UCA Summer Camp Recruits the Very Best
There are several factors that go into successfully applying to university. Many of these also help you succeed at university and lay the foundation for a successful professional life. Among them are clarifying your goals, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, improving pivotal skills in math and language, and most importantly, planning ahead.
Over the course of four weekends in March and April 2015, 850 exceptional Grade 10 students from across Central Asia demonstrated their foresight by applying to attend a unique enrichment programme, the University of Central Asia (UCA) Summer Camp.
When asked why, one student said she was intrigued; “This camp seems different; it does not just offer academics like school, but will also help me learn about how to apply to university and meet students and teachers from other countries.”
Another responded, “It is exciting to be able to think about my future.”
Gathering at testing centres in eight towns and cities across Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, these ambitious students and their fellow applicants participated in a rigorous admissions process to gain one of just eighty coveted spots in the UCA Summer Camp, which will take place from 17 June to 7 July on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul in the Kyrgyz Republic.
“As the Summer Camp testing was a dry run of the admissions testing process ahead of UCA’s undergraduate campus opening in Naryn next year, a strong emphasis was placed on ensuring the testing conditions were fair and transparent,” explained Dr Ariff Kachra, UCA Dean of Academic Affairs.
"We wanted to be sure that all interested students, regardless of nationality, economic background, gender and urban/rural status, had the opportunity to participate. At the same time, we were committed to ensuring a balance in representation.” he added.
The admissions process was designed to select a representative inaugural Summer Camp class made up of students who demonstrated outstanding academic performance in English, math and logic, as well as a curiosity for learning outside the classroom, based on extra-curricular activities and achievements.
Comprehensive three-hour admissions tests were administered by over 30 trained monitors. Designed by international experts, the tests combined components of international tests and Central Asian curricula. The tests included both open-ended and multiple choice questions and were designed to assess cognitive ability independent of linguistic and cultural background.
“It was difficult. I had never had to think about logic before,” said one student.
Following the test, an eight-member admissions committee comprised of educational experts from Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Canada reviewed the results and other application materials. All names were removed to ensure an impartial selection process and applicants were assessed through a complex ranking process based on their performance and accomplishments. To ensure the student body was representative, the committee also factored in country of origin, gender and rural/urban status. In the end, 80 applicants were selected.
“The selection process has resulted in an inaugural Summer Camp student body that we believe will not just benefit from, but will maximise, the resources and opportunities offered at the Camp,” said Kachra, “Our Summer Camp team looks forward to working with these talented and driven young Central Asians and helping to shape their future.”
Those students who did not make the selection process were contacted promptly and received feedback on their performance, with suggestions on areas of improvement. Additionally, students who are not able to attend the Summer Camp should continue to think about their university aspirations and applying to UCA. Like the Summer Camp, admission to UCA’s undergraduate programme will be rigorous and merit-based.
The UCA Summer Camp is a three-week residential academic enrichment camp designed to upgrade math and English skills among Grade 10 students living in Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan and ensure they are ready for a world-class university education. Summer Camp curricula are designed by North American educational experts and adapted to fit the needs of Central Asian students, and English will be taught by native English speakers.
Participants will receive information and resources to enhance their success with university applications, including sessions on how to apply to university; choose a programme of study based on career interests; and prepare for university entrance requirements. Other activities, conducted in English, include sports, drama, debating and field trips. The UCA Summer Camp will be held in a secure and beautiful location, where participants will be taught and supervised by a multi-national team of trained and experienced teachers and counselors.