University Counseling Center
The university counseling office, headed by our Director of University Counseling John Nejman, is a extraordinary resource for students and parents. Mr. John begins working with the students shortly after they arrive as new S4 students, so the students will quickly develop a “university mindset.” During the S4 year, the focus is on acquiring English language fluency as well as the study skills and habits to become a strong, self-reliant student. In the S5 year, the focus is on identifying those students who may have the potential to study “outside” and to prepare them to do well on the international qualifying tests. In the S6 year, the focus is on making the right list of schools and then preparing the best application possible, including a strong essay and teacher recommendations in addition to the most important component—a strong performance at GGAST.
Finding the Right Match
Mr. John will meet with you to discuss the kind of school you are seeking and the ones that might be the best match for you. In order to take advantage of Mr. John’s counsel, you need to develop an idea of what matters most to you: location? Climate? Program? Etc.
Cost of University Education (Financial Aid / Scholarship Opportunities)
Of course, to attend university, you must be able to afford the school fees. If you are planning to study “outside” Rwanda, you must know each country’s full costs. For example the “all in” cost of studying in the USA is now for most universities over USD$50,000 per year and the “best” universities cost more than USD$60,000 or more. So you must work with your parents and then your family must work with Mr. John to determine how much you can pay each year. You must understand that with the exception of the highly competitive MasterCard Foundation Scholarships and for some of what are called the Ivy League universities, it is almost impossible to get a 100% scholarship. So in your research you must look at how much a school costs for 1 year (tuition and fees, room and board, texts, health care, visa costs, and international travel are all costs that must be considered) and then you must calculate and report honestly to Mr. John what your family can pay. And it must be an amount that requires a true sacrifice by your family.
The process of applying to university includes meeting deadlines, TOEFL and SAT/ACT tests, Common Application essays, and letters of recommendation. Mr. John will provide all this information to each year’s S6 class, but you should empower yourself by doing the research on your own (for example about universities and their own deadlines). The university application is YOUR process, no one else’s.
Preparing to study outside Rwanda
Once you graduate from school you will have the chance to work with Mr. John in the Getting Ready for the Next Step class. Meeting weekly in Kigali, the goal of this class is to help you prepare for academic work and social life in the USA and Canada in particular. We have found that those students who take this program seriously are best prepared for the many transitions that occur when you study in a different country and in a different language than your own.