Exploring Other Interests Helped him Realise his True Passion

– Ishaan, Ashoka University

Coming from a conventional family and performing well in science during his 10th-grade board exams led Ishaan to pursue engineering. With the help of advice from his family to “first do engineering then build on your interests”, he decided to enrol in the preparation program for the Joint Entrance Exam at PACE in Mumbai. After a year and a half, Ishaan made the decision to leave the engineering program; he felt that his routine had no creativity and he no longer enjoyed studying the subjects he once loved.

During his break, he developed an interest in politics and economics through Model United Nations Conferences. These conferences furthered his knowledge of international diplomacy, various financial and foreign policies and more importantly placed him with like-minded people. After being associated with more than 20 conferences across the country, Ishaan was certain that he wanted to learn more about these disciplines. Jonathan Wolff and Simon Sinek’s books along with Michael Sandel’s lectures, helped him understand the nuances of political science, political philosophy and various economic theories. Ishaan also interned with the IDFC institute, which specializes in political economics and public policy. The projects he undertook, from analysing China’s urbanisation policy to Kenya’s Big Four plan, helped him understand the real-life application of these political and economic theories and further consolidated his reason to pursue this in university.

Ishaan came to The Red Pen to apply to universities in Canada, UK and India. We paid attention to quality over quantity and worked with him to complete his applications on time. He eventually received acceptances from most of the universities he applied to, including the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, King’s College London, University of Warwick and Manchester University. Finally, Ishaan decided to pursue the Politics, Philosophy and Economics program (PPE) at Ashoka University and he began in fall 2018. Ishaan chose Ashoka over foreign universities due to its small class size and opportunities to maintain a personal connection with reputed faculty, along with access to people associated with the institute,  research facilities and the cost-friendly fee structure.

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?