Hyderabad-based Univariety was established in 2012, to solve the most fundamental problem high school students face – lack of proper college guidance and counseling. It endeavours to empower students in making informed career decisions. This year it has brought Oxford Summer Courses to India. Curriculum magazine spoke with Jaideep Gupta, Founder and CEO, Univariety and . Harry Hoare, Course Director, Oxford Summer Course
The inspiration for setting up a strong career and college guidance systems in schools came from my personal experience of studying in various institutions across US as a child. Experiencing a complete lack of support or guidance in Indian high schools persuaded me to conceive Univariety, the country’s first and only technology-enabled, analytics-driven college guidance system that has the largest footprint across India with over 150+ universities and 450+ schools spread across 30+ cities. Our endeavour is to empower students in making informed career decisions. For a holistic approach and unbiased counselling for admissions in every college and university from across the globe, we offer guidance from four support pillars – a) Counsellors, b) Admission Officers and Professors of Universities, c) Data & Analytical Tools, d) Seniors and Alumni of Schools.
What are your experiences working with Indian students in this brief journey thus far?
The journey has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling. We have had several challenges in convincing schools at the outset about the need of a career guidance system, but once the management truly understands the benefits, they get on board. Well, the experience has certainly been very enthralling. Indian students are extremely hard working and value education a lot. But something that I have noticed, which is very prominent is that Indian students are not independent decision makers when it comes to their higher education. Their parents still make the call.
Can you list a few things that will help school students choose a best higher education program and destination?
In order to select the best higher education program, students must make decisions in a systematic approach. They should first make a list of milestones that they can keep looking at. The first one on the list would be shortlisting the country where they want to go and are able to pursue their undergraduate degree. Once they are sure of this choice, they can next shortlist the course they are interested in and have the required aptitude to excel in. The next step would require students shortlisting a pre-requisite exams or standardized tests, and then the institutes where they can get coaching. Thereafter they need to start gathering documents needed for application, work on SOP, LOR and such. This activity would give students an insight into the commitment it takes to pursue the course.
Automated data tools and counsellors can help students to progress through these milestones in a structured manner (For example: In a series with appropriate deadlines with appropriate choices). For further research, students should enlist the help of counsellors and set up personal interaction sessions with admission counsellors of shortlisted universities, as nobody else can give students an insight into the university/college and explain to them in detail about the courses. The final and crucial step would be to connect with School Alumni and seek guidance from them, as they have walked down the same path very recently and would be able to provide great insights.
If students are able to, then they should definitely attend a Summer Program as it helps all the students explore their own interests, develop new skills and get hands-on experience that a classroom doesn’t offer and meet other students with similar interests.
Int this context, tell us how will your collaboration with OSC help student community in India?
Summer Enrichment is a fairly new concept in India and many of these programs were, to a large extent, out of reach, for the average Indian students. This was either because the cost was too high, or the student had to travel to an international country. To resolve this, univariety is collaborating with Oxford Summer Courses, aiming at bringing the authentic ‘Oxford Experience’ to students right here in India.
Also, tell us the about your schedule, fee and how do you intend to organize this program this year?
The OSC happens during Indian summers from May to June. They cost one third of the original fee i.e 1 – 1.20L and happen at multiple International schools across India. This year, Univariety and OSC have collaborated with 4 Schools – Prudence International School, Panvel, Mumbai 12 May 2017 – 21 May 2017; Oakridge International School, Bengaluru 26 May 2017 – 4 June 2017; Kodaikanal International School, Tamil Nadu 26th May- 4th June 2017; Scottish High International School, Delhi 12 June 2017 – 21 June 2017
• Oxford Summer Courses was established in 2010 by Oxford University alumni Harry Hoare and Robert Phipps
• We offer Academic and English Language courses for students aged 10-24
• In 2017 we are running Summer Courses in the world’s elite universities: Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and across India
• We are Accredited by the British Accreditation Council
• We focus on offering the authentic Oxford experience
We are world renowned for the academic quality of our courses – this year we are welcoming over 1000 students to Oxford from 75 different nationalities. In May, the students from across India will get an authentic taste of Oxford as we would fly academics from Oxford University to India, for our unique and academically rigorous 10 day summer schools.
How does it help students individually?
Our courses are great preparation for university and studying abroad. Students studying with us receive exposure to world class teaching and educational excellence. Our tutors are all Oxford academics and have spent years honing their teaching skills. We also do provide tutors of the highest quality so students are learning from leaders in their field, ensuring they will gain knowledge which will boost their university application prospects and improve their grades.
Tell us about your tie-up with Univariety. Why did you choose it?
Oxford Summer Courses has been successfully working with guidance experts Univariety for a number of years. Due to their vast network of schools, we are able to elaborate more programs every year and serve more students with the authentic Oxford experience.
How do you administer these courses and student eligibility conditions?
Our courses are academically rigorous and so we are looking for motivated students who have a passion for their subject and good exam grades. If you are interested in studying with us in India this summer apply at http://oxfordsummercourses.com/india
Finally, can you share a perspective on trends in global education this year.
Student driven learning is a trend that has been emerging over the last few years and one that we embrace in our teaching at Oxford Summer Courses. Our tutors are now the facilitators of their students’ learning experience and our students now own their learning experience.