| Knowledge square: The Harvard University yard
With most of my friends in the US, I was desperate to go there to pursue higher studies,” recalls Sujoy Das, a PhD scholar in Florida. Well, Das might have been lucky but every year several aspirants fail to make it to the US as their applications are rejected by the selection committees for various reasons.
Applicants from Calcutta will soon be better off. College Source, a premier US-based one-on-one coaching service provider, plans to make its services available to students here.
“We made the College Source (CS) services available to students in Delhi and Bangalore in 2004. Since then the number of people seeking our expertise and guidance has increased considerably,” says Arjun Seth, regional director of College Source, India.
So what makes this one-on-one coaching different from run-of-the-mill tutorials promising a berth in a premier college in the US? “Ours is not a tutorial. It’s a one-on-one coaching facility. We don’t tutor the students. We simply guide them towards their goal by constantly being in touch with them and helping them learn more about themselves and what they want,” says Payal Chitlangia, senior coach, College Service, Calcutta. But isn’t coaching and tutoring all the same? “No”, says Seth. “We don’t guide the students in batches. It’s a form of personal coaching where the coach offers guidance to the students 24x7 or as per their desire. The venue also depends on the liking of the students. It’s not classroom training.”
What makes the service unique is the fact that once you have enrolled with the CS, the personal coach starts interacting with you and your family within the first three weeks to make the mentor-student relationship smooth. During the meetings the mentor gets to know the student’s aspirations, strengths and weaknesses. This in turn helps the mentor to draw a roadmap for the student’s admission in desired colleges.
“If during the interactions the mentor finds that the student is being forced by his family to go abroad for studies, he dissuades the parents from doing so,” says Chitlangia.
During the coaching period the coach analyses the verbal and written skills of the students and guides him to sharpen his skills. The coach helps the students to figure out why they want to go to the US for higher education. He helps the students develop certain skills that give them an edge over their competitors. “Today, just being an ICSE or CBSE topper won’t help you get admission in a US college. You need to have something more than academic brilliance,” says Seth.
“One of our students had been making documentaries since Class VII. We suggested that he include the clippings with his application so that he had a better chance. We encourage students to develop some extra skills,” says Chitlangia.
Not surprisingly, the coaches as well as the students are all praise for the service. “The relation that I share with my mentor is amazing. He not only helped me get financial aid but also develop the requisite skills,” says Sambhavi Singh of Delhi who has managed to bag a seat at Harvard University.
The students benefit a lot from the coaching service as they receive guidance right from scratch. The mentors help students write their resumes and essays and give wings to their burning desire to fly high.
Siddharth Shashtri, who has made it to Brown University, says the CS coaches helped him in getting financial aid and developing his knowledge resources. He says, “The experience has been a good one for me. It helped me get a lot of information and also enabled me to get in touch with the college authorities during their visit to India. Above all, they helped me write the best possible application as that is what the college authorities get to see.”
Like all good things the service too comes with a price. However, the initial consultation is free. Once decided, the students have to sign on the dotted line to avail the services. For more details aspirants can log on to www. collegesource.net and get in touch with the officials.