In 2022, most of the 32 graduates of the “NGS New Generation School” entered the top universities in the world. Dara Nurgaziyeva, also a graduate of NGS, received invitations from the best universities in Canada and the USA, winning a grant of more than $ 225 thousand. Dara told about what helped her achieve such results


Dara, you are one of the brightest students of the “NGS New Generation School”. Tell us about how your studies at school began, your first lesson. Why did the choice fall on NGS?

- I grew up in a large family and am the eldest of the girls. It wasn’t difficult for me to be an excellent student, because I love to study. Math is one love. Despite the freedom that my family gives me, I think I coped and justified the hopes of my parents. Up to the grade 9, I studied in two schools with a direction of English language, and these schools provided the necessary foundation for admission to NGS. I had good grades and a fairly good level of English. In high school, I transferred to NGS. After discussing with my family the mission of the school and the various opportunities it offers, I decided that it was at this school that I could get the knowledge and experience I needed.

What are your most vivid impressions from school life? What is more memorable

- Of course, I remembered my high school. Preparation for entrance tests nights and days, scrolling sites for admission. Various zoom meetings and calls with university admissions committees. Endless essays. And I also have my own summative assessment for the section and summative assessment for a quarter at school. My projects and friends!

There are a lot of extracurriculars in our school, starting with the Academic Olympics and ending with summer trips to foreign universities. Knowing mathematics well, I won first and second places at the Republican Olympiad, and also won a prize at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Italy. In addition to academic studies, I tried to realize my extracurricular interests. So I completed an internship at EY, which is part of the Big 4. It’s no secret that almost every financier or auditor dreams of getting there.

Do you think that activity in the social life of the school affects academic performance? When entering, what did universities pay more attention to?

- Many schoolchildren in pursuit of different extracurriculars forget that the main thing is not quantity, but quality. They start looking for volunteer clubs, open Instagram pages with their projects, sing, dance and play tennis a year before admission. As a result, the summary is just a list of actions. And for admissions committees, commitment to your favorite business is important. The admissions committee will understand (they have a lot of experience) why the guys were engaged in these or other activities. And if you are engaged in a project that is interesting to you and you are not spread yourself too thin, then this will not affect your academic results in any way. What matters when you enroll is not what grades you have or your classroom-extracurricular life, but who you are. This will show your grades and your school activity.

And if without humor, now many universities openly write on websites that they will follow the principle of holistic approach, which evaluates the applicant’s unique experience along with traditional measures of academic performance, such as grades and test results.

How did you approach the admission process yourself?

- First of all, thanks to my Mom, I passed the career guidance test and was once again convinced of my choice of profession and my strengths.

The second and main thing that I would note in the preparation is the systematic support program “Career Navigation”, which is mandatory for all students of the NGS high school. Over the past two years of study, all of us, future graduates, have been provided with consulting on rating universities and admission conditions, given private consultations. Back in October 2021, the school submitted a recommendation for me to receive a grant to the University of Toronto, which gave me a scholarship of $ 225 thousand. The choice of an admission consultant brought me additional benefits, and I went through the admission process with the coordinators who helped me compile the college list: from deadlines to the percentage of international students. Then I started writing letters to admissions committees and asking for online meetings to ask my questions and, of course, show my interest.

Already in the middle of the grade 10, I passed all the exams. I was preparing for tests with school teachers and coaches on the IELTS, SAT exams and sent electronic results to universities. In the summer after the grade 10, I started writing various drafts of essays on general topics from universities and on the topic “Why I have chosen this particular university”.

And since October 2021, I began submitting my applications to universities. I used Common App for the USA and OUAC for Canada, internal websites of universities for England and Kazakhstan. Not only the essays and exams were difficult, but also filling out resumes and activities in these applications. Not only is there a limited number of lines, but there is also a limit in characters. I have sharpened the skill “briefly and clearly” and worked on the presentation of thoughts in English.

I applied to about 20 universities. Most of them are in the USA. I received an invitation from the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Warwick, Purdue University, Stony Brook University, Hult International Business School, University of South Florida, and University of Pittsburgh. I got on the waiting list of Washington and Lee University. I am waiting for a decision from Nazarbayev University. In 10 universities I received scholarships from $ 15 thousand to half the cost of studying at the university. And I chose a university in the top 20 in the world and the first in Canada, the University of Toronto.

What do you think helped you achieve such results the most?

- Support of my family, friends, school, teachers, mentors. And, of course, work, work and work again + a pinch of time management, a huge pinch. A year ago, my brother also entered the university from NGS (he entered 11 universities). Fortunately, I already knew by his example when and in what order to start everything. I would like to note that thanks to the training program at NGS, where specialized training is conducted in five directions and there is constant work on career navigation, I chose my future profession and successfully prepared for admission to the university of my dreams.

Of course, I felt the support of my teachers and mentors all the way through my studies. I liked and gave some confidence that there were young teachers and curators at my school. Because everyone had the same experience that I was going to have, and they could support me with advice.

What would you like to wish future graduates of NGS?

- I want to wish all of us and future graduates a happy journey. Now we are starting to conquer a new peak in our life. Many of us will represent Kazakhstan at the international level, and I am sure we will cope with this task with a bang. Congratulations!

And in conclusion, I want to thank my school for the springboard from which I took off. I wish success to the whole team and more offers from cool universities!

Source: https://forbes.kz

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