Research & Competition Prep

Research & Competition Prep Courses help students excel in their chosen pathway, gaining a competitive advantage when applying to future summer research programs, as well as when applying to and succeeding in college.


Students in Research & Competition Prep Courses pursue academic competitions or high-level research in their chosen pathways.

Courses include AIME & USA Math Olympiad, USA Biology Olympiad, Writing Workshops for Essay Competitions, FLEX Research Methodologies Course (FRMC), FLEX Research Mentorship Program (FRMP), and more.

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Competition Prep

Explore these HeadStart Pathways that offer myriad academic competition opportunities: 


FLEX Research programs help bright and motivated students develop important research skills over time while building a resume that makes their college application truly stand out from the competition.

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Coursework that works

FLEX Research Methodologies Course (FRMC)

In FRMC, 9th and 10th graders learn about key research methodologies from UNC Professor, Ethan Hutt, develop 3- to 5-page research papers, and present their findings to an academic committee. FRMC offers two tracks: Health Sciences & Pre-Med and Social Sciences (Business, Economics, and Humanities).

With a 100% Student Satisfaction Rate, here’s what one parent had to say about the program: “I was surprised how vigorous the course is and how much interaction provided between the instructor/TA and the student. I think the one-on-one mentoring is a crucial step to ensure students are on target.”

FLEX Research Mentorship Program (FRMP)

FRMP is an exciting opportunity for motivated 10th and 11th graders to work 1-on-1 (virtually) with a professor to develop a research project from start to finish. The goal is for students to complete either a detailed research/conference proposal or an original research paper suitable for submission for publication. Sample topics include “Economics: Effectiveness of Social Entrepreneurship Versus Traditional Philanthropy,” “Neuroscience: Alzheimer’s Disease, Caregiver Burden in U.S. and Korea,” and “A Review of Racial Disparities in Healthcare.”

Achievements of FRMP students include: 

  • College admissions: Stanford, Princeton, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, USC Merit Scholarship
  • First Place in MIT Inspire (#1 humanities competition) 
  • Admission to Simons Summer Research Program (top 3 summer program) 
  • Articles published in: the International Journal of High School Research, the Journal of Student Research, and the Journal of Chemical Physics

AMC 8 Math Competition Preparation

This course teaches students the critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary for the AMC 8 math competition. In addition, they learn how to be more efficient in applying their mathematical thinking. A great course for students looking to bridge the gap between mathematical practice and computation to mathematical application and word problems.