H-Lab: High school students to study in universities abroad and the impact of real experience



H-Lab is a program that has been held in August of 2011(1) and 2012, which I and Impact Japan, with others, have supported from the start.

It is a one week long summer program for high school students that is made up of mostly undergraduate students from Harvard University as well as Japanese universities.

It aims to teach high school students the importance of liberal arts, as well as the fact that liberal arts is the foundation of the university education in the United States and Great Britain.

The second and third year high school students who participated in the program in 2011 and the third year high school students who participated in 2012 have begun to be accepted by universities from this spring and they are almost decided about which universities they will attend.

When considering these results, it seems that this summer program had a larger impact than imagined

The choices of the high school students can be summarized as the following:

Eleven out of twenty-two male students will go to a university abroad.
Twelve out of thirty-two female students will go to a university abroad.

Among overseas universities, there are nineteen students who are going to universities in the U.S., two in the U.K., one in Canada, and one in Australia. There are some students who were accepted to the universities that are on everybody’s minds, such as Harvard, Yale and Imperial. Some had a difficult time choosing because they were accepted by more than few universities.

Some students were also accepted to University of Tokyo and there are three students who chose to study abroad instead (although they may be enrolled in University of Tokyo).

By allowing students to go through real experiences rather than just thinking in their heads, and offering ‘peer mentoring’ by university students who are a bit older, the impact that this program has on students is giving them the opportunity to find their own motivation and choices.

Such students who choose to challenge themselves by studying abroad are likely to keep broadening their horizons. It is something to look forward to.