Program Details

The Stanford 2 to 4 Veteran Accelerator invites you to find out firsthand what it’s like to study and succeed at one of the world’s most elite universities.

Academic Credit

Course work will be selected in partnership with the program director and will consist of two to three courses: a Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) course, and one or two other courses based on personal interest and focus. Students earn Stanford University credit that may be used in pursuit of a 4-year degree at other institutions. Academic resources and support are available for all Stanford Summer Session students.

PWR 6VT, a required course of the Stanford 2 to 4 Veteran Accelerator program, was created to build upon the skills and knowledge that a student gained from a first-year writing course. PWR 6VT will help students advance the level of their academic writing and research skills.

The Summer 2017 PWR instructor is John Peterson. John has been an instructor at Stanford since 2004, and he has a wealth of experience teaching writing and rhetoric. Below is a full course name and description, and for more information about John, check out his complete bio.

Course Description: PWR 6 – Researching and Writing About Popular Culture
What does popular culture say about the larger culture? In this class, we use questions about pop culture — such as video games, pop music, sports, TV, and other popular products — as a basis for writing and researching. How do video games help us to learn about engineering and physics? How do the virtues of leadership and teamwork get exploited by the extraordinary amounts of money made by owners of professional sports teams? Have TV police shows shaped what courtroom juries expect from DNA evidence? We learn how to look at pop culture through the lens of the cultural critic — someone who uses concepts about sociology and anthropology, even biology and economics, to analyze human behavior and its implications. We’ll be analyzing clips from pop culture samples — videos, magazines, advertisements, movies — as well as theories about media and pop culture to research how these everyday artifacts are at the same time both trashy, meaningless moments, and poignant reminders of who we are. We start by writing an analytical essay about popular culture commentary, move into writing about library research regarding a topic of your choice, and close by sharing research in oral presentations. At each step, we work together as a group, doing workshops and peer review to practice collaboration and project-based learning.

Advising and Support

In addition to offering personalized academic advising and support, the Stanford 2 to 4 Veteran Accelerator invites speakers from both university and military backgrounds to share their knowledge and expertise with the students in our program. Topics of discussion include how to use military experience in an academic setting, how to apply a Veteran’s unique skill set to traditional learning models, transfer and non-traditional student strategies, Veteran benefits, college application strategies, and academic success challenges.


The Stanford 2 to 4 Veteran Accelerator encourages program participants to make the most of their time on campus. Social events provide students with access to the success and influence of our local military community – creating opportunities for meaningful dialog and potential mentorship. While on campus, program participants live in residence with other Veterans and take advantage of co-curricular and social activities designed to complement and enhance their academic experience. Students are also encouraged to sign up for off-campus excursions that allow for hands-on exploration of the Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.