If you are passionate about and targeting a career in artificial intelligence and machine learning, then you should consider getting early exposure in the field. In this post, we’ll explore an option to get more exposure to AI – the Veritas AI Scholar and Fellowship Program. The program is run by Harvard graduate students and we’ll go into what the program offers, as well as its pros and cons.
What is Veritas AI?
Veritas AI is a virtual AI program built for high school students. Founded and run by Harvard graduates, Veritas AI teaches you about artificial intelligence and machine learning. It enables you to produce a project that you can use as part of your portfolio and also while applying to college.
Veritas AI has a range of group programs and 1-1 mentorship tracks, and we’ll deep dive into the program and share our take. In this blog, we’ll cover:
- Details about the different programs that Veritas AI offers.
- Factors you should consider when you are picking a program.
- Pros and Cons of the Veritas AI program and whether you should do it.
- Past projects by program participants.
All of this should give you a better idea of the learning opportunities and help you decide if it’s right for you!
Veritas AI Programs and Structure
There are two major programs you can apply to and both are open to high school students.
- Veritas Scholars Program
- Veritas Fellowship Program
Veritas AI Scholars Program
The Veritas AI Scholars Program runs for a total of 25 hours during the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. You can choose to opt for the intensive 2-week program in the Summer or the 10-week program in the Spring, Fall, or Winter.
As a Veritas AI (or VAI) Scholar, you will learn from AI experts about key concepts in the field and, in the end, produce an original group project applying AI.
VAI Scholars is for anyone looking for a crash course in AI and allows you to explore varied concepts and applications in a guided format, without being too conceptually advanced and complicated. It’s an opportunity to build an independent project – though the project will be heavily guided by a mentor. If you want a more independent project, then the AI fellowship program may be a better fit (covered below).
- VAI Scholars Program Details:
- 10-week session
- Learn the fundamentals of AI
- Explore a variety of AI applications
- Work on an AI project with a mentor
- Fully remote: work from a location of your convenience!
- Cost: $1490, need-based financial aid available
- Prerequisites: No prerequisites! Open to anyone with an interest in the field.
- Eligibility: Grade 8-12 students
- Application Deadline:
- Priority admission: March 12 and April 16, 2023
- Regular admission 1: May 14, 2023
Interested in the Veritas AI Scholars Program?
Veritas AI Fellowship Program
The Veritas AI Fellowship Program runs for a total of 12-15 weeks and focuses on building an individualized AI project. As part of this program, you will work with an AI researcher or practitioner on building an independent college-level AI project under 1:1 mentorship.
- AI Fellowship Program Details:
- 15, 1-1 sessions with an AI practitioner or researcher
- Support submitting your AI project to publications
- Possibility to combine this program with the AI scholars program if you are new to AI
- Cost: $4200
- Prerequisites: Basic understanding of Python or completion of AI Scholars
- Eligibility: Open to all students in Grades 8-12
- Application Deadline:
- Priority admission: March 12 and April 16, 2023
- Regular admission 1: May 14, 2023
- Available Fields: Pretty much every area according to their website and the experience of students. They have dozens of mentors across different fields and AI.
Applications Open for Veritas AI Programs 2023
The key difference between the programs is that while Veritas AI Scholars is a more introductory, collaborative program for AI and ML, the Veritas Fellowship Program is a lot more personalized to your interests and goals, and involves a more individualized project.
There are no prerequisites for an applicant to the Veritas Scholars program, but you must be familiar with concepts in AI and ML and know how to code in order to be a Veritas AI Fellow.
Veritas AI also has two deep dive tracks:
Deep Dive: AI + Medicine enables students to engage in specialized learning of how AI is transforming medicine and the healthcare industry. Students get a chance to build real-world, impactful projects in the field of AI and medicine.
Program Dates: June – August
Deep Dive: AI + Finance enables students to engage in specialized learning of how AI is transforming financial markets. Students get a chance to build real-world, impactful projects in the field of AI and medicine!
Program Dates: June – August
Veritas AI Summer Program Dates 2023
Veritas AI: FAQs
Does Veritas AI offer programs for younger students?
Yes. Veritas AI also offers AI Trailblazers, a program curated for middle school students to learn the fundamentals of Python and key concepts in AI and ML. As part of this program, you will build real-world AI models across diverse fields.
Program Dates: June 11 – August 13
Does Veritas AI Offer financial aid?
Yes, Veritas AI offers need-based financial aid to participants. Based on your need, you could receive up to 100% of the program fee. You can mention your need for financial aid in the application form, and you will automatically be considered. About 10-20% of students receive full financial aid in the program.
Is Veritas AI selective?
Veritas AI doesn’t publish acceptance numbers, but it seems that the AI Scholars program has open enrollment (no prior coding experience required) whereas the AI Fellowship program does include an evaluation process. So, there is some selection for students in the Fellowship process and you may get rejected if you lack any prior coding experience.
How Do You Apply?
The Veritas Scholars and Veritas Fellowship Program runs in three cohorts each – spring, summer, fall, and winter. Applications for the summer cohort are currently open and will close in May.
It’s pretty easy to apply; here are the steps:
#1 Fill out the online application form
#2 Wait for the admissions team to evaluate your application and send back a response
#3 Receive admission notification from the Veritas AI team
#4 Launch program after submitting necessary documents and payment of fees
Quick Tip: For the application form, be ready with responses to questions like these:
- Why are you interested in learning AI?
- What type of math courses have you taken?
- Why are you a good candidate for Veritas AI?
Should You Do the Veritas AI Program?
There are various factors you should take into consideration while assessing whether a program is right for you. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach since education is a deeply personal experience (for instance, that’s why there’s so much talk about ‘college fit’).
We’ve listed down some of the factors that you can consider when you’re deciding on research or skill enhancement programs. We’ve also mapped the pros and cons from our research about the Veritas AI programs.
If your program (or in this case, Veritas AI) checks all of these boxes for you, apply away!
Factors to Consider When Choosing an AI Program
- Your Goals and Interests: There are many ways of looking at this, but you should think about whether you are just looking to do a course to develop an academic understanding of AI/ML or generally, computer science or whether you’d like to do something more hands-on and application-oriented. While the two may have some overlap, a summer school experience is very different from a research program.
- Timings and Schedule: You should take stock of what the academic year looks like for you and decide whether you have more time to dedicate over the summer or at some other point in time during the year. For a lot of students, the answer is summer. A lot of programs also run during the summer. What does this mean? A lot of competition to get into prestigious summer programs.
- In-person vs. Virtual: A lot of programs require you to move temporarily and live on-site/on campus.
- Cost and Financial Aid + Cohort Size: Think through your budget and the financial aid policy (if you need financial aid). You should also look into the cohort size because that will give you a good indication of how personalized you can expect the experience to be, if that is something you are looking for.
- Skill: Subjects like AI and ML are not really taught in high school, and it can be a challenge to develop these skills yourself. So, it is important to make sure you are picking the right kind of course, to gain the skills that you are most keen on learning.
Is Veritas Right For You? The Pros and Cons
- The flexibility of mentor and topic choice with AI: the program has a wide network of mentors so you can expect to have some choices to align your specific areas of interest. It also has the benefit of a “course” component along with project work.
- A wide array of timings: cohorts run throughout the year. This means that no matter what your preference is, there’s a cohort for you.
- Ease of access: Veritas AI programs are fully virtual. This means that you save money and you also save time. If you are focused on the academic and project takeaway then this should work out well for you.
- Low Cost and Financial Aid: The AI Scholars program is priced at $1,490 for mentorship in a small cohort (around 5 students) and work on a guided project. The AI Fellowship program is priced at $4,200 for 1-1 mentorship and to build an independent AI project. Need-based financial aid is offered except for the AI Fellowship program.
- Flexible work structure: if you are looking to work on a more intensive project, you can take it up in a small cohort of around 5. This will be a valuable experience in working together as a team. But, you can also go down the independent project route if that’s what you prefer.
- Ecosystem and network: Veritas AI has options for students who are looking to build a foundation and for students who have an understanding of AI. The option to combine programs also means you can progress within their ecosystem. If you are a middle school student, you have the option of the AI Trailblazers program. It appears that you will have some choice of mentors for your specific skill level and interest.
- It is not a college-fit experience: This program will not give you a feel for college life. If you are looking for a socially immersive experience along with academics, then Veritas AI, being a fully virtual program, may not be the right option for you. Although, in all fairness, you will interact with a mentor who is a top PhD in addition to your peers in the AI Scholars program, so there is some valuable networking there!
- No in-person interactions: You should consider this more deeply if you learn or work better in person. There are no in-person parts to this program.
- No college credit: This program does not offer college credit, as some summer camps at universities do. Usually, college credit doesn’t have a big impact on the college admission process, but can be nice to have!
- Prestige value: Won’t be as prestigious as highly-selective, university-based programs like RSI, MIT’s Beaver Works Summer Institute, and other STEM summer programs. One way to enhance the prestige value would be to develop a project targeting a competition or publication in a prestigious journal. Other students at Veritas AI seem to have done this (we’ve covered some examples of past projects further below).
How Can You Use an AI Project in Your College Admissions?
If you have worked on a substantial and rigorous AI/ML project at the high school level, you are not only showcasing your passion for AI/ML but also your critical thinking abilities and evolved research skills. All very useful throughout college and beyond!
When the admissions team sees this experience on your application, it signals that you come with a certain level of learning and exposure, and have carved out opportunities for yourself beyond the high school curriculum.
The academically-rigorous research you would have undertaken to produce the project and the experts you’ve been mentored by add more validation to your suitability as an applicant. Your experiences in such a program can fuel your college essays and interviews, and moreover, help you gain a clearer understanding of your own skills and interests as you apply to college.
Once you have worked on your AI project, you should carefully think through the ways in which you can mention it in your college application. Here are some examples:
Add the project to your portfolio and activity list:
For instance, if your AI project has required you to produce deliverables/project milestones which can be considered as ‘work’, then it can go into your activity list or as a portfolio that you add to your college application.
Showcase the project as an academic achievement:
If your AI project is for educational purposes, it can be showcased as an academic experience. A great example of this is a research paper. If you have scaled a research project over some time, you may even consider whether it can qualify as an extracurricular activity.
Win competitions using your project:
You can even compete in science fairs and competitions with your AI project and list that in your application if you win.
Write about your project in an essay:
One of the best ways to showcase a project is to write about it in one of your essays (e.g., a supplemental essay). The more you can use concrete examples of what you’ve done when writing, the better. For example, when asked the question why this major, you could talk about the research project and how it connects to the major that you’re applying to.
A pro tip: Use quantitative metrics to showcase your project’s impact
When talking about your AI project, focus on its impact. So, while you can speak about it qualitatively, do not forget that quantitative parameters matter. For example, “Discovered a polymer that is 5 times stronger than the average market variety and can be produced at 1/2 the price”.
Examples of Student Projects at Veritas AI Leading to Publications
Here are some example projects from Veritas AI students.
Using CNNs to create AI models for Medical Imaging:
Published in a graduate-level journal called Discover Artificial Intelligence, the research uses convolution neural network architecture to learn how to differentiate between healthy and diseased lungs. You can find the official publication in Springer.
Authors: Jaiden Xuan Schraut, Leon Liu (who has received acceptances from Purdue University and the University of Maryland!), Jonathan Gong & Yiqiao Yin
Detection of pump and dump in a micro-cap stock using an LSTM network:
This research project used AI-based concepts to track and detect pump-and-dump, a common price manipulation strategy in stock markets, using an LSTM network. The project attempted to identify cases of stock manipulation in a micro-cap stock called Ram Minerals. and Chemicals Ltd. through the use of three explanatory features: close price, rolling volatility, and trading volume. You can access the paper here.
Author: Valmik Vyas
Classifying Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Asteroids Using Machine Learning:
This project used machine learning models to predict if an asteroid is hazardous to Earth based on the NASA Near Earth Object Web Service (NeoWs) dataset. The project utilized multiple advanced ML models and selected the best machine-learning metrics. You can check out their research and findings here.
Author: Trotter McLemore
Predicting Breast Cancer Diagnoses using Supervised Classification Models:
Preventative care is critical in medicine because it can help detect diseases at more manageable, if not treatable, stages of progression. However, the cost of preventative care can be high, especially in the first world, and that prices a lot of people out of the market. This project aims to build ML and deep learning models for breast cancer detection that are both highly accurate and can diagnose medical images and data at a fraction of the current cost. Here’s the paper – check it out!
Author: Kyle Wang (who’s received an acceptance letter from the University of Pittsburgh!)
If you’re curious to read about more examples, access other research projects by past participants here.
If you are looking for an intensive and immersive program in AI and ML, then you should consider Veritas AI. We like that it’s fully virtual, and has a range of programs and mentors to accommodate more students. We really like the types of projects students are working on and can see their value in building foundational skills and scholar profiles.
Author Bio: Akanksha Banerjee is a chief of staff at Lumiere Education, a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.