Newsletter – March, 2015
Hello, and welcome to our first Kingdom Education (KE) newsletter of 2015! First of all, you’ll see our summary of recent events, then you’ll find a short introduction to some of the most striking features of university education in the USA.
So what’s been happening?
- We’ve been travelling to quite a lot of different countries promoting our programmes. As a result, we expect to see a wider range of nationalities represented this coming summer.
- One very pleasant aspect of our travels is a visit to schools whose students are receiving a trophy. Every year, KE awards trophies to students who perform particularly well, who make the greatest progress, who contribute the most to the programmes and so on. Many of these presentations have been made by the KE CEO, Mr Sam Yang.
- When he is travelling, Sam sometimes gives presentations on twoother topics unrelated to KE. The first of these is ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens’, and the other is ‘The Eight Characteristics of Successful People’. The talks are concise, but strongly motivational, and have had a really positive impact on the students who’ve attended. (Please let us know if you’re interested in finding out more!)
- Enrolments are now coming in pretty steadily for our programmes between late June and mid-August. The figures are currently well above those for the same date last year. So if you’re thinking of enrolling and want to be sure of your place… don’t wait too long!
- We now have a video! If you would like to look at it, just go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjbFiGtZBng.
- We also have a new placement test, designed to help students who are not native speakers of English to see whether their English is at a suitable level for the course they’re planning to take. The test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, the first half focusing on grammar and vocabulary, the second on the use of English, understanding and reasoning. If you would like to do the test, just let us know.
Focus on… universities in the USA
We could say quite a lot here, but we’d just like to talk a little about some of the features of university education in the USA which we think are the most interesting.
- The quality of university education in the USA varies enormously, so it’s really important to check thoroughly on any university you’re considering. At the top end, you can’t help noticing how many American universities feature in the top 100 worldwide. Six of the top ten are American (and on KE programmes, you can visit four of them, plus another four in the top 100!).
- At the other end, some are not that great. Be wary of unaccredited universities in particular – just because an organisation has the word ‘university’ in its name, that doesn’t mean that its degrees are recognised, and in many cases degrees from unaccredited universities are not accepted by employers. (You will not visit an unaccredited university with KE!)
- Some universities are private, some are state-funded. This status doesn’t affect their quality – you can find examples of excellence in both types of university. A number of the private universities have a religious character – but in most cases, you don’t have to be a member of a particular church to join these universities, and they are often chosen by students for quite different reasons. If you join a KE programme on the West Coast, you’ll visit the University of San Francisco, which is in fact a leading Catholic university, and located in one of the most scenic and interesting parts of the city.
- Some of the most famous universities are very wealthy. Harvard is the richest university in the world, with endowments worth around US$36 billion – more than the total wealth of some countries!
- A few of the wealthiest universities give scholarships to international students who have exceptional abilities, but limited means. Students should not be dissuaded from applying because they are not from very wealthy backgrounds.
- You may have heard of the ‘Ivy League’. This consists of eight long-established and fairly traditional universities – all of them in the north-east of the USA (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, Yale). You may not have heard of the ‘Little Ivies’. There were originally three (Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams) – but others have joined the group informally. The ‘Little Ivies’ are small universities, well-established, and with a strong tradition of academic excellence. If you attend the KE programme on the East Coast, you’ll visit Amherst College. The ‘Little Ivies’ are all ‘liberal arts colleges’ – which brings us on to the next point…
- What is a ‘liberal arts college’? This is a peculiarly American institution. It offers a broad-based curriculum, preparing students mainly for undergraduate degrees. You will major in one particular subject, but you will study a number of others along the way.
- There is no equivalent of the Ivy League or ‘Little Ivies’ away from the East Coast states. However, the West Coast still has its top universities, with Stanford (visited with KE) currently ranked no. 7in the world. It’s worth visiting just for its beautiful campus!
- Many American students take a first degree, and then move on to a higher degree in a more specialised subject. In fact, you don’t immediately study subjects such as medicine or law – instead, you follow a more general degree programme first, and then go on to med school or law school later.
- Many students change institution between their first and higher degrees. So some might start off at a liberal arts college, and then move on for more specialist study after that.
- Before this, many students also change their chosen degree once they are at university – this is very common. The American university system is remarkably flexible!
Would you like to find out more? All the KE programmes in the USA include a full introduction to university education in the USA, and the all-important application process – together with practice in making a good application. Programmes are based either at the University of Amherst (on the East Coast) or UC Berkeley (on the West) – you can even take a two-centre programme and visit both of them! More information can be found on our website: www.kgdm.org .