March, 2016

Young Scholars Programme for high school students at Ashoka this summer

The programme is an excellent introduction to the academic and cultural environment of college life at Ashoka University

By Swasti Acharya and Aaina Singh

High school students certainly have something exciting as well as enriching to look forward to in the summer of 2016. In the month of May this year, Ashoka University is offering the Young Scholars Programme (YSP), which is a sneak peek into liberal arts education for current high-school students who may be keen on experiencing university life.

During this one week, students will be exposed to different disciplines through experiential and hands-on learning. The programme includes a range of activities including lectures, workshops, discussion groups, project-work, presentations and performances. It will be extremely helpful for those who are unsure about what major to pursue and are willing to try out new things. More details of the programme can be found here.

ysp

Illustration by Sanjna Sudan

 

Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder and Trustee of Ashoka University said, “I think the YSP is a great programme for school students in India. It is a shame that a lot of these programmes are actually being offered by universities outside India and people are sending their kids to expensive schools abroad for a good summer experience or universities are now coming to India to launch such programmes. The exciting part is that this initiative by Ashoka gives high school children in India an exposure to what liberal arts education is really about and what a great university experience involves. I think it will be transformational for the kids who come to this programme to experience what people have been experiencing at the undergraduate level and the postgraduate level already.”

As a part of the programme, students will spend time engaging with literature and Shakespeare, various Indian civilisations, trends in history, development economics, psychological reasoning, and even human-computer interaction. There will be communication classes to introduce academic writing and presentation skills. To ensure a multi-disciplinary framework, there will be a range of workshops and field trips.

“I wish the YSP had been initiated two years ago. I would have definitely been a part of it,” says Vallari Saxena, a first year undergraduate student. She adds, “For me, it would have been a great way to gauge whether I should have pursued my education abroad or if Ashoka provided an equally good alternative. But to my relief, Ashoka has everything I was looking for. ”

Although the programme is expected to be rigorous, it will certainly help students deal with actual college life when they get there. Not only will this help build their resume, but it will also ensure that their vacations are spent productively. The programme will also supplement any internships they might already be doing.
A liberal education at Ashoka University allows students to experiment with various combinations and increase their horizon of learning. A math major can do a performing arts minor, a literature major can do computer science and take philosophy as an elective; the options are endless. Through this, students develop a broad base and also become more adaptable to various industries, thereby stretching their possibility of opportunities further.

Ashish Dhawan, Founder and Trustee of Ashoka University says, “The Young Scholars Programme at Ashoka will provide talented high school students a preview into the magic of a liberal arts education. Even though a one-week experience will be ephemeral and fleeting in the physical sense, it will actually leave deep and long-standing imprints on participants.”

For a high school student, it is a huge task to be able to decide whether they wants to stick to a conventional college education or undertake the relatively new and unconventional liberal arts education. For such a student, the Young Scholars Programme at Ashoka offers the perfect opportunity so that they can make an informed choice for the future. The students will go back home not just with great academic learning experiences, memories of stimulating conversations and new friends; they will also have more clarity about the kind of college experience they desire and knowledge about certain courses that they probably didn’t even know existed. This is why the YSP is an opportunity no high school student should miss.

(The writers are first year undergraduate students)

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