Student: College Expedition offers high school students nationwide an opportunity to tour a diverse range of colleges, interact with Ismaili peers, and engage with mentors who aim to guide you through the college application process. By applying to College Expedition USA, you’ll not only get a chance to submit an application that resembles real life college applications, but, upon acceptance, you will have the opportunity to discover your best fit by immersing yourself in different college environments.
Mentor: As a mentor, you'll have the rewarding opportunity to contribute to the Ismaili community and share your valuable insights with high school students. Getting involved with the College Expedition program will allow you to engage in meaningful service and extend your personal and professional network.
College Expedition gives you the opportunity to tour renowned universities in the U.S. By exploring college campuses with CE, you gain access to individuals directly affiliated with these schools who can help answer any questions you have. As you learn more about these schools through tours, panels, and other informational sessions, you can apply this knowledge to craft your college essays. This shows admissions officers that you have clearly demonstrated interest in the school and have gone above and beyond to learn more. We also aim to connect you with mentors and peers who will support you throughout high school, your college application and selection process, and well into the future.
During your trip, you will be dive into crucial topics such as Financial Aid, Essay Writing, and navigating the Common Application. Through this program, we hope to encourage self-discovery and introspection so that you can leave the weekend focused on your goals, interests, and purpose. These insights will have a significant influence on the colleges you choose to apply to and attend, which will extend into your life beyond education. The more you invest in the program, the more you will gain! Your active participation in all that CE has to offer will determine what you take away from the weekend.
Students: As a student at College Expedition, you will step foot on multiple college campuses, meet Ismailis peers and mentors from across the country, and participate in shared meals and lively activities. You will also connect with a network of young professionals and college students who are eager to offer their guidance! You'll have opportunities to ask questions on topics like college admissions, career selection, personal development, and more! It’s important to note that while all CE programs share fundamental elements such as tours and content sessions, each Expedition may add their own unique touch to programming based on available resources.
Mentors: As a mentor, you'll play an important role in building and delivering content sessions on essential topics ranging from navigating college admissions to aiding in career selection to fostering personal development. You will also experience college tours with your mentees and develop meaningful connections with Ismaili mentees and other volunteers from across the country. You will have the opportunity to share your wealth of knowledge and experiences, helping to develop the next generation of Ismailis!
Barring a highly unexpected catastrophic event, the application deadline will not be extended. Please be sure to submit your application on time. We hope to start preparing you by mirroring the policy of strict college application deadlines!
Here are cities and colleges we’ve previously visited or have strongly considered:
Atlanta/Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta/Nashville: Georgia Tech, Emory, University of Georgia, Vanderbilt, SCAD, Duke
Boston: Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Tufts, Babson, Northeastern, Brown
Mid-Atlantic: UPenn, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, George Washington University
New York: Yale, Columbia, New York University, Rutgers
Northern California: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, San Jose State University, San Francisco University, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University
Southern California: USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, LMU
Responses need to be in your own words. You may leverage AI for inspiration, but the responses must be written with your own, original voice.
You are your student’s cheerleader! Guide them as they seek out valuable resources and programs, such as College Expedition, to help them find the college that is their best fit. Aid your students as they research the schools we’ll be visiting during College Expedition and have conversations with them about what they’re hoping to gain from the program. Lastly, encourage them to start their applications early!
Student: All high school students (grades 9-12) are eligible to apply to College Expedition in the Fall. Students in grades 9-11 are eligible to apply in the Spring semesters.
Mentor: Mentors who have completed their first 2 years of college and are college juniors or older or who are young professionals from all academic, personal, and professional backgrounds based in the US are eligible to apply to be a mentor.
Yes, College Expedition USA is open to only Ismaili students and mentors.
At this time, students from Canada are eligible to apply in addition to students from the U.S.
We’re so excited you’re interested in College Expedition! Be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the application - no waiting until the last minute! We’d love to get an understanding of your goals and aspirations, so be transparent and specific in your application responses. You should be able to clearly share what you’d like to learn from this experience.
Absolutely! If you are applying as a returning student, focus on what new insights you’d like to gain from this additional College Expedition experience and what extra value this College Expedition would provide for you in your college application process.
The cost of College Expedition can be found on the application. This covers lodging, transportation, snacks, and most meals.
We want to ensure all our selected students and volunteers can participate, so please communicate with our staff if the cost of Expedition is of concern. If you have a genuine need for financial aid, please email email@example.com.
Student and mentor applications are each scored twice based on a standardized rubric, and the average of scores is a factor used to determine decisions. Applications are graded blindly - there is no connection to your name or region. Mentors undergo an additional 20-minute interview with the Local Project Team.
If you are interested in volunteering as a tour guide or point of contact for your university, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your help!
A team of individuals from a range of backgrounds collaborate to determine the combination of schools for each expedition. Their aim is to create a combination of schools that would give students insights into a diverse set of academic and personal opportunities.
We assess the following factors for each academic institution:
- Is it public or private?
- What is the campus environment like? Is it in a city or more secluded?
- How is the school ranked against others in the country / region?
- What is the acceptance rate?
- What is the annual cost of attendance (undergrad tuition + fees) and what % of students are on financial
- When did CE last visit this campus?
- What is the graduation rate?
- What does the school’s Ismaili presence look like?
All CEs stay at hotels during the duration of the expedition. This hotel is arranged by the Local and National Project Team and vetted by leadership.
Please refer to the College Expedition Code of Conduct below for more information.
College Expedition Code of Conduct: Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco, Bullying and Sexual Misconduct Policy:
Drugs, Alcohol & Tobacco
Policy and Scope
Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) prohibits the possession, use, facilitation or sale of alcohol, tobacco or any narcotic substance, or any paraphernalia or equipment associated with the use of these substances (1) at any AKEB program-related events & trainings, (2) during the time period of Counselor & Staff Orientation: Logistics to the last day of camp, (3) on camp grounds at any time, and (4) by individuals wearing attire with any references to AKEB and its programs at any time. Any individual under the influence of drugs, tobacco or alcohol is not permitted to attend program interviews, marketing events, trainings, camps or appreciation events.
Bullying and Harassment
Policy and Scope
Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) aims to create programs that are physically and emotionally safe and secure for all participants and staff. AKEB prohibits acts of bullying, sexual harassment, and other forms of aggression & violence at any AKEB program, training, or event. Bullying is any intentional hurtful act, committed by one or more persons against another.  These acts include any gesture, written, verbal, graphic, or physical act, including electronically transmitted acts – i.e., cyber bullying that is reasonably perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear of physical harm or emotional distress and may be motivated either by bias or prejudice based upon any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment. 
Consequences and Remedial Actions
Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for participants or staff members who engage in any of the acts mentioned above may range from positive behavioral interventions to removal from all programs under AKEB for the remainder of the year without a refund in instances where payment was provided. Violation of this policy will result in consequences determined by AKEB in its sole discretion. In instances where a minor has violated the policies mentioned above, the parent or legal guardian may be contacted by a representative of AKEB.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
All participants, counselors, staff members (including Local and National Project Team members of various programs including faculty, mental health professionals, and health professionals), volunteers, employees, board members, and any other agents or persons in positions of authority, within Aga Khan Education Board (“AKEB”) or at a AKEB program may be collectively referred to herein as “AKEB personnel”.
This policy applies to all AKEB personnel. No one may subject another AKEB personnel to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This includes both unwelcome physical contact, such as touching, blocking, staring, making sexual gestures, and making or displaying sexual drawings or photographs, and unwelcome verbal conduct such as sexual propositions, slurs, insults, jokes, and other sexual comments. An AKEB personnel’s conduct will be considered unwelcome when he/she/they should have known that the conduct was unwelcome, or when the person subjected to the conduct voices their objection. These standards include conduct on-site at any AKEB program and off-site, during program hours, after-program activities (i.e. during the duration of the program or the program training or, for the remainder of the day, after the program has concluded for that day), and all private interactions with participants.
Further details of the policy, including definitions, reporting processes, investigation, and consequences can be found here.
 “Bullying Prevention- Camps Take a Stand,” The American Camping Association
 “Model Anti Bullying Policy” State Board of Education, Michigan
Student decisions and mentor decisions vary.
Spring Expeditions are typically held in April. Student decisions start being shared in early February. Mentor final decisions following interviews are shared in early to mid February.
Fall Expeditions are typically held in October. Student decisions start being shared in early September Mentor final decisions following interviews are shared in early to mid September.
Phase 1: After students and mentors have submitted their application, the National Project Team does a quality assurance check.
Phase 2: There is a grading period. Please read the response to “How are student and mentor applications graded?” to learn more about the grading process.
Phase 3: After grading, student decisions are shared. For the few weeks after, a waitlist is managed. For mentors, a first set of decisions are shared to notify mentors if they are waitlisted or offered an interview.
Phase 4: After mentor interviews, a final decision is shared.
The front page of the website has testimonials from past students about their CE experience. The CE Instagram account (@nce_usa) also has videos and posts about past CEs. If you have any additional questions, please use the form below to contact us.