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FAQs about Studying in Canada

Here are some common FAQs about studying in Canada: How do Canadian universities compare to those in the US? As someone who has studied in both Canada and the US, I can say the most striking difference between the two is the amount of personalized attention available to students. Top Canadian universities tend to enroll larger amounts of students, and the first few years of classes involve attending lectures with hundreds of other students. In the junior and senior years, class sizes are smaller, but building relationships with professors is entirely in the student’s hands. Academic advisors are also assigned hundreds of students, and on the whole Canadian university administrations are notorious for their red tape. You should be prepared…

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Boarding Schools in the US: What You Need to Know

While many students in their final year of high school anxiously anticipate their move to university -- living away from home, choosing from a wider array of courses, the general increase in independence and autonomy characteristic of the college experience -- some students are eager and ready to enter this kind of academic and social environment at an earlier age. If you are one of these students, then it may make sense for you to consider the possibility of spending your high school years at a US boarding school.  As an academically focused and rather independently minded 13 year-old, I myself explored the possibility of attending one of the aesthetically collegiate and tradition-steeped New England boarding schools. Many of these…

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A Guide to Canadian Universities

Canada often takes a backseat to the US and the UK as a study destination for international students. Yet the number of international students in Canada has been rising steadily over the last decade. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of foreign students in Canada increased by 92%. The 2016 edition of A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education reports that there were 353,570 international students in Canada in 2015. Interestingly, while 26 % of UAE students abroad study in the US, only about 3% choose to study in Canada. A similar trend is visible in Saudi Arabia - of all Saudi students who choose to study overseas,  only 5% study in Canada, while more than…

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Liberal Arts Colleges: The Educated Choice

As the global economy continues its shift towards technological innovation and entrepreneurship, questions have been raised as to the perceived value a liberal arts education holds today. Does a liberal arts degree offer as strong a return on investment, both in terms of future earning potential and personal growth, as a STEM degree? Can liberal arts prepare you for “the real world?” And what can a person even do with a degree in history, much less, one in philosophy? As two happy liberal arts graduates, we can attest not only to the immeasurable value of a liberal arts education, but also dispel some of the common misconceptions and misgivings surrounding the applicability and pragmatism of studying at a liberal arts…

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Vis-à-visa: Tips for Securing Your F1 Student Visa

It seems so real, you can almost touch it. There’s the famous statue with its sage inscription in ancient Greek. And behind it, the library donated by that revered patron of higher learning. Dream school, here I come! Well, not yet. You’ve done your college research (lost count at 30 schools), you’ve written your personal statement (a frame narrative detailing how your immersion into La Nouvelle Vague symbolizes your commitment to exploring new things through a balloon art metaphor… hmm, too much?), you’ve started working on your supplements, you have all your affairs in order. You’re ready to open that acceptance email in a few months, and ready to fly off to the US. And then you realize that, at…

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Why You Should Consider a Women’s College

I still remember when I first informed family and friends of my decision to attend Mount Holyoke, an all women’s college in the US. They facetiously remarked, “Is that a medieval convent in the US?” “Aren’t you going to miss boys?” “ALL girls school for four years…You will forget how to talk to boys!” While many of my friends were seemingly startled by my choice, I knew it was one of the best decisions of my life. Young women, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, should consider the benefits of attending a women’s college. You may be surprised, but there are over 40 institutions of higher learning in the US dedicated exclusively to educating women. The most reputable women’s…

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What to Expect from Your First Week in College

  You’ve been accepted, received your visa, and packed your bags. But what should you expect from your first few weeks in college? What is Freshman Orientation? Every college arranges a freshman orientation for its first-year students; one or a few days of events designed to welcome students to campus, help them settle in, and foster strong social bonds in the freshman class. Typically, the orientation consists of smaller group activities, through which students get to know their new classmates, the campus, and the area surrounding the college. Students are also assigned to a leader or mentor, an older student, who will help guide their group of students through their first weeks on campus. Expect lots of fun events during…

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Shedding Light on the SAT Test Dates

SAT. Every year, these three letters strike fear into the hearts of high schools students around the world. The irony is not lost on those who know that the college entrance exam originated in 1926 as an IQ test designed to evaluate US Army recruits. Since that time, there have been many changes to the SAT: In 1994, antonym questions were removed, longer reading passages and open-ended math questions were added, and calculators became permitted; in 2005, analogies were eliminated, more advanced algebra concepts were added to the math section, and the scoring scale changed from 1600 to 2400; in 2009, university applicants were permitted to send their best SAT scores only, instead of sending every set of test results;…

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Overcoming Rejection: A Survivor’s Guide to US Universities

Walt Disney, JK Rowling, Thomas Edison, Jack Ma, Albert Einstein….what do these celebrated figures have in common? Would you say they each possessed a brilliant mind, or lived to achieve unparalleled success in life? While this may be true, more surprisingly, before achieving status as historical and cultural icons, each one experienced devastating rejection. Disney, Rowling, and Edison were all fired from their jobs and criticized for their ideas, as were other luminaries like Anna Wintour (fired from Harper’s Bazaar), Madonna (fired from Dunkin Donuts), Oprah (fired from a local Baltimore news station), and Steve Jobs (fired from his own company). Not only was JK Rowling fired, but when she later had multiple books rejected from various publishers, they offered…

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Summer Programs 101: How to Make the Most of Your Summer

A meaningful summer can take many forms: an athletics camp, an online course, volunteering, shadowing a professional in a career you’re interested in, or a program deeply focused on an academic topic you love, whether creative writing, medicine, aerospace engineering, entrepreneurship, or business management. While summer is a great opportunity to demonstrate your continued commitment to your intellectual and extracurricular passions, it offers the perfect opportunity to venture beyond your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to study a subject that falls outside of your curriculum or have not had the chance to explore, or to try something completely new – like volunteering to build homes for Habitat for Humanity! When and where to begin It is important that students understand…

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The Greek System – Fraternities and Sororities

What is Greek life? Many incoming freshmen enter college wondering what the Greek System is and are perplexed by its role in campus life. Most American universities have student organizations called fraternities (for men) and sororities (for women), which are dedicated to fostering strong social bonds among their members, promoting community service, and enriching students’ overall undergraduate experience. Collectively, these student groups are called the Greek System because each house is named after two or three letters of the Greek alphabet, such as Kappa Kappa Gamma, or Alpha Delta – the latter being my very own fraternity. Often these are shortened to nicknames. For example, as an Alpha Delta, I’m referred to as an AD, while Delta Delta Delta’s are…

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What to Expect from a Trump Presidency – A Reflection for Future US University Students

On November 9th, I woke up at 6 am to take a quick look at how the US Presidential Election was unfolding. I had gone to bed the night before feeling calm and reassured. Like many of my friends, I had closely followed the polls and campaigns of both candidates for the past two years, and I was confident that Hillary Clinton, a candidate I vigorously supported, would win the election by a landslide. However, as I scrolled through the map and noticed how most swing states had been called for Donald Trump, I felt disappointed and disoriented. As a US citizen of Mexican and Muslim heritage who devotes his life to helping students (many of whom are Muslim) apply…

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Sports in College – How Can You Get Involved

Whether you’re trying to pursue an existing passion, stay in shape, or simply play to enjoy, US universities give you ample opportunity to participate in organized sports and to get involved in activities outside of the classroom. By attending a US university, you can gain access to some of the best recreational facilities and resources in the world. For example, the Payne Whitney Gymnasium at Yale University is one of the largest athletic facilities ever built; its twelve acres of interior space include a swimming pool, fencing facilities, and a polo practice room. There are typically three categories of university sports: varsity, club, and intramural. Varsity sports are reserved for the extremely dedicated athlete who has played the sport for an extended period of time…

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Life Outside the Classroom: Which Extracurriculars Should You Take in College

Are you wondering what your life in college will look like? I mean, besides the classes you’ll be taking and the late night study sessions in the library, how do you imagine your life outside of the classroom? US universities offer an across-the-board collection of extracurricular activities to help students meet new people, pursue passions, learn about future career paths, and explore new interests in college. So what’s an extracurricular activity? An extracurricular activity, also known as Extra Academic Activity, is any activity that falls outside the realm of the normal academic curriculum of the university. These activities can vary from official varsity sports teams, to independent clubs, to chapters of national organizations. They cover all types of topics and…

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Changes to the ACT: What You Need to Know

Students have always grappled with the choice between the SAT or the ACT. Hale Education Group has been encouraging students to take the ACT because of its consistency in structure and scoring over the years. While these factors of the test have remained constant, the content does change from time to time to reflect the knowledge required for university-level courses. With this in mind, there have been some slight changes to the ACT Math and Science sections. These are not significant changes, and they are nothing to panic about. Simply take note of the new content as you prepare for the September 2016 and future ACT exams. MATH More advanced concepts appear on the test. These concepts include matrices, weighted…

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Brexit Is One More Reason to Study in the US

The United States has long been the destination of choice for students from around the globe. Many are drawn by its reputation for quality education, its welcoming culture, and the prospect of transitioning into the labor market after graduation. The International Institute of Education conducted a study* from 2009-2013, and found that 74 % of international prospective students report the U.S. as their top choice, compared to only 8% who prefer the UK. In light of last month’s Brexit decision, many have speculated that the number of foreign students who choose to study in the UK will decrease, along with research funding and post-graduate job opportunities.  The President and Provost of University College London (UCL) predicts a 70-80% drop in…

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AP, A Levels, and Alphabet Soup: Choosing the Right Curriculum

If you don’t attend an American-curriculum school but you’re thinking about US universities, you may be very confused about AP, A levels, and IB. Do I have to take AP tests? What if my school doesn’t offer AP classes? What if I am pursuing  A levels or an IB diploma instead? It can be tough to cut through all these acronyms to figure out the right choice for you. First, some clarification: Advanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board, which is also responsible for administering the SAT. AP courses, which are typically offered only in US high schools and American-curriculum schools abroad, allow you to tackle challenging, college-level material and even earn college credit, and are…

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Top Ten Reasons Why US Universities Are Right For You

1- You have decision anxiety about what you what to study. It’s hard enough to pick a school! Declaring your major can come later. All doors are open to you, from anthropology to zoology, and yes – it’s okay to change your mind. 2- You’re all about that team spirit. What team? WILDCATS! Nothing unites a campus like a winning team or a crazy mascot. 3- Networking and alumni connections. Do we know anyone who works at Google? Um…yes! Plus, alumni often come back to campus to offer valuable career advice and mentoring. 4- Unlimited meal plans and snack study breaks. OM NOM NOM! In fact, The Princeton Review releases a ranking each year of which universities have the best…

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Waitlisted at Your Top Choice? Don’t Despair.

  limbo pl. lim-bos A condition of prolonged uncertainty or neglect: A West Indian dance in which the dancers repeatedly bend over backward and pass under a pole that is lowered slightly with each pass. [Middle English, from Medieval Latin (in) limbō, (conventionally thought to exist on the outer border of Hell)].So you’ve been placed on the waitlist. A high school senior’s proverbial limbo. It’s not an acceptance letter, but there is still hope. You recall an old fantasy of your first day on THAT campus, your name connected to THAT school. The question is how far are you willing to go without any guarantees? Something important to keep in mind is that the chances of being removed from a…

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SAT vs. ACT: Why should you take the ACT?

As of March 2016, students will see the new version of the SAT, as it returns to a 1600 point grading system with an optional essay and more focus on reading. To see how you would do on the redesigned SAT, try this interactive quiz created by the New York Times. In the light of these upcoming changes, more students are now opting for the ACT than the SAT, and there is a good reason for this. In order to master the test and prepare for it effectively, students need to have a solid understanding of the material that will be tested and the strategies with which to approach questions and solve problems. At Hale, we are encouraging all our students graduating…

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So you were deferred —What now?

As the number of applications to top universities in the US rises and the applicant pool becomes increasingly competitive, it is possible that the Early Decision and Early Action applications for some very talented and qualified students might be deferred to the regular admission cycle. If you are one of these students, what does it mean to be deferred, and what should you do now? As a student who was deferred from my top choice university, Brown, in my senior year of high school, I remember waking up to a notification of my admission decision that December only to realize a few minutes later that the decision was not a yes or no — I was deferred. At the time,…

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The US or the UK: Where should you apply?

  With more than half of the world’s top 200 universities located in either the US or the UK, many international students are often faced with the dilemma of deciding where to pursue their higher education abroad. There is no doubt that both are popular destinations offering excellent learning environments, facilities, and opportunities to international students; however, there are several differences between the education systems and student life experience in the both countries that are important to consider when applying. As an EU citizen and student at a British curriculum school in Dubai, I always thought that pursuing my undergraduate education in the UK or Europe would be the most natural way forward; unlike the US, the UK was geographically…

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The Transfer Guide

Why Transfer? Students transfer from one university to another for a variety of different reasons, including financial reasons, social circumstances, choice of major, and finding a more suitable program. The idea behind transferring is to find a university that is a better fit for you. As a transfer student myself, a combination of these factors influenced my decision to transfer. I started as a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed, but due to financial circumstances, I transferred to the American University in Dubai (AUD). AUD’s International Studies program was in its infancy, had limited course choices, a small number of students, and was located in one of the most attractive areas of Dubai.…

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The Liberal Arts Experience in U.S. Colleges and Universities

You may have never heard the words “liberal arts” until you started thinking about applying to colleges and universities in the US. What comes to mind may be the image of a leafy-green, secluded campus, the “life of the mind,” or wacky campus traditions. So what makes the liberal arts experience different? Creativity & Critical Thinking Until I began my first classes at a U.S. liberal arts college (go Sagehens!), I didn’t fully realize that the purpose of a liberal arts education is exploration of many disciplines, rather than being restricted to a single narrow field of study. Many courses of study, like neuroscience or international relations, are interdisciplinary, drawing from different subjects to make connections across fields. Intellectual curiosity…

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Myths About an Ivy League US University Debunked

When people find out that I went to Harvard, a small sub-set of them often ask one or more of the following questions: “Is it really competitive?”; “Is everybody there really nerdy?”; “Have you seen The Social Network? Is it like that?” From the outside looking in, Harvard may seem like a gladiator arena where students duke it out with one another for academic glory. But it really isn’t. In fact, it’s nowhere near that serious. I can’t deny that Harvard students are motivated to succeed, nor can I disagree that there are those who believe that success comes only with outdoing your fellow classmates; however, not everyone thinks in this way. Most who assimilate into the culture of cut-throat…

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Welcome to Hale Education Group

  Do you want to set yourself apart in your US College Application? The process can be confusing with a lot of factors that can be difficult to navigate, but with Hale Education you have access to a huge network of Ivy League educated Counselors who assist you at every stage of the process, guiding you and helping you to enhance your chances of success! When you engage Hale Education, you have access to an entire team of American university professionals with relevant firsthand admissions experience, education, and knowledge. Hale Education will help you with the key stages of preparation, research, and application to US universities and guide you in your critical first steps into the future. The Hale Education…