Summer Holiday dilemma!! Jul25

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Summer Holiday dilemma!!

Summer holidays are the best time of the year to unwind, and self-reflect. What were your weak areas and how can you improve them for the next year. The time you gave your 11th-grade CIE exams till the Final A level CIE exams, it is important that you understand the importance of the summer break and utilize it to the maximum.
If you have just got done with your O levels exams and have three months off till your A levels starts September you can;

Volunteer!!! Catch up on the community hours, volunteer in one or more organizations. Ideally at least thirty hours, but you have three months you can easily get more done. You can brush up your mathematics if you are planning to take it as a subject in A level. If you are thinking of switching from science to commerce, kindly do yourself a favor, study accounting in the summer so you can keep up with almost masters level accounting in A level.

Read, Read, Read and Read, let it be economics and business to get to know about a subject or about the new technology in airplane industry or the new car technology or just a simple novel. Register and prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). For details, you can refer to my article on SAT Simplified.

Make sure you have enrolled and secured admission in the A level college you wish to study. Don’t wait till the result day for this, if you are aiming for scholarship it is usually on first come first serve basis and you will lose the opportunity if you wait till the result day. Once you get the result get the formalities of equivalence under way. It is a mandatory requirement by all Pakistani universities.

Last but not the least work on your health; join a gym, a cycling club or the HIIT classes in town to keep yourself fit during the long break.
If you have just given As level exams and have two months of summer break you should  get your CNIC, Passports made as you will be required to show them as your identity document for future exams and also if you plan to apply abroad. If you have still not made your O level equivalence, it is about time you make it.

You can appear for IBA test. If you clear the test it is valid for 16 months. All those planning to sit for your SAT exams in October register as soon as possible because the exams center’s tend to fill up quickly. You will register online and pay online via credit card if you do not have one you can ask friends or family to help with the payment. It is advisable to give SAT 1 with the essay. For more information regarding SAT, I and II you can refer to my article SAT simplified.

Start your university search. Discuss with the family about the budget and the countries you are allowed to consider for higher education. If you are aiming for scholarship make sure you look in too early application deadlines and if any extra document and essay requirements. University applications require certain documents that are to be endorsed by the school administration and your counselor in school, make a list of the documents so that once the school starts you can discuss with the concerned person. Start working on your personal statement and college essays.

Start compiling your achievements and certificates from grade 9th onwards, ideally you should scan all your documents and have them in soft copy for easy uploads. Make sure you read the scan document/ attachment requirements. If you still do not have any community service hours it’s about time you get some done. Once school resumes, get in touch with your counselors, discuss your plan of action.

If you are done with A level examinations, Congratulations mission accomplished. But getting into the university is still the last stretch. Mostly student loses focus during this time and end up making wrong decisions. The most important thing to do is to stay connected with your counselor, especially when you are feeling confused. Your counselor is one person who will be unbiased and will be a source of relief.

Prioritize; keep your eye on the goal. Generally by this time you have your offers from the foreign universities and test results from local universities. If you are certain about your choice then, pay, get going with visa requirements. If not then try short listing and analyzing the pros and cons of each university till you make your final choice.

Students applying for medical and engineering universities can start preparing for the entrance test. Students applying for art schools can start working on their portfolios or their drawing skills. Make sure you have collected any pending certificates and documents from school as many schools are closed for some part of the summer break. If by any chance you have applied late to a foreign university and you are awaiting a reply, apply and sit for the local university admission tests, you need back up options till your admission is finalized.

In whatever category you fall, just do not forget to reach out to your friends, have fun with your family and enjoy the summer break.

The writer is a Career Advisor at one of the private schools in Karachi. The advice shared here is generic and it may differ with case to case basis. To discuss your case, get in touch with your school counselor.