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Leadership for Social Change: Virtual Classes For High School Students

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. 

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. These issues will include education inequities, community health disparities, food justice, public policy, and more. 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.

Pre-College Summer Program Highlights

Pre-College Summer Program Highlights


  • Explore academic areas in which critical civic engagement work is conducted, 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
Pre-College Summer Program Outcomes

Pre-College Summer Program Outcomes


  • Foundational knowledge for sustainable, justice-oriented civic engagement work
  • Enhanced analysis of social issues in interpersonal and global contexts
  • Individual action plans to address a pressing social issue in each student’s home community
  • A community and network of peers passionate about social change
  • Leadership development and networking opportunities
  • 1 Tufts Credit (Pass/Fail)*
  • Official Tufts transcript upon request

Note: This page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver but 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 Pre-College Program Staff

Calvin Zhao, Program Lead

Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Calvin Zhao is the Senior Student Programs Administrator at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life. He holds an M.A. in DEIJ Leadership from Tufts. 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 loves playing basketball and spending time outdoors, when he can!

Summer Program for High School Students: Details


Summer Program for High School Students: Program Format

Summer Program for High School Students: Program Format


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 will consist of interactive faculty lectures, thought-provoking panels featuring community leaders, and small-group mentoring and guided discussions with Tufts University student leaders.

Screen Time

The program is designed to have around 4.5 hours of screen time per day. Students will be placed in small groups throughout the program to get to know their peers and develop a stronger sense of community. Each group is led by a Tufts University student leader and these small groups serve as a "home base" for students throughout the program.

Final Project & Closing Ceremony

In the second week of LSC, students will apply social change frameworks as they research a social issue present in their home community. Students will explore root causes, identify key stakeholders, analyze existing policy, and develop actionable steps to address the issue before then presenting their project at the LSC closing ceremony. During this time, Tufts faculty and staff as well as students' guests are all welcome to attend.

Reflection and Connection

This program is designed to build connections 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 become change-makers in society.

Virtual Pre-College Program Sample Schedule

Virtual Pre-College Program 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 the "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. 


Schedule of the first week of virtual Leadership for Social Change.


Schedule of the second week of virtual Leadership for Social Change.


*The 2024 LSC Virtual program is expected to run between 9:00 am – 1:30 pm EDT.

Materials & Other Requirements

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. Materials will be located in your Tufts Canvas account. 

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

Social Activities


Across Programs

Virtual students will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of virtual social engagements with students from other programs. Students will have an opportunity to sign up for these events one week prior to the event's start.


Most programs will offer independent study time for students in 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!
  • Canvas: provides 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, and using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.

High School Summer Program Guidelines & Access





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 information.

Technical Needs and Support - Virtual

Technical Needs and Support - Virtual


PLEASE NOTE: Due to the unique nature of each of our Pre-College Programs, virtual opportunities for our programs will vary and this program has not yet defined its specific Virtual opportunities. We have outlined below what a sample version of the Virtual experience would be like. Please check back for updates regarding the details of your Pre-College Program's Virtual options.

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 the 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 with 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! 

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.


Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone

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.

Pre-College Program Application & Policies


Application Deadline & Materials

Application Deadline & Materials


Apply Now!

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
NOW Open May 1 May 15 June 1

*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 

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. Additional information or a short interview may be requested.

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:

  • A $550 deposit must be received within 10 days of admission until the payment deadline of May 15th or until the program fills, at which time enrollment is secured only by full tuition payment
  • 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

Tuition & Fees


Other Key Financial Policies

Refund Policies - COVID

Billing & Payment Policies

All Policies

Program Fees - Summer 2024

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
Virtual Classes for High School Students Financial Aid

Virtual Classes for High School Students 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.

Pre-College Program: Policies

Pre-College Program: Policies


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