Over the first ten years of its operation, the Milestone Institute has created internationally acknowledged educational programmes (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior) of Advanced Studies for secondary school students which ran parallel with the four years of high school. With over 350 students, 80 faculty members and 1000+ alumni at many of the world’s leading universities, the Institute is dedicated to nurturing a community of changemakers who are ready and able to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Based around the three pillars of university level subject tutorials in modules, individual pastoral care and educational pathway development in mentoring, and thematic society life based around self-governance, Milestone has nurtured over a thousand of the brightest students in Hungary who continued their studies in the world’s leading institutes of higher education including Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard, Science Po and ETH Zürich.
Through the implementation of the Milestone Access Programme (MAP) in the Academic Year 2021/22, the Institute sets out to push the limits of its reach, making the benefits of the Milestone method and community more widely accessible. Each year in the Admissions process, we encounter several promising candidates who share Milestone’s founding vision and are susceptible to our educational approach, yet would not be able to fully bring their talents to fruition in the Institute’s highly competitive Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior programs without having some sense of estrangement resulting from the experience; the development of foundational core skills, abilities, academic interests together with growing their self-confidence, idependency and adaptiveness, etc. is the key for them to fully profit from the Milestone experience.
The Milestone Access Programme has been created to respond to the needs of these students, offering them step-by-step support in developing their abilities and skills necessary to successfully progress through the Institute’s programmes. By participating in MAP, students experience the joy of academically rigorous thinking and are encouraged to develop and widen their range of interests. In addition to making progress with their orientation, participants also develop their individual identity and emotional readiness, which are essential to thrive in an international environment.
What Does the Access Programme Offer?
In the long term, prospective students will need to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world, where burning social and environmental issues will require highly adaptable leaders. Accordingly, core elements of the Access Programme include the strengthening of resilient and action-focused personality traits, individual self-expression, combined with inclusive project-based teamwork. Thus, the programme lays the foundations for the long-term development of participants and introduces them to the greatest challenges of the 21st century.
This new initiative is deeply rooted in the Milestone community’s conviction that the forming of our future is best placed in the hands of a talented, inclusive, globally-minded and committed new generation.
Initiatives of the Access Programme
- Intellectual confidence through experiencing the joy and impact of learning
- Academic orientation, the development and widening of academic interests
- The development of thinking and academic skills
- Self and life management skills to foster autonomy (e.g. planning, time management)
- Personality development with a focus on confidence, resilience and adaptability
- Emotional maturity at both individual and community level through reflection
- The ability and willingness to act and work as a team through social and business projects
- Developing new and internalised aspirations and extending horizons of possibility
- Solidarity and social responsibility
- Milestone readiness, developing students’ preparedness to progress to the Programme Year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior) best suited to each individual participant’s age
Overview of the Access Programme
The Milestone Access programme encompassess a whole academic year. Students are automatically enrolled and take part in mandatory learning activities along the following pathways:
- Thinking Pathway: aims to expose students to the power and rewards of looking at the social and natural world in a scholarly way, developing related skills.
- Reflection Pathway: invites each student individually and in small groups on a journey of discovery, supporting personality development and strengthening practical skills necessary for the Core Programme.
- Action Pathway: provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the other two pathways, through projects with gradually increasing levels of responsibility and impact.
The Thinking Pathway
The Journal Club helps form students’ identity as thinkers through experiencing the joy of applying an academically rigorous approach. It increases intellectual self-confidence and helps discover new areas of interest as well as develop engagement with existing ones.
Biweekly, 90-minute sessions are organised around topics deeply rooted in the scholarly traditions of natural and social sciences, combined with current topics. Thus, the US presidential elections lead to a debate on political philosophy or economics; the inquiries on identity to a philosophical discourse on human nature; the investigation on climate anxiety to the review of alternatives to build resilient cities. Members of the Journal Club would profit from the sessions through:
- The discovery of new areas of interests and the development of existing ones
- The formation of study skills and habits necessary to undertake Advanced Study modules
- The gradual attainment of autonomous work and research skills
- The development of critical thinking skills and the ability to read and understand academic pieces, starting from popular science texts and leading to engagement with more rigorous inquiries
- Familiarisation with assignment formats used at Milestone and at top universities, from content summaries through reports to argumentative essays
The Reflection Pathway
Supervision groups are made up of 4 students and constitute the elementary unit of community experience in the Access Programme. Supervision time is structured into participant-driven and prompt-driven activities, encouraging reflection and fulfilling its dual role as providing a space for sharing and inducing personal growth. Each session is built and centers around a theme in the form of a notion which calls for reflection such as destiny, faith, hope, creation, justice, etc. Supervision groups aim to:
- Provide practical and emotional support
- Strengthen planning, time management, work ethics and life skills
- Foster personality development with a special emphasis on resilience, confidence and adaptability
- Form identity through interacting with art and culture
The Action Pathway
In secondary school systems, the notions of knowledge and skills development and taking action are often separated, creating a chasm between theoretical and practical approaches and personalities. Based on the life and career paths of Milestone students and alumni who succeed in the long term, it is clear that the synergy of these approaches provides students with an enormous advantage on the labour market. The Action Pathway integrates intellectual and personal development into value-based, impact-driven projects, allowing students to experience this synergy of theory and practice. Part of these learning activities:
- Students work in project groups of 4-8
- Project Team Meetings are held three times in each trimester
- Students set goals for the project, plan the steps for implementation and agree on individual roles and responsibilities
- With the support of their Programme Coordinator, they bring in the resources and expertise necessary for implementation
- The Project is presented at the end of the Access Programme Year
The Action Pathway cultivates:
- An in-depth understanding of the challenges of the 21st century
- Research skills, critical and creative thinking
- Negotiation and presentation skills
- Planning, resource and project management skills
- Leadership skills
- Experience in the business planning and operation of social enterprises
The lower number of participants in the Access Programme compared to other Programme Years allows for a direct and personal relationship between the Programme Manager and each individual student. In the one-to-one advising sessions, taking place three times in each trimester, students are given personal attention and support tailored to their individual needs.
Cohort building weekend
Cohort building weekends take place once a term, offering all students in the programme an intensive, out of the ordinary experience. Travelling together to a place surrounded by nature and the immersive experience frees participants from ingrained inhibitions and roles, offering the chance to develop new personal and social identities in a safe environment.
Students of the Access Programme
- Form a part of Milestone’s student community together with participants in other programmes, taking part in Student Life and Student Governance
- Become accustomed to the trimester-based academic calendar followed throughout the programmes
- Familiarise themselves with the Institute’s Learning Management System (Canvas)
- Can benefit from Milestone’s academic infrastructure (e.g. library, lectures, competitions)
- Have to meet pre-set academic requirements in a credit-based system
- Have an opportunity to cooperate with students from other Programme Years in Student Life and project-based modules
- Upon successful completion of the Access Programme, are offered an opportunity to join the Programme Year best suited to them based on their age, maturity and academic progress achieved through the programme
We at the Milestone Institute believe in equal opportunities, in critical, reflective and forward-looking knowledge that are based on social values and collective social responsibilities. We hold the view that our students are equal, therefore the Bridge Scholarship provides an essential space and place for them to get rid of society’s prejudice, different forms of oppressions and othering labels. We are committed to promote the resilience and hidden potential of our students to set them on a path to success and becoming agents of change.
Access offers a unique educational and community experience, where, in line with the Institute’s commitment to social responsibility, a key aspect is the participation of talented scholars from socially disadvantaged backgrounds in the programme. They are the Bridge scholars of Milestone, a cohort of socially disadvantaged and/or marginalised Romani students with exceptional academic and leadership potential.
The presence and active participation of the Bridge scholars in the Access Programme yields mutually beneficial encounters, through which students can gain hands-on experience rather than purely theoretical knowledge about the phenomenon of social inequality and successful social mobility.
By entering and then completing the Access Programme the Bridge Scholars will make their first steps on the road in becoming internationally competitive and aspirational examples of achievement that inspire others as well as become voices shaping the broader societal conversation in Hungary and on the global scene.
The tuition fee of the Access Programme for Academic Year 2021-2022 is HUF 1,000,000. Financial support is only made available to Bridge Scholars (students from a socially disadvantaged background); paying the tuition fee in instalments, however, is an option provided to all Access students.