Spring arrives in the northern hemisphere! Here in England, the skies are still grey, and it’s still cold, but soon it’ll be warmer and brighter – and before long our busy KE summer season will be upon us.
Busy season already…
At this time of year, many of the people who work for KE are doing presentations and telling teachers, students and parents about KE. So far, we’ve been to… Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, (mainland) China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and the Philippines. Coming up… Poland, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand! We want our programmes to be as international as possible, and this is why we travel extensively to attract a wide range of students.
Applications are now coming in quite quickly. If you’re thinking of applying, don’t wait too long!
So what do we talk about when we give a presentation? Of course, we talk about KE programmes – we think they are pretty good and want people to hear about them! But we do also offer other talks of more general interest.
If Sam Yang (KE’s Founder) is doing the presentation, he offers a choice between:
- The 8 characteristics of successful people. This is concise, engaging and has a real impact. It is very popular at all the schools he has presented to.
- The 7 habits of highly effective people, for teens. Sam has been certified by the FranklinCovey Institute to deliver this presentation, which is based on the best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr Steven Covey. The goal is to help teenagers become more independent and effective by following seven basic habits.
- An introduction to a career in investment banking. This is an inspirational careers talk, based on Sam’s experience in Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.
Ben Yang and Jessica Yang may also deliver the first of these presentations.
Sometimes Peter Chapple, KE’s Principal and Academic Director, gives presentations as well. He adopts a rather different approach, and offers a choice between three topics which are linked to the three types of course which KE offers. These are:
- Introduction to an academic subject. Peter chooses a subject completely different from any which we offer, with the aim of giving a flavour of what this type of course is like: the subject chosen is linguistics.
- Introduction to critical thinking (one of the options offered under ‘Skills for learning’). We look at what critical thinking is all about, and how it differs, for example, from ‘theory of knowledge’.
- Introduction to leadership. Here the presentation focuses on the ‘hidden leader within’, and how everyone can develop leadership skills, regardless of their personality type.
Visit to the Valley
Because the main focus of KE programmes is on university entry, students sometimes forget that all those who stay at UC Berkeley, just outside San Francisco, also go to Silicon Valley.
There are no signs saying ‘Welcome to Silicon Valley’; it doesn’t have any official status. So what is it exactly? The term ‘Silicon Valley’ was first used in the 1970s, and related to the ‘silicon chip’ which was being used extensively at that time. It basically covers the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area, and includes cities such as San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto. Within this area, you’ll now find the headquarters of companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook, and about 250,000 people are now directly employed there in IT!
Our visit to Silicon Valley starts off at Stanford University, one of the leading universities in the USA, and a starting point for many of the big developments in IT over the past forty years or so. The campus itself is stunning! After that, we go to see two of the big companies in the Valley.
In 2015, we visited Google and Apple. Students were delighted to have the opportunity of going to the headquarters of two of the best known names in this field. In both cases, there was a tour and a presentation. On one occasion, the second visit was to Uber, the company which has had such a huge impact on urban travel. This was quite a different type of visit, but of particular interest to students interested in business.
The exact destinations for this year are still to be confirmed, but we can be sure that students will really appreciate the experience!
Planning for university: when should you start?
As you may know, KE offers programmes for two age groups: 14-16 and 16-18. Although the content of the teaching for the two groups does differ somewhat, the programmes are essentially the same for both. And so sometimes we’re asked: isn’t 14 a bit young?
The idea behind all our programmes is that we believe students should be preparing ahead. Even if university is still a long way off for 14 and 15-year-olds, there are certain skills which you should be practising early on: generic linguistic or thinking skills (see our courses in ‘Skills for learning’); possibly leadership skills to boost confidence; certainly trying out subjects which might be an option further down the track. And staying on university campuses, meeting our student mentors and visiting other universities will give you a great insight into what life as a student will be like. Then we have practice in drafting personal statements or essays and handling interviews – also great skills to be working on, even if between now and ‘the real thing’ you may decide to say something rather different.
In certain educational systems, you need to make subject choices, roughly at the age of 16, but well before you come to the end of your secondary school career. These choices may well be relevant to what you eventually go on to study at university. If you have an idea what you would like to study at university, you will be in a better position to make subject choices which are right for you.
The point at which applications for university need to be made comes up very fast, and by that stage you really need to have sifted through the thousands of possibilities open to you at universities across the world. If by the age of 16 you’ve already got a feel for the country you’d like to study in, and perhaps the broad subject area, you’re doing pretty well!