Leadership for Social Change
*As of 4/19/22: Due to overwhelming demand, the residential Leadership for Social Change program has closed to new applicants.*
Join Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life for an exciting, engaging, two-week summer program created for those who want to develop their leadership skills while making a difference in the world and in their communities. The program will equip students with the civic skills and knowledge to build connections, work collaboratively, and emerge as change agents who can inspire others.
Just five miles northwest of Boston, Tufts University’s Medford / Somerville vibrant campus sits on a hill overlooking the city. Tufts’ location offers the optimal combination of a relaxed and safe campus environment that is close enough to Boston to take advantage of everything the city has to offer!
Much more than a traditional college readiness program, Leadership for Social Change will enable participants to work together to develop the skills and knowledge to be leaders in their own communities — now and in the future.
Join us for your summer studies and share the Tufts experience!
- Top-ranked University just minutes from Boston
- Introduce participants to new areas of academic exploration, including:
- Educational inequities and neighborhood segregation
- Environmental justice and community health
- Public policy and government
- Grassroots social movements
- Create connections between students’ passions and academic interests
- Engage with and learn from Tufts faculty and community leaders who are making a difference
- Explore Boston to discover the landmark civic engagement sites throughout the city
- Have fun with evening social events and weekend activities
- Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world!
- Tufts college credit for one course (pass / fail)
- Hands-on skills and foundational knowledge for sustainable, justice-oriented civic engagement work
- Direct opportunities engage with local community organizations
- Inspiration and preparation to bring change and be active, engaged civic leaders
- Individual action plans to address a pressing issue in each student’s home community
- Team presentation and e-portfolio of each student’s work
- Leadership development and networking opportunities
- A community of peers who value civic engagement and community leadership
- Enhanced understanding of studying and life at college
- Official Tufts transcript upon request
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.
Meet Your Program Staff
Calvin Zhao, Program Director
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, oversees the FOCUS Pre-Orientation program, advises student groups on campus, and manages the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement. 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!
Our program begins with an orientation and opening dinner Sunday before the program start at 5:00pm. During this required orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Staff will be on-hand to address any issues.
Orientation will continue on Monday with a campus tour to orient students to our Undergraduate Campus!
This program will combine academics, fieldwork, skill-building, and opportunities for reflection with deeper exploration of specialized topics in civic life. The first week will explore the many pathways to civic engagement such as direct service, politics, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship.
In week two, teams based on areas of interest will develop a social impact project. Related site-visits, community field trips, guest speakers and interactive discussions will accompany academic coursework to provide students with a wide range of exposure to the many ways they can work together to create impact in their own communities.
The Leadership for Social Change program 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 operate. The closing ceremony will 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. Guest speakers and faculty will also be able to provide comments. Student will close the program with a portfolio that will showcase the ways their communication, leadership and knowledge of social change has grown!
The below represents a sample schedule based on our best expectations for the in-person iteration of this program. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to develop the program to be as meaningful as possible for our students.
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.
Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students can participate outside of program hours. These activities may be in-person or in virtual formats, and they are open to residential and virtual students alike. Some previous examples of cross-program activities include Morning Meetups for networking, Guest speakers from a variety of disciplines, Lunch & Learns on topics such as goal setting, financial literacy and stress management, as well as Trivia Nights, Wellness Courses, and much more!
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!
Life at Tufts
Whether you commute to our program, live with us on-campus, or participate virtually, we endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. From our dorms to our dining halls, our athletic facilities to our check-in and orientation, all aspects of our programming are designed to inform and enable students to have a healthy, fulfilling, and safe summer.
Just five miles northwest of Boston, Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville tranquil campus sits on a hill overlooking the city. Our location offers a relaxed and safe campus environment with easy access to Boston.
Guidelines & Access
Students will have full access to the university’s facilities including the libraries, computer lab and student center. Students will also have full access to Tufts’ Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool and cardio and weight-training equipment.
In addition, SMFA Studio Art Intensive students will have access to supervised studios and resources including, the W.Van Alan Clark Library, the media stockroom (where you can borrow any equipment necessary for your art), the School Store, the computer lab. See more details about our studios.
Health & Wellness
Tufts works hard to ensure the health and well-being of all of its students. Once accepted to the program, Tufts will ask all students to submit information related to their health and will collect details regarding allergies and accessibility concerns. Tufts and Residential Life staff will work together to ensure students’ routine medical needs are met.
Tufts also has procedures in-place for students with urgent or emergency needs, illnesses, or injuries. Our procedures combine on-campus and hospital-based care depending on the nature and severity of the issue. A student’s emergency contact will be notified, if one is provided, in the event of an issue. Please see our Health & Wellness Services page for additional information.
In any type of health & wellness emergency, students should immediately contact Tufts University Police at (617) 627-6911.
Please note: medical fees of any kind will be billed to the student and are not included in program fees.
Tufts University is considered very safe among U.S. college campuses. Although crime on campus is unusual, we do have an open campus in a major metropolitan area and we expect our students to exercise good judgment and responsibility as they navigate the campus. Tufts University maintains its own police department, on the job 24 hours a day, if an emergency arises. Each location is equipped with an emergency blue light phone system and residence halls require a current and valid Tufts ID card for entry and a mechanical key for access to bedrooms. Emergency processes and protocol will be reviewed during orientation.
For more information, please visit our Campus Safety page
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.
Please see University College's COVID-19 page for specific information regarding Pre-College COVID-19 policies and procedures.
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.
For more information about Tufts' response and action planning regarding COVID-19: Please visit Tufts University's COVID-19 homepage.
Tufts takes the safety of its students seriously. All programs are staffed with resources appropriate to care for the size and nature of the program. 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.
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. As such, our current policy for Pre-College students states that students cannot be in a lab or leave campus during their program without the supervision of a staff member or explicit parental permission received through official processes.
Some elements of our supervision plan vary depending on how the student is interacting with our campus. Below is a brief overview of where to find information about this. Please note that not all programs offer Residential/Commuter/Virtual options, but the below applies when they do:
- Residential Students: safety in the dorms is also paramount. Please see the Residential Students section below for more information about how our Residential Life program is staffed.
- Commuter Students: the commute to campus and time outside of the program will not be monitored by program staff, although the Tufts University Police Department and other safety protocols (in which students will be trained) are available to Tufts community members at all times. Detailed information about traveling to each of our campuses, including details on parking, can be found here. Please check the course list if you do not know the campus on which your course meets. Please note: commuter students are not permitted to enter any residence halls on campus.
- Virtual Students: 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 safety protocols.
Check-in will begin at 9am on the first Sunday of the program. Students are welcome to arrive on campus and check in anytime on Sunday between 9am and 5pm. During check in, room assignments will be distributed and students will have the opportunity to meet their RAs and roommates and unpack.
For students arriving from out of town on Sunday between 9am and 5pm, there is a shuttle service from the airport and train/bus station for students arriving from out of state. All details about arrival and departure travel will be communicated after you have been admitted to the program.
Students arriving outside of the specified window should be in-touch with us to discuss what accommodations can be arranged. While we make reasonable efforts to accommodate students who need to arrive early or depart late, we cannot guarantee the same services will be available to students arriving or departing outside of the specified windows.
Residential Students will get the full Tufts University experience by living on-campus in one of Tufts' Undergraduate dorms! Rooms are air-conditioned with 24/7 security and hospitality; accessible rooms may be available upon request.
Bedrooms will be doubles on a common hall. Halls are divided by gender and age and students are grouped into smaller communities known as Resident Advisor groups. Roommates and RA groups are determined based on the pre-program housing questionnaire and taking into account age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and towels will be provided and will be replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus.
Resident Advisors (RA) will live on each hall and will work to create a strong, supportive residential community. A Resident Advisor’s role is to support students in every aspect of their summer experience while serving as a mentor and active leader.
The residence hall is secured at all times and students are required to use a current, valid Tufts ID card for entry into the building. Each individual dormitory room is secured with either a mechanical or digital lock.
A dedicated residential staff oversees student safety during the entirety of the program. Students are honor bound to follow clear safety protocols whether on campus or in the city, and are required to use the buddy system during free time. Tufts takes the safety of its students seriously. All programs are staffed with resources appropriate to care for the size and nature of the program. 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.
See our policy section for additional information and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions and concerns.
Residential staff will support students as they adjust to living in a dormitory and being responsible members of a summer program community. The residence staff will include a director, senior staff and one resident advisor for every ten students. Prior to the program, residence staff will be trained to lead student groups, manage student conflict and resolution and oversee all safety aspects on program. They will begin the program well prepared to meet the needs of all Tufts Pre-College Program students.
Residential program fees include three meals per day and brunch / dinner on Sundays. All meals on the Medford/Somerville campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and an organic salad bar. All meals on the Boston Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston Health Sciences, or Grafton campuses will be provided through boxed lunches or by Tufts staff. Tufts staff will also provide meals for program related activities taking place off-campus. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.
Activities & Trips
We want your summer to be fun too! It is summer after all! Residential Life staff will be planning trips and activities throughout the summer that will allow students to make friends, build relationships, and relax from the world-class academic work they will be doing in the classroom.
Daily activities might include ice cream socials, midnight pancakes, trips to local coffee houses for poetry readings, lectures around campus, visits to Davis Square, etc. The cost of most of these activities will be included, however incidentals like coffee at the coffee house or public transportation fares for an optional activity will not be covered by the program.
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!
Examples of past weekend trips include excursions to Six Flags New England, Crane Beach in Ipswich, downtown Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Duck Boat tours, Charles River Cruises, and more! Please note that weekend trips vary from year to year and these are only examples of the kinds of trips this program might include.The cost of any such excursions (including transportation, entrance fees, regularly scheduled meals, and supervision) is included in the cost of the program, although souvenirs, extra food, and other incidentals is not.
Note: We are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, and following local, state, and federal guidance as it pertains to our residential programming. Information below is subject to change as the situation develops.
Commuting to the Program
We know that for some students, living on campus is not the best option. We welcome you to our program! For commuter students, the program will begin at 5:00pm on the first Sunday of the program with an orientation and end at 8:00pm on the last Friday of the program with a closing event. Saturdays and Sundays are not program days and commuter students are not expected on campus on these days. During each day of the program, commuter students must arrive on campus at 8:45am, meeting at Dewick-MacPhie or at the Security Desk at 230 the Fenway (SMFA Studio Art program). Students must depart from campus by 6:00pm at the latest, though students may leave at the end of their afternoon sessions at 5:00pm on most days. Students remaining on campus past 6:00pm, arriving before 8:45am, or on non-program days will not be under the care of program staff (parents accept responsibility) except on the first Sunday and last Friday of the program, on which days the end of the opening / closing events (8:00pm) will be the official departure time for students.
Commuter students and their parents are responsible for ensuring their student travels to and from campus safely and on time each day. Detailed information about traveling to the Medford / Somerville campus and the Boston Fine Arts campus, including details on parking, can be found here.
Please note: commuter students are not permitted to enter any residence halls on campus. Breakfast / dinner are not provided for these students.
Commuter program fees include lunch each day of the program. All meals on the Medford/Somerville campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and an organic salad bar. All meals on the Boston Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston Health Sciences, or Grafton campuses will be provided through boxed lunches or by Tufts staff. Tufts staff will also provide meals for program related activities taking place off-campus. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.
Application & Policies
|Application Opens||Deadline: All Materials||Deadline: Payment||Deadline: Enrollment Forms|
|NOW Open||May 1||May 15||June 15|
*Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.
- Entering high school grades 10-12
- Students will need a laptop to participate in the program.
Students electing to live in the dorms or to attend a residential program must be at least 15 at the start of the program and no older than 19 before the program end date.
Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs.
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.
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)
- 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.
- Short statement of interest
- Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
- Permissions 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 email@example.com 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.
Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:
- Submit a deposit to hold your seat
- 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.
Residential Program Fee: $5,500
- Includes: all program activities, bed in a double-room in a Tufts dormitory, 3 meals per day (brunch / dinner on Sundays), use of select campus facilities, included program and residential excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff-accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.
- Excludes: airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, required vaccinations, medical and dental expenses, any non-program-related transportation needs, and anything not explicitly stated above.
Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550
- 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
Health Fees - TBA
Health Insurance: TBD, only if evidence of U.S.-based health insurance valid for the entire duration of the program is not presented (Summer 2019: $216)
- Coverage Dates: TBD
- Students carrying sufficient, U.S.-based health insurance valid for the entire duration of the program do not need to pay this fee
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must carry U.S.-based health insurance valid for the entire duration of the program
- Students will be asked to provide evidence of sufficient insurance during the enrollment process. If your student has sufficient insurance, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have sufficient insurance will be automatically enrolled in and billed for a qualifying plan for the duration of the program. If evidence of qualifying insurance is presented by June 15, we will reverse the insurance enrollment and charges.
Vaccinations: TBD, only if evidence of required vaccinations is not presented (Summer 2019: $100-$300 per vaccine)
- Students who can demonstrate that all required vaccinations were received prior to the program start date do not need to pay these fees
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must show evidence of required vaccinations during the enrollment process. If your student has all required vaccinations, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have all required vaccinations will be asked to provide further documentation or will be required to receive the vaccination, with parental consent, while on campus. If a student receives the vaccination while on campus the student will be responsible for the associated fee and grades / transcripts will be with-held for non-payment. If a student does not provide appropriate documentation or agree to receive the vaccination while on campus, Tufts reserves the right to remove the student from the program
Other Key Financial Policies
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.