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 students, transparency matters. Pioneer is the only online research program that can certify the research produced because of its academic standards and oversight. Pioneer’s system is respected by the universities and colleges for its rigor and transparency over a decade-long track period. As a result, Pioneer Academics submits a set of materials directly to universities that includes certifying documents, the student’s research paper, and a standardized evaluation form filled out by the student’s faculty mentor. This level of transparency and trust makes Pioneer stand out to universities and admissions offices. Mary Hetlage, Former Senior Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago, explains, “When Pioneer provides a written evaluation inside of an application they provide a lot of information, so you understand the program, you understand what’s behind it, you understand the accreditation that comes behind it, the rigor, that there’s an evaluation rubric. Pioneer has become simply a trusted entity in the admissions market.”
Pioneer’s academic system ensures that students and faculty mentors meet rigorous standards of scholarship and academic integrity. “The rigorous system that Pioneer has ensures the authenticity and the caliber of students’ work,” explains Amy Li, a Founding Director of Pioneer. On the basis of this system, Pioneer’s research program is accredited by Oberlin College. Michael Pohl, a former admissions officer, explains that this accreditation is further proof that Pioneer is a reputable organization. “Oberlin College is considered to be one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States,” says Pohl. “If they are partnering with an organization that provides excellent programs to students, then there’s credibility there automatically. Colleges and universities don’t just partner with anyone, especially ones that have strong reputations.”
While Pioneer’s faculty mentors come from top universities, it is Pioneer’s academic system that gives students the chance to accomplish authentic research and demonstrate their skills to college admissions offices. Universities know that they can trust an evaluation from Pioneer because of its rigorous academic standards and joint oversight with Oberlin College.