Pioneer Breaks New Ground: What Might It Mean for You?

Pioneer > Pioneer & News > News reference > Pioneer Breaks New Ground: What Might It Mean for You?
Online Research Program College Credits

Pioneer Academics has Trailblazed a New Academic Standard

Pioneer Academics and Oberlin College & Conservatory jointly announced that, after a comprehensive evaluation conducted by Oberlin’s Education Plans and Policies Committee, the Pioneer Research Program’s credit value will be doubled from two to four college credits. This new level of credit awarded will be valid for all 2024 Pioneer scholars.

Pioneer Academics has trailblazed a new standard – being the first and only online research program for high school students that is qualified for the maximum number of college credits for an undergraduate-level research course.

In 2016, Pioneer Academics and Oberlin College’s collaboration instituted accreditation for the Pioneer Research Program. This made it the only fully accredited virtual research program for high school students. The Pioneer Research Program remains one-of-a-kind in that the undergraduate accreditation is integral to the program itself. No additional fees, classes, or qualifying “add on” components are necessary to receive credit. That built-in, uniform accreditation certifies that all students are held to the same rigorous undergraduate standards.

The doubling of the awarded credit breaks new ground. Oberlin’s multidisciplinary Education Plans and Policies Committee (EPPC) annually reviews the research work and evaluations of Pioneer scholars, and has consistently found that the quality of research produced meets or exceeds the undergraduate bar of a private reading or independent study that would be conducted by undergraduate students at Oberlin College.

In 2023, the Pioneer Research Program underwent a triennial, full program review, with deep analysis conducted by both internal and external faculty auditors. The culminating report recognized not only the high quality of the work, but also that Pioneer has incorporated new, direct learning components to the research experience – a global research skills curriculum, integrated mentorship experiences, practicum in review and evaluation, and ancillary programing that reinforces the research quality builds a scholarly community of learning. 

Internal and external auditors recommended that the academic experience and quality of the work merited an increase in credit to the maximum amount offered in a full undergraduate course. Oberlin’s EPPC faculty voted unanimously to adopt the credit increase, furthering Oberlin’s commitment to supporting access to rigorous higher education opportunities to high achieving students the world over and across socioeconomic strata.  

The EPPC’s annual review of Pioneer scholars’ research has consistently found it to be of extremely high quality. Only after multiple years of meticulous evaluation did the EPPC have full confidence that the research quality of the Pioneer Academics program merited four credits, the maximum the college grants for an undergraduate research course. Oberlin has a history of redefining what’s possible in education and who it’s available to, and we are proud to extend transformative academic experiences to students around the world,” said Professor Mike Parkin, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College.

“This is great news because, for the past 12 years, Pioneer scholars’ dedication to authentic research, instead of college-application-resume-building, has been increasingly recognized; Our Scholars’ embracing of Pioneer’s high standards and dedication to high-quality research deserve that maximum credit outcome. This accomplishment is owed to Pioneer scholars who are driven by true curiosity and intellectual exploration,” Matthew Jaskol, co-founder of Pioneer Academics, commented.

What Does This Mean for Pioneer Scholars?

  • This development is further proof that your research meets the highest standards. Colleges and universities look for differentiators that indicate genuinely rigorous academic experiences. The doubling of the college credit value to the maximum amount speaks volumes about the quality of the program and of your accomplishment in being selected for and completing it.
  • The award of each credit hour has strict programmatic and academic quality requirements. As you transition to college, whether through credit transfer or as recognized in your college application, being part of an institution that offers the highest level of college course credit can significantly distinguish you in the competitive academic landscape.

This milestone cements Pioneer Academics’ role in leading educational excellence, offering scholars distinction in their academic journeys and affirming their position at the forefront of academic innovation and success.

Info Session

Info session for blog page 400x270 1Doing research is commonplace.

How do you choose the research opportunity that makes a difference?

Join us for a free online info session to learn about Pioneer

Sign Up Now

At Pioneer Co-Curricular Summit

Check exclusive sharings
From directors of prestigious programs
At Pioneer Co-Curricular SummitDiscover Exclusive Insights