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Guides

5 Concrete Ways Universities Can Alleviate Student Frustration in the Midst of the COVID-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens and additional restrictions are put on place around the world, the impact on education is becoming more and more visible. Universities around the world are struggling to keep up with the logistical, operational, and reputational challenges unraveling with remote education.

One of the biggest challenges faced by colleges today is the growing sense of frustration of students regarding campus closure. Hundreds of thousands of students paid billions of dollars in full-tuition expecting to live the “on-campus experience” that these universities are famous for. Additionally, expecting in-person interactions, seminars, exchange programs and most importantly networking events and job fairs. Many students are even requesting full tuition refunds. As well as, incoming students, are threatening to rescind their acceptance offers if the university campuses remain close.

It is critically important that universities carefully manage this feeling of frustration, and support students impacted by the crisis. Since the way, they handle the crisis will define their reputation for many years to come.

Below are a few actionable recommendations, we advise universities to consider with the goal of improving their student’s well-being in these difficult times.

1. Offer Partial Refunds on Tuition Fees 

For periods during which the campuses were closed, universities should consider offering partial tuition refunds. This would alleviate the feeling of frustration current students are facing after being deprived of the full on-campus experience.

Universities should review their current cost structure and drastically reduce and eliminate any unnecessary operating costs with utmost diligence. Namely, cutting down costs and redirecting any budgets that were destined to in-person interactions/activities (conferences, supplies, transportation, utilities, and so on). Universities with endowment funds should also consider funneling a part of their funds into funding these partial refunds.

Not only students will appreciate this method, but the university will also earn a stellar reputation among prospective applicants. The university will be seen as an institution that invests in ensuring quality of outcomes and experience for its graduates.

2. Offer steep discounts on certifications/trainings

Universities that offer short degrees and certifications should also consider offering steep discounts and even complimentary seats for students that are currently enrolled in one of their programs. 

During this confinement, many students have a lot of time that they are keen to invest in upskilling themselves to become more employable after the crisis. Many universities today are already offering certification courses through the MOOC platform. In this case, providing students access to these resources additionally to personalized coaching/learning plans will play a significant role in improving the student’s experience. For example, including a negotiation certification program as part of a Masters in International Relations, or bundling an advanced Spanish course with a Masters in Economic Development.

Doing this, universities will support their students by increasing their chances of employability post-crisis. Furthermore, it would increase the popularity of the university’s lifelong learning programs and disrupt their own model of education.

3. Provide significant emotional support

Aside from financial support, students – especially international ones – may be struggling emotionally. These difficult times require a complete change of mindset and behavior, and not everyone can easily adapt. Imagine yourselves in the shoes of a new coming student right now – you have scored your dream school. You’re excited to begin your journey in a new country, but instead, you have to stay home and adapt. This is the time to expand the university’s psychological students’ support and do everything in their power to make them feel cared for. 

They should also tap into the student’s networks, (student reps, TAs, community leaders) to ensure everyone has their eyes and ears open. In order to quickly identify struggling students and bring them to the attention of the appropriate parties.

4. Call on their alumni network to help current students

Universities should also tap into their alumni network to provide support in these difficult times. Beyond financial support, alumni should invest their time and connections in mentoring current batches of students.

By structuring cross-generational coaching and mentorship programs, universities can scale their resources through an infinite pool of alums. Alumni will have a concrete way to give back to their alma-maters, by investing time in coaching them, helping them find internships/jobs, or listening to their concerns and reassuring them. In addition, ensure that these students are being nurtured and cared for.

5. Offer income-based deferred tuition plans

Many current and prospective students are currently concerned about the scarcity of financial resources. With the unavailability of on-campus jobs, as well as lenders refraining from giving out loans during these uncertain times, students are getting desperate about funding their education.

Universities need to step in and provide alternatives for their students. One of the most equitable and novel ways of doing this is to offer deferred tuition plans, either for the full tuition or for a portion of the tuition. These deferral options could either have minimal or preferably 0% interest rate and should target struggling students. They can also be extended to incoming students, and can
be used as a selling point in attracting the best and brightest talents to the university.

We also believe that universities should go even further and boldly tie this financing to the educational outcomes. Pinning Income Share Agreements is a novel financing mechanism where students only pay back once they start earning.

At Edbridg, we help universities and training institutions put together deferred tuition plans through Income Share Agreements. We design, operate, maintain deferred tuition plans, end to end, and help universities through each step of the way. 

We are extending our support in these difficult times to all the educational institutions looking to explore this as a viable and equitable way of attracting talented students.

Feel free to contact us at contact@edbridg.com if you have any questions.

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News

How the Coronavirus Outbreak is EXPOSING the Failure of Student Loans

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, concerns surrounding rising unemployment rates, companies going on lay-off sprees and talks of recession have started gaining momentum. In these uncertain times, it’s hard not to worry about your finances, particularly if you’re a student or a recent graduate with student loans. Many prospective students are rightfully thinking twice about taking out high interest loans to pay for university tuition. This crisis and the looming economic recession has really exposed the weaknesses of current education financing loans, mainly that:

They do not protect students against job loss:

Probably the biggest flaw of student loans is that they do not offer any protection to students against job loss. This highly inflexible nature of student loans in times of crises ultimately puts huge financial burden on students particularly if they have recently been furloughed or laid off from their place of employment. Most student loan providers will still expect to be paid regardless of your financial situation. On top of that, if you skip payments, you can find yourself in even more debt since interest accrues over time. And while deferment and forbearance programs do exist so as to allow students to pause their payments on their student loans and still remain in good standing during economic uncertainty, these programs do not always apply to all types of student loans. 

The interest rates will increase 

Most student loan providers have variable interest rates, which can increase significantly during times of crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of students questioning whether now is a good time to make their student loan payments. The fact of the matter is, that majority of the student loan interest rates are likely to increase. This can become quite burdensome for graduates in the long run. And even though the government is taking measures to pause all interest rate increments, these benefits are unlikely to extend to all kinds of student loans, like private loans, for example. 

They create a stressful debt burden

With the financial burden of traditional student loans, graduates may find it incredibly difficult to achieve some stability in these uncertain times. Student loans can end up exerting tremendous financial pressure and create a stressful debt burden for graduates, making it difficult for them to get back on their feet. What graduates need right now is a virtuous break to recover from this situation without going bankrupt and student loans are increasingly making it difficult for them to do so. 
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to expose the flaws of student loans, we desperately need a change in the system. Many industry experts are touting Income Share Agreements as the best alternative to traditional student loans. Income Share Agreements are contracts where students pay back a fixed percentage of their income for a fixed duration only when they are employed. They are very flexible, and provide an insurance against job loss. To explore this more affordable alternative to traditional student loans, sign up at www.edbridg.com

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Expert tips

Top 12 tips to ace your admission interviews

Having crafted your essays, nailed the admission tests, tightened your resume, and cajoled your leadership and professors for a letter of recommendation, everything is set to for the last step: interviewing for your dream program.

The admission committee will extend you an invitation for an interview. This can typically be done either in-person or via skype. While it is not merely a formality, the purpose of the interview is for the committee to meet you, get to know you better and be convinced that you deserve a spot in their class.

Tips:

• The Weeks Leading Up To Your Interview: Keep up with your morning news routine, and read through your application until you know it inside and out. The interviewer will refer to specifics from your application, and the quickest and easiest way to blow your shot (besides being late to your interview!) is to appear unfamiliar with – or worse yet, to actually contradict – your application.

• The Day Before: Do a last-minute read of the news sites and blogs (especially those pertaining to your industry/interests) to make sure nothing big breaks without you knowing. And plenty of sleep the night before

• Keep your overall look clean and professional. Suit color and style should be simple and classy; avoid the colorful, vibrant palette instead opt for neutral, subtle tones.  Don’t wear a blazer with shorts underneath even if it’s a skype interview.

• Relax and be yourself. This is one of the most important keys to preparation. Be honest with yourself and your interviewer. Lying about any aspect of your experience is an impending disaster – and it’s just wrong. If you have to lie to get in, you don’t deserve to be accepted. 

• Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Think about what might concern him or her about your application and practice addressing those issues. Think about how you would explain any cultural differences that might confuse your interviewer (e.g. types of undergraduate degrees, company details). 

• Have several good questions prepared to ask your interviewer, although you’ll most likely be left with time for only one (if that). 

• Be able to explain why you are passionate about your topic (both in the present and the past) and how the school will help you to achieve your future goals. 

• Your interviewer will likely be glancing at his or her watch constantly to keep track of time. This can be extremely disconcerting, so be prepared! 

• Don’t let it throw you for a loop if your interviewer is furiously scribbling on his or her notepad the entire 30 minutes. Many interviewers will be more focused on taking notes than on carrying on a so-called “conversation.” That’s OK, even to be expected. 

• Some interviewers won’t ever interrupt you with a follow-up question or even with a new question. Rather, they’ll let you keep talking until the cows come home, so know when to shut up! Just answer the question, then stop talking and allow your interviewer room to ask another. 

• On the other hand, some interviewers will pepper you with questions and frequently cut you off. Try to avoid becoming frustrated with the rapid fire nature and just roll with the punches. 

• Practice, practice, practice!!! (And do it before your interview.) Practice in front of the mirror, in the shower, and with your friends and family. 

For more tips and tricks on getting to your dream school subscribe to our newsletter and visit our website: www.edbridg.com

Categories
Guides

Part 4: Applying for schools

Once you have established the specific program you want to pursue, comes the important step of choosing which university to apply to. This admission to universities in the UK

depends greatly on:

• Your academic profile

• Your application package (essays, resume and recommendation letters)

• Your test scores

• Your financials

Your list should include at least 3-4 universities. Base your choices on the factors you deem important

Tips: 

Know what you are optimizing for whether it is brand, geographical location, post program career path, and prioritize accordingly

Apply early as first cycle batches typically have the biggest intakes 

Request informational interviews with admission staffs and current students

Always include a safe choice university, one where you are certain to obtain an admission

Finding the best school for you within a limited budget might be very challenging.

Choose the school of your dream and leave the financing part on us For more info visit  www.edbridg.com

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Guides

Part 3: Collecting recommendation letters

Admission in the United Kingdom relies heavily on the quality of your recommendation letters. Your recommenders should be people who know you well enough to write a highly personalized letter for you. You would typically be requested to submit 3 recommendation letters per program. The generic ones (Student X is serious, vigorous and all positive words in the English dictionary) will most likely do you more harm than good.

You also should ask your recommender to supplement his praise with specific examples and

instances where you demonstrated these qualities

Tips:

Choose your recommenders carefully. They need to be able to speak about you inside and outside the workplace

• Pick people who know you well

• Pick people who have seen you over time

• Pick people who think you’re REALLY great (exaggeration helps

Approach your recommenders early on and get their approval

• Make sure your recommenders are on-board to write the letter 3-

4 months before the deadline

• Reach out to your recommenders ~1 month before deadline

Select recommenders who have a high success rate

For more info visit www.edbridg.com

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Guides

Part 2: Crafting Admission Essays

Graduate schools in the United Kingdom will typically request you to submit at least two essays: a Personal Statement and a Statement of Purpose (or Research Statement). Some

schools will request you to submit additional essays as well.

• The personal statement describe how your life experiences prepared you for that specific graduate school program. If you think about it as a timeline, it should focus on your past and your present

• The statement of purpose is your projections of what you will do during your graduate program, and how that is going to impact your career and life. It should focus on your present and future. These essays are your opportunity to tell your story to the

admission committee

Tips:

  • Retrospect to understand who you are, and what life events best convey that and tell your story on why you should be granted that admission.
  • Avoid looking at essay templates as much as possible, it is the number one enemy to crafting authentic and original essays.
  • Have your essays reviewed by friends and mentors you trust, especially ones that attended your dream schools. 
  • Follow the limits (if imposed) by attempting to be +/- 10% off the
  • required word limit.

Edbridg is here to help you fund your education at some of the world’s top international schools.

For more info visit www.edbridg.com

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Guides

Part 1: Preparing and taking exams

Access to graduate school depends greatly on how well you do on standardized tests, mainly the GMAT or GRE.

Both tests consist of 3 sections:

  1. Verbal section: tests your logical verbal reasoning
  2. Quantitative section: tests the sharpness of your analytical skills
  3. Writing/Essays: tests your capacity to think and write critically about a given topic

While GMAT focuses more on your business-related topics and tends to be more quant-heavy, GRE, on the other hand, covers a variety of topics (from arts to biology) and tends to be more verbal-heavy. 

Both tests are valid for 5 years

Tips:

  1. Start early: preparing for these exams can be tricky, especially for applicants from non-American universities. Start as early as possible and dedicate at least 1-2 months to study.
  2. Learn how to beat the test: getting high scores is also about having a clear strategy.
  3. Practice on full tests: as the exam date gets closer, make sure you take at least two full practice tests in similar conditions to those of the test center.

Resources:

  • GMAT website: interactive video lessons, webinars, and practice full tests. 
  • Manhattan series: for verbal/quant review resources (the application is free to install with 2 practice tests, additional tests may be purchased at 50 USD per 2 tests). 
  • GMAT Club: is a community to exchange information, experiences, and resources.
  • Magoosh.com: online test preparation for on-the-go practice.
  • Veritas Prep Videos: contain useful strategy tips (interactive platform)

Whether you’re busy studying for your GMAT or waiting on your admits, there’s something else you should be doing too. Now is the best time to start putting your b-school budget into order. You’ll need it to apply for a loan and to secure your international study visa. Feel at ease, Edbridg is here to help.

For more info visit www.edbridg.com

Categories
Expert tips

Admission Ladder

Ever felt lost in the process of kicking off your career? 

Organizing yourself and getting ready for the next big thing is key to get into your dream school. 

We created for you 5 articles that sum up the process, including a bunch of tips and resources that might be helpful for you. In these articles we’ll cover 5 main topics:

  • Preparing and taking exams
  • Crafting admission essays 
  • Collecting recommendations letters 
  • Applying for schools
  • Sitting for interviews 

Undertaking this procedure requires dedication and motivation to make the best out of each step, whenever you feel down or tired whether it’s in preparing for a big exam or in crafting admission essays always remember your end goal, not giving your best may jeopardize your shot in getting into your dream university.

Once you’ve gotten into your dream school, we can help you out with the loan to get there. A 30-minute application is all it takes.

For more info visit edbridg.com