FAQs – High School Achievers Program

Mumbai (June – July 2018)


1. Should I consider joining the High School Achievers program?

The High School Achievers program is designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and explore their leadership potential. It widens their perspective by giving them exposure to liberal arts, especially debates in philosophy, political science, sociology and economics. Field visits and projects give students an opportunity to directly engage with communities, apply their skills to address social issues and enhance their learning.

The broader aim of the High School Achievers program is to inspire people to think about their social context and to find their purpose in the larger society – be it in the public sector or the private. The exposure also helps students strengthen their profile, build a stronger resume and open up avenues and opportunities for higher education.

Still have questions? See this short video where the founders of YLAC speak about the High School Achievers program.

2. Am I eligible to apply?

If you are studying in grades 9th to 12th and are no more than 18 years of age, you are eligible to apply. Students who are moving into class 9th or those who have just completed their class 12th exams are also eligible.

3. What are the selection criteria?

We look for talented students who wish to change the world around them. There are no prerequisites as such. Students are selected on the basis of their responses to the questions in a short application form.

4. What is a live project? Is everyone required to do a project? Do I get to choose my project?

The High School Achievers program has a two week ‘live’ project built into the schedule. The aim of the project is to help students apply their learning to real life problems and get hands-on experience. ‘Live’ implies that the output of the project feeds into/ supports the ongoing campaigns and initiatives of our partner organizations. Projects are result-oriented and tightly managed by the YLAC team to ensure the most enriching experience for our students.

Signing up for the project is not mandatory. While applying to the High School Achievers program, students have a choice to pick between Module I (YLAC sessions only) and Module I and II (YLAC sessions and project).

A team of 3-4 students works on one project. In terms of the assignment of projects, we seek preferences from students and try our best to match students to a project of their choice, but a specific allocation cannot be guaranteed.

5. What kinds of organizations does YLAC partner with?

We establish partnerships with prominent NGOs and social enterprises that work across a range of subjects and social issues such as education, health, women and child rights, environmental and wildlife protection, livelihoods generation and urban governance. During Module II, students work to assist the partners in their ongoing projects and campaigns.

You can read more about the organizations that partnered with us during the previous editions here.

6. How do projects work and what is the level of time commitment required? How closely is my work supervised?

On average, a student is expected to commit about 40-45 hours per week during Module II to his/ her project. The bulk of the project work can be done remotely at one’s convenience, except for the weekly co-working sessions and field visit.

Projects are tightly managed and YLAC program managers work with the teams during the scheduled co-working sessions to supervise and guide their projects. YLAC also arranges for field visit(s) to the office/ project site of the assigned partners, as required by the project.

While students are not required to be physically present at the partners’ offices, they must ensure their presence in the city during the entire two weeks of Module II. Attendance for all team meet ups and field visits is mandatory for successful completion.

Please click here if you would like to know more about YLAC’s project supervision and methodology.

7. What is the duration of the overall program?

The overall duration of the program is three weeks.

However, your engagement will depend on the modules you pick. Module I is a week long program of YLAC sessions and field visits. Module II includes a two week project for a partner organization. You can opt for either Module I, or Module I and II together.

8. How is the program taught? Is it a conventional classroom setting?

Not at all! Our methodology is anything but conventional. Our teaching methods are not the usual chalk and duster lectures; we use role-plays, group exercises, peer evaluations, videos and games to make the classroom come alive.

At YLAC, we believe that learning should not be boring and we invest a lot of time and effort in making sure that we deliver on that promise! You can watch some of our student’s testimonials from the previous editions here to see how they enjoyed the program.

9. Who is going to facilitate and teach the sessions?

The sessions are taught and facilitated by the YLAC team, including the founders. During the course of the program, a number of external speakers are also invited to interact with our students, and engage with them on a range of issues and subjects.

For the profiles of the external speakers who have interacted with our students in the past, please click here.

10. What is the class size for the High School Achievers program?

Typically, the class size is 35-45 students.

11. Do I get any certificate for this program? Is attendance mandatory?

Yes, students are given a certificate of successful completion at the end of the program. Successful completion requires that a student not miss more than one day during the entire duration of the program. Special circumstances can be considered on a case by case basis, but approval must be sought from YLAC facilitators in advance.

12. What is the refund policy?

In case any unforeseen circumstances prevent you from joining the program, you can request our office to initiate the refund process. YLAC will refund 100% of your payment if the request is received 15 days before the beginning of the program. For requests received 7 days before the program, the refund amount shall be 50% of the payment received. YLAC shall not be able to issue any refunds in case the intimation reaches us at a shorter notice.