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Program Overview

** Due to overwhelming demand for Summer 2021, this program has reached its capacity and we are not able to accept additional applicants. We welcome you to check out our exciting lineup of available programs for this summer!**

Welcome to Leadership for Social Change - Virtual! Thanks to the wonders of digital platforms, we are able to bring the exciting and rigorous academic experience of Leadership for Social Change safely to you in your home. 

Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life Leadership for Social Change Pre-College Intensive is providing a virtual program this summer in response to the global pandemic. Using a variety of digital platforms to highlight societies’ mutual interdependence and interconnectedness, the engaging two-week program will be a way to unite students across the world and equip them with change-making skills, resiliency strategies, and civic knowledge to build connections, to work collaboratively, and to emerge as change agents who can inspire others.

Leadership for Social Change (LSC) is a credit-bearing program that will introduce rising high school sophomores-seniors to the myriad of ways social change and civic leaders respond to ruptures in society, with the focal point this year being the systemic disturbances stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These issues will include public policy, political science, environmental studies, community health, leadership, and social entrepreneurship. The objective of the program will be to equip students with the skills and knowledge to lead and emerge as change agents capable of navigating societal challenges.

This program was created to offer students the opportunity to deeply reflect and question the many ways society has changed as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The virtual edition of the program will also provide opportunities for students to identify the many ways the concept of community has changed and evolved due to physical distancing. Additionally, the Leadership for Social Change Intensive will implement an even more focal student approach and structure to tap into human-centered values of the power of community and support students in identifying and further developing their unique talents through project-based learning.


Program Highlights:

  • Explore academic areas in which critical civic engagement work is conducted, including:
    • Environmental studies and community health
    • Education
    • Political science and government
    • Leadership and social entrepreneurship
    • Public policy, management and problem-solving
  • Create connections between students’ passions and academic interests
  • Engage with and learn from Tufts faculty and community leaders who are making a difference

Program Outcomes:

  • 1 Tufts Credit (P/F)*
  • Official Tufts transcript upon request
  • Leadership development and networking opportunities
  • Individual action plans to address a pressing issue in each student’s home community
  • Team presentation and portfolio of each student’s work
  • Inspiration and preparation to create change and be active, engaged civic leaders

* Student must Pass to earn credit; credit is pre-matriculation credit

Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

Program Details

Meet Your Program Staff

Calvin Zhao is the Student Programs Administrator at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life. In his role, he directs the Leadership for Social Change program, advises student groups on campus, and manages the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement among other responsibilities. Prior to assuming this role, Calvin coordinated the Tufts 1+4 and Tufts Civic Semester global programs at Tisch, supporting students as they engaged in community-based work abroad. Calvin also worked for 3 years at NYU Shanghai, a sino-US joint venture university in Shanghai, China, involved in various student support and community engagement roles. Outside of work, Calvin is busy pursuing his M.A. in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership at Tufts and spending time outdoors, when he can!

Sara Allred is the Associate Director of Student Programs at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.  In this role, she supports the development and delivery of programs and cross-campus collaborations focused on civic and community engagement.  For the ten years prior to this role, Sara managed the Tisch Scholars Program, Tisch College’s multi-year civic leadership development program for undergraduate students.  Sara has a breadth of experience in civic and community engagement in both higher education and K-12 settings from her past work in nonprofits and as a public school teacher.  She is also a visual artist, with a background in art education and community arts.

Program Schedule

This summer, the program will be offered at two different times: one from 9am – 1:30pm ET and the other from 12pm – 4:30 pm ET. Students will be randomly placed into one of the two time blocks based off of their time zone. In special cases, if students have a commitment during the day that can’t be moved, they can make a request to be in either the morning or afternoon session.


Orientation will be held asynchronously and will require students to participate in an online discussion. Attendance is required.

Program Format

The program is designed to create connections between students’ passions and academic interests and by creating opportunities to engage with Tufts faculty and community leaders who are making a difference. 

The virtual version of LSC will support students in tapping into their personal strengths and embracing the role of historians during this unprecedented time to shape the narrative for future generations of change agents. The program is set up as a mix of content sharing through asynchronous and synchronous 1.5-hour faculty sessions, self-guided field work to inform and put into practice the content that is shared, small group mentoring and guided discussions with peer leaders and the program teaching assistants.

Screen Time

The program is designed to have around four hours of screen time a day. The screen time will consist of content sharing and developing leadership and social change technical toolkits to drive change. We will put students into small groups based on time zones to facilitate opportunities to get to know their peers in an effort to develop a sense of community. We will make this clear on the website and in our materials. Some of the activities the students will be doing to get to know their peers will be conducting a video Q&A and developing a story using a medium of choice (e.g., poem, drawing, short story) about the interview and what they learned about their peer and themselves throughout the process.  

Students will also have the opportunity to use social media platforms to connect with leaders in the field, get to know the program staff and peer leaders in a more informal way and to get a personal look into the day in the life of social change leaders.

Closing Ceremony

LSC Virtual is an opportunity for young leaders who are eager to develop their leadership potential to understand and practice how social change impacts the way communities around the globe are grappling with a society altering phenomenon. The closing ceremony for LSC 2021 will capitalize on the power of social media platforms and focus on the various ways in which young leaders can communicate and drive forward change with an issue that is close to heart. Students will have the opportunity to share their final project with their peers around the globe via a variety of online platforms. Guest speakers and faculty will also be able to provide comments. Student will close the program with an online portfolio that will showcase the ways their communication, leadership and knowledge of social change has grown!

Virtual Field Trips

More information on our virtual field trips will become available as we continue to develop our program!

Reflection and Connection

This program is designed to build connection between students on a global scale, to provide opportunities for interaction with faculty, and to facilitate the creation of social change plans in each local community. The experience will be powerful as students are coping with a very different reality in their daily lives. The LSC staff will work with students to discover their own strengths, their leadership potential, and their power to ethical and effective leaders in society.

Sample Schedule

Please note: the below is a sample schedule based on information at this time, considering an individual student attending the program scheduling independent work / recorded sessions in particular time slots. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program and speaker list to be as meaningful as possible for our students and will look different for students choosing to attend live or independent work / recorded sessions differently. All times are in EASTERN TIME (please see "Attending from Outside the Eastern Time Zone" section below for concerns regarding those not in ET).Because this is a virtual program, meals will not be provided for students even if a meal is stated on the schedule - this is for demonstration only. Activities may occur during meal times. 


Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone

If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in a program that has both in-person and virtual options. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in our programs will be able to attend - whether in live, streamed, or recorded sessions. We will be updating this section with program-specific accommodations as we seek improved ways to suit our students' needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students. 

Materials & Other Requirements


A critical part of this experience is engaging with the content material, faculty and peers as much as possible on academic and social media platforms. To make sure you have everything you need to complete your project, we will be mailing to you in advance of the program the following:

  • The LSC team will create a program workbook specifically designed to guide and support the students through the virtual components of the program. The workbook will include the daily assignment prompts, course readings, mindfulness activities and reflective prompts for students to discuss with their peers. The workbook will also function as toolkit for students to think about the program content offline (or away from the screen).The workbook will be mailed to the students before the start of the program. 

Besides this and the technology requirements listed under "Technical Needs & Support" below, no materials will be necessary for participation in this program. We will, however, be mailing you some fun Tufts Pre-College Programs swag and your Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. 

Note: if you live internationally, we are not responsible if the materials we mail are delayed (which we will try to avoid) or held in customs.

Social Activities

Across Programs

Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of virtual social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students from all time zones can participate. Some examples of potential activities include:

  • Yoga & Barre Sessions
  • Daily Trivia
  • Interactive Panels
  • Fun Workshops


Most programs will offer independent study time for students in a shared (and monitored) virtual "Common Rooms" "Studio Spaces" or "Study Rooms" that will allow students to work in the company of their peers, sharing questions and chatting.

Many programs are also planning their own program-specific activities, often thematically relevant to the program content itself. Look out for these activities in the program description above and in the information provided after you enroll!

Tufts Virtual Campus

We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:

  • Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
  • Canvasprovides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.

Academic Experience

Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.



Tufts University is not only a leading institution of higher education and academic research, but it is leading the nation in terms of higher education's response to our public health crisis.

To ensure the safety of our Pre-College students, we are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, and following local, state, and federal guidance as it pertains to our Pre-College programming.

After careful consideration we, at Tufts University, have decided that Summer 2021 Pre-College Programs, with the exception of Courses at Tufts for High Schoolers*, will be conducted online through our virtual campus.

*Courses at Tufts for High Schoolers: As of today, planned in-person courses will still be held on campus during Summer 2021. Virtual options are also available. Updated information regarding course modalities will be posted here as it becomes available.

For more information about Tufts' response and action planning regarding COVID-19: Please visit Tufts University's COVID-19 homepage.


Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual and in-person safety protocols.

Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.

Technical Needs & Support

Technical Needs

Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:

  • Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
    • Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 
    • PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
  • Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
  • Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
    • If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability. 
  • Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
  • Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates: 
    • Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
  • Software*: programs capable of

              *software may vary by program

We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software may include Zoom and Canvas.

Trial Run: Getting Connected

Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable! 

Accessing Tufts Email

Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link. You can also set up your Tufts email to forward to your personal email account using these instructions.

Getting Help/Support

First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.

If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.

Application & Policies

Application Materials & Details

Leadership for Social Change is a highly competitive program that fills up very quickly. We recommend submitting your application as early as possible. Update 5/05/21: Due to overwhelming demand for Summer 2021, the LSC Intensive has reached its capacity and we are not able to accept additional applicants.


Application & Key Enrollment Dates

Priority deadlines may apply. Admission granted on a rolling basis.

Note: all dates are as of 11:59PM ET

Application Opens Deadline: All Materials Deadline: Payment Deadline: Enrollment Forms
December 1 May 1 May 15 June 15

*Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.

Program Eligibility

General Requirements

Entering high school grades 10-12 *or* Spring 2021 graduate

International Students

Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program.

Non-Native English Speakers

If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.

Application Requirements

Step 1: Complete an Online Application

The online application will ask you for the following information:

  • Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
  • Short interest statement (max 250 words, prompt provided)
  • Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf.
  • Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
  • Warrants and signatures

If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.

Step 2: Upload Your High School Transcript

During your application process, you will be asked to provide us with contact information for an official from your high school. They will receive an email with further instructions to upload your transcript.

Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation

As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.

Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.

Pre-College Admissions Decision

Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.

Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 business days of Tufts receiving all required materials.

If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at or 617-627-2926.

Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.

Post-Enrollment Materials

Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:

  • Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 business days of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
  • Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
  • Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline

Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.

Tuition & Fees

Program Fees - Summer 2021

Virtual Program Fee: $3,800

  • Includes: all program activities, 1 Tufts credit (pass/fail, pre-matriculation, on passing the program), and daily activities.
  • Excludes: anything not explicitly stated above.

Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee

  • A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
  • This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
  • The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than May 15
  • This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program

Other Key Financial Policies

Refund Policies - COVID

Billing & Payment Policies

All Policies

Financial Aid

Leadership for Social Change supports a limited number of students who are invited to apply for funding. You will be notified by email if you are eligible for this aid. No additional financial aid is available for this program.


Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.