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Summer Research programs for CS

anajas92anajas92 1 replies1 threads New Member
edited November 2018 in Summer Programs
Hi guys, I'm currently a sophomore in high school and I'm trying to do find a research program to do over the summer.
I am really into CS and hope to research in that field.
How is the Pioneer Academic Research Program? What about the Horizon Academic Research program?

Does anyone have any other ideas about ways I can do research or any programs that you know of. I have found a bunch but most of them are for rising seniors and not juniors or are unnecessarily expensive and seem like a scam($7000+).

Not sure if this info is required for recommending programs but I have a 4.1 unweighted GPA and am taking a couple of AP classes. I did an internship at a start up after my freshmen year.
edited November 2018
11 replies
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Replies to: Summer Research programs for CS

  • anajas92anajas92 1 replies1 threads New Member
    oops i meant most programs I found were for rising seniors
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  • CskindaguyCskindaguy 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Exact same situation ^^^. I haven't found any like that either.
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  • secretscreennamesecretscreenname 8 replies1 threads New Member
    I'm also in the same situation... have you guys found anything?
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  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 735 replies9 threadsForum Champion Summer Programs Forum Champion
    Here are some suggestions for everyone:

    Pioneer (didn't apply but I hear it is pretty good)
    MITES (have to be a minority)

    These are just some programs that have a CS research component. I would also recommend doing research outside of a program. Professors are always looking for motivated and passionate students to help them on their research.
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  • CaspiantopiaCaspiantopia 20 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Just ran into this question... You may have gotten the answer already. But here are my two cents...I had never heard about Horizon Academic before, so I checked out Horizon's website and really wonder how legitimate it is. I am an IEC and a mother of two high school students, so I am very familiar with the quality of different summer programs. Horizon seems to be run by a small company that focuses on padding the CVs of rich Asian kids by connecting them to professors from big name universities.

    You need to be very careful with what programs you associate your application with given the rise of recent college admission scandals.

    I also heard Pioneer is quite respected. Good luck!
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  • TimelordYTTimelordYT 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I participated in Pioneer Scholars program when I was a rising junior. I did Pioneer research in glycoscience about carbohydrates, well, more specifically about cellulose as biofuel. I don't know about CS, but the experience was good for me. I actually switched my interest to a more bio field after doing this... (and now I am in biochem :wink: ) But if you are already equipped with enough background knowledge in the field, Pioneer should work. I didn't even take Bio class in high school, so it was a bit tough in the beginning. The professor was really patient and I really benefited a lot from a small class. The professor selected a few papers from academic journals, and they were hard to understand. But the professor was extremely supportive and I grew more used to doing synthesis and reading literature.

    The only drawback is that you can't do any real experiments like in a real lab... But since you're into CS, I guess that will not be a problem : ) It's more about a start in research, and a taste in it for a rising junior. It's more like preparation for real lab experiments in college or summer schools. At least I benefited from it when I attended summer school as a rising senior. You will understand how to analyze those data, how to find research papers on relevant topics, how to design further experiments based on the results obtained. BTW, after writing a research paper, lab report is really just a piece of cake. Pioneer also gives you academic credit which colleges accept.

    I don't know what assignments they'll give you if you're in CS. There aren't many research papers in that field except perhaps quantum computer? I guess it'll be on programming.

    For those of you who are interested in Pioneer program, I strongly recommend you to try research about your own field generally before the program actually started. It gains you some time to think out your own topic if you don’t already have one in mind. You can also keep an eye on other topics in your field. I scanned some articles about degradable plastics to see what was leading the research trend in organic chemistry/biochemistry, despite the fact that I chose to write about cellulose.

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  • DoggoMemeFanDoggoMemeFan 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I've had students do both programs and can offer some insight. Both Pioneer nor Horizon are both ethical and legitimate companies. They both allow students to write independant research papers together with professors. They're not college consultancies, and they mostly work with sophomores and juniors, so there's not really any chance that they'd be doing anything untoward with student's college applications.

    Pros for Horizon:
    -Horizon is less expensive (about 5k versus Pioneer's 7k)
    -Discloses who the students' professors are before they ask them to apply and pay a tuition fee
    -Horizon has the same number of class hours in the program as Pioneer, but they also have a Teaching Assistant who works with students for an additional 6 hours throughout the program.
    -Horizon gives admissions decisions much faster than Pioneer (probably because they're smaller)

    Pros for Pioneer:
    -Pioneer has been in the research space for longer than Horizon (~2012 versus 2016)
    -Offers more topics
    -Runs their own journal (not sure how meaningful publishing in that journal would be though?)

    That's my 2 cents at least.
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  • maroonkitemaroonkite 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi! I was a prior student in the Pioneer Academics Research Program during the summer of 2018, and I conducted research in neuroscience.

    The Pioneer Academics Research Program is a global online research program that matches willing high school students with a full-time college professor who will serve in a mentor capacity and assist you in your research, and eventually, as you write your 15+ page paper. Pioneer is currently the only accredited online research program for high school students. There are opportunities to choose between a less time intensive (Spring through Summer) and more time intensive term (Summer). I on average spent about 10 hours a week working on my research paper during the summer, but your experience in Pioneer is ultimately up to how much time you put in!

    Even if you have zero research experience or have never done any research before, Pioneer makes it super easy to start. There is an extensive support system built into the program, besides your fellow classmates and Pioneer professor, you also have the support of a writing center, a program coordinator, and many more. There are even research and technical support Zoom meetings that help students minimize technical difficulties when online, and several meetings walking you through how to write a research paper-- everything from how to formulate a strong thesis to how to pick reliable sources. Overall, everyone is looking to help you succeed through the program.

    Be aware that as an online research program, Pioneer requires you to conduct research a little differently than some may envision. Being an online program, you cannot conduct research in a wet lab or in the field. The way I conducted my research was by poring over the data of many different research studies and drawing my own conclusions from there. I know with other topics, there are possibilities of using online simulations to collect data. I believe some other students may have conducted physical experimentation on their own time. Either way, there are many avenues to conduct research within the Pioneer program while still remaining online.

    Besides being able to produce work at the undergraduate level, one of the most rewarding parts of Pioneer for me was forging a relationship with my Pioneer professor, who I still keep in contact with to this day. My Pioneer professor helped me tremendously with my research paper. My topic was in neuroscience, and although I had no experience in neuroscience (my high school did not offer any classes), my Pioneer professor took his time to use the first 5 group sessions as course instruction time into the basics of neuroscience, and explained thoroughly some concepts/terms/ideas etc. that we may come into contact with throughout the literature review and research process. My Pioneer professor also personally recommended a paper that one of his colleagues had published that pertained to me topic. My Pioneer professor was always engaging and really seemed to care about his students-- he always provided good feedback and constructive criticism that allowed me to produce the best paper that I could.

    Pioneer gave me a huge leg up in distinguishing myself when eventually applying to college, because not only did I have an undergraduate level research paper at the end to show for, but I also received college credits through Oberlin college for the work I did with Pioneer. I also had the opportunity to be published through Pioneer; a link to the publication can be accessed here: http://pioneeracademics.com/html/news_detail.php?id=568. This helped show that I was able to reach a unique level of scholarship while still a high school student. Moreover, the experience and skills I gained in research through Pioneer allowed me to be more confident when I conducted research in the future, as well as at the collegiate level. Having a research background with Pioneer better prepares me for when I will do research at university/college. Additionally, having the feedback I did during Pioneer helped me in writing stronger research papers generally.

    To be completely candid, Pioneer may have some drawbacks for some. For example, the program costs about $6k, but I would please urge that you do not let financial barriers prevent you from applying. I myself did not have the finances necessary but I was able to receive a full scholarship through the program that allowed me to complete it. Additionally, there is a lot of work to be done throughout the program, especially if you are taking the accelerated summer term. It takes a dedicated student to be able to put an upwards of 10 hours a week for about 10 weeks to work on a research paper. But again, do not let this discourage you, as the experience gained through Pioneer far outweigh the difficulties you encounter. This program is not for those looking to boost their college resumes, or who are not at least somewhat interested in trying research. It takes a lot of hard work to complete the program, and there has to be a genuine interest in the topic you are researching in order to enjoy your time with Pioneer. Good news is that there are about 30 or more topics you can choosing, ranging from architecture to chemistry, and everything in between. All Pioneer professors are phenomenal, serving as full-time college professors for at least 7 years, and who willingly volunteer their time to mentor high school students through Pioneer.

    I absolutely loved my time in the Pioneer Academics Research Program, and although arduous, I would 100% do it again. I had a wonderful experience with the program and gained skills that have allowed me to get ahead in my academic and personal life. To this day, Pioneer continues to support me. After I had concluded with the program, I was still supplied with opportunities such as having a Zoom meeting with an admissions officer about how to best represent Pioneer in the college application, and overall how to best represent oneself and craft a story in the application. I am forever grateful to the program, and strongly recommend that you apply.

    If you'd like more insight on the journal as well, which is a professional peer-reviewed journal, wherein papers are vetted by a panel of distinguished professors from American graduate and undergraduate institutions, please do not hesitate to reach out!
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  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 735 replies9 threadsForum Champion Summer Programs Forum Champion
    I strongly encourage people to consider Pioneer. It is not sketchy and the people are quite genuine. I know a couple scholars myself. As for horizons, I would stray away from it. It's a money grab. Worse than the pre collegiate programs offered by t20s. DO NOT GO if you have at least another decent alternative.
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  • DWeeksDWeeks 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I was disappointed to see the unsubstantiated claim from gobears. The Horizon Academic program is less expensive than other programs of a similar nature, and on average about 25% of the students in the program are offered full tuition waivers. Horizon not only matches other programs in terms of the number of teaching hours with instructors, but it also hires additional graduate teaching assistants to support students in addition to the teaching hours with instructors. Horizon Academic actually lets students see who they'd be working with prior to applying and paying. Doesn't sound like much of a grab to me.
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  • fin_newtyfin_newty 2 replies0 threads New Member
    It really seems that both of them offer a very similar experience, work within a group, but you get one-on-one sessions, need for an application, etc. Horizon seems to be playing a little catch up though; Pioneer has been around longer, both host a solid selection of previous faculty though I do like that Horizon tells you the professors currently participating.

    If you're interested in a summer research project, I think you should maybe apply to both and see which can offer you a program that meets what you want to do. It's YOUR summer after all. They probably won't admit it, but they're both competing for motivated students like yourself and I get the sense that there's probably representatives of both orgs battling it out on this page.

    Well good luck with your search! If you're already thinking research your Sophomore year of high school, you're bound to go big places in the future!
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