Here’s why young people want to join our programme!

Here’s why young people want to join our programme!

What's new?

We want to make sure that young people have a chance to tell us why they want to join one of our programmes. So, as part of the application process for each term, we ask for all applicants to write a short essay about themselves, their role models and why they want to join GT Scholars.

Here are a few excerpts from some of our favourite essays that we received this term.

I am a very ambitious person; I believe that joining GT Scholars would be the perfect way for me to successfully achieve my academic and career aspirations, of working in the finance or science industry. Also I believe joining GT Scholars would help me to improve my grades in school and in turn enter any top university or apprenticeship of my choice in the future – Abigail, age 15

I would like to join the GT Scholars programme because I would like to go to UCL and study computer science and mechanical engineering. I would like to learn complicated programming so that I could develop software that can help people and companies – Ameer, age 11

I personally would like to join the programme solely due to me wanting to advance in my subjects and to get a good future career. As I have chosen maths as my preferred subject for application I’d like to work on that and improve it to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t say that I’m struggling in maths however I do believe that I could be performing far better than what I currently am – Pedram, age 15

Maths is one of my favorite subjects because of how easy it is for me. English however is not easy due to it not being as literal and straight to the point as math is, I struggle a bit with analyzing texts and when it comes to writing stories, I can think of an idea, but I struggle with getting the words onto a page. I hope the GT Scholars Programme can help me find English a bit easier and to be able to tackle questions with more confidence – Jaylen, age 14

I want to become a psychiatrist when I’m older, therefore I need to achieve the best and develop the skills I have now, since it is a competitive field of a career. Joining the programme is important to me because I think I would really benefit from extra support with my work, and I believe that this programme will give me the help I need to be able to achieve the best I can possibly do – Maria-Stephanie, age 15

I would like to join the GT scholars programme as I believe I could thrive with the support provided. I like that I would have access to a mentor as well as a tutor who can provide me with help and challenges in order to flourish. When I am older, I aspire to be a financial lawyer. I believe with the help of GT scholars it is
possible for me to achieve this goal as both my mentor and my tutor could provide me with the support and advice I need to reach this – Jessica, age 14

I would like to join the GT Scholars programme because I generally don’t have a set career path that I want to pursue and I believe that this will help me to figure out my future career. My main aspiration is to own a business at some point of my life, but at the moment I don’t have access to any workshops or opportunities that will help me decide if it actually is something that I want to pursue – Laura, Age 15

I am very excited to see how this will turn out for me. I have heard that GT Scholars uses a variety of techniques to help me and I want to be able to gain these techniques and use these techniques myself to help me. I am excited to be a part of this opportunity and this new tutoring experience. I want to gain a lot from this programme, and I believe I will – Ahmad, age 15

There are many reasons why young people want to join one of our programmes. Some want to improve their grades at school so they can access their dream career, while others want some help with figuring out their future aspirations.

With the range of programmes we offer, we are able to help young people with whatever they need. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

What's new?

Studying abroad has become a very common option for young people over the years with the USA being the most popular student destination. According to InternationalStudents.com, the USA has the largest international student population with over 1 million international students pursuing educational opportunities each year.

Students are said to choose the USA for a number of reasons including academic excellence, advanced technology and research opportunities, a variety of educational opportunities, cultural education and an efficient support service for its international students.

Before you decide to study in the USA, there a number of things that an interested student should prepare in order to be considered as an international student in the USA and to get accepted into an American educational institution. Here are 7 things you should look into.

Do extensive research on the various educational institutions across the country
The USA has a number of state and private institutions positioned in different states offering similar majors and activities. However, it is important to note that these majors and activities also differ due to each states distinct identity which includes factors such as the climate, culture, and the economy. It is therefore advised that a student should read up on states and its institutions, and choose to study in an environment that compliments their personality, preferences and educational interests.
For instance, Washington offers six state universities and 24 private institutions to choose from, each offering a number of different majors and activities. This state can get up to 500 cm of rain yearly, very cold temperatures in winter and heat waves in summer. Universities in Washington benefit from the local economy which means industries such as computer software development, tourism, biotechnology, agriculture and telecommunications are advanced. Washington also offers professional and club sports such as basketball, football, soccer, ice hockey and baseball for sports fanatics. In addition, it boasts beautiful terrain, lakes and mountains where one can hike, camp, ski and enjoy a horse ride. Therefore, students looking to thrive in such industries, sports and activities, and who can easily adapt to this climate, may consider studying in Washington.

Read up on the university that you want to apply to and make sure you have backup options
After reading up on the different states and institutions, you will need to make a decision on the university you want to attend. This can be influenced by the subjects or the fields of study that the institutions offer, internship opportunities, and the top schools offering your degree of choice. You should also include backup options in case you don’t get into your first choice university.

Complete your application to the university
At this point, you would be ready to apply to your preferred institution. Thorough planning and time management is needed for the success of this process as a lot of documentation and arrangements need to be done correctly. The list below shows what this process includes:

  • Give yourself sufficient time to apply. This means to start the application process as early as possible as this affords you the time to read the application instructions and requirements thoroughly and properly. It gives you time to complete the application form with no errors and to provide necessary documentation as per specifications. It is suggested that a student starts this process 18 months before the academic year begins.
  • Institutions with competitive admissions usually require a significant amount of effort in their applications, including writing personal statements, requesting recommendations from your past teachers or tutors, and signing up for entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT and TOEFL to meet application standards. You should prepare for the above tasks by researching how to do them correctly and when to do them so you will have enough time to complete them.
  • School curriculums differ in each country therefore institutions accepting international students need to verify the authenticity of your documents and the status of the school you attended. This means your school may have to submit your transcripts to a credential evaluator who will examine your transcripts and translate them according to the American curriculum.

Apply for a VISA
One of the most important tasks when considering to study in the USA is applying for your VISA. There are different visas that could be issued to a student, namely the F1 Visa, M1 Visa and J1 Visa.
The F1 Visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic programme. This visa does allow part-time employment on campus with a maximum of 20 hours per week and it allows for the student to work on optional practical training (OPT) for up to a year after completing their academic programme.
The M1 Visa is issued to a student attending a vocational school and holders of this visa are not permitted to work during their studies. Moreover, M1 students need to prove that they have sufficient funds to pay for their studies and living costs for the duration of the stay.
The J1 Visa is issued to students who need to acquire practical training to complete their academic programme, which is unavailable in their home country. Employment opportunities are the same as those for F1 Visa students.
A student would need one of the above visas to qualify to study in the USA. Furthermore, they would need to prove they can support themselves financially and provide health insurance evidence to cover any medical expenses they may need.

Understand the costs
Financial stability is important for students considering studying abroad. It is important to calculate how much money you will need for the academic programme, books and overall living expenses for the duration of your stay. There are also many international loans, scholarships and bursaries that institutions and organizations offer to international students which you can choose to apply for.

Set up reliable communication methods
To keep in touch with loved ones back home, you should make sure you set up accounts with different communication apps to keep in touch with loved one such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber. These come in very handy when you start feeling homesick.

Plan ahead for your student life
Finally, plan ahead for your life beyond the classroom. For example, you should include extramural activities and travel in your budget. You should look into public transport options around your university and the amenities available such as restaurants and retail places. You should also research the extramural activities that your university offers such as student clubs and societies so that you can enjoy the full experience.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the Know – Discover and be inspired!

In the Know – Discover and be inspired!

In The Know What's new?

Creativity can help young people in all areas of their development. Activities that encourage and inspire creativity can improve their learning abilities by allowing them to engage all of their senses. This week’s three activities are ideal to give your child a taste of the arts and identify creative career paths they may want to explore.

Explore at the V&A Museum
There is so much to explore and discover at the Victoria & Albert Museum this month! You can choose from a variety of activities but a particular treat for young people are the museum Trails. On The Undiscovered Museum paper trail, they can explore the arts and go on a visual treasure hunt. This informative free event will run daily until Sunday 31st March. Find out more here.

Make it happen at RIBA
Architecture is a wonderful example of how art and creativity can lead to an exciting and fulfilling career. The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Making It Happen exhibition is an immersive event that celebrates the coming together of communities and architects to craft and create spaces that work for all. This free exhibition includes several workshops for young people, and it is taking place throughout this month at the Architecture Gallery in London. Find out more here.

Snap a photo at Burgh House
Burgh House is hosting a photography workshop for young people between the ages of 14 and 18. They will get a chance to work with professional photographer, Gemma Pardo, to develop their technical skills and produce their own inspiring portfolio. The workshop is taking place on Sunday 3rd March from 2pm to 4pm. Tickets are £8 with free places also available. Find out more here.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Volunteers What's new?

Good communication is usually taken for granted in environments where adults work together since there is the assumption that everyone has the necessary communication skills to interact with people on a daily basis. However, when engaging with young people, one needs to pay close attention to good communication as it is an essential part of ensuring successful outcomes for them.

Good communication is central to working with young people as it fosters trust, and trust is necessary for building and maintaining relationships with them. This will allow them to reach their full potential as they will feel supported because they trust that you have their best interests at heart. So understanding what good communication involves is essential when working with young people.

Good communication is an active process
This entails being responsive and engaging when working with young people. More specifically, good communication requires active listening. Active listening is responding to cues while restating and drawing out the meaning of what the person is saying, combined with the expression of warmth, empathy and acceptance. Being responsive and making an effort to understand what the young person is communicating results in the young person becoming more confident as they feel that their thoughts and feelings have value.

Good communication does not just refer to the words we use
Good communication also refers to how we say things as the tone in which something is said can sometimes communicate more to a young person than the words that were used. There are also several forms of communication such as visual communication, body language, and sign language. The responsibility lies with the volunteer to identify which form of communication the young person is most receptive to. This will ensure that they understand the tasks they are given.
It is also important to note that the young person’s preferred form of communication may be influenced by personal factors such as culture or language. It is key that volunteers take the young person’s context into consideration when identifying the best form of communication for them, and be able to adapt communication styles as necessary.

Good communication involves being non-judgemental and approachable
It is important to be aware of how our attitude can affect young people. One should be supportive and reaffirming when communicating so that the young person does not feel judged and become closed-off or difficult to communicate with. When a young person feels comfortable, they are more likely to express themselves. In order to create an environment where the young person can openly communicate, a volunteer can use open questions. Open questions are a great communication tool as they encourage the young person to open up since they do not require definitive yes or no answers. Open questions encourage the young person to discuss their answer instead of giving one worded answers, and this helps develop good communication. You can learn more about open questions here.

Consider what stage of development the young person is in
To be able to develop communication styles and work strategies that encourage the young person’s participation, it is necessary to be aware of the needs of the young person. For example, if a young person is at risk of under-achievement, it is important to use language that does not intimidate the learner or make it seem that it is impossible for them to achieve their academic goals.
Conversely, if the young person has been working well and their levels of understanding are improving, the volunteer must communicate with them in a way that reflects that they recognise the improvements that the young person is making. This encourages good communication and helps develop the young person’s confidence when engaging with their work, as they will be able to recognise that they are making improvements and that they are capable.

Be aware of the barriers to good communication
There may be barriers to good communication which often discourages the young person from wanting to communicate. Firstly, ordering a young person to do something discourages communication. This is because young people do not like feeling as though they have no choice in the decisions involving them. A better way would be to discuss options with the young person or explain why they need to do something. This allows them to feel like their opinion matters and develops their self-confidence, which can foster good communication in the long term.
Another barrier to good communication is speaking with a threatening tone. An example of this would be saying something like: “If you keep doing this, you will fail the year” or “You better do this or else that will happen”. Communicating this way is negative and very discouraging for the young person which decreases their confidence in their abilities. So it is important to remember to use reaffirming and encouraging language that motivates the young person to keep working hard.

Your communication skills can influence how the young person will continue to communicate going into their future. Good communication with young people can help develop their self-confidence, which goes a long way in developing a positive attitude. So it is important for the volunteer to always be aware of how they communicate with young people by adopting and adapting the appropriate communication style for each young person they work with.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

As a mentor, you want to help build your mentee’s self-confidence and help them to be more positive and goal-orientated, while also making sure that they are well-adjusted to the world around them. But how will you go about doing this during your mentoring sessions?

The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure you pay attention to your discussion points during each mentoring session. Discussion points help you to get to know your mentee better so that you can advise them and help them to come up with the right strategies to reach their goals. Here are five discussion points that will help get you started.

Ask them about their interests and hobbies
A great way to get to know your mentee would be to discuss their interests and hobbies. Finding out what they like to do in their spare time can help you find a common ground to gain their trust. It is also good to start with this to help your mentee to feel more relaxed and open. Everyone has at least one hobby that they love to do, so this will most certainly get them talking. From this, you will be able to expand the discussion.
For example, if reading is their hobby, you can discuss some of the books they’ve read and why they enjoyed some titles more than others. If it is music, you can discuss some of the artists they prefer listening to and why they may be more drawn to those artists. This can help you to understand more about them as a person.
It would also be useful for you to do some research on their hobbies and interests so that you can relate to them and encourage them to tell you more about themselves.

Find out what their favourite subject at school is
Finding out their favourite subject will help you to further identify with your mentee. It will help you to understand what they are good at since most people tend to like a subject that they excel in. From this, you can develop an understanding of the way they think. If they like maths, then you will know that their mind is more analytical and numerical, or if they like art, then you will know that their mind is more creative, and so on.
You can then find use this understanding to delve into other topics such as career goals.

Ask them about their strengths
Beyond their interests and favourite subjects, you can also directly ask them about their strengths. This can include an aspect of their personality that they may be proud of or a soft skill that they may have. For example, your mentee may feel that their strength is their patience or that they can communicate very well. If your mentee shares these personal attributes, it means that they are becoming more comfortable with sharing a more personal side of themselves with you – this is a big step in the mentoring process.
Sometimes they may not be aware of their personal strengths. This will be the perfect opportunity to tell them about a positive trait that you have noticed in them. It is always good to show your mentee the positive qualities that they possess to build up their self-confidence.

Talk about their career goals
One of the main aims of the mentoring programme is to help young people to reach their career aspirations. So it is always a good idea to discuss what your mentee would like to do after school and which career path they want to take.
Usually, they will have an idea of what they would like to do after school. In this case, you can help by shedding more light on the career they have chosen to follow, including providing a detailed explanation of what is required of them and what the actual job entails. This can include practical tips such as what they need to study in school, which university should they go to, should they do an apprenticeship etc.
Sometimes a young person may not know what career path they would like to pursue. In this case, you can help by looking at their interests and their favourite subjects in school. From this, you should be able to come up with a list of careers paths that your mentee might be inclined to. You can then discuss each career path in detail while encouraging them to decide for themselves.

Ask them where they see themselves in 5 or 10 years from now
Discussing their future will encourage them to raise their aspirations and work towards their goals. This can also perfectly tie up everything you may have gone through with the first four discussion points.
If you know their future goals, you can also help to set them up on the right path to achieve them. For example, if your mentee wants to study at Oxbridge, you can assist them by explaining the application process or helping them to write the best personal statement.

These discussion points are a great start to your mentoring sessions. However, every mentee is different and they may have different needs or may want to discuss different topics. You should always keep your mentee’s interests as the priority, while still maintaining control of the direction of your mentoring sessions. This will make your mentoring sessions both impactful and insightful.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the Know – Apprenticeships to accelerate your career!

In the Know – Apprenticeships to accelerate your career!

In The Know Parents What's new?

It’s the beginning of the final term of the year, but we know that most young people are already thinking about what to do after school. One option is to join an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship gives young people hands-on experience, a salary and the opportunity to get a degree in a relevant field. Here are three great apprenticeships for young people finishing their GCSEs or A-Levels this year.

IT Degree Apprenticeship
If your child is looking for an alternative, accelerated path into the IT industry, they should consider this 4 ½ year study and work programme from Capgemini. It includes all the opportunities you need to prepare for a successful career in the IT industry, acquiring technical skills in software engineering as well as broader business-related personal development, and you will receive a BSc (Honours) degree in Digital & Technology Solutions. The closing date for applications is the 8th of June 2018 for the intake in September. Find out more here.

PR & Communications Apprenticeship
This programme from the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency provides an exciting apprentice opportunity for someone looking to develop a career and gain a qualification in communications. This role involves supporting the full range of PR activities, from project management and social media to writing news and digital content. GCSE students may also apply and the closing date is the 23rd of April 2018 for the intake in June. Find out more here.

Business Analyst Apprenticeship
Legal & General Investment Management Ltd is looking for someone with a desire to learn and contribute to become an apprentice Information Systems Business Analyst. You will receive full training, support and development throughout the 2-year program and gain formal qualifications alongside additional training in both the technology and the investment management domains. The closing date for applications is the 27th of May 2018 for the intake in September. Find out more 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. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.