It’s harder than ever to gain a place at one of the world’s top universities. But by adopting a global outlook, your child will have a better chance of success in their education and the workplace.
By Harry Hortyn co-founder of Oxford Summer courses.
In our digital age, the vision of a global village is becoming reality. The children in our schools today will be the first true citizens of that global village, working as readily with people on the other side of the world as on the other side of the office.
We can see this happening already in the world’s leading colleges and universities as they work across national borders on projects in science, industry and the arts which will shape the world we live in tomorrow.
That’s why top institutions are interested in attracting students who have not only outstanding academic credentials and the brightest minds, but who also have a global perspective.
So what does this mean for your child?
It could be that the right SAT score, an impressive extracurricular record and athletic prowess may no longer be enough to be admitted to one of the world’s leading universities. These days, students need to demonstrate their potential to work collaboratively with people from around the world.
Deanna Ford, a Harvard graduate and member of their interview committee has witnessed this phenomenon first hand. “I help students in the USA, UK and beyond to secure places at the university of their choice, and the level of competition is astonishing,” says Deanna.
“But you have to remember that, in the business world, taking a global view is second nature, which is why these places look for global-minded applicants.”
But what can a young person do to become that global student?
It’s a good idea to encourage a your children to develop an international outlook as early as possible in their lives, as Deanna explains. “It’s usual for children to go to summer camps for up to six weeks, and my own children have attended international ones in the UK since they were 11. I think it prevents them from living in an American bubble.
“They learn so much from mixing with children from Europe, India and Asia, and get to understand different perspectives and points of view that will serve them well in the future,” adds Deanna.
Having the opportunity to meet people from different nationalities and backgrounds can help a child think beyond the limits of their own country, and this is certainly a quality that is valued by university admissions teams when considering a young person’s application.
Dr Saroj Velamakanni is guest lecturer at Cambridge University and sits on the university’s admission panel for natural sciences and medicine. He wants to see applications from young people who can show their enthusiasm for working with people across international borders.
“Students need to demonstrate cross cultural experience, and the potential to interact and work with different cultures in business,” says Saroj. “We can’t only look to the West for innovative medical developments, for example, we have to look at Hong Kong, China and India if we want to be top of our game.”
University applicants with an international mindset have a clear advantage, argues Saroj. “I still remember one student who had spent time in a top Indian hospital before he applied. He spoke about developments there; how artificial intelligence was improving efficiency and how he envisaged we could use the same thing in the UK. It was the perfect marriage of ideas and aptitude.”
Once your child has embarked on their college course, it doesn’t stop there. Students should continue to broaden their horizons beyond the US to prepare for a global workplace.
“Encouraging students to investigate international working and studying possibilities, including internships, camps and stints at NGOs is a good place to start,” says Saroj. “Learning is a constant process, which is why it is so important to develop a deep curiosity about new ideas and new experiences from within, but also outside of your home country.”
Developing an international perspective is not only beneficial for gaining a college place or landing a great job. It’s also personally enriching to be a citizen of our global village. There is a bright future awaiting the global student who is eager to work in harmony with people from the other side of the world and to make a positive impact on wider society.
Harry Hortyn is the co-founder of Oxford Summer Courses which welcomes students from over 112 countries across the globe to study 56 subjects through their Oxbridge learning experience summer courses.