For a future computer scientist, it all adds up

– Varin, Stanford University

When Varin started his application journey, he had no idea what he needed to prepare for studying abroad. He approached The Red Pen determined to apply to some of the most competitive schools abroad. We helped him prepare a comprehensive timeline of activities and select colleges that would be a great fit for him in the US and Singapore.

Varin had a lot to do, but he was passionate and focused on the things that really mattered to him. His application showed schools his true interests. His love of computer science motivated him to learn different programming languages, which he used to develop solutions for simple day-to-day issues like creating an automated pill ordering system for his mother’s thyroid medicines. He also developed a volunteer management and a peer-to-peer learning system for his school, which helped him realise his goal of developing personalised learning and adaptive assessment tools for students.

Varin pursued leadership roles in his community. Working with an NGO, Varin took the initiative to promote education for girls, going door-to-door explaining the importance of education to families in a nearby village. He is teaching his grandfather and friends basic digital skills and has helped them create social media accounts. Varin also pushed himself out of his comfort zone by learning Mandarin and studying in China.

With his thoughtful community focus and academic talents, Varin would have been a good fit for many colleges! He has chosen Stanford – his dream college – where he intends to put his ideas into action in the world and dig into the heart of computer science to create solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s problems.

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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?