The Financial Value of an A grade

The Financial Value of an A grade

Post 16 What's new? Young people

During your secondary school years, you often don’t realise that your decisions and actions can have a long-term impact on your future. Young people are often ignorant of the fact that they are paving the way for success or failure. It is during these years that we start laying the foundations of our lives. The skills you learn in school will stay with you forever. You learn to set goals and apply yourself so that you can achieve those goals. You learn to balance work and play and you learn to prioritize, ensuring that you focus on what needs to be done instead of what you would like to do.

More often than not, young people underestimate the value of good grades and the impact it can have on one’s future. Good grades can open many doors, especially when it comes to applying for a tertiary education programme. With good grades, you can translate a solid education into a rewarding & well-paying career. Many students are not able to access the tertiary education programme of their choice, due to not achieving the required marks in secondary school. That is why it is important for students to understand this and work hard during school to get good grades. The future is yours, and it can be a bright one with good grades.

In addition to opening the doors to a stellar tertiary education, obtaining above average grades in secondary school can also improve your employability. Employers look at secondary school results to determine whether or not a candidate has the ability to perform well academically and if the candidate will be able to learn and thrive in a specific setting.

If you are unsure about which career path you would like to embark on, good academic results will allow you to secure an entry-level job which pays relatively well while you decide on the career that will be best suited for you. This way you will also be able to discover your strengths and weaknesses and also your likes and dislikes.

Universities, such as the Liverpool John Moore University, offers full merit-based scholarships, wherein exceptional students are rewarded for their outstanding achievements in academics. Most of these scholarships offer to settle the tuition fees for an entire undergraduate study programme, leaving the recipient of the scholarship free from any obligation to repay the programme fees. There is a wide range of scholarships available including scholarships for Masters and Doctoral studies.

Young people that excel academically can also consider applying for a scholarship abroad which will, in turn, open up a whole new world of possibilities to consider. Studying abroad will also give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in another country and its culture.
Education is a personal and financial investment and possibly one of the best investments you will make as it makes a huge difference in your life and can secure your future. It can even empower you to make a change in the world as we know it.

Having a good education, with exceptional results can provide a stable career with high earning potential. A recent article in the Telegraph stated that a person without a degree can earn up to £12,000 less per annum than a graduate entering the job market. Furthermore, the report states that this amounts to over £500,000 difference in earning potential difference over an average working life. After a survey carried out by Adzuna, a jobs website, where they’ve analysed a million vacancies, they’ve concluded that there is a widening pay gap between non-graduates and graduates. This demonstrates the difference in earning potential that having a solid education can make when pursuing the career of your choice.

There is a proven correlation between not doing well in school, and not doing well in university or your job. An article by James Rosenbaum on the American Federation of Teachers website states that students who do not perform well in school will probably not graduate from college, many not progressing further than remedial courses. High numbers of college enrolment rates and low graduation rates are known facts in most open admissions and less selective colleges (both two- and four-year). The tight connection between high school preparation (in terms of both the rigor of courses taken and grades received) and college completion are well known to statisticians, researchers, and policymakers who follow such matters.

Education is a lifelong journey, which adds lasting quality to our lives. There are so many different educational pursuits we can follow and so many different fields of study, that the only difficulty is choosing what you want to pursue! The GT Scholars Awards programme focuses on helping young people understand the variety of career and study options available to them and can assist in making an informed decision about your future career.
If you are struggling to achieve good results in school, our flagship programme, The GT Scholars Academic Programme, has been proven to help students to improve by two grades within a year of joining the programme. This unique after-school programme combines tutoring in either Maths or English, Enrichment and Skill building classes. If you are interested in one of our programmes you can register your interest here, and one of our team members will get in touch with you to discuss thing in more detail.

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Growth mindset Post 16 Private tuition University What's new? Young people

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.

More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.

You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”

“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips

Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.”  You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”

Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.

How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.

A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.

Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.

Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:

  • Develop your “lifelong learning” skills:  Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
  • Develop your work ethic:  Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc.  This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
  • Get better at learning complicated things.  You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
  • Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things.  This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
  • Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.

Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of  25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses.  Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?

If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic  Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring.  Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.

In the Know –  Plan your career and reach all your goals!

In the Know – Plan your career and reach all your goals!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Career planning is an essential part of a young person’s personal growth and development, and it is an opportunity for them to maximise their potential. It is also an effective way to ensure that they never lose motivation along the way by planning for the future and setting a specific timeline for reaching their career goals. Here a few great resources to help you and your child with their career planning.

GT Scholars Career Day 2018
Our annual Career Day is taking place on Saturday the 3rd of March 2018. This exciting workshop is the perfect opportunity for you and your child to hear firsthand from a panel of young professionals in a range of careers. By the end of the workshop, your child should have an idea of some the careers that may be suited to their strengths, abilities and personality. The workshop is taking place at Goldsmiths University in New Cross from 10am to 4pm. Book your tickets here.

Careers Advice for Parents
This website is a substantial source of career advice that is specifically tailored to the parents and carers of young people. Developed by professional career advisers, this site will aid you when it comes to advising your child on choosing their career path, explaining how different qualifications work, researching different sectors and options such as apprenticeships, understanding the job market, and so much more. Take a look for yourself here.

Real Talk
This app is perfect for young people who want relevant and timely career advice from people who have been there, done that, and are willing to share their career story. They have gathered hundreds of the best stories from young professionals who have excelled in the job market in a wide variety of career fields. You can bookmark, like, and share the careers that interest you, while building a checklist of resources to help you plan life after high school. The app is free and available for both Apple and Android.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

What's new?

Scholarships are important for two obvious reasons – the financial assistance it provides for students wanting to study and the benefit of being part of a programme that recognises your academic success. But, scholarships can provide many other benefits, including work experience programmes, post-university work placement, travel bursaries and extracurricular merit. Here are three great scholarship opportunities for young people to apply for this term.

BeArt-Presets Scholarship
BeArt-Presets is a group of passionate photographers and designers specializing in photography. They want to help a student to attain their educational goals and reach their full potential by offering them a £3600 scholarship. This scholarship is for any student applying for any degree at any accredited university in the UK. In order to apply, you will need to fill out the online application form and submit a short essay explaining how the scholarship will impact your life. Applications close on the 1st of April 2018.

Bird & Bird Bursary Scheme
Bird & Bird is an international law firm that seeks to address the financial hurdle that often deters bright people from attending university. Their bursary scheme offers aspirational law students a £7500 award paid in instalments over three years, a mentoring scheme with their current trainee solicitors to give support and career guidance, and a place on their summer vacation scheme which will take place at the end of the second year at university. Applications close on the 31st of May 2018 and you can find more information here.

(ISC)² Undergraduate Scholarship
This scholarship offered by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education aims to ease some of the educational financial burden of aspiring information security professionals. It offers students wanting to study a degree in IT specialising in information or cyber security up to £3600. They can be studying full-time or part-time at any accredited university. Applications close on the 15th of March 2018 and you can find more information here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. Registration for the January programme is now open. You can register online by following this link.

12 Things You Can Do to Breathe More Life into Your CV or Personal Statement

12 Things You Can Do to Breathe More Life into Your CV or Personal Statement

University What's new? Young people

The saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That is why a great CV or personal statement is extremely important. It is a representation of who you are and will be responsible for the initial decision of whether a potential interview is on the horizon or not.

An employer often has to search through hundreds of CVs to find the best candidate for the post that needs to be filled. Often an employer is pressed for time, so a CV that does not impress at first glance could be easily rejected.

This can make creating a CV to be a daunting task. Applicants usually find themselves endlessly pondering over questions such as “How could I make my CV or personal statement stand out from the crowd?” or “How could I prevent my CV being overlooked and not be added to the pile of unsuccessful applications?’’

To answer some of these questions, here are 12 things that you can do to breathe more life into your CV or personal statement:

  1. Make it readable and pay attention to the layout: First and foremost, you want to make your CV readable. This will make it easy for your potential employer or the dean of admissions to find information and navigate to different sections of your CV.  Information provided must be to the point and quick to read.
  2. Make use of a professional resource: GT Scholars is an excellent example of an organisation assisting young scholars through mentorships and workshops. Great guidance for putting a good CV together is essential if you are not too sure of what to do. You could also gain great experience that will be really useful when entering the professional world.
  3. Adapt your CV to the role: Try and stray from a generic CV. This does not mean that you have to write a new CV for every position you want to apply for. Simply adapt a few details on your CV to be more prominent to a specific recruiter. This applies even more to a personal statement as you want to make sure that the qualities that are most suitable stand out.
  4. The importance of the first 3 words: In writing, it is believed that the first three words and the last three words in a written piece are what people remember most. It makes sense to apply the same principle when writing bullet points in your CV because employers do not read the whole document word for word.
  5. Pay attention to buzzwords: Try to avoid words that have been overused. These words have lost their charm and most of the time it will have lost its meaning to the recruiter as they most probably read many CVs and personal statements that have the same word choice. Check out this post on LinkedIn for the buzzwords to avoid in 2017.
  6. Let who you are shine through: Your personal statement should reflect clues about your personality. More often than not an employer will interview a potential candidate because he might have read something that interested him other than your professional achievements and experience. This can be anything from a sport, a book, or a volunteer activity that could be of mutual interest.
  7. Be aware of the CV length: There is an unspoken rule that a CV should never exceed 2-3 pages. Try to keep your CV short, but also not too short. Having a CV with 4 or more pages can result in important information not being read.
  8. Pay attention to font and size: Always pay attention to the font and size of your CV and personal statement. Ensure that it has the same font and size throughout the document. Never make your font size below 10 points. Use bold, italics and underline words but be careful not to go overboard with this.
  9. Good presentation goes a long way: There is more to presentation than having the perfect layout, length and font size. A dash of colour or a well-placed border can make your CV stand out from the rest and might be as good as a breath of fresh air, giving the recruiter something appealing to look at for a change.
  10. Name your file: Rename your CV file for each position you apply for via email or online. You can rename the file using your name and job title followed by ‘CV’. It will draw the attention of the recruiter and he/she will be able to find your job application easier.
  11. Trim the excess: Do not waste time and space on listing every achievement or position you have ever had. The recruiter will only be interested in reading information relevant to the position that needs to be filled.
  12. Keywords are very important: It should come as no surprise that in today’s day and age your CV might be read by a software programme before it is even submitted to a human. These programs are designed to look for words and phrases that relate to the job specifications or to the relevant industry. Ensure you do the necessary research and add keywords to your personal statement or CV.

You might feel that landing an interview will take forever, but by making use of these steps, you can definitely improve your chances. We hope that you find these tips helpful and that it will boost your confidence when sending your CV.

GT Scholars can provide you with an experienced mentor to help you start the journey of writing your CV and personal statement as well as applying for a new job or university acceptance.  To find out what other opportunities and events we host for young people, feel free to contact us.

Growth Mindset: The one thing you or a private tutor should be teaching your child

Growth Mindset: The one thing you or a private tutor should be teaching your child

Growth mindset What's new? Young people

Dr Carol Dweck said it best: “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort, and keep on learning.” The Psychology Professor from Stanford University presented and popularised this philosophy in 2007 through her book, Mindset. It is here where she explains her very profound, yet simple idea – the differentiation between two mindsets namely a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Mindsets shape the way in which we perceive our abilities and it also impacts how we view the world around us. With a fixed mindset, a person believes that their core personality, talents, skills and overall intelligence are fixed traits. In a fixed-mindset world, you are either perceived as smart or simple-minded. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes that skills and talents can be developed through consistent effort and persistence. Essentially, this mindset lends itself to the idea that there are no smart or simple-minded people but rather those that have or have not unlocked their intellectual potential. This mindset allows you to be more receptive to learning and improving through hard work.

As a parent, you don’t only want your child to be successful, but you want them to have the know-how on handling setbacks when they occur. Their journey to success should be a fulfilling and a satisfying one. This will only be possible if your child takes on a growth mindset. There are a few ways that this can be done. Let’s look at some practices you can adopt today:

Growth Mindset Role Model – Take charge of the language you use in reference to yourself. As a parent, you must remember that developing a growth mindset within your child starts with you, so start showing your child your excitement for challenges and how mistakes can be regarded as a learning opportunity. Share instances in your life journey where you have encountered success, failure and challenges.

Brain Knowledge – Showing your child how the brain works, has a positive effect on how they view learning. Teach them that the brain is a muscle that will grow bigger and stronger through continuous hard work, perseverance and practice. They will learn that it is adaptable and that it can change and grow depending on how we use it. Equipping your child with the knowledge that the brain has extraordinary ability to change and evolve based on our experiences illustrates that we have a lot of potential to develop into much more than we ever believed. GT Scholars has an interesting article on Study Habits which is an interesting read on this topic.

Embracing Mistakes – Your child needs to know that making mistakes is a natural part of a learning journey. This approach facilitates in building self-confidence in the mere act of trying anything. Your child will be less anxious about whether he is going to make a mistake. Another great method is to have daily learning discussions with your child, whether it is in the car, during dinner or at bedtime. Ask questions like what they learned that day or what mistakes they made and what they learned from it.

Power of “YET” – It is important to have an ear-on-the-ground approach when it comes to monitoring your child’s language. This will give you an indication of whether they are thinking with a growth or fixed mindset.  Teach your child not to focus on their shortcomings but rather on the next step to their achievement. Look out for words such as “I can’t”; “ I don’t” and “I won’t”.  As soon as your parental radar picks up on this, complete it by saying ‘yet’. Try to introduce story books where the character learns to do something he did not think he could do or where he learned from mistakes.

Use these 4 tips and start nurturing a growth mindset in your child today. It will allow them to go through life knowing that they are in control of their own ability and that they can always improve by learning. Hard work and persistence does pay off but the underlying secret to success is to obtain and maintain a growth mindset.

Get started by looking into GT Scholars programmes that support your child into reaching their full potential here! The GT Scholars programme wants to help young people aged 11-16 to achieve excellent grades and reach their future goals.

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

University What's new? Young people

There are many times in life when you will find yourself needing to prepare for an interview. It could be your sixth form college interview, university interview or a job interview. So being able to prepare yourself for an interview is a useful and important skill to always have.

Interviews are notoriously difficult to prepare for. Some organisations and companies are kind enough to tell you exactly how or what to prepare, but most places will not do this for you. The whole point of the interview is for them to see how you think, how you apply your skills and talents, or how you react to a situation or scenario. They want to make sure that you will be an asset and a good fit for their college, university or company.

Your aim for the interview is to convince the recruiters that you have the skills, knowledge and experience for the job, while also showing them that you fit the organisation’s culture and work ethic. Here are seven useful ways that you can prepare yourself to reach this aim: 

Do your own research about the college, university or company: The recruiters need to know that you are actually interested in their organisation and not just using them for your own gain. They might ask you direct questions about their organisation or they might ask you more indirect questions. You need to do enough research about the organisation beforehand to make sure you can answer their questions well. Visit the organisation’s website to make sure that you understand what they do, their background and mission statement, and their courses or products that they offer. You can also get more perspective about the organisation by reading up about them in news or trade publications.

Compare your skills and qualifications to the entrance, course or job requirements: Fully analyse the entrance requirements or job description and outline the knowledge, skills or abilities that they list. Make sure that you are suitable for the organisation and that your qualifications match or better what they are seeking. If they list a particular skill, they may want you to demonstrate if you know how to do it, so you should ensure that you have the skill and that you are well-practised in it.

Prepare responses to commonly asked questions: Most interviews have a set list of questions that they are sure to ask, such as what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are your academic or career goals etc. You should prepare your responses to questions like these beforehand so that you can answer them easily. You should also understand that there are different ways to ask the same question, for example, they could ask you about your qualities that are useful to their organisation instead asking about your strengths. Both of these questions can be answered in almost the same way so make sure that you can identify that.

Plan what you are going to wear: Your appearance is your first impression and so you should make sure that they do not rule you out before you even get a chance to tell them about you. It is best to dress smartly in neutral colours, with your clothes clean and ironed and hair combed and out of your face. Be sure that your overall appearance is neat and clean.

Prepare what you need to take to the interview: It is advisable that you plan what you need to take to the interview so that you look prepared. Some organisations will tell you what they want you to bring to the interview, but if not then you should just take the following: at least one copy of your transcripts or CV on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen, a list of references, information you might need to complete an application, and a portfolio with samples of your work if relevant.

Understand and pay attention to nonverbal communication: Nonverbal communication speaks volumes and has a huge influence on your impression and therefore your interview. As soon as you walk into the building, make sure that you are mindful of your nonverbal communication, even in the waiting room. Show that you are confident, but do not appear arrogant. Smile, establish eye contact and use a firm handshake. Sit with good posture and be aware of nervous movements such as tapping your foot. Maintain good eye contact while answering questions – do not look around too much as this will make you seem inattentive. Be aware of your facial expressions and reactions, and try to keep negative reactions internalised. At the same time, do not appear too fake or rigid. Be comfortable and self-assured.

Prepare questions that you can ask them at the end of the interview: Interviews usually end with an opportunity for you to ask questions or clarify any queries. Using your prior research, you can come up with a list of questions that are insightful. Be strategic with questioning and ask questions about information not discussed in the interview or found on the organisation’s website. For example, what do they consider the most important criteria for success in this job, or how will your performance be evaluated, or what is the next step in the hiring process.
This will both impress them and provide you with useful information.

The interview process may seem daunting and difficult, but as you can see, with the proper preparation and prior knowledge, you will be able to succeed in displaying your best qualities for any potential sixth form college, university or employer.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out how we can provide you with a knowledgeable mentor or insightful course to help you prepare for interviews, get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer mentors, Jason Luu.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GT Scholars?
I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars to make a difference in my local community. Having already done some work to help other communities in different countries, I came to the realisation that I should also be contributing to my local community. I also recognised that providing support to people when they are still young can make a significant difference, as this is something that I was not fortunate enough to have when I was younger. If I had the opportunity to be mentored when I was a teenager, I can only imagine how much more I could have achieved by now or how many disasters I could have avoided.

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I was born in London, my parents were refugees from another country. This had a huge impact on me and my upbringing. When I was younger, I was embarrassed by my heritage because it was so foreign to western culture. But as I got older and matured, I embraced my background and decided to stand up and stand out rather than follow the crowd. I more took control of my life and did not live according to other people’s expectations. This has become a big factor in getting me to where I am today. It turns out that my own expectations for myself were wildly beyond other people’s expectations of me.

I also have role models who I can look up to and inspire me. Some of them are alive today and some are historical figures. Having these role models allow me to draw energy, ideas and behaviours from. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a role model, then you better start looking.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
Traditionally, mentoring is something that has been reserved for older, professional and sometimes even wealthy people. Many of the most powerful leaders in our society have or had mentors. So why can’t the rest of us have access to this resource?

Many young people today from my local community have parents who are very busy working or studying, and their friends are usually in the same boat as them. Thus, having a mentor who has the right experience would really help with some of the things that they struggle with, and would help to develop smarter behaviours and habits. This additional guidance and development can really help a young person to be successful in all that they do. I really believe that if I had a mentor when I was younger, I would not have had to experience so many difficulties in my life. I would have been able to get where I am today sooner or even be more successful sooner. It is the aim of all good mentors is to guide their mentee to reach their full potential.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
Seeing students and their parents working together, and it provides extra support to traditional parenting.

What do you think is the most important skill to have as a volunteer mentor?
I think showing a genuine interest in someone else’s future and actually caring about their happiness is an important skill. It is not just about making sure that they are successful, but also about helping to define what true happiness means to them and their family.

Jason briefly attended university before deciding to drop out and start his professional life earlier. He now works in the headquarters of the Department of Health, holding CEOs, directors and major leaders in healthcare and education accountable to the taxpayer as a Senior Contract Manager. He has spent the last 3 years dedicated to promoting equality and fighting social injustice at his place of work and at home in his local community.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us. 

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

Parents University What's new?

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (collectively known as Oxbridge) are two of the most prestigious universities not only in the UK but in the world. They have a long history, rich in heritage and tradition, that goes back at least nine centuries. They are globally recognised as being places of focus for learning, culture, and for intellectual debate.

It comes as no surprise that with such high esteem, both the universities are highly sought after by new students from all over the world. It’s extremely competitive to get into Oxbridge. In fact, in 2016 more than 19 000 people applied for the 3 200 undergraduate places at Oxford.

These figures are certainly daunting for students who wish to apply to these universities. It is clear that only the best of the best make the cut, so prospective students need to make sure that they really stand out from the immense crowd of applicants.

Children who aspire to study at Oxbridge will often need extra support from their parents, and that is not just about the funding. So here are seven ways that parents can prepare their bright children for a place at these elite universities.

  • Start preparation early: To study at Oxbridge, it is not just the early bird that catches the worm, but the early prepared bird. Dr Samina Khan, head of student admissions at Oxford, believes that children should start preparing for Oxbridge at the age of 11, and not just when they reach the sixth form. Children need ample time to develop and master their passion for subjects, which will help give them an advantage over others during interviews and applications. Thus, parents should make sure that their aspiring children start preparation early.
  • Provide additional resources: To stand out, prospective students need to show true mastery of and passion for the subject that relates to their desired degree programme. To develop this mastery, students should go over and beyond their high school curriculum. Their parents can support them by funding their specific extracurricular activities, providing them with books and research resources, and allowing them to do voluntary or even paid work. For example, if a student wants to study medicine at Oxbridge, the parent can fund extra science classes, provide them with books and supplies that will increase their skills, and allow them to volunteer at hospitals and other health facilities.
  • Inform them of their choices: It is important that children are not just prepared for Oxbridge, but also prepared for the journey to Oxbridge. Children need to know what they need to achieve and how much work they will need to be put in for them to realise their aspiration. By informing children well in advance of the responsibilities of choosing Oxbridge, parents can avoid building too much of pressure on them during preparation. Pressure on any person has damaging effects, but pressure on children to achieve something has lasting negative effects on their young minds and their future. It is also important to know the difference between informing and discouraging children, as you do not want to discourage a child from having an aspiration.
  • Take a tour of the university: Parents can encourage an interest in Oxbridge by visiting the institutions with their children. As Dr Khan said, children are growing up in an age of Harry Potter, where the traditions and historical appeal of Hogwarts are appreciated and desired. Unlike Hogwarts, Oxford and Cambridge are real places of learning, but they still have the charm and beauty of tradition and magical gothic architecture. Visiting would create a desire that will encourage children to earnestly put their minds to get a place. Follow the link for more information on visiting and tour times for Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Do your own research: The application process is difficult and lengthy. There are forms to fill and documents to get and interviews to prepare for – it is a daunting task for a child. Parents have more experience with filling out forms and doing interviews, so they should find out what they need and start collecting documents well in advance so as to decrease the load on their child. Parents should also do research on funding, scholarships, accommodation and other matters well in advance to prepare accordingly.
  • Get them a mentor: Parents do not know everything. Perhaps they did not go to Oxbridge or they did not go to university at all, so they do not know how to advise their aspiring children. Thus, getting a mentor for their children would do wonders by providing them with all the necessary skills and knowledge. The mentor could be an Oxbridge alumnus or even educated in the field of interest, and could help them with the application process, with resources of interest, or even just some good direction and confidence boosting.
  • Enroll them in a course or workshop: With 19 000 undergraduate applicants, it would make sense that many prospective students are seeking help when applying to Oxbridge. Thus, there are many courses and workshops available that provide valuable assistance such as developing an outstanding personal statement and how to prepare for interviews. These courses and workshops can also provide important insider information and bursary opportunities.

Parents provide a vital support system when their children are applying to any university. This support system becomes even more important when applying to Oxbridge due to the high amount of applicants, which creates a considerable amount of pressure on children. As you can see, there are several ways parents can make an Oxbridge education possible for their child, which can almost guarantee them to have a bright and prosperous future.

GT Scholars knows the importance of preparing students for Oxbridge and wants to be a helpful part of the journey. We provide a one-day course on how to get into Oxbridge which includes working with Oxbridge graduates, admissions professionals and interview professionals that will show your child how to develop an outstanding personal statement and how to choose a degree course for their chosen career. They will also support your child with preparing for interviews and give advice on A-level subjects and grades required for specific universities and specific courses.

Find out more about the course here. We also provide an excellent mentorship programme which employs a variety of well-educated and knowledgeable mentors that will give your child the edge over any other Oxbridge applicant. You can find out more about the mentorship programme here.

In the know: Scholarships for young people!

In the know: Scholarships for young people!

In The Know Resources University What's new?

We often get questions from young people at our events regarding scholarship, bursary and award opportunities, available to home students. In response to this, we have compiled a list of some of the most interesting opportunities being offered by various organisations.

Jack Petchey Foundation Individual Grants for Volunteering: This grant is on offer for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 who live in London or Essex. They must be volunteering with a UK based organisation and raising at least 50% of the funds required by the project. The award provides up to 50% of the cost of your project and no more than £400 per person. Read here for more information.

Reuben Singh Scholarship: This is a scholarship offer for entrepreneurs who want to study while running their business. Applicants must have an offer for an undergraduate place and have a running business. The scholarship, which is worth £9,000, will go towards education while you work on your business. Visit the website for more information.

Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship: This scholarship is offered to students between the ages of 14-21 years of age from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Founded by Miranda Brawn, who has a background in Investment Banking, Law and has worked as a diversity executive. The offer includes up to £1000, mentoring sessions, CV and career advice. For more information please visit the website.

We hope this is helpful to anyone that’s in need of information on scholarships and awards! The GT Scholars programme is an after-school programme for ambitious young people that would like to achieve top grades at school, get into top universities and enter competitive careers. ‘In The Know’ is our weekly newsletter for parents and carers to receive news about the latest opportunities for their child. Subscribe to ‘In The Know’ here: www.gtscholars.org/subscribe