The unit aims to leverage students from the disadvantages social and geographic sectors and bring them closer to academic institutions in order to make them feel that university studies are within reach. We believe that getting to know the university will contribute to social mobility, reduce gaps among different groups in the population, and raise the level of aspirations and trust of the youngsters in their ability to be part of the academic world. The program is based on the notion that the strength of the Israeli society depends on reducing social, educational and digital gaps.
This program integrates around 60 excellent students from distant areas, who have graduated the 10th and 11th grades, in the summer semester of the Tel Aviv University. The participants, ‘First Generation of Higher Education’ come from a low socioeconomic background. They have been detected, with the assistance of high school principals in communities of the social and geographic periphery of Israel, as students with high potential for excellence in studies, and they represent all sectors of Israeli society.
These students will receive credits that will serve them in their future academic studies as well as grant them with recognition of matriculation exams in some of the courses.
The high academic demands and the daily academic load are a challenge they must meet. The common goals of academic success and achievement on the one hand, and meeting social challenges while actively dealing with them on the other, constitute a combination that requires creative thinking and social involvement. Therefore, it is a formative experience in the lives of the students.
The young students participate in two to three challenging academic courses alongside TAU students during the two-month summer semester. The courses are run by the Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences and introduce them to university-level learning in subjects such as economics, sociology, anthropology, and political science. Pupils who successfully pass the courses are awarded academic credits which can be redeemed if and when they are accepted to study at TAU or any other Israeli university or college later on.
Participants also receive academic tutoring in small groups to help them keep up with the coursework. Their tutors are TAU graduate students in diverse fields in the social sciences. In addition, participants invest many hours in individual study in the library and are given help in developing learning proficiencies. They stay at the university dormitories throughout the two-month program, receive a student card and have privileges and obligations identical to those of regular university students. Participants must fulfill all regular course requirements, including attending the final exams.
In addition to academic goals, the Summer Youth University aims to expose participants to the riches of university and Tel Aviv life. Participants enjoy scientific tours of TAU research labs and the University’s unique zoological and botanical gardens. They have access to the University’s libraries, sports center facilities and swimming pools. They visit museums, special exhibitions and theaters, and participate in tours of industrial plants in the region.