|Type||Independent, day & boarding|
|Founder||Christopher Robert and Cyrus Hamlin|
|Headmaster||Adam Oliver & Nilhan Çetinyamaç|
276 on scholarship
|Campus size||65 acres / 27 ha|
|Houses||Gould Hall, Mitchell Hall, Woods Hall, Sage Hall, Bingham Hall, Feyyaz Berker Hall, Suna K?raç Hall, Nejat Eczac?ba Hall|
|Student Union/Association||Robert College Student Council|
The Robert College of Istanbul (Turkish: ?stanbul Özel Amerikan Robert Lisesi or Robert Kolej, often abbreviated to RC) is an independent high school in Turkey. The co-educational boarding school is situated in a 65-acre (26 ha) wooded campus on the European side of Istanbul in the Be?ikta? district, with the historic Arnavutköy neighborhood to the east, and the upscale Ulus neighborhood to the west.
The 154-year-old institution is arguably the oldest American school still in existence in its original location outside the United States. Robert College is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.
Robert College has a long list of notable alumni, including entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, artists, two Turkish Prime Ministers, two Bulgarian Prime Ministers, three members of the Turkish cabinet, and one Nobel Prize recipient, Orhan Pamuk. The school is a member of the G20 Schools group.
In 1863, Robert College was founded in Bebek by Christopher Robert, a wealthy American philanthropist, and Cyrus Hamlin, a missionary devoted to education. Six years after its foundation, with the permission (Ottoman Turkish: irade) of the Ottoman Sultan, the first campus (currently housing Bo?aziçi University) was built in Bebek at the ridge of the Rumelian Castle, very close to a Bektashi tekke, whose leaders maintained an excellent relationship with the Congregational and Presbyterian founders of Robert College, according to Dr. Friedrich Schrader, a German lecturer at Robert College during the 1890s. The first building of the school was named "Hamlin Hall" in memory of Cyrus Hamlin. In 1878, Christopher Robert died. According to the article A Millionaire's Will, published in the New York Times (November 27, 1878), Robert left a great portion of his wealth to the College.
A College Catalog was compiled in 1878-1879, giving general information and an outline of the courses of study. Defining the aims of the College the catalog stated: "The object of the College is to give to its students, without distinction of race or religion, a thorough educational equal in all respects to that obtained at a first-class American college and based upon the same general principles."
After Hamlin, Robert College was administrated by George Washburn (1877-1903) and Caleb Gates (1903-1932). Though founded at the time of the Ottoman Empire as an institution of higher learning serving the Christian minorities of the Empire as well as foreigners living in Constantinople, the school adopted a strictly secular educational model in accordance with the republican principles of Turkey in 1923. Robert College, at various points of its existence, had junior high school, high school, and university sections under the names Robert Academy, Robert Yüksek and American College for Girls. Since 1971, the current-day Robert College has functioned only as a "high school" (more comparable to the French lycée in academic rigor) on its Arnavutköy campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls), yet it retains the title of 'College'. The Bebek campus and academic staff were turned over to the Republic of Turkey for use as a public university named Bo?aziçi University, the renamed continuation of Robert College's university section.
"Robert College stands as a token of the close cooperation between Turkey and the USA. It is an institution which has made important contributions to the cultural life of this country and will continue to play a valuable part in the promotion of culture and education."
"I have come to express America's solidarity with the Turkish people at a time of national tragedy, and to reaffirm our partnership for a common future. We have been friends for a very long time. In 1863, the first American college outside the United States, Robert College, opened its doors to the youth of Turkey. It was the only foreign institution allowed along the Bosphorus, precisely because America had never encroached upon Turkish sovereignty. I'm very proud that Prime Minister Ecevit is an alumnus of Robert College."
Robert College accepts 180 to 220 students each year, who have scored within the top 0.2 percentile in a nationwide examination, which every Turkish student must take in order to study in a high school (secondary education) after they complete their primary education. The school has around 1000 students each academic year.
Circa 1904, the school had about 300 students, with boarding space for about 200. Lucy Mary Jane Garnett wrote in the 1904 work Turkish Life in Town and Country that at that time most of the students were Christian as the college had a requirement for students to attend Christian Sunday church services and chapel services, and "it would be unsafe for any professed Moslem to become either a resident or a daily student" since the Ottoman government would take a dim view of a Muslim going to chapel. In 1904, Greek students made up the majority and other students included significant numbers of Armenians and Bulgarians.
The faculty have an average of 20 years of teaching experience and the majority have either Turkish or United States citizenship. The school currently has faculty who are 50% Turkish, and 48% English native speakers (including faculty from English speaking countries other than the United States). Sixty percent of the full-time faculty hold master's degrees or higher.
As of 1999, as per Turkish Ministry of Education regulations, the school employs only Turkish citizens to teach history and social studies classes.
In 1904, faculty included Americans, Turks, Armenians, Bulgarians, and Greeks.
Robert College is a five-year high school, with the first year (Prep) being the English immersion year that prepares students for rigorous curriculum, which is mostly in English. English is the language of instruction used in Science, Mathematics, Literature, Physical Education, Art and Music courses. Turkish is the required language of instruction in social sciences and Turkish language/literature.
Robert College graduates traditionally continue their education in the United States or Turkey, though in recent years the number of students studying in Canada and the United Kingdom increased. Every year approximately 50-60 percent of the graduating class choose to study abroad, while those wishing to study in Turkey get placed in a university based on their score on the Core Proficiency Test-Advanced Proficiency Test (TYT-AYT). In 2006, Robert College ranked first in all three sections of ÖSS, a formerly-administered Student Selection and Placement System test, among private high schools in Turkey, with 76 out of 132 students taking the exam scoring in the top 0.3% (top 5000). Out of the 104 students who chose to study in Turkey, 29 were admitted to Bo?aziçi University, which is the overall highest ranking school in Turkey. 56 students chose to continue their education abroad and 36% of these students are attending Ivy League colleges. In 2011, Robert College placed 123 graduates in Turkish universities, 21 of them, 40%, in Bosphorus University. Another 53 planned to study abroad, 8 (15%) in the Ivy League. Of the 79 students who had applied abroad, 75 were offered admission.
Robert College has a rich history of co-curricular activities and sports, with about 100 student activity clubs as of 2015. Robert College introduced basketball to the Ottoman Empire in 1907. The first Student Council in Ottoman Empire was also formed in 1908 in Robert College.
Student Council is formed of a group of annually elected student governors and a faculty advisor. The elected body is proportional with class size. As well as class representatives, the president, the vice president, the secretary and the treasurer are elected after a period of campaigning. Student Council is responsible for facilitating communications between students, faculty and administration, as well as organizing social activities and fundraising for clubs. Student Council also organizes the largest and oldest high school festival, Fine Arts Festival, in Turkey. The President of the Student Council, representing the student body, makes a speech during the opening, closing, and graduation ceremonies.
The Fine Arts Festival is the largest secondary school festival in Turkey. It has been held annually since 1982 by the Robert College Student Council. Each year, more than 2,000 people attend the festival, which is traditionally held in May. The festival is a big event in which many student groups can perform on stage. There are various art exhibitions and dance shows that also take place. Student Council members visit other high schools in Istanbul and advertise for this event. At the end of the festival, a well-known artist or band typically performs on stage. Most of the revenues used to fund this event are raised through food and ticket sales. Food vendors are usually selected by Student Council members and consist of restaurants close to Robert College such as "kumpir" sellers in Ortaköy. This promotes the tight-knit Robert College community spirit.
The International Istanbul Youth Forum is an annually held conference at Robert College. It has been organized every year since 2006 with participants from numerous European countries. Each year, more than 150 participants from all over Europe gather at the RC campus. The conference is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.
The Ethics Forum is the first to be established at high school level in Turkey. Robert College Ethical Values Club organizes an ethics case study contest at national level among high school students, following their forum. The results are announced at the Ethics Conference near the end of the year. Both events attract more than twenty public and private schools from around Turkey.
Robert College International Model United Nations (RCIMUN) is a THIMUN-affiliated Model United Nations conference organized annually by the Robert College Model United Nations Club (RCMUN) since 2006. The conference includes four General Assembly committees, those being the Political, Human Rights, Environment, and Disarmament Committees, a Special Conference committee, the Security Council of UN, an Advisory Panel, ECOSOC, Specialized Agencies (RCSA), the equivalent of two intertwined historical committees which simulate a single historical event, a separate Historical Security Council, as well as a simulation of the International Criminal Court. Approximately 750 students, of which about 42% were from international schools attended the 2012 conference.
Istanbul Gençlik Forumu is a national conference where representatives from over 30 high schools from different regions come together to discuss issues regarding the future of Turkey. In 2008, the 5th IGF welcomed over 250 participants. Discussions about international affairs are held in Turkish and each committee is responsible for writing a resolution. Then, at the General Assembly, each resolution is discussed and voted on. It is also the National Selection Conference of EYP Turkey, which is also recognized by the international office of European Youth Parliament. The conference is held annually and is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.
Organized by the Robert College Theater Club, TIFES is one of the major theatrical events at high school level in Turkey. The festival takes place in Robert College campus during the first week of June. Numerous plays are put on stage during the week in Suna K?raç Hall and famous actors, actresses and playwrights give talks on topics related to theatrical arts.
Robert College Junior Achievement Club is hosting this event. About 300 Junior Achievement students from all over Turkey meet each other and share their experiences with others and famous entrepreneurs and artists related to the topics like Risk (2010), Alternative Careers (2009), Creating a Brand (2008). The entertaining workshop about these topics is a didacting icebreaking activity to strengthen the relationship between Junior Achievement students. The nearest conference is in April 2011.
The conference took place at 13th-14th-15 November. Keynote Speaker was Chris Spetzler of Decision Education Foundation. The conference was noted to be highly successful and future collaborations with the Decision Education Foundation were decided.
The 65-acre (260,000 m2) wooded campus overlooking the Bosphorus is home to historic buildings as well as modern ones, centennial trees and a rich fauna, among which the Bosphorus Beetle, an endemic species to this campus, could be counted.
When founded in 1863, Robert College had four students. A sum of $2,120 had been allocated to the library, and Harvard University had donated 200 volumes for the opening of the library. During the 1950s and '60s, the college had one of the largest collections in Turkey. (In 1957: 111,598 books and 214 periodicals; the American College for Girls Library 27,163 books and 108 periodicals, according to the Turkiye Kütüphaneleri Rehberi (Turkish Libraries Guide) published by the Turkish National Library that year. After the foundation of Bo?aziçi University, the college donated the majority of its collections to the newly founded university. Today, Robert College has the largest library collection among secondary schools in Turkey. The library houses more than 47,300 books, 190 periodical publications, and two web-based databases. It occupies an area of 700 square meters, with a seating capacity of 90, and serves a total of 927 students, as well as all the employees and alumni of the school on second and third floors of Gould Hall.
This section only includes the buildings on today's Robert College campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls); the ones on the former boys campus of Robert College can be found in the Bo?aziçi University article.
Robert College tuition fees for Prep grades in the 2016-2017 academic year are:
|Day Student||Boarder (5 days)||Boarder (7 days)|
|TRY 59,980||TRY 82,220||TRY 92,260|
Tuition fees are adjusted each year according to the inflation rates in a limited range set by the Ministry of Education. Robert College has been the most expensive private school in Turkey over the years. It is still the most expensive educational institution, surpassing some private universities. According to school data, 25% of students received financial aid for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, Robert College alumni have played a leading role in numerous fields including the arts, academia, science, engineering, business, civil society and government administration. Garnett stated in her 1904 publication that "since its foundation forty years ago many of its graduates have attained to high positions in the Governments of the Balkan principalities, and otherwise distinguished themselves."
In 1990, three alumni, Nejat Eczac?ba, Suna K?raç and Feyyaz Berker donated the necessary funds for the construction of the new buildings that are mentioned in the Buildings section. An annual giving campaign raises funds for the school, as costs cannot be met by tuition fees alone. The development office publishes the RC Quarterly, which reaches 10,000 Robert College alumni around the world online and by mail.
Bizimtepe, a cultural and recreational center next to the campus, is an affiliate of the Alumni Association.
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