Education experts encourage college-bound youth to plan ahead
19th December 2022, Dubai, UAE: It’s never too early for high school students to start preparing to apply for university; that’s the message from leading admissions counselling service, UniHawk. As fast-growing providers of study abroad counselling for students in the GCC region, the UniHawk team advises families with children aiming for overseas higher education to plan well ahead to achieve their career goals.
With the 2023-24 application deadlines fast approaching for leading education markets like the US, UK, Canada, and Europe, UniHawk is working with hundreds of students and their families to boost their chances of success and find the university that is right for them. Bringing world-class opportunities and guidance to students in the GCC, the UniHawk team has the collective experience of placing 12,000 applicants from multiple nationalities into top-tier institutions around the world.
UniHawk’s founder, Varun Jain, has worked in the field for 18 years, and says the key is to start planning early on in high school. He explains, “Choosing a university and a programme of study is a life-defining decision that needs to be considered strategically, and the sooner students start thinking about this, the better prepared they will be when the time comes. Parents also need to plan ahead to make sure that they have the financial resources to support their child to pursue their higher education, whether locally or internationally.”
Helping students to navigate the college admissions landscape is both a personal and professional passion for Varun, who started sharing his knowledge as a part-time teacher during his early days at college. With a lifelong goal to study overseas, Varun overcame his own financial challenges, taking up a night job at a call-centre to earn money, while at the same time honing his English language skills. Ultimately earning a scholarship to pursue his higher studies abroad, Varun graduated with a Masters in Knowledge Management from NTU Singapore.
In terms of the support Varun and his team now provide, he says, “We work with students from as early as grade 8, to help them start building their profile and choosing the right courses to study at school, in preparation to gain admission to their dream university. Our approach is to empower young people to identify and capitalise on their strengths and disown any self-doubt, to develop confident applicants that are well-placed to succeed.”
Alongside their support in profile building, career guidance, college essay mentoring, and interview prep, UniHawk also helps students with standardized test preparation for SAT, UCAT, IELTS, GMAT and GRE. Psychometric testing is offered to assist with academic decision-making, and support is also available to help prepare students for admission exams. Tutored courses are provided on a one-to-one, group, or hybrid basis, depending on the student’s preferences.
Varun says, “We take a holistic approach to ensure that applicants are prepared for university admission, both personally and academically. Each student has an individual action plan that helps them develop a well-rounded portfolio, enabling them to make informed choices and access the university that is right for them.”
UniHawk, which has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, is also aiming to build a community dedicated to creating unique learning opportunities for young people. One such initiative is the Harvard Youth Lead the Change programme, which UniHawk is bringing to the GCC region for the first time in its history. Taking place at GEMS New Millennium School Al Khail, Dubai, from 28th to 30th December, this highly selective programme will involve students from more than 20 nationalities from schools across the GCC.
Varun explains, “The Harvard Youth initiative is a transformational programme that enables high school students from around the region to work in a group, to understand and tackle global challenges. This event will be a life-changing experience for students in the Middle East to receive mentorship for an entire year from current students at Harvard University, to help implement their project-based solution.”
The Harvard Youth Lead the Change programme is open to students from Grades 8 to 12 and applications for selection are open until 21st December.