Frequently Asked Questions

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Below you will find the most commonly asked questions regarding the Conference.

You can use the below links to jump to the topic of interest, or scroll through the page to view all questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us at precollege@brandeis.edu.

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About the Conference

What is the Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies?

The Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies is a six-day residential program for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have demonstrated leadership and interest in Israel and the Middle East. The Conference convenes an elite group of high school students for an intensive academic conference that equips them with a critical knowledge base of history, politics, culture, and Israeli society.  The Conference is held on the campus of Brandeis University and at select venues in Boston, Massachusetts.

How will the Board of Advisors be involved in the Conference?

The Board of Advisors help us develop the program and curriculum and in some cases actually deliver talks and lectures to the delegates.

How many students will participate in the Summit?

Approximately 100 delegates from around the U.S. are selected to represent their schools and states at the 2017 Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies.

The materials I received stated that the Conference is taking place in Boston, but I see that my student will be staying in Waltham on the Brandeis campus. Will s/he still spend time in Boston?

Yes. The Conference brings the best of both worlds together for your student. By staying on the Brandeis campus, outside of Boston proper, we are able to provide a college experience at a prestigious university for your student in a very safe environment. At the same time, your student will spend time exploring many educational resources that Boston has to offer.


Application and Enrollment

Is there an application fee?

Yes. There is an application fee of $35.

How do I log into the online application?

Students who are invited to apply receive an email with application instructions shortly after receiving the invitation. Please contact us at precollege@brandeis.edu if you did not receive the application information.

My student submitted an application to attend the Conference. How soon can we expect to hear a decision?

Admissions is handled on a rolling basis. You can expect a decision within 5-10 business days of submitting your completed application. 

My brother/sister/friend was invited to the Conference and I am also interested. Can I attend?

Students are invited to apply to the Conference based on information we receive through national surveys and standardized tests. In addition, we accept nominations from educators. Students who are interested in applying and did not receive an invitation may ask a teacher or school counselor to nominate them. To find out more about the nomination process, please visit the nominations section of the website.

How can I request an invitation?

Students are invited to apply to the Conference based on information we receive through national surveys and standardized tests. In addition, we accept nominations from educators. Students who are interested in applying and did not receive an invitation may ask a teacher or school counselor to nominate them. To find out more about the nomination process, please visit the nominations section of the website.


Costs

What does tuition cover?

Tuition to the Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies is $2180 and includes the following:

  • Tuition for 5 days of Israel studies, including hands-on activities and distinguished speakers
  • A dedicated Faculty Mentor
  • All materials and supplies
  • Residence in state-of-the-art facilities
  • Shuttle Transportation to and from Boston Logan International Airport or MA 128-Westwood Amtrak Station
  • Private, deluxe motor coach transportation throughout the Conference
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners - though students should bring cash for snacks while traveling off-campus
  • A Closing Semi-Formal Gala Dinner
  • All activity fees
  • A Commencement ceremony with personalized certificate of completion
  • Residential staff to monitor residences during the night
  • 24-hour staff to address emergencies
Is there a payment plan?

Yes, we do offer a payment plan. Each student is required to pay a deposit of $250 at the time of admission using our online system. Three subsequent monthly installments of $643 will be required until the full conference tuition and fees have been collected. Registration must be paid in full by May 15, 2017.

Only students who have paid their tuition in full will be eligible to attend the Summit.


Delegate Safety and Supervision

Where will students reside during the Conference?

All Delegates reside in state-of-the-art residence halls on the campus of Brandeis University. All residence halls are air-conditioned, have a wireless internet connection, and will be staffed by Conference faculty and monitored by adult, campus staff 24 hours a day.

Who will be watching over the students at night? Will there be an RA for the dorms?

Students are housed on single sex floors with faculty of the same gender living on each floor with the students. In addition to an on-call advance team and residential staff, we also benefit from our Campus Public Safety division that monitors all activities 24/7.  Students must keep their name badges with them at all times that will have emergency contact information should they ever need assistance in the dormitories after hours.

How will safety and security be addressed during the Conference?

The safety, security and educational outcomes for our students are at the forefront of all Conference activities. Delegates are led in small groups. The resident faculty to student ratio is approximately 1:17.

Students are supervised both on campus and during all excursions and off-site activities. There is limited leisure time, as the delegates work and study in small groups with adult staff at designated meeting times. The Conference faculty includes a dedicated program manager, professional curriculum designers, a seasoned advance team and experienced educators. All Conference staff complete an extensive background check before being hired.

All delegates must reside in Brandeis' secure residence halls that are monitored at all times by adult faculty members. Parents and guardians can reach a member of our team at any time during the Conference.

Will my student be supervised by a staff member of the same gender?

During small group meetings and large group functions, students are in coed groups and work with both male and female staff members. When staff are conducting room checks in the evenings, or if personal issues need to be addressed, this is done by a staff member of the same gender.

Will students use public transportation while attending the Conference?

All transportation is provided by private coach and students are supervised while traveling between venues.

Can I visit my student while s/he is at the Conference?

Yes. We do encourage you to plan your visits during meal times so that your student will not miss any of the fantastic opportunities planned for them. In order to visit, you will need to check in with the Conference staff in order to ensure your student’s safety.

Can my student leave the Conference with another family member or a family friend who lives in Boston?

Yes, these visits are allowed. You must submit a parent permission form in advance to allow anyone other than yourself to visit with or take your student off campus. To ensure safety, your student must sign out of the Conference with our staff when they are leaving and sign back in upon their return.

Does my student have to stay on Brandeis campus during the Conference?

Yes. Residency at Brandeis is a requirement of the Conference. One of the best parts of the Conference experience is meeting new people, interacting with them throughout the day and being able to get a real-life glimpse into college living.

Will the students be split into groups for the program? Who will lead these groups?

Yes. Delegates interact in small groups of 17 with a faculty mentor and then attend seminars and site visits in groups of 17 to 50.  Our overall delegate to staff ratio is 14 to 1. Our mentors are college educated professionals ranging from current Israel studies or education graduate students to seasoned professionals.


Travel

How do students travel to the Conference?

Conference staff members will be stationed to meet delegates arriving at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and MA 128-Westwood Amtrak Station from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Opening Day of the 2016 Conference. Each delegate should schedule his/her flight or train to arrive between 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, EDT. Students arriving within this timeframe will be shuttled to Brandeis University's campus.

If you are coming directly to campus, please plan to arrive between 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, EDT.  If your travel plans require that you arrive outside of the travel window, please make sure the delegate has enough cash to pay for their own taxi to the Brandeis campus.

The Conference concludes by 11:00 am EDT on Closing Day of the 2017 Conference. Shuttles will transport students to both Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and MA 128-Westwood Station with ample time to make their departing flights and trains. All flights should be scheduled to depart after 2:00 pm, EDT.

If I cannot book a flight close to the check in time, will my child receive transportation?

If you are unable to arrive during the travel window of 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, students may take a taxi to Brandeis University located at 415 South Street, Waltham MA.  Once we receive room assignments in early June we will update families on the specific building students to where should direct their taxi driver.

What opportunities will my child have to spend time off campus in Boston?

We plan outings off-campus as we know that cultural exploration of Boston is an equally exciting opportunity for students as the academics of the Conference.  Outings will be announced in early June, but you can be certain they include many of the historically important sites in and around Boston.  All off campus transportation and events are included in tuition, though students may want to bring a little spending money for souvenirs and incidentals when out and about.

What are some nearby hotels?

Nearby hotels in Waltham include the Westin, Embassy Suites and Marriott – all just off 1-95.  Additionally, guests who stay in Lexington at the Element or aLoft receive a 20% discount by mentioning Brandeis at the time of reservation.


What to Bring

What should I pack for the Summit?

For the majority of the Conference, the dress code is professional business and business casual. The list below shows what delegates are expected to wear each day of the Conference. Comfortable closed-toe shoes are essential for the Conference since Delegates will be walking a lot.

Delegates should prepare...

2 Business Casual Outfits (Slacks or dress khakis with buttoned and collared shirts and sport coats for young men, slacks or skirts with collared shirts or dresses for young women.  Cue: What you would wear to a meeting where you are trying to impress your clients.)

1 Professional Business Outfit (Suits and ties - or slacks and sport coats with ties - for young men; dresses, skirts or slacks with workplace appropriate blouses.  Cue: What you would wear if you were presenting to a major national conference and wanted to be perceived as an expert.) 

2 Casual/Travel Day Outfits (Comfortable khakis or jeans with collared shirts or tasteful t-shirts without writing)

1 Semi-Formal Outfit (Cocktail dresses for young women – suits or sportcoats with ties for young men.  Cue: What you would wear to a non-formal prom.)

We encourage families not to spend additional money on clothing. The academic rigor of the Conference calls for appropriate attire, but not a large investment on the part of the families. Please contact us if you have specific concerns about the dress code.

Do we need to bring our own linens?

Dorm linens are provided and included with the cost of tuition.

Do we need to bring a laptop?
If possible, delegates are requested to bring a laptop. Computers are used for both research and presentations. Brandeis University’s library is available for computer use throughout the program as well.

Special Requests

Can special dietary needs be met?

Vegetarian options are always available, and kosher meals can be made available upon request. All dietary needs must be indicated on the special needs section of your travel form, and, if necessary, a staff member will contact you to discuss any special arrangements that need to be made for you.

Can students who require reasonable accommodations attend the Conference?

Yes, we will make every attempt to accommodate all students. Please contact the Brandeis Precollege Programs for more detailed information.

If my student finds s/he is not enjoying the Conference and wants to return home, what is the policy?

We believe that all students who attend the Conference can have a positive and meaningful experience there. However, we understand that sometimes it can be challenging for students to be away from home in a different setting for a new experience. We work with your student to create strategies to make their time enjoyable and to address concerns or issues they have. If your student is not able to continue with the Conference, s/he will be able to return home at any time. According to the Conference policy, there would be no refund available at that time.

If my student cannot arrive on the first day, can s/he still attend the Conference?

Yes. However, we strongly encourage you to limit the amount of time missed. Every moment of the Conference is carefully planned to create a valuable experience for your student and they should plan to take advantage of all those opportunities by being present for the entire Conference.

My student’s friend/brother/sister will also be attending the Conference. Is it possible for them to room together?

We accept roommate requests on a case-by-case basis.

Can my child request a roommate?

While we do allow roommate requests, one of the most important aspects of the Conference is interacting with other students and we encourage students to meet new students and create a diverse peer group. Additionally, we have a number of single rooms for students.