What does our educational programme offer for the youngest Milestone students? Why is it worth joining Milestone as a Freshman? Read our interview with Jane Hattatt, the director of the Freshman year group and get to know everything about the programme!
How would you describe the major aims and objectives of the Freshman Programme?
The Freshman Programme is designed to give a broad basis for further study, showing the interconnections between subjects within the disciplines of Arts, Literature and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. It introduces subjects that are often not taught within the usual high school curriculum and shows how these subjects interrelate and develop. In this way, students can familiarise themselves with a much broader academic range in order to start making some decisions about the study pathway which they may wish to follow in future years. The Programme also has a significant focus in supporting students to achieve a high standard in Academic Writing which is a cornerstone for academic study in the United Kingdom and United States.
In addition, the Freshman Programme enables students to become familiar with the overall organisation of the Milestone Institute, its vision, values and philosophy, to experience personal mentoring and to be introduced to various societies on both an academic and social level.
What makes the educational programme for Freshman students different from their regular school activities?
The academic level and the pedagogy of the teaching at Milestone are very different from that experienced usually in Hungarian high schools for students of this age. Milestone prides itself on attracting a highly talented body of teachers who are capable of stimulating the interest and meeting the intellectual needs of the gifted and talented students who make up the Milestone community. In addition, classes are interactive with students participating fully in the learning experience.
Module teaching and mentoring sessions are conducted in English, so there is an intensive immersion in the English language as well as subject specific knowledge.
What kind of topics do Freshman modules cover? What are the most exciting ones?
The Freshman Year comprises four Compulsory Modules: Critical Thinking and Academic Writing, Arts, Literature and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. They are all exciting and interesting in different ways. They are organised around interdisciplinary themes such as Conflict, Crime and Campaign and include film, practical activity, drama, prose, poetry, and a variety of other methods to convey information and promote active learning. As examples, a simulated crime scene, group presentations and an actual election campaign all form part of the highly original Freshman Programme.
What gives a sense of playfulness to the tuition?
As young children, we all experience perhaps our most formative learning through play. It builds creativity which in turn leads to the development of innovative ideas and critical thinking skills. It is these skills which we want our students to both experience and build upon as they take part in the Freshman Programme. So, each module is centralised around a key theme which allows for creativity and playfulness as well as intense learning.
How much time do Freshman students have to dedicate to the Programme?
Each module is 8 weeks long and lasts for 50 minutes to 1 hour long. In addition, preparation time and assignments can add significantly to the time needed to complete the Module successfully. Students have to complete all four modules successfully to ‘matriculate’ and be allowed to continue to the next stage, the Sophomore Year, at Milestone.
As well as attending modules, students meet with their personal mentors for apporoximately 1 hour every two weeks. Again, preparation time and assignments set add to the time needed for this activity.
Why is it worth joining Milestone’s educational programme at such an early stage? What is the greatest advantage of joining Milestone as a Freshman?
If the ultimate goal for students entering Milestone is to continue their studies at a world class university abroad, then this requires intense dedication and commitment over a lengthy period. The sooner one begins on the process, the more successful the outcome and we frequently see the benefits of starting early amongst those who entered Milestone as Freshman students compared with those who join in later years. By joining earlier, one also has more time to enjoy learning for learning’s sake and have fun rather than merely focusing on the demands of university requirements.
How would students benefit from the Freshman Programme with regard to their university studies and for their future in general?
Milestone has an impressive record of academic success with, in 2018, 33 students being offered places at Oxford and Cambridge. In addition, all students apply for and are successful in achieving offers from world class universities in the UK, the US and across Europe.
A large and growing Milestone Alumni Group who have studied or are presently studying at the most prestigious universities of the world or have careers in top multinational companies also support Milestone’s newest members, acting as role models, offering advice and making connections across the worlds of academe and work.
So, impressive ways forward for Freshman students are paved for them to follow.