Programs for High School Students
Political Communication Program
The Political Communication, Advocacy, and Leadership Institute for High School Students (PAL) offers rising sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity to explore the role of communication in various aspects of the American political and leadership process, including civic engagement, crisis management, public policy, global politics, international political systems, and communicating with the media. Applicants selected for this two-week program focus their time participating in workshops on topics such as speechwriting and campaigning, social advocacy, political reporting, leadership tactics and style forms, study seminars, field trips, and meetings with invited guest speakers. Students who complete the program will be equipped to serve as articulate ambassadors and advocates, with an understanding of the art of communication in the political process.
Please note: This program is designed for students who want an intensive training experience in leadership, government, social advocacy, and communication, and understand how to manage their time and complete assignments both in and out of the classroom. Students entering grades 10, 11 and 12 during the 2014-2015 academic year and who have the desire and maturity to receive constructive criticism about their work and give helpful feedback to others during the program are encouraged to apply.
The Political Communication, Advocacy, and Leadership Institute for High School Students focuses on developing and strengthening communication skills.
Students who participate in the program learn to:
- Develop an understanding of the concept of citizenship in all of its realms: local, state, federal and global
- Cultivate their public speaking, argumentation and persuasive writing skills
- Acquire and strengthen research skills to support and defend platforms
- Gain an understanding of how political reporters discern whether an issue is a problem, dispute, crisis or catastrophe
- Design a political poll and interpret polling results
- Practice the nuts and bolts of political speechwriting and campaign management
- Construct their own grassroots campaign
- Create a persuasive presentation on a political or social topic of their choice
Program Dates and Costs
- PAL Institute Dates (including required orientation): July 20–August 2, 2014
- Move-out day (on-campus students): August 2, 2014–by noon
- Journalism Institute Dates (including orientation): July 5–July 19, 2014 (Session I)
- Move-out day (on-campus students): July 19, 2014–by noon (students who are not continuing in the PAL program)
Polticial Communication Program Costs per student:
- Residential: $3,070
- Commuter: $1,895
Lunch, Monday through Friday is included. The residential option includes room, linens, breakfast and dinner on weekdays, and brunch and dinner on weekends.
Non-refundable application fee: $30
Who May Apply
PAL is designed for students who want an intensive training experience in leadership, government, social advocacy, and communication, and understand how to manage their time and complete assignments both in and out of the classroom. Students entering grades 10, 11 and 12, who will be 15 to 18 years of age as of July 5, 2014, and who have the desire and maturity to receive constructive criticism about their work and give helpful feedback to others during the program are encouraged to apply. You may also apply to participate in the PAL Institute and Session I of the Journalism Institute. Read about the Journalism Institute.
To apply to the Political Communication Program, submit the required institute application form (completed and signed), a $30 non-refundable application fee, and the following:
- Student Statement of Purpose: In one or two pages, please describe 1) what you hope to achieve during the institute, and 2) an event you feel has prepared you for the Institute.
- Teacher Recommendation Form: Please submit at least one recommendation, completed by a teacher who knows your work, in a sealed envelope with the teacher's signature across the back seal.
- Essay: a 200-300 word essay that responds to the following question: What do you wish to change about politics and government? Responses should include a brief explanation of your skills and knowledge.
Admission to Emerson College's Political Communication, Advocacy and Leadership Institute is on a rolling basis. Space is limited, so please apply early.
Priority application deadline: May 1, 2014
Final application deadline: June 18, 2014
Students who are accepted will receive an acceptance letter along with instructions for confirming their place in the program.
Schedule is subject to change.
The weekly schedule is Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
The Institute offers a number of events designed to tap both the creative and critical mind. Each day begins with a vigorous morning exercise designed to “wake up the senses” and “get the creative flowing.” Throughout the program, participants divide their time among a number of different activities, including workshops, leadership forums, small group field trips, social advocacy and civic engagement activities, dinners with invited guest speakers, study seminars, and Junior Citizens Day, among others.
Tentative Institute Topics
- Understanding the Political System: From Boston to Beijing
- Political Campaigning and Campaigning Politically
- Writing the Political “Stump” Speech: Words Do Make a Difference
- Leadership and Politics: Making a Difference in Your Community
- Junior Citizens Day
The program culminates with a presentation of a social advocacy message campaign that each student prepares and takes back to their respective communities. Each campaign addresses a socially significant issue that is being discussed in the student's hometown. The goal is for each student to be competent in developing and delivering these messages to various stakeholders and leaders in their communities. Students present their final projects to a distinguished panel of experts and government leaders.
General Academic Policies
- Emerson College Journalism or Political Communication Institute students are expected to attend all class to which they are assigned, participate fully in classes, and complete all requirements as outlined by their instructors.
- In addition, all students—including commuter students—are expected to adhere to the program's General and Residential Life Policies as outlined in the Emerson College Arts and Communication Pre-College Program Student Handbook.
- Emerson College Journalism and Political Communication Institutes have a zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy.
The Residence Hall
Emerson College Political Communication Institute for High School Students offers on-campus housing in a supervised, air-conditioned, and secured residence hall. Students are housed in four- and six-person suites. Each suite includes two or three double rooms with a shared bathroom. Each resident is provided with a bed frame, mattress, desk, desk chair, wardrobe unit, dresser, and individual Internet port. Every room is equipped with a cable jack.
Housing assignments are based on gender, age, and similar interests. Students who cause damage to their rooms or common areas or who lose their room keys will be subject to additional fees.
Students will be supervised by professional staff and student staff members who live on campus, explain College policy, refer residents to College services and offices, respond to emergency situations, and act as a general source of support for student residents.
Arts and Communication Pre-College Programs
Emerson College offers five-week summer programs for high school students. If you are interested in pre-college non-credit programs in filmmaking, stage acting, musical theatre performance, stage design, or creative writing, please visit Arts and Communication Pre-College Studio Programs.
The College also offers five-week summer programs for credit. If you are interested in a credit program in film production or film writing, please visit Arts and Communication Pre-College Credit Programs.
Read about Boston’s rich political history, prestigious institutions of higher education, and research centers. Learn about the City of Boston.
EMERSON COLLEGE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE ANY PROVISION OF THIS PROGRAM AT ANY TIME. THE COLLEGE SPECIFICALLY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE ITS TUITION RATES AND ANY OTHER FINANCIAL CHARGES. THE COLLEGE ALSO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REARRANGE ITS COURSES AND CLASS HOURS, TO DROP COURSES FOR WHICH REGISTRATION FALLS BELOW THE MINIMUM ENROLLMENT, AND TO CHANGE INSTRUCTOR ASSIGNMENTS.
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