The picture above is an unfortunate headline published on TimesLive earlier this month. It describes a terrible case of a man taking advantage of several families’ belief in the potential of their children.
Below is Aspire Atlantic’s guarantee. We don’t promise to make our clients stars, but we can assure you that we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients are placed with colleges that are an ideal fit for them.
In the meantime, scams are still happening out there, so we have put together a list of a things to look out for when seeking help with applying to universities overseas:
If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is
Be very careful of people or companies offering you the world. Legitimate recruitment agencies do not offer promises of fame, riches or success. Do not give anyone money who has given specific flattery regarding your potential, but does not offer a specific road map to achieving your goals.
Private bank accounts
Speaking of giving money - anyone who claims to be recruiter, but then asks for money to be deposited in a private or personal bank account is probably not authentic. Recruiters are rarely lone agents, so if someone claims to be a recruiter but does not have the backing of a recruitment agency (with an official bank account), then it is probably best if you walk away.
Transparency with application process
Before anyone gets your money, make sure you know the details of the entire recruitment, registration and application processes. Scammers will often be vague about dates, and will not know or want to share logistical details with you. Legitimate businesses will make you a part of the entire process, and not just contact you when fees are involved. It is part of the fun to be in on everything, and you should always have access to online usernames and passwords that concern your applications.
Only work with recognised and established businesses
As previously mentioned, it is probably best to not work through anyone who does not have the backing of an established recruitment agency. Do your research and Google the business that you are considering. Reputable recruitment agencies should have an active online presence and an established reputation within the industry.
If you decide you want to work with a recruiter, it is important as you are doing your research to reach out to people who have worked with the company in the past. The agency should be able to give you access to testimonials from previous clients so that you can see if they are the right fit for your needs.
Yes, you read that right! Do you want to get tutored by a current Ivy League student? We at Aspire Atlantic are committed to offering you the best support possible as you make the difficult transition from high school to university. You (and your parents) have a lot of important decisions to make and things to get done, and while we can take care of the logistics of overseas university applications, the academics are still up to you.
Fortunately, we have recruited some extra talent to assist you in often-tricky academic waters. Your success is important to us, and so while you’re working on your final year or two of high school, we would love to help make your lives just a little more manageable. Remember that you don’t have to navigate this process alone - we want to offer you the very best support structures to help you succeed. Allow us to introduce them to you:
Guy Waterhouse - Princeton University
Sarah Jearey (SJ) - University of Cape Town
Please feel free to contact Tamryn at tamryn@aspireatlantic if you would like to be put in touch with our coaches.
But aside from offering opportunities that South African universities might not have the capacity for, you might be wondering what would really be different about applying to study in the US? There are a couple of points to go over, so take a break from the books and have a read.
Choices, Choices, Choices!
Despite the options being some of the best in the world, there are relatively few universities in South Africa to choose from. Comparatively, the US offers thousands of universities, and each offers different specializations and experiences. With so many options to choose from, we firmly believe there is a perfect fit for everyone - we want to give you the opportunity to study what you want, where you want.
Emphasis on Diversity
While South African universities do have certain institutional systems in place that encourage diversity on campus, American universities value diversity because a higher percentage of foreign students actually makes the university more attractive for American students. Many universities in the US are located in areas where there is a large primary demographic, and so having diversity in the form of international students boosts the university’s reputation.
When applying to universities in South Africa, if you have good high school marks your chances of getting accepted to university are extremely high. South African admissions officials don’t really care who you are or what you’ve accomplished, as long as your grades are gold. In the US however, the more competitive universities require an essay to help distinguish between otherwise equally promising applicants. They really want to see who you are, so when writing your essay and other response questions for your application - let your personality shine!
To all of you writing exams - study hard and get plenty of sleep for the final stretch. We’re so proud of all of you and consider ourselves privileged to play a small part in your academic careers.