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Arrival Day

By Car

If you arrive by car, you’ll be required to exchange a government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license) for a visitor’s pass at the gate. Follow the signs to the Residence Hall for check-in. Students driving themselves will be required to leave their keys with a member of the SMSC staff. Keys will be returned at the end of the program. Students park for free in the Residence Hall lot during their stay. The address for your GPS is 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, Virginia, however, your GPS may not take you directly to our main entrance, so make sure to review the directions below.


From the North:

  • Take I-495 (Washington Beltway) to I-66, then follow I-66West.
  • Take the Front Royal/Linden exit (Exit 13).
  • At the stop light, make a left; go under the overpass (route 66) and at the next stop light make a right onto Route 55.
  • Follow Route 55 for 5.5 miles until you get to the intersection of Routes 55 and 522.  Make a left onto Route 522.
  • The entrance to SMSC is 1.9 miles ahead on the left side of the road.  The sign out front reads Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
  • Enter Gate #2 (the Main Gate) and follow the signs for check-in.

From the South or East

Take I-66East to Exit 13 and follow the directions as outlined above.

By Air

Students traveling by airplane should plan to arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). SMSC will provide one shuttle from IAD on both the arrival and departure dates.  Students will be picked up at 1 pm EST on the arrival day and will depart for Dulles at 9 am EST on the departure day.


Check-In at the SMSC Residence Hall.  Signs and staff will be located on campus to help students find their way.  Students may check in any time between 1 and 3 pm EST.



Housing is provided in the SMSC Residence Hall. Bedrooms are double-occupancy and have their own bathroom (shower, sink, toilet), with two students of the same gender assigned to a room. Roommates will be disclosed upon arrival.  We cannot acommodate special roommate requests.  All rooms include a bed, desk, and closet.  Bed sheets, a pillow, a blanket, hand towel, and bath towel are provided.  Wireless internet is available.


Meals begin with dinner on the first day of the course and end with breakfast on the last day of the course. Students will be provided three meals a day in our Dining Commons. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the Dining Commons, which serves options for vegetarians, vegans, and those with special dietary needs.

Building Access

Building access is only availably by key card.  Key cards provide individual room access and are programmed to each student’s individual room.  Cards will be distributed to students on arrival day.  Students are required to carry their key cards at all times.


Because of the busy, compact schedule of our high school programs, students are not permitted to have visitors during the course, and may not leave campus at any time except in the event of an emergency or to seek medical treatment.

Code of Conduct

Students are reminded that they and their parent/guardian have all signed the Student Code of Conduct and are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct while participating in the course.

Required Forms

In order for students to participate in our high school programs, parents are required to complete the Required Forms.

Emergency Information

Staff is on call 24/7 in the event of an emergency and can be reached at the emergency phone number (571) 305-0055.  Should a student need medical assistance, they will be taken to the nearest medical facility.  Parents/Guardians will be notified as soon as possible, and any medical decisions will be made by the family in consultation with medical staff.  Students are required to carry their own medication.  Staff are unable to administer any medication.

Mason Alert is George Mason University’s emergency notification system that is used to send emergency notifications and timely warnings to the university community via text, email, telephone call, and digital signage.  It is highly recommended that all parents and students participating in an SMSC program enroll in this notification system to stay informed in the event of an emergency.  Text masonalert to 226787 to receive text messages about emergencies on campus and changes to campus operations.  Notifications can be stopped by texting STOP to 226787


SMSC will provide one shuttle to Washington Dulles International Airport departing at 9 am EST on the last day of the course.

Students departing by car will depart no later than 10 am EST. Students that are being picked up will need to check-out at the front desk of the Residence Hall with SMSC staff in order to verify pickup authorizations.