7 Ways Undergraduates Can Boost Their CV By Becoming Volunteer Tutor

7 Ways Undergraduates Can Boost Their CV By Becoming Volunteer Tutor

What's new?

When it comes to volunteer tutoring, it is often thought that only those on the receiving end of the volunteering service are being benefited. However, there are many short-term and long-term benefits that volunteer tutors receive when they choose to take on this role. One of these benefits is how this volunteer tutor role can boost your CV, especially for undergraduates.

When a potential employer is going through your CV, they will always assess what extracurricular work you have done during the course of your studies. When they see that you have previously taken on the role of a volunteer tutor, it reveals a few things about your character and the kind of person they would be bringing on board to work for them.

It shows initiative
Taking on the initiative to be a volunteer tutor is a great way to get your foot in the door to the working world. Potential employers will see that you are not primarily driven by money and that you are willing to put in work when it is needed without being prompted to do so. It shows that the betterment of others is something you take into consideration and that you are also able to think beyond yourself. It also shows that you are proactive and willing to go the extra mile.

More exposure for you
By becoming a volunteer tutor you create more opportunities for yourself to be seen. It makes your CV more captivating to potential employers and gives them an insight into how you spend your time outside of university and an overlook of your skills and capabilities. The opportunity to be a volunteer tutor also puts you in an environment you may not usually be exposed to, and in doing so, it allows you to meet other undergraduates and professionals who may be able to pass your CV to other people. This creates a platform for you to network with different peers your age who may also be volunteer tutors, as well as potential organisations you may want to work with in the future. Taking on the role of a volunteer tutor can also expose you to different potential career paths that you can look into.

Improved skills and experience
In as much as you are helping someone else improve their skills through your volunteer tutoring, you are also improving your skills and experience in the process. You have to find ways to be able to relate to the scholars you teach and find ways to relay the information you know to them. This improves with every tutoring session you have and helps to sharpen your communication, leadership, interpersonal, and performance skills. Being a volunteer tutor also helps with improving your thinking skills and personal development. In doing this, it gives you the right skills and experience for the workplace and under different conditions and environments.

Time management
Becoming a volunteer tutor requires you to have good time management in order to balance your academic career and personal time as well as being a tutor. It shows potential employers your organisational skills and how well you are able to manage the demands of studying and tutoring while working under pressure in some instances. Employers like to see that their potential employees have good time management skills and are able to allocate their time accordingly and prioritise different tasks effectively. Taking on the role of a volunteer tutor is also a good way to utilise spare time and learning how to manage that.

Preparation for the future
Being a volunteer tutor helps to prepare you for working environments and other future roles you may look into pursuing. Even though you have the free will to undertake your tutoring sessions in times that work well for both you and your scholar, you still work under a specific structure and you must still meet the required hours as well as produce certain results with regards to your scholar. You also have to maintain a standard of integrity and abide by the rules that govern the volunteers within that organisation. This shows potential employers that you have the ability to follow instructions and how well you are able to fulfil designated tasks and work independently.

It shows that you are reliable
Becoming a volunteer tutor is one thing, but doing the job that is required of you is another. When taking on the role, you have to ensure that you will be able to fully apply yourself to the role. This is an aspect that potential employers look at – how reliable you are and how well do you perform in your role? The more reliable you prove to be, the higher your chances of growing professionally are and the more people trust you to do things that require greater responsibility.

An opportunity for personal enrichment
Lastly, being a volunteer tutor creates room for your own personal enrichment. It helps you discover strengths or interests you may not have known that you had, and it provides you with a different perspective on how you can approach your career and personal life. There are always lessons to be learnt and growth to be experienced when you open your mind to new possibilities. You also learn some of the things that work and don’t work for you and also leave having acquired some self-enhancement through the whole experience.

If you would like to boost your CV and become a volunteer tutor, then feel free to get in touch with us. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes are designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about GT Scholars and how you can make a significant difference in the lives of young people.

Nature vs Nurture: Are gifts and talents down to a child’s natural ability or can they be nurtured?

Nature vs Nurture: Are gifts and talents down to a child’s natural ability or can they be nurtured?

What's new?

Young people discover their gifts and passions as they grow. As they discover their abilities, should parents take an active role to nurture these abilities, or should it just be left to nature?

In this context, nature is defined as the innate disposition of someone or the inherent attributes of a person – simply put, it is what makes up the person. Nurture, on the other hand, means to actively care for or develop someone so that they certain skills or abilities.

Each child has natural abilities that may depend on biology, genetics or the environment they grow up in. Abilities that depend on biology and genetics are usually to do with physical attributes – for example, for a child to excel in basketball, it would be easier if they are tall. It is not impossible if they are short, but it is far easier.

Natural abilities are part of what a child is made of and may play a role in their personal identity. They usually manifest themselves in the early stages of a child’s life. However, these natural abilities are usually just seeds waiting to grow, and as with any other seed, they need to be nurtured and nourished to grow and develop into a plant.

Hence, as your child grows, you can play an active role in nurturing their natural abilities to grow into fully-fledged abilities and talents. You can make sure that they are exposed to the right environment and experiences, that they are receiving enough resources and support from someone that can help them such as a teacher or coach, and that they are guided in the right direction.

You can also help your child to explore and discover their natural abilities by being observant of what they excel in, providing opportunities for them to explore various things from creative to academic, and getting them help from a guidance counsellor or insight workshop if need be.

How you can nurture your child’s gifts and talents
Like anything in life, a gift cannot grow on its own, it requires deliberate and intentionally guided steps to develop it to its maximum potential. However, when nurturing a child’s gifts, it’s important to listen to their needs as well. Here a few helpful points when helping them to discover and develop their natural abilities.

  • Give them time to discover their natural abilities by themselves. Generally, children like to explore, and they do this better without a parent’s preconceived ideas of where they would like their children to go in life. Give them time to do what they are interested in without being directly involved but just being there to observe and guide them
  • Provide them with resources and opportunities that will help not only unlock their gift but further develop it. Resources could include a musical instrument of their interest or identifying opportunities where the child can showcase their gift in front of an audience, even if it is just family members or at school. This can also help to build up their confidence. You can also play an active role in helping them practise their talents, for example, if your child’s talents lie in playing chess, you can buy them a chess board to practice with and you can play with them to develop their skills. If you don’t have the skills, you could also get someone else to play with them which will develop a healthy competitive element in them
  • Be their biggest supporter. They may not always feel inspired to do what they love, especially if they fail to perform at their best, so it is up to you to encourage them. They need to be taught that sometimes it’s okay to fail, it doesn’t mean they are bad, it just means that they learn from their mistakes and improve on that. As a parent, it means the world to your child when they know you support them. Whether you know much about their gift or not, let your child know you are there for them
  • Enlist the help of someone with more knowledge regarding their gift to guide them. Professional help goes a long way especially if your child wants to make a living out of their gift. Finding a coach or teacher to provide specialised support/guidance is important as it helps to identify the child’s strengths and areas that still need improvement so they can perform at their optimum.

In conclusion, one would say that, for a child to fully realise their potential in any area of their interest, both natural abilities and the nurturing of these will play an integral part. It’s only when the gift has been identified that one can help further develop the talent by providing the right environment and ensuring the child gets the necessary support. This support can either be in terms of the supply of resources/tools or emotional support.

GT Scholars offers many opportunities for young people to discover and develop their gifts and talents. 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.

Education is the Wisest Investment that any Parent can Make in their Child

Education is the Wisest Investment that any Parent can Make in their Child

What's new?

Knowledge is power, and education is the key to success. We have all heard these mantras repeated throughout our lives – and now we understand the crucial importance of providing our children with the best education to prepare them for life and set them up on a successful career path.

With the costs of educational programmes and university soaring, it has also been said that saving for your child’s education is as important as saving for your retirement. Why is education so significant?

Well, education teaches a person how to earn their daily bread and butter while also making people better informed about their responsibilities. It also makes people open to changing environments from an early age, and it teaches them to creatively approach problems and to think innovatively.

Let’s explore how investing in your child’s education is the best investment you will make.

Professional success
A report published by the University of Birmingham states that around 80% of their alumni are placed in employment within six months from graduation. Good education and professional success are intertwined, and statistically, it is shown that placements of undergraduates and post-graduates into employment are increasingly successful with quality higher education.  

Furthermore, quality education has a direct impact on earning potential, pay progression, career possibilities and career progression. When reviewing employment data from various institutions, one can conclude that education influences a person’s professional success – with higher earning potential and faster and wider career progression.

Statistical data retrieved from the Labour Force Survey from September 2001 to August 2002, shows that generally if you have a higher education qualification level you are more likely to receive higher earnings. Across all ages, graduates earn on average 49.4% more than those with highest reported qualifications as GCSE, A-level or equivalent – and more than double in comparison to those with no qualifications.

Social wellbeing
While schooling systems are the primary institutions for acquiring knowledge and skills, it can also be said that these systems educate young people on the crucial social skills they need to attain a good quality of life. Education and good social skills are directly linked, as quality schooling ensures that children are well-adjusted, that they are able to form productive and trusting relationships and they perform well academically.

Moreover, schooling systems provide a supportive environment to students and aid them in having a better sense of self-awareness and awareness of their larger social environments. In turn, the various social skills attained during school also help young people to achieve success later in life.

Health
Proper education and the attainment of various skills through education are also linked to positive health outcomes in our modern healthcare environment. For example, people benefit from being able to comprehend their personal health needs, reading and/or following instructions and communicating effectively with their health care providers.

Since the impact of education can be linked to earning potential, it can also be linked to the attainment of proper healthcare. Furthermore, studies have shown that adults with higher levels of education are less likely to engage in unhealthy habits and generally engage in healthier behaviours relating to diet and exercise.

Finally, individuals who have not received good quality of education are less able to adapt to long-term stress (e.g. occupational stress, unemployment etc.), which in turn can lead to chronic illness. Exposure to set educational systems which consist of deadlines and responsibilities can help individuals to develop the necessary mental capabilities required to deal with stress and problem-solving.

Personal development
While many people value the attainment of higher education levels quite significantly, it is also important to value the less tangible benefits of quality education. Education significantly affects personal growth which will influence your relationships and success later in life. By acquiring new information, you are enriching your brain with new ways of thinking.

Young people greatly reap the benefits of education as it forms the basis of healthy learning habits which provides them with the necessary tools to navigate the next stage in their life. By asking questions and putting information into context, the knowledge we obtain through educational institutions broadens our horizon which is crucial for personal development.

Self-confidence is another facet of education we are able to identify with. Knowledge can be seen as a lifelong forte, and quality education can boost your confidence through various means such as improved societal standing and the ability to communicate your ideas more eloquently.

Conclusively, we can say that quality education is of utmost importance for various reasons; whether it is for professional success, higher income, greater social skills, overall health or personal development. Therefore, investing in your child through proper schooling, private tutoring and higher education is the best decision you can ever make, and at the very least, it will set your child on the path to a good quality of life.

We at the GT Scholars Programme believe that all children can achieve their educational goals. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we aim to provide high impact courses, workshops and programmes to young people between the ages of 11-18, regardless of their household income. Contact us to find out more.

Are young people growing addicted to technology?

Are young people growing addicted to technology?

What's new?

We live in the information age. Every answer you need is a click away and most children know this by age five. In fact, most children have handled a smartphone by the age of two. It is often thought of as cute, as an indication of how smart they are that they can navigate technology so young; but is this leading to a generation of technology addicts?

Oxford University reported in 2017 that the perception that kids are becoming addicted to technology is untrue. Their study found that despite increased screen time, children are spending their other time doing a variety of other activities. Whether this is true for all children though is unknown.

Education Technology reported on a national pupil survey conducted by education technology association, Naace and Catshills Learning Partnerships, which revealed that 60% of four to five-year-olds are using tablets to get online. They may be using it to access their favourite shows online, but, that is a large percentage of young kids with access to unfiltered content. However, with the current trend of using technology in schools every day in the form of interactive boards, learning videos and online teaching; how do we gauge the effects technology has on our children?

Listed below are the potentially harmful effects of children being addicted to technology and some practical points to help parents avoid possible addiction.

Lack of social interaction
Being constantly exposed to technology can lead to children losing their social skills. They are so used to interacting via gaming platforms or social media that speaking face to face becomes an unusual situation. Younger kids may even seek technology as an escape from physically playing outdoors with other kids. Later on in life, this may lead to them having difficulty with communicating well with others. This will increase the risk of problems at school, in university and ultimately hinder their progress into the working world where interaction is often key.

Decreased emotional intelligence
With a decrease in physical interaction from excessive technology use, children’s ability to navigate emotions is also affected. They do not understand how to gauge emotional changes in others and often lack empathy. This is largely due to the fact that they are often so engrossed in a device that they fail to observe changes in people and their surroundings.

Impatience
Constantly having the power of the internet at your fingertips often results in children not understanding the concept of patience. As they are used to everything being a Google search away, they cannot grasp the concept of research and summarising. Also, parents of toddlers often struggle with their kids not being able to watch their cartoons on television due to advertisement breaks.  A smart TV can stream endless videos on YouTube. This leads to an “I can’t wait, I want it now” mentality.

Online personas and insecurity
According to Public Health England, extended screen use correlates to emotional distress, anxiety and depression in young people. Teens in particular, struggle with insecurity due to social media. At this age, they are extremely sensitive to what others think of them. With it being so easy for others to comment on a picture or status, teenagers also suffer greatly when it comes to cyber-bullying. On the flip side to insecurity, social media also sometimes leads to vanity and the upkeep of an online persona. The pressures of this can endanger a sensitive young person’s mental health.

Security risk
Young people are very impressionable and naïve. It is how they are meant to be before life experiences shape their character and opinions. However, with the introduction of technology, they can be easily manipulated by negative peer groups or online predators unknowingly. Privacy of accounts and devices are often ignored. In fact, most children can easily be traced via their social accounts or a mobile device when the location is enabled.

Decreased physical activity and obesity
With more time being spent on technology, there is less time being spent on physical and outdoor activities. Young people would often prefer spending time indoors on their phones or playing video games than going outside or playing sport. This leads to an increased risk of childhood obesity, even more so when paired with the high-sugar diet most young people have these days.

So, what can you as a parent do to avoid technology addiction if you notice any of these behaviours in your child?

“Become one with the matrix”
Make sure that you know how to handle the devices you have and your child is exposed to and that you know how your child is utilising technology. If you keep up with technology, it will be easier to navigate your child’s experience of it. Devices used at school are often restricted with regards to which sites are accessible so you can do the same at home.

“Moderation is key”
Technology cannot be avoided, so instead of fearing technology, introduce your child to it in small quantities. Do not allow them to become dependent on it, but rather encourage its usage to build skills. It can also be used for fun, but only for an allocated time period.

“With great power, comes great responsibility”
As parents, you need to teach your child from an early age to use technology responsibly. From being responsible with how much time is spent using technology to how to be safe online, it is important for you to discuss the best methods for managing technology use with your child. It is also important for you to be the example in your household and to also manage your own time spent on technology so that they can see how technology is used responsibly.

Technology is not to be feared, it just needs to be understood. The sooner that we realise this and are able to identify the pros and cons involved, the sooner we can use it to the best of our ability. We at GT Scholars promote the responsible use of technology in our tutoring sessions. In addition to this, we also teach young people these pros and cons so that they are able to identify and rectify their technology usage if needed. Contact us to find out more.

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Scholar Spotlight: “It really helped me with my grades, to become more organised and be more proactive”

Success stories What's new?

As part of our scholar spotlight series, we interviewed one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme. Please watch the video above for the full interview. You can also find the transcript below.


My name is Tatiana and I am 13 years old and I am a scholar on the GT Scholars programme.

Why did you apply to join GT Scholars?
Well at first my grades weren’t that good so we were looking for a tutor and my mum was telling me that she saw something, so I was like, is that something you think I would like to try?. We saw a leaflet and that made me want to do it even more. So we ended up doing it and getting a mentor with it too.

How has your tutor supported you?
My tutors were very helpful, they helped me develop and get better at math and they helped to get my grades up and give me a little boost with my grades. We’ve done homework together. We’ve studied for exams and tests together, like anything I needed to do and if I didn’t have anything to do in my classes at school, then we would just go on things that they proposed.

How has the online tutoring been for you?
I really enjoyed the online tutoring because it’s easy to get or go somewhere in your house and video chat them and just start working. Also, you are in the comfort of your own home so you don’t have to travel out to go see them and I just find it overall easier and you have everything you need in your house so you don’t have to worry about taking things or forgetting things, everything is already here.

What were the mentoring sessions like?
Mentoring, it’s more of the mindset. I feel like that’s where I have become more confident and I have just become a better person with my mentor and that just really helped me with my lifestyle in general. I’d tell them about what I need and what is happening and when I tell them that this what’s going on and I need help with this, they’ll come back with an answer and tell me well this is what you should try and aim for and if I am missing something, they will ask me questions and I will be like well I need this too and they would just help me in any way.

How have the enrichment days helped you?
The first enrichment day was ages ago and I remember I was really scared for it and I just didn’t know what to expect from it. So when I walked in and we just sat down and just started talking and people came in and I just got gradually more comfortable and through the enrichment days I became more comfortable with everyone. With the mentor, I became more confident in myself so I got to talk to more people that didn’t make me that scared anymore and I just found them very helpful. There were lots of different kinds. Sometimes there was just a panel of people that came in, or sometimes you get involved and actually stand up and do things and get into groups with people, so they really vary but I liked all of them.

So my favourite enrichment day was the Dragon’s Den one, where we got to get into teams to create our idea or product and pitch it in front of judges. It was exactly like the real show, we just did everything the same, but obviously, it wasn’t the real show. I really liked it because I got to meet people, and I really liked the pitching and I obviously became more confident in myself so I wasn’t really afraid of presenting in front of a number people, so I was really happy with that because I noticed that lots of things have really helped me in this programme.

What have you enjoyed most about the programme?
So I’ve really enjoyed the enrichment days, well I loved really everything about it. Being able to go to the enrichment days and learn more things, and then having my mentor tell me things I did not know before and my tutor just explaining things and helping me understand and everything just helped me grow.

How has the programme helped you academically?
So before joining the programme, I was quite a laid back person and I wasn’t very confident in myself. But after I joined GT Scholars and got a tutor, I kind of gained self-confidence and became less laid back. With that in mind, I entered a math competition which I came third globally, which I am very happy about and I am proud of myself.

What goals did the programme help you to achieve?
Well, I wanted to achieve better grades and become more confident and not procrastinate and focus more. I feel like, over a period of time, I gained those skills and gotten better grades and I’ve become more confident, so I am happy.

What have you learned about yourself during the programme?
So before joining the programme I just wasn’t very confident. I didn’t really understand many things and still trying to understand how things worked and I just wasn’t very confident in myself. So once I joined the programme I just found my confidence and I could talk finally, and I did understand things and I knew I could do things and I knew I could do better than before.

What would you say to young people who want to join the programme?
So I would definitely recommend GT Scholars to other young people because it really helped me with my grades, to become more organised and be more proactive, have time management and have a growth mindset.

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.

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.

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An Interview with a Parent: “I’ve definitely seen a marked improvement in my child’s grades at school”

Parent Spotlight Parents What's new?

As part of the scholar spotlight series, we interviewed a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme. Please watch the video clip above for the full interview. 


Hi, so I am Alfredo, Tatiana’s daddy. We live in Wandsworth and she’s a scholar on the programme.

How did you find about about GT Scholars?
So we first found out about GT Scholars through a local Croydon newspaper. We’ve got links to Croydon, we still sort of had access to those. We noticed it and we were looking, at that time, for getting some tutoring for her anyway.

And at that time we also went into the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon and there was some advertisement for GT Scholars there, we sort of saw leaflets and that kind of gave us a bit more information about it, so that was our first introduction to GT Scholars.

Why did you choose GT Scholars?
Well at that time we were looking for tuition and we wanted something sort of a little bit different from just the mainstream tuition you can get from anywhere, just a normal class, English or maths class.

We quite like the kind of holistic approach that we found which GT Scholars seemed to offer, particularly the fact that they offered the mentoring side of it which we felt would help with the development of her character and not just lessons and stuff.

What has your child gained from the programme?
Firstly, I think Tatiana has gained many things from the programme I believe, and she’s actually also enjoyed the process which is fundamental. With regards to her actual levels at school, her grades, those have improved. We have definitely seen a marked improvement, particularly with maths where she struggled a little, to begin with, and we’re not quite there yet, but we have definitely seen a marked improvement. So much so that she even excelled in a competition we didn’t know she had entered in. She’s in the French system and managed to get top third globally within this maths competition, so we’re really proud of her for that one.

It’s more, I would say, for the overall developmental side of it, of her character and personality. I think she’s gained from the mentoring aspect of the programme. The core skills, organisation skills, time management, that side of it, has enabled her to get a bit more focus on her studying which was perhaps lacking before. So we have found there’s been useful guidance in that respect.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents? 
I would thoroughly recommend GT Scholars to any other parents who are thinking of getting into this sort of activity. I feel it gives you a little bit more than just the tuition that is found just about anywhere. The enrichment or the overall developmental side of it has been superb and I found the extracurricular activities have been useful. I didn’t feel we were just going in there for her to study. There’s been loads of other events she’s gone to which have given her a broad outlook of other things. So I would definitely recommend GT Scholars.

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In The Know What's new?

Help your child to learn how they can turn things they find fun into future career paths through this week’s activities. This week your child will be able to learn about videogame design, explore the deep seas and outer space! Learning while having fun is key to the development of young people and to help them discover their passions, don’t miss out.

Videogame design at the V & A
This week the V & A museum is giving video gamers an exciting opportunity to meet videogames designer Matteo Menapace. In addition to meeting the designer, your child will get to play his latest game prototypes and learn how to use games to explore social issues. This free event is a must-see for young gamers wanting to turn their passion into a profession. Find out more about times and bookings here

Dive Deep at the Science Museum
This underwater adventure takes you through the depths of the oceans! Your child will get to swim with some of the planet’s most unique, dangerous and colourful creatures through this exciting educational 3D experience at the Science Museum. Tickets are £11 for adults and £9 for children. Find out more and book tickets here

Journey through the universe!
In this journey into the universe, the Royal Museums Greenwich planetarium show will allow your child to explore the Big Bang and learn about dark matter! This visually stunning experience will explore galaxies and let you and your child take a trip across space and time while gaining an understanding of the universe. Tickets are £5.35 for children and £8 for adults, 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.

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Meet one of our Volunteer Tutors – Claire

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

As part of our volunteer spotlight series, we interviewed one of our amazing volunteer English tutors, Claire. You can watch the full interview in the video linked above. You can also find the transcript below.


My name is Claire and I’m in HR for a large consumer goods organisation and I’m a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars.

Why did you decide to start volunteering with GT Scholars?
So I guess the key thing why I decided to become a tutor is, I was born partially deaf, and I think one of those things is because of that people didn’t have very high expectations of myself. I worked really hard and I have become, some people would say, successful.

I got an awful lot of help along the way from my family, from some key people that helped me keep on that journey and I am hugely grateful to them and as a result of that, I think I do want to help other people realise their potential. Everyone has got so much potential and if I can give something back and have other people realise their potential then that’s what I’d really love to do. So that’s how I came to look for tutoring and looking to give back in some way in the same way that people gave to me which is listening, teaching, coaching. So that’s how I started looking at tutoring.

How did you get started as a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars?
So the way I got started with GT Scholars and how I found GT Scholars was simply researching for volunteering and tutoring. So I found it through Google and what stopped me at GT Scholars was how professional it all was. The website was really professional and there were loads of information, every question I had was pretty much already answered on the website.

And then I got in touch via the email and I got really great responses, really quick responses.

So I followed through the process which was you know, intimidating at times, sometimes I felt like I am being judged for the first time, but really nice people that I met throughout the whole process.

And I got signed off to become a tutor, and then I just got started in terms of onboarding. The other thing about the onboarding, it was really impressive, so for me as an HR professional, onboarding is important, and it was a really good process, really good training and lots of support now while I’m tutoring as well.

What was the experience as a volunteer English tutor like for you?
Now how I got started with the tutoring with the very initial stages was making the arrangements with Samuel and his father for the initial session and then having that initial call. We had a telephone call initially then we moved on to Skype and we decided that was the one, we looked at Google Hangouts and Skype and there are so many great options these days but Skype worked pretty well for us.

So that first session was just getting to know Samuel, him getting to know me and really understanding what he wanted out of it because there are so many things you can cover in this session and its limited time. Then we just ran through that and really sort of clarified some specific points that he wanted to learn about. Then I had to go and do research because I haven’t done the English language for such a long time so we had an initial session and we had exam questions to help me assess where he was and then we focused in on a couple of areas. Then we just met each time each week through Skype. Having that face to face contact in the video, I think it’s actually really helpful and really convenient being able to do that from home, from this seat actually and having those conversations each week and trying to move it forward, trying to help him decide where he wanted to focus as well. I think that’s one of the really important things about being the tutor is listening. So I had loads of ideas about what I thought we could talk about and actually it was quite different. So Samuel needed quite specific things and I hope that was helpful for him and a lot of it was conversation, having good conversation about what the examiners are looking for and therefore how he can respond and this is specifically for example about managing time making sure you get to all of the questions in the exams and giving good points across each of those questions.

What have you enjoyed most about volunteer tutoring?
So I think one of the things I found really fulfilling during this process is when you see the ‘aha’ moments and you just see the ‘oh that is a different way of looking at it that I haven’t seen before’, that’s been really powerful. Other things I enjoy are that sense of imparting what I know and thinking that you can make a difference in that way.

And I guess the final thing would be making space for conversation – a safe space for someone in this case to have a really open conversation around what’s worrying him and him being able to talk about that.

What challenges have you as a volunteer tutor helped your scholar overcome?
So the kind of challenges that Samuel seems to have had help with in terms of the conversations that he and I have had, a key thing has been around timing. So managing his own time both in preparing for our sessions doing the homework and then in exams, so that has been quite a lot of our conversations. It’s how he plans for that and how he then makes that impact during the exam so that he can get better marks as he goes forward.

What challenges did you face as a volunteer tutor?
There were some challenges to being a tutor. So one of them is being organised so I have to make time to do my preparation. I had to put myself in Samuel’s shoes, think about what would be the right conversation for us to have and about the material that should help him and then really being present during the sessions and just allow that mental space for him and I to have a great conversation and let all the distractions go.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable for young people?
I think tutoring offers quite a lot to young people. A big part of that is simply dedicated time with someone who is listening to you and answering your unique questions and thinking about you and your unique scenario. So that’s a key thing just that mental space and commitment from somebody.

I think the other bit is, of course, the knowledge that they’re gaining from somebody else who has taken the time to listen to the specific challenges that they are facing and that they want help with.

What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer tutor with us?
So if anyone is thinking about tutoring I really recommend it. GT Scholars is a really professional organisation to do it with. You get a huge amount of support at every step of the way. So GT Scholars is really good and tutoring is really fun. You get some time with a young person, the kind of people that maybe you don’t get time to interact with elsewhere in your life and you really get to make an impact on one person’s life and who knows what that leads to.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can become a volunteer tutor to make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

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

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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.