SCS and Kaplan: Igniting Career Path Discovery

Anthony Arend, Ph.D., professor of Government and Foreign Service.
Anthony Arend, Ph.D., professor of Government and Foreign Service and chair of the Department of Government at Georgetown.

This article is from the 2022–2023 Dean's Report.

Embracing the Jesuit principle of Cura Personalis, “care for the whole person,” SCS realizes this ethos through the creation of opportunities that foster comprehensive educational experiences. This endeavor not only extends to the School’s adult and professional student body, but also its pre-college, high school population. SCS partnered with Kaplan, a leading global educational services company, to offer year-round, online pre-college courses for high school students ages 13 and older.

Officially launched in 2021, this transformative partnership was forged in 2020 during the challenging COVID-19 lockdowns, when the School was compelled to swiftly transform its summer programs from residential to virtual modalities. To do so, SCS found an invaluable collaborator in Kaplan: This program expands educational access for high school students, and facilitates their meaningful engagement with real-world changemakers.

Leveraging Kaplan’s cutting-edge technology, SCS was able to seamlessly continue these programs remotely, upholding the hallmark experiential quality ingrained in the curriculum. Fast forward three years later, and the impact is evident: To date, 6,066 students have actively engaged in a diverse array of courses offered through the partnership.

“Kaplan was such a great partner from the beginning,” says Caitlin Cochran, Ed.D., senior associate dean for summer and program development. “They were professional, reliable, creative, and highly skilled.”

College-Prep Courses Anywhere, Anytime

The Georgetown University Pre-College Online Program caters to high school students eager to explore careers and/or potential majors in a wide range of industries, from international relations to medicine to finance. Each course offers dynamic video lessons delivered by distinguished Georgetown faculty and renowned thought leaders worldwide. Accessible year-round, the online format provides flexibility, allowing students to study anywhere, anytime, at their own pace.

In an era where global connectivity is more pronounced than ever, students curious about international relations, politics, law, and economics are especially drawn to the four-week course led by Anthony Arend, Ph.D., professor of Government and Foreign Service and chair of the Department of Government at Georgetown.

Titled “International Relations: How the World Works,” the course immerses students in thought-provoking conversations with leaders ranging from ambassadors and members of Congress to political reporters. Dr. Arend underscores the course’s impact, attributing it to Kaplan’s creative direction, which amplifies the opportunity for students worldwide to connect and learn from real-world changemakers.

Clayton Smith, a high school senior from California, hopes to pursue his dream career in foreign service and international law. Although he had taken several similar community college courses in the past, he did not feel that they were as hands-on as the International Law course he took through the Kaplan platform last summer.

“Every video, assignment, and further reading selection was perfectly tailored to create the most comprehensive learning experience I’ve ever had,” Smith says.

Not only did this immersive opportunity reaffirm what he would like to pursue in the future, it also solidified his goal to attend Georgetown. “I would love to take an in-person class taught by Dr. Arend. I have read two of his books and am fortunate enough to have had him provide instruction for the International Law course, but to take an in-person class with him as my professor would be beyond incredible.”

“Investing,” the most popular course in this program at the moment, teaches young students how to become investors. Students have the opportunity to analyze various companies to determine their value and learn how their value affects the price of their stock, as well as create investment portfolios.

James J. Angel, Ph.D., academic director and FINRAcertified regulatory and compliance professional, teaches the course. Though he normally teaches university students, he says he is impressed by the high school students’ curiosity and determination.

“I am blessed with students who really want to learn the material, and that makes it fun to teach whether they’re high school students or postgraduates,” he says.

From Research to Revelation

In the wake of the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on high school students, many have found themselves re-evaluating their perspectives on the world and contemplating their future paths. Among them is Shraddha Guha, a senior high school student from Texas, whose journey took an unexpected turn when she examined the enduring effects of the pandemic on high school students and their sleep cycles for a research paper.

In the course of her research, Guha found herself captivated by the intricate world of psychology. She decided to delve deeper into her growing interest by enrolling in the “Psychology: How the Brain Influences Behavior” course offered over the summer.

Guha reflects, “It was really engaging with the videos and the multiple activities that we had to do ourselves, and the discussion board where we got to see different perspectives of other people in the class.” The course not only broadened her understanding of psychology but also kindled a profound passion for the subject, ultimately serving as the catalyst for her decision to apply to Georgetown.

Guha’s transformative journey from researching the effects of COVID-19 to discovering her passion for psychology through Georgetown’s pre-college online program highlights the resilience and adaptability of students in navigating the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

A Bright New Generation

With thousands of students immersed in a diverse array of courses, the future of this thriving partnership is promising. Exciting courses are on the horizon, spanning leadership, medicine, biology, and marketing.

Having taught at Georgetown since the late ’80s, Dr. Arend is excited by the potential of this bright new generation of students, who are exploring not only their professional interests but also experiencing all that Georgetown has to offer. “Each generation is a new hope.”