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Financial Aid vs Scholarships

Published on February 9, 2023

Harvard Trending

Financial Aid vs Scholarships


Though the terms “scholarship” and “financial aid” very often are used interchangeably the main difference between the two is that “scholarship” as a term and as a phenomenon in the academic and educational industry is considered to be a component of “financial aid”. Thus “scholarship” is only a small portion of “financial aid”.

Other types of financial aid are “fellowships”, “grants”, “travel grants”, “studentships”, “loans”, “tuition fee waivers”, “study allowances”, etc, but the “scholarship” remains the most popular type of “financial aid”.

Financial Aid and Ivy League Colleges

“Our goal is to bring the most promising students to Harvard—period. We’ve created a financial aid program to help ensure that admitted students can afford their Harvard education. Our financial aid officers will work closely with your family to understand your financial situation, then create a comprehensive financial aid package that accounts for the full cost of attendance and determine need based on your family’s income, assets, and overall financial circumstances.”

– Harvard Admissions Office

“Princeton is attainable, accessible, and affordable. Our aid program is designed to encourage all qualified students — regardless of financial circumstances — to consider applying for admission to Princeton. . Princeton admission is need-blind — there is no disadvantage in the admission process for financial aid applicants. If offered admission, Princeton will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need with grant aid.”

– Princeton Admissions Office

Financial aid to Ivy League schools is only based on financial need, not academics. So if you meet low-income criteria, then most of the Ivy League schools will meet the full financial need if accepted.

To conclude “Financial aid” in the context of education is a term to describe any type of financial assistance to students and researchers to cover necessary costs of education such as the tuition fee, living costs and accommodation costs. Financial aid may be of different types and depending on the type it may be as a gift or as a debt, that should be returned within a certain amount of years.

Scholarship is a division of financial aid and only describes financial assistance as a gift with no obligation to return the received money to the scholarship provider.

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5 Reasons to join the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp!

Published on July 22, 2022

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5 Reasons to join the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp!

If you are looking to strengthen your leadership skills and learn more about them, the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp brought to you by The Big Red Group, is the best fit for you! Keep reading to find out why!!

1. First offline program after 3 years!!

After 3 years of hosting our programs online due to the pandemic, we are finally back with an offline one! The Harvard Leadership Bootcamp brings in the brightest undergraduate students from Harvard to mentor students in an intensive 2 day Bootcamp. They aim to transform the idea of leadership from a one-sided theoretical lecture into a fun, collaborative and empathetic life skill and turn high school students into effective leaders. This is going to be a level up from all our previous programs and you do not want to miss out !!

2. Learn from the young Harvard mentors from the Leadership Institute at Harvard College!

The Bootcamp will be presented by 9 mentors who are members of The Leadership Institute at Harvard College- a student organization devoted to fostering the awareness, skills, and values of leadership among Harvard undergraduates! LIHC aims to inspire and empower students to fulfil their leadership potential at Harvard, in their communities, and their world. Consequently, these 9 mentors are thoroughly trained and have garnered immense experience with leadership at a young age. They strive to create an open-minded and relatable atmosphere, where our students are not dictated to but actively participate in the process to define what leadership means. They will serve as advisors and friends to the students, breaking down intimidating age-based authority structures and treat you not as blank canvases waiting to be filled, but as bright youngsters with insightful perspectives of their own, that are just waiting to be realized by the rest of the world!!

And more!..

3. Learn how to navigate challenges with confidence and poise.

Students will learn invaluable lessons in problem-solving, innovation, negotiation, teamwork and more, which will better equip them to navigate challenges with confidence. 

Let’s see what Neeraja Asnani of Shiv Nadar School- a student who has been trained by a few of these mentors in the past- has to say about her biggest takeaway: “I learnt how to be a better leader and how by using the root cause analysis I can find a solution to each and every problem!”

Our students leave the Bootcamp as empathetic individuals who can gauge people and problem-solvers that can find a way out of any challenge!

4. Become a confident communicator and master the art of public speaking.

The Bootcamp will develop the students into confident speakers both on the stage and in conversations by deep diving into elevator pitches, and learning to debate and defend their opinions. Being around the brightest students from across the country, that too in an offline setting will facilitate sharing of ideas, perspectives, and collaboration and will subsequently strengthen communication skills!! The skills of public speaking and communication hence imbibed from the program will ultimately prepare students for their college, and career, as well as aid their networking in general life.

5. Say goodbye to lectures and learn through interactive activities!

Leadership isn’t a rigid concept; it is an ever-evolving idea that means different things to different people. And as such, it can’t be taught through rote teaching and memorising. That is why at the Bootcamp, we ditch one-way lectures and invigorate your unique thought process through a ton of out-of-the-box activities! From plane crash role-plays to writing letters to your future self to designing your dream party; learning has never been more fun!

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My Experience As A First Time Attendee of the Harvard YLC Conference

Published on June 30, 2022

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My Experience As A First Time Attendee of the Harvard YLC Conference

As a first time attendee of the Harvard Youth Lead The Change conference, I was not sure of what to expect. Would we spend the week debating different styles of leadership? Would the mentors lecture us about different world leaders, revealing their sorrows and successes along the way? Would we be expected to be extroverted, public-speaking savants, vibrating with our desire to change the world? 

The Harvard YLC conference was all of these things; and yet, I was left pleasantly surprised. The debates about leadership were lively, and not droning. The lectures about different world leaders were less lectures and more asides — the mentors were less interested in leaders of yore, and much more curious about the future leaders sitting and learning from them. The expectation to participate in discussions and share our opinions was definitely there; but it was not a compulsion, but a choice. 

The YLC mentors and guests always tried their best to assure that the atmosphere was casual: the students felt free to crack jokes, bring in pop-cultural references to make their points—fierce discussions about the primacy of Taylor Swift and One Direction were common; and felt free to debate the merits of pineapple on pizza. The unique icebreakers like everyone sharing their favorite smells, and the mentors’ insistence on creating an equal, common ground between themselves and their students helped develop a safe space for one and all; a space where mentors and students alike felt comfortable being vulnerable and learning and growing in the company of peers. 

Along the 7-days program, students were introduced to a range of leadership and adjacent concepts like leadership styles, conflict resolution techniques, personality styles, social impact, etc. They were also given the opportunity to explore and understand how these different concepts can help them grow as learners and leaders. However, opting for an unconventional approach, none of these complicated concepts were introduced to the students through academic jargon. 

Instead, the conference organized curious and fun activities (e.g.: design a party; defend an absurd claim like, why should you punch a dolphin; create an origin story for a random word in 30 seconds, create a story around a popular meme, etc.) which both helped the students hone their creative and public speaking skills, and also explained novel concepts to them through accessible examples. 

The conference closed off with the students presenting their social impact projects in front of their peers and parents. Concerns across the board like accessible education, violence against women, mental health, etc. were brought to the table. The out-of-the-box ideas and approaches exhibited in these presentations were a delight to be a part of. More than that, however, it was wonderful to see young learners sympathize with and attempt to tackle global problems which do not necessarily affect their lives. The sheer joy, curiosity, and empathy exhibited by these students along the conference, and especially through their ongoing social impact projects, is a solid testament to the success of the Harvard YLC conference’s unique educational approach. 

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Social Change Projects That Went Live at Harvard YLC Program

Published on May 30, 2022

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Social Change Projects That Went Live at Harvard YLC Program

Are you someone that is passionate about bringing a positive change to the world? Do you want to lead the struggle against pertinent issues like discrimination, climate change, poverty and inequality?

At Harvard Youth Lead the Change (a leadership development program for students in grades 8-12), our students provide real tangible solutions to social causes that they are extremely passionate about. Guided by expert mentors from Harvard, students take on issues such as water scarcity, discrimination, mental health and more through their intensive social change projects, many of which go live into the real world! 

In the process, students become more empathetic, aware, confident and conscious individuals, equipped with skills of negotiation, research, leadership, teamwork and more!

Check out projects from our students that have gone live and benefited thousands of people!

1. Project Drakht

Started by Taahira Bhalla and Sia Bishnoi of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari – both from YLC 2016 – Project Drakht was set up to provide Ferozepur Meo, an underprivileged village in Haryana, with access to clean water. After conducting research and interviewing locals, they came up with a creative solution based around  the water-purifying properties of the Moringa Oleifera (drumstick) trees.

Project Drakht ended up helping nearly 2,200 people from 300 families and is an example of how you can turn your budding ideas into full-fledged social change at Harvard YLC!

Click here to read more about the project! 

2. Project Veerangana

Project Veerangana, created during the YLC June 2021 conference, aims at creating equality between genders in India and eliminating violence against women. They solve this problem by creating awareness and educating adolescents through a curriculum delivered in different forms like videos or podcasts and through interviews with victims of violence. They collaborate with various NGOs and self-defence experts to empower women and be aware of their legal rights. Read more about them here!

3. Project Teens4Teens

Teens4Teens is a mental health, nonprofit organisation for teenagers and by teenagers, with the aim to spread awareness about mental health and the problems faced by every teenager. The idea for teens4teens originated at Harvard YLC 2016 and now, they have a following of over 9,000 and are doing exceptional work in the field of mental health. Check them out here!

Do you want to solve the issues you are passionate about through a social change project made under the guidance of Harvard Mentors? Check out Harvard Youth Lead the Change!

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5 Reasons to join Harvard Leadership Program!

Published on April 19, 2022

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5 Reasons to join Harvard Leadership Program!

1. Learn from young & relatable mentors that treat you as their Equals!

Meet Sara Dahiya!

Sara participated as a high schooler in YLC in June 2019. Under delicate guidance from YLC mentors, she worked on The Patchwork Project, a social change project on Disability Awareness, which was implemented in 2 schools.

Her experiences and certification as a Harvard Youth Leader helped her immensely in her college applications, landing her not only a seat as a Harvard UG student in 2021, but also a mentorship position for Harvard YLC Jan 2022!

Sara Dahiya – from YLC participant to Harvard University student and mentor! 

Sara as a Trainee at YLC 2019

Sara as a Mentor at YLC 2022

Harvard YLC features mentors like Sara that have garnered invaluable experience and training at a young age, and know what it takes to implement social change. But at the same time, they know what it is like to be high schoolers in the 21st century!

YLC Mentors will treat you not as blank canvases waiting to be filled, but as bright youngsters with insightful perspectives of their own, that is just waiting to be realized by the rest of the world.

2. Garner admission in top universities across the world!

Harvard YLC features dedicated college panels – which are sessions where our Ivy League mentors give you the tried-and-tested hacks and tips on how to crack into your dream universities. Students get to ask their doubts and receive expert answers on the spot!

Sara isn’t our only alumni that has found a place in a top University; The experiences and certification gained by our students at YLC gives them an edge in their college applications, garnering them seats in the universities of their dreams!

3. Create your Social Change Project!

Like Sara, all of our students work on a social change project during YLC, in which they tackle problems faced in their communities and lives. Several groups take these projects forward and beyond YLC, developing them into full-fledged realities!

Case in point – Project Drakht!

Taahira and Sia, founders of Project Drakht

Sia interviewing villagers from Ferozepur Meo

Started by Taahira Bhalla and Sia Bishnoi of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari – both from YLC 2016 – Project Drakht was set up to provide Ferozepur Meo, an underprivileged village in Haryana, with access to clean water.

They first pitched their idea during the conference, and after it received considerable attention and support, the duo implemented it. Project Drakht ultimately helped nearly 2,200 people from 300 families and is just one example of how you can turn your budding ideas into full-fledged social change at Harvard YLC!

4. Meet a diverse group of students from all over the world!

Since 2008, YLC has seen participation of students from all across the world, including from cities like Tokyo, Boston, Beijing, San Juan, Yangon, San Francisco and many more! Our diverse students each bring various ideas and perspectives to the YLC conference, waiting to mingle with each other and produce something impactful!

5. Participate in thought-provoking activities!

Leadership isn’t a rigid concept; it is an ever-evolving idea that means different things to different people. And as such, it can’t be taught through rote teaching and memorizing. That is why YLC is intent on not feeding you information, but invigorating your unique thought process. And our mentors do it through a ton of out-of-the-box activities! 

Some of our activities include Snap to a Story, Cold-Calling, Letters to Your Future Self, and many more!

So what are you waiting for? Apply now to learn with students from Shiv Nadar School, The Shri Ram Schools, Vasant Valley, The British School and more!

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