Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Dream big. Reach for the stars. The sky's the limit.
Text: Skyler Bentley Hall
Students aspiring to pursue university studies have unlimited possibilities, but this may be a distant reality for many. The Higher Education journey can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but what if you have limited access to resources? With minimal funds or lack of counselling support, how do you navigate the university search?
The value of mentoring
Bringing those dreams to fruition is one of the most satisfying experiences in my profession. Finding the 'right fit' institution requires diligent preparation, extensive research to match a student's interests while building a profile that stands out for selective universities. A key strategy I use when advising clients is student mentoring. Reaching out to my international network of Alumni offers candidates the opportunity to hear about the student experience first-hand while studying at institutions globally.
Choosing the most appropriate degree should be on the top of anyone's checklist, but numerous variables require further consideration. Student mentors offer insight about academics, campus life, finances, housing, local amenities or awareness of cultural differences. Never underestimate the value of mentoring, whether as a student or professional, these contributions can be transformative.
"Searching for a correct university can be overwhelming. With the help of a mentor, you get an overview of options and their requirements. This helped give me a sense of stability and comfort." Class of 2021, IB Student, Kasper Washuus
Students ambassador programme
With virtual platforms on the rise, universities are making a commendable effort of integrating student ambassador programmes. An ideal example is UniBuddy, a global service with over three hundred partner universities, offering free chat sessions with prospective students.
Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Business Academy Aarhus and Copenhagen Business Academy are successfully using this interactive platform to offer personalised advice. Connect with an ambassador at DTU and explore modern MSc. Engineering programmes: Sustainable Energy, Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Food Technology, Wind Energy or Aquatic Science & Technology.
Students search for a match based on their potential field of study, nationality, hobbies, or general interest in a profile. My client feedback has been tremendous, with interactions that solidify final decisions - peer to peer engagement with quality results.
Project Access Denmark
Disadvantaged students are underrepresented mainly at premier universities, so how do we level the playing field and overcome unequal access to education? Project Access is a feasible alternative for students seeking guidance. Founded by undergraduates in 2016, a leading non-profit organisation for Equality in Education, Project Access has mentored over three thousand youth seeking Higher Education globally.
Last month I interviewed Emil Foldager Jensen and Caroline Kamper, representatives for Denmark, highly dedicated to supporting less privileged students. Aside from a minimum grade threshold, they explain some of the barriers Project Access assesses when deciding if an individual qualifies for support and should be matched with a mentor:
Socio-economics: First-generation student or low-income family.
Demographics: Located in a small city or immigrant community.
Geography: A region where few students go abroad to study at top universities.
Information & Support: Current school does not offer support for the university search.
Through insightful resources and one-to-one mentoring, Project Access offers a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for applicants. The impact of accessing a mentor could potentially make that dream a reality, igniting change for future generations. If you are currently on the university search, here are my top five tips:
✔ Start the process early.
✔ Connect with a mentor.
✔ Be your own advocate.
✔ Maintain realistic expectations.
✔ Stay true to yourself.