Ronen Oosthuizen gives us a reflection on his first year at Rice University, and on what makes Rice such a special place to study and compete at.
I remember my first day in Houston very clearly. It was hot, humid, and I was hungry after the long flight in from SA. However, my destination for the weekend was not the campus. Before the regular freshman program started, I had arrived at the Hilton Hotel a few minutes from campus for an “international student preparatory program” that offered all the international freshmen the chance to be “as prepared as any usual American student would have been.”
This is one of the many areas where William Marsh Rice University, located in the heart of the Medical Center of Houston, Texas, exceeded my expectations for college. From day one, Rice seeks to help its students develop, maintain, and grow their relationships and networks for the future. This process continues through their college experience and forever after. Coming in as an international student definitely came with its challenges, like missing home. However, I can say with utmost confidence that Rice has given me a home away from home.
I made friends within my residential college (basically a “koshuis” - but not a standard dorm), that I can see myself laughing with for decades to come. The same goes for friends I have made in the other 10 colleges located on campus. The track team has been a particular home for me. As a student-athlete, I have had the chance to meet some of the most versatile people imaginable when it comes to combining a competitive sport with an academically challenging major. I am proud to call these people my friends. And the great thing is that Rice provides an atmosphere where it is possible to be a great athlete and an even better student.
To borrow the words of our track team’s ex-captain, “we go out and compete with some of the greatest athletes in the world, then we come back home to study along with some of the greatest minds in the world.”
I’ll leave you with this: even with its reputation as one of the top colleges in the United States, Rice would be nothing if not for the special relationships and bonds that its students get to share, starting at college and stretching far beyond into the future.
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We've all seen the movies and TV shows that deal with the SAT - whether it's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Chris Evans' The Perfect Score, or even Accepted. However, this mythical test, given to high school students in America, has so much more importance than existing as a scary, unknowable version of Matric exams. For any student wanting to attend University in the USA, the SAT serves as an academic benchmark for schools across the country, allowing them to figure out where each applicant is academically in relation to their peers. This test can be really important, and can make or break an application regardless of any other strengths a student may have.
But there's no need to be concerned! With our handy guide on how to prepare for the SAT, we've got you covered.
Let's start by looking at the basics:
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a standardized test administered to high school students who wish to apply to American colleges and Universities. It consists of four multiple-choice sections - two English, and two Mathematics - and an optional Essay section. Scored out of 1600, the SAT score gives an indication of a student's relative academic ability, where scores can be compared across a range of applicants from anywhere in the world.
It is also NOT the ACT, a different standardized aptitude test offered to high school students.
So how do you go about preparing for the SAT? Well, we've got some tips to put you in the best position to succeed.
Take the SAT Diagnostic Test
This is a critical first step, as it will give you a clear sign of how much of the SAT content you already know. The SAT Diagnostic is an online test that quickly covers the SAT questions you would need to be able to complete, and this is crucial as it can tell you exactly where you need to spend the most time studying before the actual test.
Yes, studying is a hugely necessary part of SAT preparation. Although most of the content is covered by the South African high school syllabus, most students don't realize the difference between the style of the SAT and the way that they have been tested throughout their school careers. Remember, students who went to high school in the USA have been preparing for these types of tests for years, so you need to put in the hours to get yourself ready.
There are a number of resources you can use to learn the SAT's material, ranging from the free, online Khan Academy, to the numerous SAT Prep books available to buy (we prefer Kaplan), to the brilliant tutoring available both in-person and online. Knowing which method will be most effective for you can also have a big impact in how well-prepared your study time can make you.
Register Well In Advance
The SAT has booking deadlines well in advance of the testing dates, so registering for the test should be done ahead of time. Once you've registered, make sure to read all the details of your location and what to bring very thoroughly - the moderators are strict and make no exceptions to any rule. On test day, make sure you arrive punctually and are prepared for the entirety of the SAT's duration - if you miss the SAT, you will not be reimbursed.
How Do I Register?
Check out our blog post on this subject!
Practice Makes Perfect
Along with studying to make sure you have covered all the relevant material, make sure to take as many practice tests as you can. These tests will not only give you an idea of how your studying is going, but will also familiarize you with the way the SAT questions are asked. There is no substitute for hard work, and the SAT is no different.
On Test Day
Make sure you have your ticket, identification, and appropriate stationery with you. If possible, consider leaving your phone at home to remove the distraction from your mind. The SAT takes around 3 hours, so make sure you have a good breakfast and are ready to make your college dreams come true!
At the end of the day, only you can ensure that you prepare enough to make the test a success. Use the SAT as a dry run for your time in the US - how can you cope when you don't have your teachers helping you every step of the way? Prove to anyone watching that you can handle yourself and succeed in a challenging situation.
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Like most athletes, COVID 19 has likely thrown your sporting dreams and goals set for 2020 off-track. With all the major sporting events have been cancelled, and the goals you had set for yourself are now being pushed to 2021. Like many, you may be unsure what the future will hold, but the possibility of you going to study, earn a university degree and play college sports can still be a reality. There is no better time to start planning for your future than TODAY!
Obtaining a sports scholarship is a lengthy process, and we advise all our student-athletes to begin their scholarship journey from as early as Grade 10. "Why", Some of you may ask? Well, USA college coaches, as per the NCAA recruiting rules, are allowed to start awarding sports scholarships from the 15th of June in the student's grade 11 year, meaning you should be planning for this day well in advance. Although it is late to start the scholarship process in your grade 12 year, it is not the end of the road for you. If you move quickly, you can still get some fantastic opportunities.
By starting the scholarship process early, you will put yourself ahead of the pack. How? If you have all your sporting and academic records on file and your highlight videos are readily available, this will show coaches your level of commitment and dedication as a student-athlete. This may potentially put you in a position to earn substantial scholarships. Here is a list of things you should start to gather for the scholarship recruitment process:
Here are some tips and tricks that could help you win a scholarship and guide you through the Scholarship Process:
Why use an agency such as Aspire Atlantic? Because we are in the business of making dreams a reality. It is our mission to ensure that all of our athletes make use of all the tools at their disposal to make their scholarship dreams come true, as quickly and as efficiently as possible! Sign up with Aspire Atlantic today, for a free evaluation, and earn yourself the opportunity to receive a world-class education while playing the sport you love.