Ideally, students and their parents should create an application timeline and blueprint as early as the freshman year of high school, allowing enough time to complete prerequisite academic and standardized testing requirements.
Dubai, UAE (PRWEB) October 14, 2012
Every year, hundreds of Emirati and UAE-based expatriate students hope to enroll in one of the over four thousand institutions of higher learning in the United States. In order to effectively prepare for, research, and successfully apply to prospective American universities, it is vital that high school students begin this process as early as possible, says Peter Davos, an educational consultant and Managing Director of Dubai-based Carian College Advisors. “Ideally, students and their parents should create an application timeline and blueprint as early as the freshman year of high school, allowing the student enough time to complete prerequisite academic and standardized testing requirements, as well as to research the myriad academic programs and institutions the US has to offer,” notes Davos.
Competition for entrance into highly selective US universities has become increasingly fierce, particularly over the past five years. For example, Brown University received 20,633 applications for the class of 2012 and 28,742 applications for the class of 2016 - an increase of approximately 39%. Over this period, Brown’s acceptance rate dropped from 13.71% to 9.60%. These trends were even more pronounced at Stanford University over the same period, with the number of applications rising almost 45% and the acceptance rate falling from 9.49% to 6.63% - nearly matching Harvard’s 5.92% acceptance rate for the class of 2016. Even less selective universities, such as Boston University, New York University, Notre Dame, and the University of California Santa Cruz, all received a record number of applications for the class of 2016.
Given the complexity of the US university application process and its increasingly competitive landscape, many parents have turned to the services of educational consultants for help. A recent independent study, conducted by Lipman Hearne in cooperation with the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA), found that 26% of US high school seniors that scored 1150 or above on the Math and Critical Reading sections of the SAT engaged the services of an educational consultant. Among international students, many of whom are completely unfamiliar with the basic requirements for pursuing a US college education, there is an even greater need for guidance.
“I started my own educational consultancy because I experienced firsthand the transformative effects of education and, in high school, was in a similar ‘lost’ position to many of the students I interact with today”, says Davos, a first generation college student and graduate of Johns Hopkins, Oxford, and Harvard Universities. He added that “it is never too early to start thinking about college and the sooner the preparation starts, the easier the process will be. High school students that start thinking about their applications two months before the deadline are at a serious disadvantage to their colleagues who have spent at least two years making the same preparations. Most US colleges will ask how you spent your last two summers; if your only answers are ‘hanging out on Jumeirah Beach with my friends’ and ‘dune bashing’, it is definitely not going to help your chances of admission.”
An educational consultant can assist with university searches, essay review, mock interviews, financial aid advice, scholarship searches, and a host of other services. All consultants, however, are not created equal. Some offices promote applications and enrollment to “partner” schools in the US to students that are unaware that these recommendations are made based on the office receiving a commission upon the student’s matriculation. This practice, banned in the recruitment of American students, is unfortunately prevalent overseas and creates a serious conflict of interest on behalf of the student. Other offices “guarantee” admission to top-choice schools, another practice which is unethical, as well as completely unrealistic.
“Do your research and ask plenty of questions,” says Davos. “Where did your consultant study? Where are they from? Are they familiar with the US only through internet research and occasional visits or did they complete their education there and travel regularly there for campus visits? Do they focus only on the educational institutions of one country or are they ‘experts’ of every English-language university in the world? What specialized training do they have? Do they belong to an organization like IECA, which only accepts members with the highest ethical standards?”
Engaging a college advisor early in the process can help give the family peace of mind, says Davos. “With over 4,300 colleges in the US, navigating these educational waters is difficult even for the most informed US-based student,” he notes. “For the Emirati or UAE-based expatriate student, it can be completely overwhelming. Our office emphasizes finding the proper fit for each individual student,” state Davos. “We want to help you find and apply to a set of schools where you can succeed, thrive and be happy. We want to help you start early, plan appropriately, and finish from a position of informed strength.”
About Carian College Advisors
Carian College Advisors is the first independent educational consultancy based in the UAE dedicated strictly to helping students research, select, and apply to US universities. To learn more about Carian College Advisors visit: