access is the same whether you plan on applying to the summer program or not.

How do I register for the online course?

Select the link provided in the course registration email in this document.

How long does it take to complete a course?

The length of time depends on your experience and skills, as well as the course selected, but encourage applicants to start early as it may take several weekends to complete a course.

I'm having trouble logging into BWSIX, what can I do?

See this document for more in-depth answers.

How do I pick a course/What courses should I do?

After logging in to BWSIX, you will see all the 2021 courses, you should select the one course that interests you most and begin it, other courses, like Python, may be required to qualify for the summer program and it will state that in the course syllabus or description.

Can I take more than 1 online course?

Yes, you are able to work on more than 1 course (courses like RACECAR require it), voluntarily completing additional courses does not improve your chance of acceptance, but can provide interesting learning opportunities

Since the application asks for your top three choices, would you have to finish at least 50% of your top 3 courses before you apply?

No, just your preferred course. Not all students can be accepted into their top preference and this will help make sure promising students can be in a personally interesting course.

How do I register for additional courses?

Your login for BWSIX provides access to any of the 2021 courses, and you self-register by selecting the course and starting it (don't forget that each course has its own piazza forum).

How do I ask questions about course material?

We use Piazza as a forum for online course collaboration, you can register for an account on Piazza but course codes are ONLY available through the individual BWSIX course.

How do I register for Piazza?

See Piazza under Passwords section Q & A; Check the Introductory module or Course Updates in individual course for links and access code

Piazza says my access code is incorrect- what do I do?

EACH course has its own piazza forum, so there are different access codes to each piazza course forum, confirm that you have the correct access code for the appropriate piazza forum

I see the prior year courses; can I work on them?

No, the prior year courses are closed, and do not count towards the 2021 application

After I register on BWSIX; can I change the email for the account?

No, is administered by a different organization and we cannot change email/account settings.

What email is used for correspondence for BWSI?

We use the email entered by you, the student, on the student online course registration form as the primary method to send updates and information,

Are there certificates available after completing the online course?

Yes, Certificates will be available at the end of the course and automatically put in the score of the student when selected.


Middle School Information

Question Answer

When will you offer a middle school course?

 We will not be running an in-person program this summer, but are working to create new content for a virtual middle school program. Middle School Program Information

How can I apply/ or apply for my child?

See link above

How can I do this in my school?

We can partner with you and your school to provide the course and curriculum content for classes, enrichment or clubs. Please email us bwsi-admin .


 Last resort!

Email bwsi-admin  with your questions if you do not see the answers you need on this page. BWX-help or BWinfo or BWwebmaster will only take longer to get an answer.


Internship Opportunities (and other opportunities after BWSI)

Please see this page for more info. Our sponsors understand that the best and brightest are coming here for courses and offer internships to selected students attending BWSI for the following summer, BAE Systems, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, and MITRE are planning on offering internships to BWSI alum.


Program Links


BWSI YouTube Channel

BWSI 2021 Brochure

BWSI 2020 Final Event Pamphlet

BWSI'19 Program Brochure

BWSI'19 Final Event Brochure