How will a day on TRY be compared to a regular day in school at home?‪

The weekday may look quite different from what you are used to at home. A school day on TRY resembles a university schedule more than a typical high school one. Classes begin in the morning and may be offered into the evening, likely with several breaks (free periods) along the way for homework preparation, rest, and time to hang out with friends. When the weather is nice, students spend time outside studying together during their down time. Students with very demanding schedules at home may find that they do not have as many free periods as their peers. The intensive learning program is rounded out with daily Tefillot, evening activities on certain nights, study time, and of course hanging out with friends!

What does a typical week look like on TRY?

TRY is a dynamic program including several overnight trips, and the celebration of Israeli and Jewish holidays throughout the semester. Therefore, while we do not have many “typical weeks” on our calendar, even an ordinary week on TRY is stimulating and unique.

Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays consist of full school days that include Israel Core Course (ICC) class, Hebrew (two days a week), and academic classes. Tuesday and Friday mornings consist of general studies classes on campus. Finally, Tuesday afternoons and Thursdays are spent off campus on various tiyulim (excursions) in Jerusalem and beyond.

What does our dorm look like? How many students are in each room?

The dormitory buildings within the Goldstein Youth Village are equipped with modern – yet modest – rooms that include bathroom units. Most buildings will also have a small kitchen area and moadon (communal room). An important part of the TRY experience will involve learning how to live in a community and in shared living space. The very supportive members of the TRY staff, including our fabulous dormitory counselors, are there to help the students learn to share space and make adjustments necessary to have a successful semester. Most rooms have 3-4 students, and it can be both wonderful and challenging to share a room with other people.‬

My school is an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. Can I come on TRY?

Over the years we have worked with several IB students who have studied on TRY and successfully returned to their home schools. Some schools have agreed to accept TRY courses, such as AP classes, as equivalent to the students’ IB courses at home. In other situations, students took their IB courses as independent studies, learning the material from their home school with a tutor in Israel or online by following along with their home teachers. You may need private tutoring (at your expense) to supplement our courses. We recommend that you speak directly to your guidance counselor about course selection for the year. You should also be in touch with our Director of Teaching and Learning once you have decided that TRY is the right program for you.

My school is on a block schedule. What classes should I take on TRY?

Over the past few years, many more schools have been adjusting to a block schedule in lieu of year-round courses. Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim will do our best to accommodate all students, including students from such schools. However, due to the intense nature of our program, and based on our experience over the past several years, we recommend the following in order to allow the best possible success for students:

Recommended schedule for a student not taking any AP courses:

Fall Semester (Home): Math, Science, Fine Arts, Foreign Language

Spring Semester (TRY): English, Social Studies/History, Physical Education, Elective

Recommendations for a student taking AP courses:

We recommend that you choose from the following courses during the spring semester while on TRY: AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP Psychology, AP Statistics.

The following courses can be taken ONLY IF you are taking no more than three general studies courses in the spring semester: AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, AP Biology, AP Human Geography.

The following courses may be taken ONLY IF you enrolled in the language in the fall semester as well: AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature, AP Latin: Vergil, AP German Language and Culture, AP Japanese Language and Culture, AP Italian Language and Culture, AP French Language and Culture, AP Chinese Language and Culture

The following courses are NOT RECOMMENDED as spring semester only courses: AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP United States History, AP European History, AP World History, AP Chemistry.

What schools have TRY alumni been accepted to?

TRY alumni are accepted to colleges and universities across North America, ranging from public universities to Ivy League universities. Our alumni are studying at or have graduated from: American University, Boston University, Bowling Green, Brandeis University, Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University, George Washington University, Hampshire College, Harvard University, Hunter College, Indiana University, IDC Herzliya, List College (JTS), Loyola College, McGill University, Mt. Holyoke College, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Stern College, Binghamton University, University of Central Florida, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Judaism, University of Maryland, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Rhode Island, University of Southern California, Washington University, Wesleyan College, York University, and more. A significant number of TRY alumni come back to Israel for a semester or year abroad at Bar Ilan University, Hebrew University, the University of Haifa, or Tel Aviv University, and many participate in the USY Nativ Year Course before college. ‬

What about computers? Cell phones?

All students are required to bring a laptop computer with WIFI access with them to Israel. In addition, all students should bring a smartphone for reasons of safety/security and convenience of communication with the staff in Israel and their parents at home. If your cell phone will only work if you have WIFI access while abroad, we highly recommend that you rent an Israeli sim card for the semester. We partner with a specific provider (details in the handbook) who are moderately priced. You are also welcome to rent a sim card from any local cell phone companies.  More information on computers and cell phones can be found in the Student Handbook.

What safety precautions does Ramah take re the security situation in Israel?

Ramah approaches safety very seriously. We abide by Ministry of Education guidelines and register our trips with a government agency who specializes in travel. We have guards with us whenever they are deemed necessary according to the guidelines dictated by the Ministry of Defense. We have identified specific sites, locations, and roads where we would not let groups travel. Although other Israelis might continue to travel in those areas, we are extremely cautious when it comes to taking responsibility for our students/your children. Throughout each trip we continually monitor the security situation and we have made and will make on-the-spot changes if we feel the situation warrants it. ‬

What opportunities will I have to explore and develop my Jewish identity?

TRY will offer you an incredible range of opportunities for exploring your Jewish identity! You will have the opportunity to live a full Conservative Jewish life, which includes Tefillot three times a day, Birkat Hamazon after meals, different types of Shabbat and synagogue experiences, and engaging text learning experiences. You will also have the chance to live according to the Jewish calendar, in which Jewish holidays are national holidays. The richness of Jewish life that TRY creates may include aspects that are new or different to what you are accustomed, and you will have the chance to TRY new Jewish experiences on for size!

Do all the TRY students come from Ramah camps or USY?

Not necessarily! TRY attracts youth from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox movements from across the US and Canada. Many students have heard about the program through word-of-mouth outside of the Ramah/USY world. We have a network of TRY alumni who came to the program with no previous Ramah/USY history, and they have shared their TRY experiences in their schools, synagogues, youth groups and summer camps.

What is the difference between TRY and USY High?

USY High students will be full participants on the TRY program. They will live in the same dorms as the TRY students, learn in the same classes, and attend the same study trips and activities. The only difference between TRY and USY High students is that USY High participants will be receive additional Israel education and Jewish leadership opportunities throughout the semester. TRY students are welcome to transfer to the USY High track should they wish to, during the first month of TRY.

Click here for more information on USY High.

How can I get my school to agree to let me participate in TRY?

Different schools have different approaches to study abroad programs. We will work with you and your school throughout this process, helping to ensure that your school has all information necessary and access to us in making a decision. TRY students have come from all types of schools, and we feel confident that we can accommodate a range of academic needs and programs. We can work with your school to help them understand our excellent reputation, official high school accreditation, and course selection. If you attend an IB (International Baccalaureate) school, we will work together with your school to find appropriate classes and/or tutorials that your school will find acceptable. Many IB schools allow their students to take AP or Honors level courses, sometimes with an additional workload, for full credit.

Around how much does the program cost? Are there scholarships available?

You can see all of the information about tuition on our Tuition page. ‬Scholarship information is also available. You will find the application online or write to try@ramah.co.il. In addition to applying to TRY’s scholarship fund, please contact your local Jewish Federation and synagogue.‬

I have a specific health problem (diabetes, asthma, bad knees, bee allergy, celiac, depression, etc.) – will this prevent me from going on TRY?

Assuming that your family doctor and/or specialist and/or therapist approve your going on TRY, we will work with you and your parents to set up conditions and support that are appropriate for your specific situation. Although you may have to restrict some of your activities or diet, if you can participate in most of the program and you meet our other criteria, we will accept you.

I’ve been going to Ramah for many years and was planning to go on Seminar with all of my friends – now I’m confused – should I do TRY or Seminar?

This type of decision is a very individual one. The choice between TRY and Seminar really depends on who you are and what you are looking for in an Israel experience. Seminar is a fantastic summer program and is a great time with Ramah friends. TRY is a unique and intensive semester program, where you actually live in Israel and feel less like a tourist. Since TRY offers a much more extensive experience than Seminar, it can at times seem quite demanding and the juggling of schoolwork, friends and Israel may prove stressful for some people. The potential for growth – personally, spiritually, and with regard to Israel – is of course greater on a longer program like TRY than a shorter program like Seminar. Yet there is another option as well: many students participate in both TRY and Seminar, some during the same year (making it almost a 6 month experience), and some in consecutive years.‬

What is the process for being accepted on TRY?

We evaluate each candidate on the basis of social, emotional and academic maturity. We want to make sure that the applicant can handle the stress and responsibilities of living far away from home in a foreign country. We inform candidates on a rolling admissions basis. Once we’ve received your deposit, essay, transcripts, parent and student interviews, and at least one reference we will evaluate your application. The student and parents will receive a letter of notification upon acceptance.‬

What if I need to take the SAT or Achievement Tests? Can I still come on TRY?

Definitely! It is possible to take all official US standardized tests in Israel. In addition, we have offered the Canadian Literacy Exam on our campus. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are offered in Israel on one of the first Sundays in May. Registration is via the online system of the College Board, and the registration deadline is generally a month before the exam. Specific SAT enrollment instructions for 2014 can be found on our website. The ACT is offered on campus and you can register online at actstudent.org. We offer an SAT review course to 11th graders for an additional fee, if there is a minimum enrollment, and private tutoring for any exam can be arranged.‬

I am in a very competitive, pre-college program in my school – will TRY be challenging enough for me? Will going on TRY compromise my chances of getting into the best college?

The TRY academic program is designed to challenge its students to reach the full level of their potential. The TRY student body is usually diverse – including some very serious and ambitious students and some average students as well – and we work to make sure that each student’s level is accommodated. If you need to study topics or subjects that are not part of our curriculum, or if you are on a significantly higher level than the rest of your classmates, we can arrange for private tutorials. TRY is an incredible accomplishment, one that demonstrates academic merit, maturity, and independence. Colleges regard such an accomplishment in a very positive light, especially since TRY students have had an opportunity to live away from home in an academic environment during high school. TRY is a great foundation for the college experience!

I have to take Regents exams when I get home. Will I be prepared?

For New York students who must take Regents exams upon their return to the US, we provide an adequate number of labs (though we recommend that you do as many as possible before TRY and that you bring the paperwork for any remaining labs with you). We have a library of Regents preparatory books for your use, and can facilitate additional tutoring if needed. You should expect to spend some extra time studying for Regents, and also to use the time when you return home to make up any final labs, if any, that you are unable to complete while on TRY before the exam.

I have some learning disabilities and am in some special classes in my school – can I still go on TRY?

Chances are good that TRY can accommodate you through private tutorials and/or special attention and assignments from your teachers. We have a full time Guidance Counselor and Academic Coordinator who work with all students to insure that their academic and personal needs are met in an appropriate and reasonable manner. In addition, we have two learning specialists on our teaching staff that can provide additional tutoring help for students with learning disabilities. Designing an academic program for a student with special learning needs involves a process that begins significantly before the program. You will need to send a copy of your IEP or, if you do not have one, a detailed letter from your guidance counselor or therapist, so that we can accommodate your learning needs. We will work with your school counselor, teachers and families to develop the right type of academic program for each student that is accepted to TRY.

What about “Honors” and “AP” classes?

TRY is authorized by the Middle States Association of Colleges and High Schools to provide all levels of High School credit, including Honors. Most classes are taught on an honors level, and honors students are given additional assignments and graded on a higher level than non-honors students.All AP classes offered by TRY (including one-on-one AP Tutorials) are certified by the College Board’s AP Course Audit program. Some AP courses are integrated with the rest of the highest level regular class that we offer but most of the time a separate AP class or tutorial will be provided.

How will I cover all the right materials for my academic classes from back home?‬

Before you are accepted formally on TRY, we coordinate your academic needs together with you, your school guidance counselor and sometimes your teachers. You are asked to send/fax to Israel a copy of your course syllabus and the Table of Contents page from your school’s textbook before you arrive so that our experienced teachers can work out the outlines for our versions of your course that will be taught on TRY. If you have a required course from your school that we do not offer in our course listings, we can facilitate a private tutorial for you or you may choose to do an independent study with your home school teacher.‬

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