Sunday, 17 July 2016

Should our students be groomed better to fit top global schools?

My nephew turns 3 this month, so is eligible to commence his formal schooling journey this year.  I was initially very excited to hear about this from my sister, only to later find out that this little toddler, who can't even frame sentences yet, had to actually qualify for this elite ICSE school seat in the hi-tech locality of Pune city, through an "exam".

As the kid progresses through his schooling years, so does the number of entrance exams he needs to take to stay competitive.

All along our academic life from the age of 3 to the age 21 and thereafter while securing a job /career, we have been conditioned to appear for and excel at entrance exams.You can't expect overnight transitions in the approach.  Students cannot be made to rethink or rewire this thinking when they start aspiring for that top global admit.

Being in the higher education counselling/mentoring space for about 15 years, I have tried in vain to make students see the point of how the admission in global universities is subjective and does not depend only on entrance tests alone. You can't blame them, when they repeatedly ask me, "Ma'am, I aspire to study at Stanford! Could you inform me what are the entrance test cut offs there?"

I am always lost on how to react when they say, "Let me first pass the GRE/GMAT/SAT exam and then approach you for admission counselling."

Here's a piece of advice to all those who are aspiring a seat in top universities like MIT (note that MIT does not even seek a GRE score): global university admissions are a very subjective selection process.

Academics scores +  Entrance test scores + relevant profile (it's a sum total)

So, its in the student's best interest to gain more practical skills relevant to his/her subject of interest which will help boost their overall candidature.

Remember, high test scores are just 1/3rd the battle won in the admission process, success lies in presenting a winning application strategy supported by a strong relevant profile.