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What old boys and parents say

What old boys and parents say

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What do the boys tell you

Jayant Mukhopadhaya, Cornell University,USA

“I chose to do Mechanical Engineering in Cornell University. I had initially applied on the basis of recommendations from Ms Namrata Pandey (NPY). I did some research on the programme and found that it was quite prestigious for its rigor and the popularity of Cornell Graduates in Aerospace companies like SpaceX. Dr Peter McLaughlin (PMC) also recommended the programme saying Cornell as an institution is thoroughly underrated and the quality of education is top notch and would be a great option. When I was accepted, I was not immediately convinced that I should go to Cornell over the likes of UIUC or Georgia Tech as their programmes are higher rated on online rankings.

The department and the headmaster helped me realize how important the whole process is and how important it is to start as early as possible with everything. They also taught me that the more time you spend on this, the better it is.
The institution you chose to continue your education in is going to be thoroughly life-changing much like Doon. You are going to be living with a completely different group of people in a new environment for the next few years and it is essential that you enjoy it. This means that the ranking of the program isn’t the only thing you should be taking into account. The setting of the campus, the ethos of the university, the type of courses offered, everything plays a big role. Even the weather plays a big role. For two consecutive years I have gotten lower grades in the winter months than the summer ones.
So far I have completed two years in Cornell and I am having a great time. I have great friends and an awesome environment for learning. I am doing fairly well academically. I have continued some of my interests from school here in college. I still play squash and design for a publication here like I did for the Yearbook. I will be working full time at the Particle Physics lab here in Cornell as a design engineer for 8 months.”

Kanishka Malik, Williams College, USA

Advice for boys in school:
“By the time I arrived in SC Form, the Careers Department was there to help me make informed decisions about the admissions process. NPY was always there when I needed her guidance.
IB prepared me well for college and also made for a stronger résumé.

Try to take the SAT-1 from the October/November of your S Form itself so that you have sufficient time for subsequent attempts. The sooner you get SAT out of the way, the better. Also, try to take the ACT, which is equally well recognized. You might do better in ACT than in SAT (or vice versa).

The essays hold a lot of weightage in the admissions application; your essay can be the deciding factor for an application. How you write your essay and what you write about varies from candidate to candidate, but what is essential is that it should reflect your qualities and values. It may be better to apply to fewer colleges and submit a few well-written essays than apply to many colleges with sub-standard essays. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the probability of your admission will improve with more application submissions; the quality of each application just declines.

A lot of you wonder whether you should study for your final IB exams once you receive a favourable decision. YOU SHOULD. If you obtain the right scores, IB will allow you to claim extra credits in college and save you a lot of valuable time.”

Vivek Santayana, University of Edinburgh

“I think literature and an analysis of language offers tremendous insight into the nature of politics, history, human behaviour, thought and relationships. I feel a study of literature exposes me to these ideas. It also trains me to develop my abilities of understanding and expressing these ideas. Above all, I enjoy doing this: I enjoy reading and thinking about texts and the world in relation. I also love writing. There are several reasons I chose Edinburgh. The first is the Edinburgh Festival, the largest cultural festival in the world.

It has the world’s finest productions of theatre, classical music and opera. It has the biggest literature festival, attracting the greatest living writers of today. It has one of the world’s most maverick and avant garde film festivals, with thought-provoking and philosophically profound films being showcased. The cultural landscape is the most enriching out of any city in the world, and the University is part of this tradition. It has always been a dream city to be in, and to study in. Moreover, the Scottish degree system is more flexible. It allows me to study outside courses as extra subjects along with my main degree programme, which I find stimulating and exciting. Edinburgh has the oldest English Department in the world and it awards the oldest and most prestigious literary prize of all, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

The only real preparation for university is intellectual discipline. While applications and CVs might seem an immediate concern, and while it is natural to invest a lot of effort in impressing an admissions panel, getting into university is ultimately insignificant compared to doing well in university in the first place. In a university, with all of the freedom and responsibility of living independently as an adult, what really matters is passion for something, be it academics or any form of interest and activity, the discipline to pursue that passion with rigour and focus, the humility to accept mistakes along the learning curve and, above all, the honesty and conscientiousness to be a better person. While it may not seem important at first, it is all that makes the difference in the long run in university, when distinctions become clear between those who groom themselves for an admissions process and those who have real passion and enthusiasm for growing intellectually.

My grades are consistently very good. I’ve made lots of people proud, and I hope to keep this up. Everything I said about passion, discipline and honesty, I’d like to think it’s all true, and I’d like to think I prove its worth. I love what I study and I love what I do.”

Utkarsh Garg University of Waterloo

“I chose to study Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I selected UW for its worldwide famous comprehensive co-op programme and also because it runs the world’s largest co-op program. Other than that, it is considered one of the best engineering schools in Canada. UW’s concrete academic program combined with the co-op programme gives one more than required experience and knowledge to settle in the real world after graduation.

I always wanted to study something which can not only provide me the necessary technical knowledge but also the management skills and knowledge which are required in this super competitive market. I chose a typically very new programme called Management Engineering. It combines technical and managerial knowledge along with opportunities to develop problem-solving abilities, communication and interpersonal skills, project management experience and over that teamwork and leadership skills. It is an integrated programme combining courses from Information Technology, Operations Research, Supply Chain Management, Mechanical and Materials Science Engineering and also Management of Technology.

I am extremely thankful to the Careers department for always being there to help me throughout the process of applying to colleges. Everyone in the department is really helpful and they always go the extra mile to help you get through this process. One thing which I learned to a great extent during my SC Form was time management skill. They told me that applications couldn’t be done overnight and you have to start early. Over the hectic Sciences workload and also other co-curricular activities and sports, I always used to devote 1 hour everyday to college planning and application process. Due to this, I managed to finish all the applications and apply to all the colleges before the end of the second term of SC Form. This left me with 2 months of holidays to just concentrate on my upcoming board exams. Not only this, I got a reply from all the colleges within 45 days and I did not have to worry about colleges till the end of school.

Even after I finished school, I was in touch with Mrs. Pandey who was constantly guiding me with what to do. She even helped me set up an appointment with one of the admissions officers from the University of Waterloo in Delhi.

According to me, the earlier you start the better you will be. One should avail all the resources available at the Career Counselling Department and spend substantial time of their summer vacations in SC Form working on various applications and college planning. Also, many universities, for example universities in the UK, keep giving out admission offers as they receive applications, so it is a benefit for those who apply early. It also leaves you with a lot of time to decide where one wants to finally go for college.

University has been a tough as well as a fun ride till now. Settling in a new place 10,000 miles away from your home and getting accustomed to it is not easy. The workload I had in my SC Form while pursuing sciences was nothing as compared to the Engineering workload. But in spite of that I really enjoy the wide array of courses I am studying here. I also have to constantly apply for co-op jobs and fill in applications over the second semester. But all the hard work has already started paying off. I was hired by a web development firm at the end of the very first year for a paid position of a web analyst for a period of four months. Overall, it has been a superb experience.”

Utkarsh also received offers from University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Bristol, Loughborough University, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, UK and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Read what our parents have to say

Mrs K whose son is at University of Pennsylvania and had offers from many other Ivy Leagues and the University of Chicago:

Q: What influenced your decision most about the choice of colleges and universities for your son?

 

A: Candidly speaking, two years ago when we started this process, we were both clueless and skeptical about sending our son overseas for his undergraduate education. At first, we did not have a clear picture of the differences between the education systems in India and in other nations across the globe, and so; we were quite reserved about sending our child overseas. However, our decision changed when we attended the presentations given by the Careers Department on the PTMs throughout our son’s S form. The presentations helped us realize the true value of a liberal arts education and the skills it imparted for one to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Since then, we were very keen on sending our child to the United States and Mrs. Pandey helped us from the very start by telling us how to research and shortlist colleges and universities from a wide choice of schools. While, we kept in mind our aim of providing our son with a stellar education, the most important aim was to find universities that were academically suitable for his interests. The Careers Department assisted us in our goal and helped us by sending spreadsheets with researched notes on several colleges that matched Pranay’s interests and this helped us shortlist our final set of colleges.

Q: How did the Careers Department assist you and your son to make an informed decision? Please elaborate with brief evidence of the advice being informative, unbiased and personalized.

I particularly remember from the very first meeting in S form, Mrs. Pandey gave a realistic view of the selectivity of the Ivy League colleges and the slight probability for international students to gain admission to these dream schools. Nevertheless, throughout the two years, the Department was committed in helping both our son and us to fulfill our dreams. Given Pranay’s focus and potential, we were confident that he would be able to get into one of his dream schools and with Mrs. Pandey’s support we were able to model his timeline for the two years. Besides this, the Careers Department kept note of Pranay’s attendance for the SAT classes through the two years and given their commitment, our son was able to attain an almost perfect score on the SAT subject tests and a very strong score on the SAT reasoning.

However, the time when Mrs. Pandey helped our son make an informed decision was during the early admission cycle. Given the binding nature of offers made in the early round, Mrs. Pandey convinced Pranay to give himself a chance and apply to his dream school and overlook the statistical possibility. I remember Pranay was flustered and nervous in the month of October and was going to apply to a lower school in order to guarantee himself admission. But, Mrs. Pandey spent hours counselling Pranay and making him understand that the purpose of the early round was to apply to the school that was your first choice and not look at the acceptance rates. Even though, Pranay was deferred in the early round from his first choice, we believe that it was the wisest choice that our son was told to make. Had Pranay not given himself a chance, he would have regretted his decision and never known what the result would have been. While Pranay was devastated and demotivated after the results came out in mid December, the Careers Department called him and motivated him to complete his applications to other schools. They made him realize that he was a strong applicant and would be able to make it to one of the top schools and helped him with the editing of his final set of essays. Even after the application process was over, the Careers Department spent hours counseling Pranay in February and March to maintain his focus and finish his IB examination on a strong note. Given the continued effort of the Careers Department, Pranay made it to half of the Ivy League schools and other top schools including the University of Chicago and Northwestern. Today, as Pranay prepares to join the University of Pennsylvania this fall, we as his parents feel proud of his accomplishment and would like to give full credit to Mrs. Pandey’s team for their hard work in helping our son navigate through all elements of the application process. After two years, we feel that the relationship that we have fostered with the Careers Department is a strong everlasting bond that helped us turn our dream into a reality by means of their constant support. We would like to thank the Careers Department for fostering this relationship with our family and supporting our son in our absence.

Q: Do you have any constructive comments that would help to inform and guide parents in the future?

 

A: After watching our son closely over the last two years, we would like to say that the admissions process is both daunting and competitive and the best way to navigate through this process is to begin early. Communication with the Careers Department and your son during these two years is critical as there are various myths that come up over this period. As a parent, it is very important to work along with your son and research and shortlist universities that are most fit for him. If possible make your child visit a few of these universities and colleges over his vacations to give him a true picture about the life at these universities. Our son visited Columbia, Harvard and MIT and this influenced his final choice of colleges and also helped him write better college-specific essays. In addition to this, we advise that your son attends all the events planned by the Careers Department in school, as most of these events will be of great help to your son. Finally we would suggest that it is very important to be there for your child at all times over the two years as this time is highly stressful as students are constantly juggling academics, applications and other activities. We advise that it’s best to maintain effective communication with your child and reach out to the Careers Department with all your queries and problems. With the help of the Careers Department, our son was able to overcome his anxieties and so we highly recommend all parents to seek the Department’s guidance constantly.

Mr and Mrs S parents of Ritesh who is currently at Cornell University

‘While a number of factors influenced Ritesh’s college decision, increased awareness about the U.S. application process clearly proved to be the most significant one. To be honest, all the way till the beginning of Ritesh’s SC form, we were planning to apply only to colleges in India, especially the Delhi University. Thinking back on it I realize that it was so only due to the lack of information about the options available abroad. Thankfully, such unawareness was wiped out just in time by many of the Careers Department’s efforts out of which the guidebook released at the beginning of the year can be said to be the most influential one. It made us change our direction of research of colleges. It also provided a pathway to a well-thought decision making. Then the various e-mails with information and also the deadlines for various actions to be taken, presentations at PTM and one to one discussions with NPY and PNL were all supportive in coming to a clear line of action.

Apart from all, I would like to mention about the Aptitude test that Ritesh was made to take in A form which really helped us make informed decision regarding his subject choices and choice of courses to be taken in the college. At that time when Ritesh had decided to opt for Chartered Accountancy, the Careers Department had helped us chalk out a plan in that direction. Later, when we decided to opt for the options abroad, the Department provided us with all the required information including the financial aspects of the process. The choice of country, university and the course was again based, to a great extent, on the result of the Aptitude test. Thus while it let us make the decisions, the Careers Department always provided us with all the information and guidance in line with these decisions in an unbiased and personalized manner. All the queries we had were personally answered by either NPY or PNL. Also Ritesh was allowed personal meetings every time he had questions.

I would request the parents of future boys, to be open to all the information and guidance that the Careers Department strives to provide and come to a proper decision with cool mind instead of getting influenced by any preconceived ideas and making premature decisions. I would also suggest them to avoid procrastination both in decision making and the actions to be taken for that. It’s the team work of the student, the school and the parents. So, the parents need to contribute their share.
I wish all such students and their parents all the best in their endeavours.
I express my gratitude towards The Doon School for making Ritesh competent to achieve greater and greater heights.’

Mr and Mrs S parent of Sumer, who is currently at the University of Virginia, USA

Q. What influenced your decision most about the choice of colleges and universities for your son?

 

A. Our decision was greatly influenced by several factors including academic reputation, strength of the Economics department within a strong Liberal Arts setup and the advice of the Careers Department. Our visit to select colleges was also very helpful.

Q. How did the Careers Department assist you and your son to make an informed decision? Please elaborate with brief evidence of the advice being informative, unbiased and personalised?

 

A. The Careers Department provided an excellent roadmap on the complete college application process, and with regular interaction with Sumer and us, the Department ensured that all deadlines were adhered to. Further, the Department gave valuable advice from an early stage on what activities (sports, extracurricular, social service etc.) Sumer should concentrate on and what level of achievement he should aim for in these activities. The Department had an excellent insight on the strengths of the various colleges and helped us in making a realistic shortlist. The accessibility to Namrata and her team has been excellent and they were well aware of the progress being made by Sumer on all fronts. Finally, the Careers Department has done a commendable job in ensuring that the Admission departments in all reputed colleges in the US are well aware of Doon and its strengths and this is further evident by the fact that most of the top US Universities visited Doon for Info Sessions and interaction with the boys.

Q. Do you have any constructive comments that would help to inform and guide parents in the future?

 

A. Start early and work closely with the Careers Department which has developed a structured and proven process of applying to colleges and is building an ever increasing capability and expertise to help our sons find the best college for them.

Mr and Mrs A parents of Udbhav. Udbhav is now at Vassar in the USA having also been awarded the ILOT award at UBC, Canada.

Q. What influenced your decision most about the choice of colleges and universities for your son?

 

A. One of the earliest reasons why we thought of sending our son to pursue his undergraduate education abroad was the collective decision to let him pursue the IB Diploma Programme, made in consultation with the Careers Department. Other factors that were kept in mind were his SAT scores, request for financial aid and the choice of programs. It goes without saying that the ultimate resource to finally zero down on a college list was the Careers Department, which helped in developing and more importantly strategizing a college/university list that would be most affective keeping all these considerations in mind. For example, with the financial aid criterion in mind, we were helped to reject those colleges that had lower admit rates for financial aid in the past few years, saving much more work and effort. All in all, we as parents left the onus on the Department to make a choice for the list of colleges, and we are extremely happy with the ultimate result.

Q. How did the Careers Department assist you and your son to make an informed decision? Please elaborate with brief evidence of the advice being informative, unbiased and personalised?

 

A. The Careers Department was instrumental at almost every stage of the college admissions process, giving accurate though blunt advice on all occasions. The toughest decisions that we as parents had to make was to zero down to a list of countries, choice of programs and choice of colleges. Over multiple meetings with the Careers team, all of these lists were made in a way that was both personal, unbiased and most importantly unimposing. Though as parents, we always want to make our children apply to the best of the best universities and top-tier colleges, it is the Careers Department which made the necessary decision of what can be called a calculated risk when it comes to acing the US admissions process. A case in point was to apply to Cornell University as an Early Decision choice, which covered all the aspects that we were looking for, most importantly Financial Aid. If it hadn’t been for the Careers Department we would have chosen to apply to a college such as University of Pennsylvania, purely because it had better rankings, without knowing that the aid package at that university was limited and in most cases unsuccessful.
Another aspect that the Careers Department handled almost single-handedly was the final applications and the essays – a complicated task carried out effortlessly. The technicalities and the formalities of finally drafting the essays and sending the applications, in retrospect, was never once brought to our notice and for us it was as if it never existed. As parents we were always at ease with the Admissions process, only because the Careers Department proved to be informative, unbiased, and personalized in equal measure at any given occasion.

Q. Do you have constructive support and feedback in order to inform and guide parents in the future?

 

A. A piece of advice that we think is easier said than done is to make calculated decisions rather than instinctive ones. Moreover, when in doubt or faced with two ways, trust the Careers Department and the decisions they are making.

Mrs S, parent of Shivaan who received multiple offers from London Colleges and is currently at Duke University in the USA.

We made our list of colleges based on:

  • The reputation of the college
  • Shivaan’s subject choice
  • To some extent the location
  • Last but not the least the choice was made keeping in mind his SAT scores and transcripts.

The Careers Department was instrumental in always encouraging and motivating Shivaan to believe he could do better with his choice (aim higher) and that worked as now he has offers from some of the top colleges. Our visits to some colleges were organised by the department in an efficient manner making it ever so convenient for us. We would like to advise the boys and parents to visit some of the universities they are considering on their list if it is financially feasible. If we can be of any help in the future do let us know.

Mr K father of Hamza. Hamza received an offer from Imperial College, London and chose Harvey Mudd College, USA.

Q. What influenced my decision?

My son, Hamza, wanted to go abroad for his studies after passing out of the school. My only advice to him was that if he goes there, I will allow him to go to only the best colleges anywhere, similar to what we did when we were looking at schools for him. Since I have completed my postgraduation degrees from London, I am aware of the prestige and reputation of colleges there. I had done my own bit of research, but I did not push my son for any particular college or university. I left it to Hamza to decide and the advice and guidance from Namrata Ma’am was how he chose where to apply.

Q. Please comment upon the assistance provided by the Careers Department.

 

A. The Careers Department was more than helpful to me and Hamza. Ms. Namrata Pandey was a guide Hamza had and we relied on her totally for her guidance, advice and support.
The information on different colleges and universities around the world, their advantages and drawbacks, their hostel and other living facilities, the campus life and the opportunities available therein were fully explained to us. The best part was that the information given was frank and unbiased and we received patient answers to our queries, in a reassuring manner that made us feel comfortable in discussing things with them – well for us it was mainly Ms. Namrata Pandey.
The truth is that the Careers Department did everything – preparing Hamza’s career graph from B form onwards, preparing for SAT and other exams, making him fill out the forms, take the exams, go to meet the teams of different colleges visiting the school, giving the right advice about the extracurricular activities and how they help the colleges in deciding on the applicants admission chances, filling out the forms, guiding in their writing of essays, such an essential part of the college applications. They did virtually everything. I would have been left running from pillar to post had Ms. Namrata Pandey and the Careers Department not been there to help us out.
I am indebted to Ms. Pandey and her team and to all the other staff members of the school who have been a great help to my son. The teachers have been of tremendous support in helping out Hamza with his essays and preparations. I am grateful to the Head Master for his guidance and support for Hamza’s essays and especially for helping Hamza prepare for the interview with Imperial College London. All this added up to him being offered a place at Imperial.

Q. Feedback for parents, why you have no need to go anywhere else for advice!

After having interacted with the Careers Department at the school, I was advised by some friends to discuss things with other ‘professional’ advisors in New Delhi and other places. I interacted with a few of them mainly because Hamza wanted to do some classes as preparation for his SAT exam. It was okay for that part but for the information on schools they were not very clear, at least that was what appeared to me. I decided on going with the advice of Ms. Pandey and the Careers Department for a few important reasons:

  • They were aware of my son’s academic and co-curricular record as they were keeping track of it since he was in B Form
  • The support of the teaching staff of the school is a great help – again they know the capabilities of my son better. Once they are told by the Careers Department what needs to be done (Essays etc) they can do wonders.
  • Ms. Pandey and her team are available 24/7 to the boys where they can discuss things in much greater detail and at a different level than what can be discussed elsewhere in a half hour appointment. If they don’t have an answer right away or have a better and more informed answer the next day they call the boys and discuss again with him.
  • Having seen the boy progress in school and having documented the growth and the good points and the drawbacks, I feel that they can give more suitable and probably most appropriate advice to the boys.
  • But you have to trust them fully, express all your doubts, ask all sorts of questions and satisfy yourself. They satisfied all my queries and I am happy.
  • Cost involved and time consumed.

In the end it did turn out well for my sons as far as his offers went. He got his dream colleges in both UK and USA.

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