FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Our Program Coordinator gets a lot of emails!  While she is very happy to hear from you, here is a faster way to get the information you desire!

Check here for the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Perry Initiative:


About the Perry Outreach Program for high school students:

How much does it cost?

Good news!  Our program is free!  We work very hard, applying for corporate and educational grants, to make sure our programs stay that way.  And for all those that say there is no such thing as a free lunch… Ours is.  Students receive lunch during the program day.  Students will also receive a pair of Perry Initiative scrubs to keep.

What time is the program?

Our programs for high school students occur on Saturdays and run from 8:30am to 3:30pm.  Unless otherwise specified, parents are welcome to join us any time after 2pm.

Our programs for medical students occur on Friday evenings.  Please check with your local contact about the time and date of your specific program.

Where is the program?

We run over 30 programs at sites nationwide each year.  Please check the Upcoming Events page to see the exact location of the program you are looking to attend.

What will we do all day?

Using real tools and bone models, girls participate in creative problem-solving and learn the orthopaedic implant design process.  Participants will rotate through six mock surgical scenarios and attend three lectures on career decisions given by local women orthopaedic surgeons and engineers.  Local medical and engineering students act as hands-on activity instructors.

Will transportation/lodging be provided?

No.  The participant and her guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the event. While we strive to lessen barriers to participation in our programming (one reason we keep the program free of charge), we are a smaller non-profit organization that cannot afford the staff or insurance that would be necessary to provide participant transportation/lodging for each of our 30 events nationwide each year.

I’m signed up to take the SAT/ACT that day. Can I still come to the program?

If you are taking a college entrance exam, you should consider the exam to be an all-day commitment.    Of course the Perry Initiative supports you in taking your exam, but do not plan on trying to come to our event afterward.  Please check your schedule carefully BEFORE applying to our program.  Applying to the program when you already have a commitment takes a spot away from another girl who was interested AND available.

Besides, would you really want to spend the time during your very important exam worrying about getting to something else later?  Focus on one thing at a time!

I know will have to leave early to go to something else. Can I still come to the program?

Unfortunately, as the program is already quite short, we cannot allow participants to come for only part of the day.  Please check your schedule carefully BEFORE applying to the program.   Applying to the program when you already have a commitment takes a spot away from another girl who was interested AND available.

We made the program the length that it is because that’s how long it takes for us to say all that we would like to say and for you to learn what we would like for you to learn.  When you look at it that way, missing large chunks of the program doesn’t make much sense, does it?

I am an educator. How many students can I bring? How do I sign them up?

All students must fill out our online application as individuals and will be subject to our established admissions criteria.  We are unable to guarantee acceptance of all of an educator’s students as a group because our admissions are based on interest and grade. We also strive to have students from as many local high schools as is feasible.

I am a parent and I think my daughter would make a perfect orthopaedic surgeon. Can I fill out the application for her?

We appreciate this sentiment.  We really do.  Many of us Perry staff are parents ourselves.  However, it is extremely important that your daughter fill out the application herself.  There are a variety of reasons that this is important:  1) Applications are essay-based.  It is not fair for an adult to be writing essays that compete with essays from high school girls. 2) Even if your daughter has the perfect skill set to be a surgeon or an engineer but she has shown no interest in these careers, applying for a program on her behalf is not going to convince her that this is the career for her.  Try instead directing her to our website and encouraging her to apply on her own.  3) Bringing a child to the event that does not have the internal motivation to be there affects everyone negatively, particularly on a Saturday morning!  4) If the admissions staff find out that the application was filled out by a parent and not the student, the student will be rejected from the program.


Application Process:

Is there a character or word limit for essays?

The character limit for each essay on the POP application is 1000 characters. This includes spaces and works out to be about a paragraph for each answer. We want to know about your interest and experience as they relate to this program, but essays should not be as detailed as a college application essay.

How do I sign up?

The Perry Outreach Program is an admission-based program.  This means all of our participants must complete an application.  Applications are reviewed after the application deadline and the applicants who best meet our admissions criteria are invited to attend the program.

What are your admissions criteria?

We seek high school girls in grades 10 and up with an expressed interest in engineering, orthopaedic surgery and/or medicine.  Admissions will be based on the quality of the application essays and student career interests.  Previous applicants and older students (who will have fewer chances to reapply) will receive preference.

What are the essay questions?

There are two essay questions that must be completed as a part of the Perry Initiative Outreach Program application.

Question 1:  Why are you interested in participating in the Perry Outreach Program?

Question 2: What are your short term and long term educational goals?

Details on expectations surrounding the essays may be found here.

Why do I need to answer essay questions?

The essay questions are the only place on the application where you get the opportunity to tell us about yourself!  It is best to view these essays as a chance to tell the admissions staff all about what a lovely, driven, passionate, smart, and interesting person you are.  This is the place on the application to let us know that you are more than your name, email and high school.  This is the place to show us that you really are interested in engineering or orthopaedics and there is a real reason for that… all the interesting experiences you’ve had that make you, YOU!  Go ahead, tell us about you.  We’re interested!

Do I need to give you my GPA?

No.  We do not ask for your GPA or a transcript.  We would like to hear about YOU as a person and feel that a GPA is a number that does not necessarily reflect your deepest desires and aspirations.  We also seek to inspire girls to go into the fields of engineering or orthopaedic surgery.  We hope that by the end of the day, you will understand the work that is necessary to succeed in these fields (including, but not limited to, a strong GPA).

How many students do you accept?

A full Perry Outreach Program runs at 40 participants. We will accept 40 students and maintain a waitlist of 5-10 students. If one of the original 40 selected is suddenly unable to attend, a girl from the waitlist will be contacted and accepted in her place. Anyone who is not immediately accepted or accepted in off the waitlist will be encouraged to apply again the following year. Repeat applicants do receive admissions priority as this shows commitment to the program.

Why hasn’t my reference been contacted?

If it’s before the application deadline and you or your reference haven’t heard from us yet, don’t panic. We’ll be in contact if we need additional information. Do not worry – we may not contact your reference and that’s okay. 


After you have completed your application:

I submitted my application and I haven’t heard anything. What should I do?
  1. Check and make sure that the application deadline for your program has passed.  Admissions decisions will not be made prior to the application deadline.  This allows everyone who is interested a chance to apply and have their application considered.
  2. Wait at least 3 days (4 days if the application deadline was on a Friday) after the application deadline to allow for admissions decisions to be made.  While some of our programs receive just 40 applications, some of our programs have received 4 times that amount!  Sometimes it takes a little longer because we have to read everyone’s application.
  3. If it’s been 3 days past the application deadline and you still have heard from us,check your Spam Folder in your email account.  Nine times out of ten, if you “haven’t heard from us” it is because your email settings have sent our email into your Spam Folder.
  4. If you have done all three things above and still cannot find any correspondence from us, you may email our Program Coordinator, Hannah Heuschneider: hannah [at]perryinitiative [dot] org.
I am unhappy with your admissions decision. How do I lodge a complaint?

Unfortunately, we simply cannot accept all of our applicants.  Please do not take our admissions decision as a judgment of you as a student or as a person.  Bear in mind that we have received many applications and can only know about you what you have included in your essays.

Your most useful next step is to wait at least one day before sending any emails.

After processing our decision, you may request feedback on your application.  This does not mean sending an outraged email full of demands.  However, you may send a carefully articulated email asking politely if there may be something you could do to improve your chances of admission in the future.  Our Program Coordinator, Hannah Heuschneider: hannah [at]perryinitiative [dot] org, is happy to provide you with insight about your program’s applicant pool and what it was about your application that was the deciding factor.

Oh no! Something has come up at the last minute and I can no longer attend. What do I do?

Please email Program Coordinator, Hannah Heuschneider: hannah [at]perryinitiative [dot] org as soon as possible.  She will be able to give your spot to a student on the waitlist.

If I cancel at the last minute, does that mean I can just come next year?

Yes and no.  If you notify us ahead of the program (or day of the program, in case of sudden illness) that you are unable to attend, you are eligible to apply again for next year’s program.  While you will be given preference in admissions, you are not guaranteed admittance.  If you did not notify us ahead of time and simply did not show up the day of the event, you will be disqualified from admission to all future Perry Initiative events.

I loved the Perry Initiative event SO MUCH! I want to come again next year. Can I?

Unfortunately, we do not accept students that have already attended the program once.  This gives more girls the opportunity to experience that same Perry Initiative event you loved so much!