The Pioneer Academics team offers a spring through summer program, as well as an accelerated summer only program.
Over the course of the program, students will learn how to conduct and write research, they will gain an understanding of a faculty member’s research, and they will conduct and write out their very own research study. It’s a demanding program, but the results are incredible. For students at this age, to be conducting research at this caliber, is impressive to say the least.
The Pioneer Academics program does have a cost associated with the program, and it’s around what you would expect for a semester of college credit at a state school. That being said, they do offer partial and full-funding for those students who are accepted to the program but who are able to demonstrate financial need. This past year, they were able to meet 100% of the need for accepted program applicants. Plus, those who complete the program receive college credit from Oberlin. For those interested in learning more, the best place to start is with the application procedures.
It’s also important to point out that this isn’t meant to be a pay-to-play program, where students who are wanting to go to Harvard, request to get paired up with a Harvard faculty member, so they can get a leg-up getting into that specific university. Rather, students are paired with faculty members based on area of interest, and both the student (and their family) and the professor, have a chance to approve the pairing up before moving forward through the program.
Once the program begins, students will spend the first portion working with their cohort (usually 2-4 peers, intentionally designed to be an international collection of students), and their professor, learning about the professor’s research. During this time, students will also work with the Pioneer Academics team to improve their writing and research skills, and learn about the research process.
At the completion of this portion of the program, students will spend 1-on-1 time, meeting online with their professor, as the professor guides them through their own research project. This project is based on something the students are interested in, with the end result being a completed study that the students have written themselves. The video below explores this portion of the process.
In the end, faculty members will write evaluations of the work students in the program have completed. It’s important to note, these are not letters of recommendation. Rather, they are critical evaluations of the research work students have conducted over the course of the program. Students then see these evaluations and if they would like, their mentor professors can submit these evaluations to the colleges they are applying for.
Overall, I love what Pioneer Academics is doing here. I believe the focus on having students work with international peers is incredibly important and beneficial. Additionally, students are not accepted into the program based solely on test scores (especially since many haven’t even taken their AP or SAT/ACT tests yet). Rather, admissions are based on a holistic approach to include interviews, student essays, and teacher evaluations
I also love that Pioneer Academics offers a wide range of research possibilities, across STEM fields, social sciences, and the humanities. The team is adding new research areas every year, and they are expanding the number of countries they work with as well.
Additionally, the level of intellectual growth that students go through over the course of this program is nothing short of astounding. By working through a complete research project, students are able to gain an enormous range of beneficial skills that will assist them throughout their future. This video discusses some of the academic discoveries students have made over the course of the program:
In short, for advanced high school students, who are looking to challenge themselves and explore potential areas for future work and research, Pioneer Academics is a unique, rigorous, and excellent opportunity. Those interested can find out more information at Pioneer Academics.
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.