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

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

Stanford students

 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.

Dear educator friend,

In the critical process of preparing students to transition to college, you are key. The
ramifications of your guidance are far-reaching.

The Pioneer Research Program believes that it, too, has a role to play in preparing students of special potential and passion for learning. This is a role we trust you will appreciate knowing about. Our mission is to offer a deep and otherwise unavailable opportunity to exceptionally motivated young scholars who want to learn and research at the college level and to explore their potential for innovation.

What makes Pioneer a unique deep-dive learning experience is not just the mentorship of distinguished professors. It is the rigorous quality controls developed conjointly by Pioneer and Oberlin College. Professors (must) adhere to rubrics for

1) setting learning goals;

2) syllabus development;

3) oversight, feedback and evaluation, and

4) grading standardization.

This rigorous academic system is supported by thorough admission process and a high-minded ethics code. The combination gives students an exceptional learning experience that is brought to fruition in a college-level research paper documenting their findings.

You can follow this link Pioneer’s concrete academic system to learn more about the academic system. Academic quality control and academic oversight assure Pioneer’s focus is on learning and learners, and therefore all of our practices were built upon the following principles:

No conflict of interests Pioneer’s academic ethical standards
Because of its high academic and ethical standards, the Pioneer program has earned the trust of college admissions departments and formed the basis for the ground-breaking collaboration with Oberlin College. Pioneer scholars get two college credits upon completing their Pioneer research.

Click to learn about Pioneer and Oberlin College's groundbreaking academic collaboration.

Pioneer has a rigorous admission process. Students who have genuine academic interests and are highly motivated are a good fit with Pioneer’s values. Pioneer’s founding board insisted that Pioneer commit to a professor-blind policy during the application process, ensuring that applicants have authentic field interest and correct priorities. Consequently, no information about professors is released before admission to the program. This policy is much appreciated and respected by universities. Professor-blind admission policy
On this page is the critical information needed to meet your needs.

If you have additional questions, feel free to let us know how we can help you by emailing or calling 855-572-8863.


Matthew Jaskol

Founder & Program Director