Prospective Student FAQs

When is this year's CS KickStart?

Camp week is the week before classes start (August 18-23), so CS KickStart will not interfere with your semester schedule. There will also be events during the school year!

What do participants do?

CS KickStart is divided into two parts: the week-long camp and the activities that will occur during the school year. Please note that full participation is expected of everyone who attends, both during the camp week in August and during the school year.

During the week-long camp, students will:

Learn how to write code! Students will take part in several coding labs that will teach them how to navigate the terminal, use an editor, and write a program. These labs are specifically designed to give students a head start in their first computer science courses at UofM.

Get to know other freshmen! Students will meet their peers and make friends before classes start! They'll get to know each other through a variety of social activities and team learning.

Meet computer science faculty and learn about research! Participants will interact with professors and learn about the research that makes University of Michigan CS one of the country's top computer science programs.

Network with engineers from tech companies! Students will participate in a meet-and-greet with representatives from several different tech companies. They'll learn what industry work is like and about the many different applications of computer science.

Get to know campus! During in-person camp, participants will get to know the bus system, explore school buildings, eat in multiple dining halls, and compete in a scavenger hunt at the end of the week!

Some events CS KickStart might hold during the 2024-2025 school year:

Tour of a local Ann Arbor tech company! During previous years of CS KickStart, students have toured local companies to see where and how their engineers work. This includes a walk-through of the company's space and an interactive discussion with a few representatives.

Professional development workshops! These events might include resume reviews, career fair and interview tips, course planning help, and much more!

Fun social events! From going out for ice cream to doing yoga at a local studio, the possibilities to relax and have fun in Ann Arbor are endless! These events will be focused on building upon the friendships that were started during the week of camp.

I have no experience in computer science! Should I still apply?

Absolutely! We actually prefer students with no prior experience. We will teach you the fundamentals of programming and using the command line, skills extremely useful to know - especially if you're going into EECS 183 or ENGR 101. There will be experienced mentors to help guide you throughout the program. 

How many students will participate?

This year, we plan to admit 25-30 incoming freshmen.

When you say free, do you really mean that? What's included?

Thanks to our generous industry sponsors, the College of Engineering, and the EECS department at UMich, the program really is free. Your room and board for the week of the program are included. You are responsible for any costs associated with transporting yourself and your belongings to the University. 

Included in the program with no additional cost to you are:

Not included are:

*see "Will I Need My Own Computer?" below for more information.

Do I have to be a woman to apply?

You do not need to be a woman to apply! CS Kickstart was founded with the mission of encouraging more female students to study computer science by giving them confidence, inspiration, and support. However, we have since expanded our mission and welcome incoming Michigan first-year students of any gender identity to apply to CS Kickstart! 

Do I need to be a Computer Science or STEM major to apply?

Nope! We encourage students from all majors to apply! 

What if I applied to the CS major in my Michigan application?

Unfortunately, our program is not intended for those who applied directly to the CS program on their Michigan application, regardless of acceptance status. However, we encourage those considering the Enrolled Discoverers program to apply.

I am involved in another program that will require my attendance during the week of CS KickStart. Can I participate in both?

Most likely not. We expect full participation in all our program's activities throughout the week, as even missing a half of a day means missing a substantial amount. 

Can you accommodate my dietary restrictions?

You will eat some meals at the dining halls. Please see the UMich Dining Services site for information about what we can accommodate. Some other meals will be catered in by local Ann Arbor restaurants. We will try to accommodate dietary restrictions as best as we can in these situations.

What if I don't plan to live on campus?

Definitely apply, but email us ( so we can figure out logistics!

I've been accepted to a Michigan Learning Community. Can I still participate?

Short answer, no. There are too many conflicts with the orientation for MLC's that interfere with CS KickStart. Full participation in CS KickStart's activities is required for acceptance to our program. That being said, the Residential College (RC) is an exception. RC students are able to participate in CS Kickstart without any conflict as the RC's welcome activities that overlap are optional, not mandatory.

What is the time commitment?

On the Sunday before camp week starts, there will be one event in the afternoon/evening. For the rest of the week, please plan on being available all day. Social events occur throughout the year and participants are highly encouraged to attend to keep in touch with their cohort peers.

Will I need my own computer?

You will need to bring a working laptop with a charger to camp each day. Students should use their own personal laptops but a university computer can be loaned to you if you don't have your own laptop.

Are there other programs like CS KickStart at Michigan?

Consider checking out some of our great student organizations during the semester, like the Michigan Student Artificial Intelligence lab (MSAIL), the Michigan Data Science Team (MDST), the Michigan Embedded Systems Hub (MESH), and Michigan Hackers, all of which teach various computer science and engineering topics throughout the school year.

Where do participants stay?

Participants move into their school-year residence halls when they arrive on Sunday, August 18th. That means that attendees will move into their dorm rooms a few days earlier than the rest of the incoming students. Participants will not have to move a second time.

I have a question that isn't on here! What do I do?

Email us at! We'll get back to you quickly, and we might add your question to this FAQ.