Alpha is a program for talented and gifted high school students (9th grade graduates) that enables its participants to integrate within the world of modern scientific research. The Program was formulated in order to meet the unique needs of talented and gifted students, while enriching their knowledge base, exposing them to high-level scientific research, and providing them with the tools they need to put together and engage in independent scientific research on an academic level
The concept underlying the program is to offer gifted students a meaningful intellectual experience, combined with social activities (and appropriate emotional support), so as to allow them to develop concurrently in both these spheres. During the program, the students learn to cope with intriguing intellectual challenges, and are involved in participatory social activities with gifted peers from all over the country.
The students write a research paper as part of the program, which can substitute for a matriculation examination in one of the intensive-level science subjects (5 study units), or be counted independently as a 5-unit subject on the matriculation certificate.; The Alpha program is a joint initiative between the Future Scientists Center and the Ministry of Education’s Department for Gifted and Talented Students.
To further talented and gifted students’ capabilities, to help them realize their individual potential, and to nurture the next generation of breakthrough scientists.
To expose students to the fundamentals of scientific research - to provide them with personal and closely guided experiences vis-a-vis working with a scientist; to provide them with access to new fields of knowledge, scientific thinking and modern research methods; to equip them with the tools they need to engage in scientific research.
To nurture the development of personal characteristics such as motivation, ethical principles, leadership, interpersonal relations, teamwork, independence, self-confidence, responsibility and self-management, among talented and gifted students.
To create a community of future alumni - an elite group whose contribution to society will be a natural resource.
The Alpha Program is designed for talented and gifted students of all walks of life who are interested in focusing on science and technology studies while still in high school. In addition to proving their intellectual skills, candidates will have to demonstrate characteristics such as high levels of motivation, independent learning capabilities, perseverance, innovation, creativity, excitement, persistence, delayed gratification, and behavior that is appropriate for in-school settings.
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The Alpha Program is run at six academic institutions across the country:
Tel Aviv University - the Tel Aviv University for Youth
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - the Belmonte Science Laboratories Center
The Technion - the Department for Science and Technology-oriented Youth
Ben Gurion University of the Negev - the Jusidman Center for Science-oriented Youth
Weizmann Institute of Science - the Davidson Center for Science Education
Ariel University - The University’s Department for Children & Youth, for girls only
The admissions process for the Program takes place while the candidate is in the 9th grade. The Program itself is comprised of four stages:
- An initial summer camp at the end of the 9th grade - A selection stage
- The first year of research, throughout the 10th grade
- A second summer camp at the end of the 10th grade
- A second year of research throughout the 11th grade