To be accepted into the WSHI program, students must be nominated by science coordinators or guidance counselors at high schools in Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities. These coordinators / counselors receive WSHI information each September and nominate high school juniors with a high scholastic standing in both science and the humanities (minimum B average). Most importantly, students must have a sincere interest in science. Starting in 2012-2013, each school is limited to a maximum of 20 students.
Home-schooled students who are at the junior level are also encouraged to apply and should contact WSHI directly at email@example.com.
Approximately 200 area schools receive WSHI information and about 85 respond with nominations. The school administration provides information about each nominated student, including overall grade average to date. Nominated students must submit an application form on which they write a brief essay about their interest in science and why they want to participate in WSHI. The application form must also contain a recommendation from each student's science teacher or guidance counselor.
On the reverse side of the application form is a release of liability and assumption of all risks which must be signed by both the student and their parent or guardian. Application forms are available from the school science coordinator or guidance counselor. They are not available online.
Every year, the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute receives more applications than it can accept, and interested students must be turned away. For that reason, students accepted into the Institute are expected to attend at least seven lectures OR six lectures and one trip to Penn State. Only students who fulfill this requirement will receive a WSHI Certificate of Completion.