Is publishing a research paper the key to academic success for high school students?

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at April 29

Students and parents may feel like having an article published in an academic journal is the ultimate badge of accomplishment after conducting research. This isn’t surprising; who doesn’t like to see their work in print? However, the truth is more complicated. Publishing in reputable journals is very difficult and not accessible for most high school students. In order to meet the growing number of high school students who believe they must publish their research, a wide range of publishers have emerged, ranging from vanity press to outright predatory. We encourage students and parents to think carefully about publishing.   Here, we address four myths about academic publishing as a high school student. 

Myth #1: Publishing automatically confers credibility. 

Research is credible when it is proven to follow rigorous academic standards and is certified by a reputable organization. Being published in a journal does not automatically make your research more credible. Research...more

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Pioneer’s rigorous academic system raises the bar for honesty, transparency, and academic integrity

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at April 19

Pioneer’s ethics are the heart of its educational philosophy and mission. To become a Pioneer scholar and join the Pioneer community means cultivating a respect for academic integrity.  Honesty, integrity, transparency, a rigorous academic system and joint oversight with Oberlin college ensure that Pioneer and all Pioneer scholars and faculty are held accountable to a high ethical standard. 

Pioneer is an education program only with a commitment of zero of conflict in terms of college admissions. 

Pioneer has a zero conflict of interest policy. One of Pioneer’s key policies to avoid potential conflicts of interest is to have absolutely no financial ties to third parties. Additionally, neither Pioneer nor its employees  shall give official or unofficial advice about college admissions. By avoiding this conflict of interest, Pioneer ensures that its evaluations are as impartial as possible because there is no incentive to inflate students’ grades or otherwise misrepre...more

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Does conducting research with a mentor from Stanford increase your chances of getting into Stanford?

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at March 23

One might assume that doing research with a Stanford professor as a high school student increases your chances of getting into Stanford. However, of the more than 30 Pioneer scholars admitted to Stanford in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 admission cycles, not one worked with a Pioneer faculty mentor from Stanford in the program. How could this be? The truth is that the credibility of research at Pioneer doesn’t come from the professor’s home institution, but from Pioneer’s high academic standards. Research at Pioneer is a unique academic experience that allows students to grow as scholars and demonstrate creativity, dedication, and intellectual curiosity. The rigorous standards that shape the Pioneer experience lead to a rewarding educational experience and a transparent, comprehensive, and respected evaluation that scholars can use in college applications and beyond – regardless of the home institution of their faculty mentor. 

When evaluating research programs for high school stude...more

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Pioneer alumni describe the unique experience of participating in the Pioneer Research Program

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at March 4

Students wishing to participate in an extracurricular academic program may be overwhelmed by choice. While many programs have excellent reputations, each has a different focus and addresses different academic goals. In order to choose which program is the right fit, students must carefully evaluate their own objectives and compare them against what the program offers. Pioneer Academics is a unique research experience that allows students to accomplish something rather than just learning. Pioneer’s academic system ensures that all Pioneer scholars conduct authentic research, benefit from mentorship by carefully chosen faculty members, build communication skills and experience academic freedom. 

All Pioneer scholars conduct authentic research and write a research paper. 


Adam (engineering, 2019), a Pioneer scholar from Beijing, took a summer course for high school students at an Ivy League university the year before he joined the Pioneer research program. While he doesn’t disco...more

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Information about Summer 2021 Pre-College Economics Programs

Foundation for Teaching Economics
Posted at February 26

If you or your students have questions about Foundation for Teaching Economics pre-college programs, listen to our February 17 webinar held for Independent Education Consultants in HECA and IECA.

View Recording Here: 

Contact us with any questions. 

...more

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Creativity and critical reasoning: how Pioneer scholars leverage divergent and convergent thinking in generating original research questions

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at January 27

Formulating an original research question can be a daunting task–especially for a high school student. Amy Li, Founding Director of Pioneer Academics, describes a Pioneer scholar in Anthropology who was struggling to generate a research topic. While the student knew she needed to be creative, she felt limited by the constraints of the research process. Seeing that she was stuck, her professor suggested that observe her social surroundings and write down fifty questions about her observations. Through this exercise, she was able to generate ideas freely without constraints. Only after she had written these fifty questions did she begin to think critically to evaluate them and choose the most appropriate research question. In doing so, she was able to find a research topic that was both original and feasible. 

Research requires two types of thinking. The first, divergent thinking, is creative thinking in which an individual comes up with new ideas that are different from what he or ...more

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Five Ways Pioneer Academics Fosters Authentic Learning

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at January 12

Students often doubt the relevance of a classroom education––as any teacher knows, “When will I use this in real life?” is a perennial question. Authentic learning is a methodology that educators can use to bridge the disconnect between education and “real life.” In an authentic learning experience, students address real-world problems that are personally and culturally relevant. They engage with these problems for a long period of time, working through challenges and complexities as they arise and producing a final product as evidence of their hard work. Pioneer Academics incorporates all of these elements into its cutting-edge student research program. 

Students address complex, real-world problems
In an authentic learning experience, students are not given artificial problems with clear-cut answers. Instead, they tackle real-world issues in all their complexity. When Harshika, a Pioneer scholar from India (Environmental Science, 2019), read an article about coral bleaching, the ...more

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Pioneer’s Academic Standards Ensure Student Research is Respected

The Pioneer Research Program
Posted at 12/29/2020

When you embark on the Pioneer Research Program, you join not only a community of Pioneer Scholars but an innovative research institute. Being a Pioneer Scholar means something because a research paper from Pioneer can be trusted and respected. Pioneer Scholars and faculty are both held to rigorous standards that allow Pioneer Academics to guarantee the quality and authenticity of their work. This is done through joint academic oversight by Pioneer and Oberlin College. In this article, we will explore the key academic standards that make the research of Pioneer Scholars respected. 

Approach to writing

Pioneer views writing a research paper as a holistic learning experience. Tutors in the online Writing Center may support students by providing detailed feedback and suggestions or explaining difficult grammatical concepts; however, Pioneer tutors are not “editors” and they never rewrite any part of papers. Through rounds of revisions guided by the writing coach’s suggestions, studen...more

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