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If you are eyeing the Ivy League, start the preparations early: Manav Kakar



Manav Kakar

Manav Kakar is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science (Major in Computer Science) course from the prestigious University of British Columbia (UBC). Established in 1908, the university has been consistently ranked among the top 50 universities by various renowned ranking organisations. Manav, who completed his schooling from Appeejay School, Faridabad, shares important tips to get into the best universities in the world.

How has the school contributed to your growth?
I have studied in Apeejay School, Faridabd since Nursery. I was the Head Boy of the school for two consecutive years. I am a national level golfer and have also played outside India. I hold a black belt in karate. I have also represented my school numerous times in Model United Nations. Apeejay has played a critical role in shaping my all-round development. The school has supported me through thick and thin. It even rescheduled my exams due to my golf schedule. I would also like to thank the school for getting me in touch with the college counselling division – Hayden and Reynott. It provided all the requisite support and helped me ace my SAT and IELTS exams. I owe everything to my school.

What made you pick UBC?
I got selected in over 20 good universities.  The reason I picked UBC is because it’s the best university to pursue a degree in computer science. Another reason for picking UBC is that it has a huge golf course inside the campus. I have been playing golf since I was six years old. I can’t stop playing golf. In fact, UBC offers facilities for around 25 sports disciplines. A student, while picking the right university, should also keep in mind other factors such as finances, location, accommodation, research options, placement opportunities, etc.

When is the right time to start planning higher education abroad?
If you are eyeing the Ivy League, it’s better to start the preparations early. According to me, class 9 is the best time to begin your preparation. For example, if you want to ace the SAT, a standardised test widely used for college admissions in the United States, then you need to learn American English. As we are taught British English in schools, it could get tricky for some of the students to master American English. Hence, it’s important to start preparing early. I began my preparation from class 11 onwards. My sister is in class X of Apeejay School, Faridabad and we have already admitted her to the Hayden and Reynott setup.

How to prepare yourself for the admission in top foreign universities?               
First, get good academic scores. You need to work hard for it. There are no shortcuts. Secondly, get involved in extra-curricular activities. Top foreign universities are looking for candidates who have good all-round personalities. I have been involved in sports, inter-school competitions, social work, and leadership roles. This will help you stand out from the crowd. So, if you are really aiming for the top colleges and universities, don’t take extra-curricular activities for granted. Remember, a good academic score will not suffice. Thirdly, work on your essay writing skills. The essay is your chance to impress the committee with your thought process. Essays are used as a tool to evaluate a student’s critical thinking. Make sure you write from the heart. Don’t focus too much on grammar and facts. What the college committee wants to know are your views. Don’t shy away from seeking the help of your seniors and teachers.

What did you learn from your time in UBC?
One must be prepared to hit the ground running from the beginning. Unlike what you see in movies, college life is very hectic. I am taking online classes due to the pandemic. Due to the time difference between India and Canada, I start taking my classes around 9 pm and continue till 4:30 am. All my school life, I have gone to bed around 9:30 pm. It was a huge challenge for me, but you will have to bite the bullet to achieve better things in life.

“Without the active support and guidance of Apeejay School, Faridabad, I couldn’t have gotten into the University of British Columbia or any other prestigious university for that matter. It’s rightly said that the school is like a second home and teachers are like second mothers. Everything that I have achieved till now, I owe to my school. “

Manav Kakar

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]