Frequently Asked Questions

All Programs

Does my child need to bring their own computer?

No! Our instructors always bring computers so that you don't have to.

Where does your curriculum come from?

We use our own project-based curriculum developed by our co-founders and instructors. Our co-founders are PhDs in the field of computer science education and many of our ThoughtSTEM instructors have been teaching computer science to K-12 students full-time for years.

What are the age ranges for your programs?

Generally, we break our programs into the following age ranges: K-2nd, 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade. These may vary slightly depending on the school and program.

What if my child has no programming experience?

That's great! That's generally what we expect! Our after-school programs are perfect for students without previous coding experience. Each student will be able to progress through curriculum at their own pace, and our teachers are there to help!

What if my child has significant programming experience already?

That's great too! Our after-school programs give students a creative outlet for their skills. More experienced students will be able to flex their creative muscles on more complex projects. If our teachers find your student to be ahead of their classmates, your student will graduate to working on harder challenges and projects.

What programming language will my child be using?

Our after-school programs will be introducing students to a variety of programming languages! If you ever have questions, feel free to give us a call at 858-869-9430.

Do I need to purchase anything for my child for this class?

All software and materials are provided for your child. You do not need to purchase anything. Most programs are available to be used at home for free, as well. We will send information by email about how to access software students are using in class, or if we are using specialized hardware in class, how you can purchase that hardware for continued learning at home.

How do I enroll my student?

Find your student’s school on our nonprofit page here. There will be a link on your school’s after-school program page to enroll! If you don't see your school on our All Programs page, you can send us an email if you're interested in helping us set up a program at your school!

Questions Specific to Courses at UCSD Extension

How does my child receive pre-college credit from UCSD Extension?

Once your student completes the course you can fill out this form and send it in to UCSD Extension in order to request a copy of your student's transcript. Note that students may only receive pre-college credit for completion of classes at UCSD Extension (not programs hosted at other locations).

Can my student enroll in this class more than once?

We encourage students to enroll in any or all of our classes. We teach different topics on different days, and we also offer more challenging projects to returning students in the same topic.

Questions Specific to Weekend Workshops

When and where are ThoughtSTEM workshops held?

Two ThoughtSTEM workshops are held each Sunday at UCSD, one from 10 am - 12 Noon and the other from 1 - 3 pm. (Click for Directions)

Who helps my student(s) at the workshops?

ThoughtSTEM undergraduate mentors from local universities and colleges, as well as college graduates, help mentor your children at the weekend workshops. All of the mentors are highly qualified in both teaching and programming.

How do I sign up for the weekend workshops?

You can enroll here.

If I purchase 10 workshops in advance, does my student have to attend the next 10 consecutive workshops?

No! We will keep a "punch card" for your student to keep track of their 10 workshops. This way your student can miss a workshop here and there without any problem.

Can I as a parent stay at the workshop or do I have to leave my student there alone?

Parents are always allowed to stick around during the workshops. We would encourage you to let your child do the projects on their own, but you are also welcome to learn with them!

Is it a problem if my student can only come every other week?

It's not a problem at all! We've designed these workshops so that students can jump in at any skill level at any time. We have challenges available for all skill levels and our mentors will help your student decide which challenges would be best to pursue.

Questions Specific to Camps

Can I pick up my student early?

At certain summer camp locations, we may have options available for early drop-off or late pick-up. You can call us at 858-869-9430 if you're unsure if those options are available at the location you are interested in. For most of our camps, parents are expected to drop-off students between 8:45am-9am for morning camps and pick up students between 4-4:15pm at the end of afternoon camps, but pick-up and drop-off information will always be listed on the summer camp location page on our website.

What if I'm late to pick-up my student?

If you're running late, please give us a call at 858-869-9430 so we can tell our staff that you are on your way. Note: parents who are late more than once to pick-up their student will be charged a fee to pay overtime for instructors waiting with their students. This fee is $15 per 15 minutes.

Should I consider the grade my student is going into next year or the last grade they completed when registering for summer camp?

We generally recommend parents consider the grade their student is going into next year when registering for a summer camp. However, we ultimately leave the choice up to the students and the parents. Feel free to contact us by phone, (858)869-9430, if you'd like to discuss those options.

My student has food allergies. May I send a lunch instead of participating in the university's dining hall?

The dining halls at UCSD, SDSU, and Cal State San Marcos will not allow you to bring your own food in. They all are able to accommodate a variety of allergies and diets. Please read the instructions on the individual camp pages to determine the necessary procedures for that university.