Thursday, February 9, 2017

Preparing for College - Part I

Hello guys,
Hope you're doing well today!
Pursuing further studies in Kuwait needs a lot of patience, bravery and commitment. The procedures are long, tiresome and most of all confusing. What's worse? Everyone tells you a different thing to do. Being a recent graduate was hard. Especially when I didn’t know what to do, where to go and how to apply. It took me months to find out one single fact and then I even wasted lots of money getting the wrong information from the wrong people. But I learnt a lot of things on the way.
 I believe it's better to learn from other's mistakes than committing your own and learning from them. So I am sharing with you what I eventually learnt in the end - How to prepare for college in the right way and at the right time.
This will be a series of posts where I will breakdown college preparation during high school, after high school and just before starting college.
Since I believe it's always better to start early, this post is all about what you have to do while you're in high school to prepare for the days to come.

Decide on a major: 

The first and foremost thing to do is to choose a major. You need to know what your aims and goals for the future are. You have to evaluate yourself. Find out your skills, your passions, your goals and aims and connect them all to a major. Doing this will ensure that you study what you love and love what you study. Trust me, this will really help you in the long run so you can stay motivated and focused. Take out a sheet of paper and a pen (or grab the free college preparation worksheet by subscribing) and get to work. Start listing all the skills, hobbies and passions you have. Now look at them and figure out the common link. If your skills, hobbies and passions are something related to baking, cooking or eating, it's obvious you'll choose either a culinary course. If you are more inclined towards buildings and their structures you could major in Architecture, Similarly, maybe you are good at explaining things to people which can help you in taking up a major in Education. After you're done finding a common link, it'll now be easier to find a major. List out all the possible majors and careers related to them on the next line along with a few backup majors.

Research on Colleges :

 The next step is to start looking for colleges. Some of the questions that will help you find the best college are -
  • Do I want to study online or offline?
  • Where do I want to study, Kuwait or abroad?
  • Which colleges offer the major I want?
  • What are the fees for the colleges?
  • What is the application process?
  • Are the colleges affiliated and accredited to any other university ? Does the degree from the college hold any value?
  • What co-curricular activities or clubs are offered?
  • What is the location of the college?
  • What are the timings of the classes offered and what timings are suitable for me?
You can add more questions according to your needs and your queries but always remember to do a thorough research on each and every college you wish to apply in.
Some colleges offer campus tours, make use of these tours to ask any questions you have or you can check out their website or email them.
It’s smart to keep a folder or Google Drive document for each college so you can add information as you learn about the colleges that interest you.
 Here are the links to the colleges in Kuwait :

Application letter : 

Once you've decided what colleges you want to attend, and checked out the campus, find out their application procedures. Collect brochures, pamphlets and flyers to refer to later and place them in your file. In the brochures, take a look at the essay questions posed by the specific school’s application. Try drafting out the answers roughly so it'll be easier to write one later when you  have a draft to refer to. These might get a little stressful later on, so  it's best to get them out of the way as early as possible.

Placement/aptitude/entrance tests  : 

 Whichever exam you choose to take, it's best to start taking them early so you can take it again over the summer before college or in your senior year if you’re not happy with your results. I’d recommend taking your exam for the first time toward the end of your 11th Grade. There are many great resources for practising SAT, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL and other placement tests. Many universities offer past papers for practice along with classes in preparation of the exams. Start using these papers to practice so you get an idea of how the exam might be and avoid any surprises.

Look out for college scholarships.

 It’s best to get a head-start on this. Because scholarship deadlines differ by colleges and organizations, there may be some scholarships for which you would need to apply in summer. There are many scholarships offered in Kuwait for the Kuwait University and other private Universities. AUK, ACM, GUST, ACK and  BHCK offer 50% scholarships /fee waiver for students with a 95% average grade in their high school.
Whereas, the Ministry of Higher Education, Bait Zakat and Kuwait University offer scholarships for Non-Arabs through their respective embassies.
Scholarships take a long time to process so start preparing yourself with information and marks earlier on to get a head start.

Recommendation letters : 

Ask teachers for recommendations as early as you can. Right before your final exams in the 12th Grade is a great time to do this. It’s important to give your teachers plenty of time to prepare for writing your recommendation. Some schools require you to write  Letter of Request with a  list of the teachers you want the recommendation letters from. Make sure to choose at least 5-6 teachers that you know will give you good recommendation letters and always choose subjects that you are good in. If they have a list of items needed in order to write a recommendation, like a transcript and resume, make sure to turn these in early. Some teachers may ask you for  list of your skills, highlight your most important skills that relate to the major you want to choose and have been seen in school/ class. Your recommendation letters don't have to be only from your teachers, they could be from  a workplace, or a place you've volunteered in.

Remind your recommendation writers :

 Teachers and managers are busy people, and keeping track of everyone’s differing due dates can be challenging. Make it easier for them by sending them a reminder a few weeks before the deadline.

 Keep your grades up and get involved :

The last two years of high school are the most important years, so they often get the most focus of all your time in high school. Make sure that you don’t let your grades slip, and do your best to continue building your extracurricular accomplishments by participating in different activities, volunteering, interning and building up your resume. One of the most important things that colleges usually look at are the grades and the involvement of the student so try to make that your main focus and get involved in as many activities as you can - scholastic and co-scholastic.

That's all for now guys!
The College Prep Worksheet will be emailed to you soon.

If you have any questions, queries or doubts feel free to ask me anytime, I'd love to help you as much as I can.

Check out the Next posts in this series -

Don't Keep this information to yourself. Sharing is caring!


  1. That's a great lot of information that many students who want to study in kuwait would want to have right now. Good work with all efforts!! But how accessible is kuwait university for non Arabs... Or Indians specifically??? If you found that out in your journey!

    1. Jazak Allah khair! I'm really glad this could be of help to anyone.
      I would say Kuwait University is really accessible and easy to get into as long as you have patience and a strong will. The only reason admission in there might seem "impossible" to some people is because they don't have the right information.
      I will be posting a guide to Applying for Kuwait University next month!
      Make sure you're either subscribed to the Newletter or the WhatsApp updates to get notified when it is posted!
      Once again, Jazak Allah Khair.
      I hope I was able to answer your question.