Alumni Speak: What makes studying at the Columbia Architecture School an unparalleled experience?

🌟 “At Columbia’s Architecture School, engagement isn’t just a concept; it’s a way of learning. As students, we didn’t just observe communities; we became active contributors, crafting solutions that resonate deeply with real-world needs.”
🌟 “Collaboration was at the heart of our education. Interacting not only within the architecture school but also bridging with other disciplines like the Climate School was integral. This connectedness, this interdisciplinary approach, created a tapestry of knowledge that’s directly applicable to real-world work post-graduation.”

Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation offers an environment where theory meets tangible impact, shaping architects equipped to address the world’s evolving challenges.

📚 If you’re thinking of applying to the architecture school? Have you thought about how your essays showcase your unique value and distinct experiences Given that the GSAPP application doesn’t involve interviews, the essay plays a vital role as a window for admission officers to understand you better.

Contact us for a quick review to ensure that your essay strategy effectively reflects your experiences.

Neuroplasticity and the Power of a Growth Mindset

Did you know that your brain can change and grow throughout your life? This is known as neuroplasticity. It means that the more you learn and challenge yourself, the better your brain will function. This goes hand in hand with the idea of a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities can change through hard work and determination. People with a growth mindset are more likely to take on challenges, learn from their mistakes, and persevere in the face of setbacks.

Unfortunately, much of our education system promotes fixed mindsets- the idea that the brain is fixed, and intelligence is innate. Psychologist Carl Dweck estimates that as many as 40% of students have a fixed mindset.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to understand if you have a growth mindset:

  • Do you believe that you can change your abilities through hard work?
  • Do you view people as those who put in the effort or those who are intelligent?
  • Do you avoid tasks if you anticipate failure?
  • Are you motivated by a need to prove your intelligence or to improve it?

Do you think you have a growth mindset? Tell us in the comments!

How Positioning Landed this Re-applicant a Wharton Scholarship After Multiple Rejections

A common mistake that many applicants make is that they don’t focus on their positioning. This is also something that many counsellors overlook.

A very strong candidate, who is in every way the ideal student for a program, can receive a rejection if their application does not focus on what makes them different from others.

This is exactly what happened with one of my clients when he first applied for an MBA.

He was working at McKinsey & Co., a top consulting firm, and had carried out many interesting projects. For instance, he created a technological phishing net for a government project aiming to reduce terrorism. Here, he bridged the gap between the public and private sectors and aided communication between these vastly different bodies.

This is obviously not an experience that most have. However, he had only written a sentence or two about this.

Perhaps, this is because even he did not fully comprehend the value of his contribution to the project. When he told us about his involvement in the project, it was us who made him understand how his subtle leadership ensured the success of the project.

While reapplying, we picked out different instances from this example to showcase his interpersonal strengths. We also highlighted examples that showed his strengths across the six pillars that MBA programs look for (leadership, teamwork, analytical skills, social responsibility, ethical decision-making, and diversity).

This focused application that highlighted his most unique experiences and set him apart from his peers got him admission to Wharton.

So clearly, positioning is key. Have you thought about yours?

Contact us to learn more about how you can leverage your experiences to distinguish yourself from the competition.  

Carnegie Mellon vs. Georgia Tech: Navigating the Top 5 Engineering Grad Programs

US News tied Carnegie Mellon and Georgia Tech at #5 in the rankings of the best graduate engineering programs in 2023. Both schools are highly regarded for their engineering programs, but there are some key differences between the two, including:

  • Undergraduate enrolment and acceptance rate

Georgia Tech has a larger undergraduate enrolment than Carnegie Mellon, with 18,415 students compared to 7,509 students. Georgia Tech also has a higher acceptance rate, at 17% compared to 11%.

  • Class size and student-faculty ratio

Carnegie Mellon has smaller classes and a lower student-faculty ratio than Georgia Tech. At Carnegie Mellon, more than 65% of classes have less than 20 students, while at Georgia Tech, around 60% of the classes have more than 20 students. Around 30% of the classes at Georgia Tech have more than 50 students. The student-faculty ratio is 6:1 and 22:1 for Carnegie Mellon and Georgia Tech, respectively.

If you prefer smaller classes and more personalized faculty attention, Carnegie Mellon may be a better fit for you. If you are looking for a larger student body with more opportunities for peer engagement, Georgia Tech may be a better choice.

  • Fees:

Carnegie Mellon is a private university, while Georgia Tech is a public university. This means that tuition and fees are typically higher at Carnegie Mellon. However, Carnegie Mellon offers more financial aid to students than Georgia Tech.

Which school is right for you?

The best engineering grad school for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Contact us if you need help deciding which school is better suited to your needs and interests!

If you’re considering transferring to a different college, you may be wondering how the application process is different from applying as a freshman. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

First off, transfer applicants need to provide additional information about their college history. You’ll list all the colleges or universities you’ve attended, enrolment dates, completed coursework, and your GPA.

Transferring to a New College: Navigating the Essay and Application Process

One crucial component of the transfer application is the essay!

When crafting your essay, admission officers expect a different approach. They’re looking for mature and reflective responses, delving into the reasons behind your desire to transfer. Your answers should show a deep thought process, painting a clear picture of your journey and decision-making.

So, remember, while the questions may appear similar to the freshman application, the expectations for transfer applications revolve around thoughtful introspection and a focus on your unique transfer story.

Some schools offer applicants multiple prompts to choose from, while others only offer a single prompt asking them to explain why they want to transfer to that particular institution.

We can help you tell your story and explain to admission officers why transferring is the best choice for your career and journey. Contact us to learn more.

From Mechanical Engineer to Computer Scientist: How Choosing the Right School Opened Doors

How important is it to make the right school list?

Very important.

Especially when you’re not entirely meeting the pre-requisites, its important to deep dive into the courses.

Here’s an example of our students who wanted to make a difficult switch.

He had a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and wanted to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. However, most computer science programs don’t accept students without a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

So, we began our school search and found that Columbia University might still allow him to pursue his chosen course. This was one of the few schools that would.

And so, we matched his skills to the prerequisites of the course to show how he was more than equipped to make the transition.

He got into Columbia and completed his master’s degree in computer science.

This example shows how important it is to make the right school list. If you choose schools that are a good fit for your academic interests, career goals, and financial situation, you’re more likely to get accepted and succeed.

From Stagnation to Success: Cultivating Growth Mindsets for High and Low Achievers

A fixed mindset leads people to think that they cannot grow or develop new abilities. However, neuroscience tells us that this isn’t true- our brain keeps growing and developing. Those with fixed mindsets tend to avoid challenges and have negative reactions to setbacks.

According to psychologist Carl Dweck, 60% of students have a fixed mindset. This manifests in different ways for different students.

How does a fixed mindset affect a high achiever?

  • They believe that they don’t need to put in as much effort because they believe they are innately good at academics.
  • This decreased effort becomes a problem as students proceed to higher classes and are faced with more challenging content. Often, such students experience a drop in grades and heightened anxiety.
  • They may start cheating to ensure good grades.

How does a fixed mindset affect a low achiever?

  • They don’t put in much effort if they believe that they aren’t good at something.
  • Instead, they justify the decreased effort by saying that its better allocated in an area that they have an aptitude for.

A simple reflective technique you can start incorporating in everyday is identifying and reframing limiting beliefs.

For example, rather than thinking that you’re just not good at something, think about what you’re missing. Rather than thinking that you’re amazing at a certain task, tell yourself that you’re on the right track and look forward to more growth!

Imperial Launches Biggest Ever Scholarship Program for Indian Scientists

The Future Leaders Scholarship program will support 30 of India’s most talented master’s students over the next three years, with equal numbers of men and women scholars. Each year, they will support 10 students by contributing £10,000 towards their tuition fees.

To be eligible for the India Future Leaders Scholarship, you must:

  • Be a domicile of India
  • Be available to commence your studies by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2024
  • Have submitted an application to study at Imperial and have received an offer to study by 11 May 2024
  • Have been made an offer to study a one-year full time MSc or MRes in the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine or Imperial College Business School.

There is no separate application form for the Imperial College London Entrance Scholarships. Each faculty will nominate their top-ranked eligible candidates who have received an offer to study by 11th May 2024.

Do you need help developing a compelling application to study at Imperial College London? We can help you build a winning application as well as evaluate other scholarship opportunities.

Curiosity + Effort > IQ for Academic Success

Most parents want to raise high-achieving kids, but we’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. It’s time to shift our focus from searching for innate talents to nurturing Curiosity and Effort.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that high achievers possess a hidden, innate talent waiting to be discovered. But science tells us that our intelligence isn’t fixed; our brains are dynamic. The brain is made up of billions of neurons and it is the connections between these neurons that allow us to think. The more connections we make, the better our problem-solving ability is.

It’s not about finding talents; it’s about cultivating curiosity and effort. I’ve witnessed this transformation while coaching over 10,000 students to prestigious universities.

A study showed that 7th graders who were given two sessions on how intelligence isn’t innate, in addition to being taught about study skills, performed 3 times better than the group who was just taught about study skills.

That’s exactly why I’ve developed programs to nurture curiosity and effort. Let’s shift our focus from the talent hunt to empowering the next generation with the real tools for success.

Contact us to learn more about our Future Achiever programs where we help students understand what they’re curious about, engage with their interests in meaningful ways, combine their interests to create new ones, and reframe limiting beliefs.

Nurturing Children’s Curiosity: The Key to Motivated Learners

Many parents come to me worried about their child’s motivation. In many cases, the problem is that we are trying to get them to be curious about things that they simply aren’t curious about. Children’s curiosity is not content-free. We need to pay close attention to what they are curious about and nurture those interest areas.

Why is curiosity important?

When kids want to know, they will learn. So, developing or encouraging kids’ curiosity is the best way to ensure that they engage with and enjoy learning. In fact, science tells us that curiosity and effort have been more strongly associated with success than IQ.

What are the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to curiosity?

  1. We assume certain things are good to be curious about versus others and dismiss what the kids are interested in.

This is a big one. We often have our own ideas about what is important for kids to learn about, and we can be quick to dismiss their interests as trivial or unimportant. But the truth is, all curiosity is valuable.

  1. We simply answer questions, without directing the child’s curiosity.

When a child asks us a question, our natural instinct is to answer it. But we can also use this opportunity to direct their curiosity. For example, if a child asks us what a bird is, we can tell them that it is a flying animal. But we can also ask them what they think birds eat, where they live, and how they fly. This helps them to think about the bird in more depth and to develop their own questions.

So here are some quick tips to nurture your child’s curiosity:

  • Follow their lead. Pay attention to what your child is interested in and encourage them to explore those interests.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Provide opportunities for exploration.

Contact us to learn more about how you can nurture your child’s curiosity.