A lovely review- from a parent

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. It has been quite a while and work has had me quite busy nevertheless, I have to share this review I got about a student and their journey! Reviews are great and positive reviews are just wonderful. In my words, a positive review is an affirmation that you did your job well enough for someone to appreciate it. That is what happened in this case here.

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In October 2018, my boss assigned me a new client- a mom inquiring for her daughter to study abroad, and they had chosen the UK. When I spoke to her on the phone, I asked if I could speak to the prospective student and the mom said she was away on a tour of the Europe to get a feel for it before she started her program in January 2019. I said okay, sounds good. I gave her a list of the required application documents and her mom sent everything quite promptly. By the following week, I had put in an application and an offer came through almost immediately. I was really excited and shared my excitement with the mom and she told me how happy she was with how quickly I got her daughter an offer. Then I explained to her that to proceed she would need to pay a course deposit to the university of accept the offer. The amount varies but is usually about a third or quarter of the universities fees. I told her that the payment instruction was on the offer letter and she should let me know when she’s made the payment so we could then start the CAS procedure.

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CAS is a confirmation of studies letter that universities is the UK give to a student as part of the visa requirement. This letter is obtained once the university has checked the bank statement to ensure that is has enough amount to cover the tuition fee and living expenses minus the amount that was paid for the course deposit. They also need to receive a TB test result from the student. In total, they need three documents- proof of payment for the course deposit, bank statement or letter of sponsorship and a TB test result. I thought to explain that part because it comes in handy in the next paragragh of my narration.

The following day, the mom sent me a proof of payment showing that she had paid in full! I was thrilled because I thought that meant an easy process. Was I wrong! We had discussed the whole CAS procedure and also sent her a visa pack that explains everything, what is expected of the bank statement and whose name should be on the bank statement and so forth. She told me everything is in order, they had booked for her daughter’s TB test and she would send me the result along with the bank statement when the had it. Lo and behold when she sent it, the bank statement was in her cousin’s name! That definitely would not work with the UK visa system, it had to be in either parent’s account accompanied by a birth certificate or be in the student’s account is over 18. They moved the funds into the mom’s account and we had to wait for the 28 days rule, in the meantime, I advised them to get the unabridged birth certificate that would accompany the bank statement which they applied for and received.

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About 2 weeks into waiting, I tried to check on both mom and daughter and I could not get hold of them. For over a week, I kept checking daily, nothing! Number was unavailable. I sent emails and just kept checking. I informed by boss and he tried as well, nothing. Long story short, I only heard from the mom around August 2019 to say she, the mom, had been seriously ill and that she was fine now and ready to continue the process. Thankfully, in the months that I didn’t hear from them, I had deferred the daughter’s offer to September but I felt the time was too short. Indeed it turned out to be too short because the TB test had expired and the funds in the bank had been used up but she said she wanted to try which I did. I don’t mind trying, it’s a rule for me in any situation, I’ll know I tried so why not. I then informed the university that they were happy and ready to proceed. She sent me a letter of sponsorship that shows that her daughter’s tuition and living costs would be fully covered for her three years of study. She sent it along with the new TB test result but sadly, the letter of sponsorship was not accepted. We had to defer to January 2020. By November 2019, she sent me a bank statement which was fine but by then, her IELTS result had expired. And then they disappeared again! I couldn’t get hold of them. Then Covid happened! But it did not really deter them, however, it slowed down the process, we no longer got quicker response from the university and to book an English proficiency test became a hassle but by the end of 2020, she had everything sorted.

Long story short, we started the process again in January 2021 and this time, with funds in her account and her new TB test result, new English proficiency result, we were able to finally get the CAS! It felt so good! She had to enrol online to join in the classes while we sorted out the visa application and all. She got the visa on the 10th of March. She got her ticket and she had to be booked into a government approved hotel for a 10 days quarantine. On the 26th of March, her mom phoned to say that I should meet them at the airport, that there was no way her daughter would leave for the UK without saying good bye to me because I made it happen. I went to the airport and met with her family- they were all so grateful for my effort in the process. They thanked me for not giving up. They thanked me for pushing to make sure that everything worked out in the end. It felt good. I was just doing my job, and patience is one of my special strength, I hardly give up. And I couple this with prayers. The daughter flew out and they flew back to their city and the following day, I got a very wonderful reveiw : ) the highlight of my story!

Screenshot from my phone

Thank you for stopping by and reading this story. I felt that I had to share this story because even though I thought I was just doing my job as it were, others saw it as perseverance at its finest! Keep doing what you do, put in your best. Keep well. Until next time, bye for now.

Thank you to my 100+ followers!!

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe, I am! Or let me say, I choose to be happy! Today, I am super happy and grateful to all of you my 100+ followers! Thank you all for choosing to follow my blog! I am doing a happy dance!! I know I am not yet posting as consistently as I would like but I believe I will get there, soon. I am taking each day as it comes and intentionally making plans to write ahead and schedule posts rather than write straight away and post straight away! Thank you for your patience and understanding. The support here is amazing!

Also, I am still trying to find a niche, though it is quite obvious that study abroad and tips for university applications seem to be taking the lead because that is the job I currently do but I also like to write about working from home and education but with time, I will find my niche or keep things open. Thank you for being patient with me and liking my posts. I appreciate your support.

Currently, I have so much work at work! How does that sound? There is a greater number of interest in study abroad more than ever before! I am actually interested to know why the sudden interest. Also, grade 12 students received their matric certificate yesterday so I got a lot of calls, mostly happy calls and messages updating and sending me their results. Which meant that I had to submit them to universities to get their offer updated! Also, today, I had to do two Australian visas and one UK visa, not completed but almost there! I will have a final look tomorrow before they submit. I find it interesting to do however, one has to be very meticulous when it comes to visas and make sure all required documents are complete to avoid visa rejections.

I am so excited because come Sunday the 28th of February, my son will be a year older! 💃💃Obviously, there will be no party for many reasons but however, my head and mind is busy thinking of what to do to make it extra special for him indoors. For his sister, it was mostly a balloon party and we had family friends visit us briefly. I will let you know how it goes and if you have any ideas, please leave some in the comment below!!

Thank you once again for the follows, I sincerely appreciate it and it encourages me ti write more. I have been hiding for a very long time now but I believe I am coming out gradually and will get there one day. Where is there? I will keep thinking about it, lol! Thank you for stopping by today and thank you for liking my writings. Please keep the likes, follows and shares coming, it motivates me to write more. And I would really like to read from you, please leave a comment about anything- suggestions, ideas, questions about university applications, anything, I will be more than glad to respond! Keep well, keep safe, be happy, be kind as much as you can and enjoy the rest of the week!! Bye for now 👋

Tips for getting the best reference letter ~ university application.

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am! Today I am just going to jump right in to write about getting a reference letter for your university application. Some call it a letter of recommendation but I prefer to stick to “reference letter”.

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What is a teacher reference letter? A reference letter is a letter written by one or two of your teachers that taught you at high school or a lecturer from university or a supervisor at your work place. This letter highlights yours character, skills, academic abilities, strengths, goals and accomplishments. It is an important letter because it helps you stand out among other applicants.

There are two major types of reference letters, an academic one and a professional one. For an undergraduate application, in most cases, only an academic reference letter is required which is mostly referred to as a teacher reference because a teacher who has taught you previously should be the one to write it for you. Some universities require just one while some prefer two reference letters.

At postgraduate level however, they require two letters from applicants who have had a chance to work after their Bachelor’s degree. In this case, they prefer to receive an academic reference and a professional one. The academic one, much like the teacher reference should be written by a lecturer who taught you whilst at university. The professional one on the other hand should be written by a senior colleague where you work.

There can be slight changes for instance, if your lecturer or research supervisor relocates, s/he can still write you a reference letter. That has happened to me before when my supervisor relocated to the US to work at another university. Such letter would still be accepted because he once taught me and supervised my research.

So here are my tips below for getting a perfect reference letter.

  1. Be awesome at school, university or work! Let your character speak for you
  2. Keep in constant touch with your favorite teacher, lecturer, professor, senior colleague, supervisor or boss.
  3. Approach someone who would happily write you a reference and write great things about you and sing your praise🥳
  4. Thank them once it’s been done, you might need to approach them again for another letter of reference.

Universities request for reference letters in different ways one by asking for an already written letter with the company letter and stamp; whilst some just require contact details of your references especially where they work, position, email address and phone number.

with these tips, you should get a perfect letter of reference to support your university application. Here is wishing you all the best! Don’t relent, don’t give up. Keep trying. You will make it. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you next time. Please like and share to anyone who might need to read this. Keep well, bye for now👋

What are the most important documents for your university application?

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe? This post is going to address a question that comes up at work every day. Almost no work day ends with me being asked, “what documents do I need to apply to the university with?” Well, documents needed vary at times for some courses like art or design where a student may be asked to submit a portfolio however, there are general and important documents that need to be submitted along with the initial contact to the university to make an application.

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Submitting important documents along with your application increases your acceptance rate, that is, if your grades meet up with the academic requirements. It saves you time and also saves them time. Win win for both parties right? This is because it shows that you took your time to find out what documents you need and know which ones are the most important.

What then, are the most important documents required for a university application? When I say important, I don’t mean that other documents are not important but with these, you can be guaranteed a conditional offer at the very least.

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  1. International Passport: this is a means of identification for you so they know how your name is exactly and also to check your certificates and documents, if they match. If they don’t maych, you will need to explain why with an affidavit or marriage certificate, as the case may be. Another very important reason is the fact that it is an essential travel document! If you want to study abroad, you definitely need an international passport and the university needs to see this.
  2. Academic Certificate: for an undergraduate application, this would be your high school leaving certificate with your grades on it. At postgraduate level, this would be the certificate you received at graduation.
  3. Academic Transcripts: transcript is a breakdown of all the subjects/courses you did whilst studying and your grades for each one. It gives more information about what you studied. The university needs to see this so they admissions team can check if what you studied at Bachelor level matches some of the courses they are looking out for before offering you a place to study with them. This is required more at postgraduate level but sometimes requested for undergraduate applications.
  4. Personal Statement: they need to know more about you other than what they see on your passport, certificate and transcripts. They would like to know more about you and your reason for choosing to study with them. Here’s a link if you want more details about How to write a personal statement- university application. The post has been helpful for some of my students.
  5. Reference letters: for undergraduate applicants, they require two academic references and for undergraduate, they require one academic and one professional reference. Here, please approach the teacher, lecturer, professor, supervisor who really likes you and would literally sing your praise! Someone who genuinely has good things to say about you during your studies or at your work place. Some refer to it as a letter of recommendation.
  6. CV/Resume: this is required for those who have left high school for more than one year. It is necessary because it explains study gaps and for postgraduate level, it shows your qualifications and work experience. It also shows other skills you have.
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When all these documents are submitted, the admissions officer would know that you did your research and you know what is required for you to be offered a place.

However, there are some situations where a certificate might not be ready or available to the student yet, for instance. In this case, to save time, an application can be made with an explanation that the document will be submitted as soon as it has been received. Admission officers understand this because universities work with different dates of graduation so they leave an allowance period for such delays.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope this helps you in a way. Let me know if you have any questions. I will be happy to assist. Keep well. Smile as much as you can. Be kind. Never give up. I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Bye for now 👋

Reading for Children~ Parental Involvement in Early Literacy

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe. This post is for parents with very young children who are just learning to be literate and I write about the approach that works for me as a mom of two children. I title it parental involvement in early literacy.

In 2013, I started my Honours program in Applied English Language Studies and one of the courses I had to study was Early Literacy because I studied on the Education campus. We had to study different forms of literacy and we were asked to do a mini research on a chosen topic. At that time, I was not even married yet and also did not have a child yet but I had so many experiences with parents and their children. I had observed different ways parent chose to be involved in their child’s education. Some were really involved and some were not really involved. As a result of that, a topic that readily came to mind was Parental Involvement in Early Literacy. I did a research find out if it helps a child learn how to read better when their parent is/are involved. It was a case study and it turned out to there was a positive outcome when a parent contributed to the learning development of their child.

Early literacy is how a child is introduced to literacy- reading and writing. It has to do with how parents engage in activities to enhance academic performance. This was proved to have a significant effect on a childs overall performance. I observed a single mother and her 5 year old son at that time. I remember that I used the ORIM (Nutbrown, 2011) checklist as a guide during my observation with them. I would like to share the checklist which I find still relevant today and hope that it will work for someone reading this : )

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O- Opportunities

Opportunities are created for a child when the parents buy books to read and make time available to teach the child how to read. These days, some parents no longer buy traditional books as such, and rather have the children read on tabs and laptops. In this case, books should be downloaded and effort should be made to show the child how to read. Words should also be made available all around the house (or their room)- sight words and high frequency words. This will help with phonological awareness for the child. I did this with my son and currently using the same approach for my daughter who just turned two and I can say that it works. My son was able to read from age three. He is now almost six years old and reads very well, I am actually impressed by his reading skills! I find creating opportunities for them to learn to read is still relevant.

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R-Recognition

Here, recognition is when the parent recognises the childs reading development and achievement by praising them. The parent can do this through a reward system where they receive stickers or high fives, or even a cookie for their achievement. It is up to the parent to decide what reward will work for their child and when to give such a reward. My son loves stickers, there are stickers all over the door of his room and wardrobes. He does not really have a sweet tooth so high fives and stickers work better for him than a cookie or chocolate, for example.

I- Interaction

When a parent interacts with a child, it gives the child a chance to express themselves and use more words. For instance, when a parent asks a child to tell them a story, it gives the child an opportunity to use new words s/he heard and it gives the parent an opportunity to correct the child if the word is used in a wrong context. The parent may also let the child take part in writing the shopping list. My son helps in writing our shopping list and this gives him a chance to sneak in some extra items at times : )

M- Model

The last one is when a parent models how to read to the child. This helps with the right pronunciation. I remember when my son saw a word and asked me if it was grove or groove. He had an idea but was not sure of the right pronunciation. It gave me a chance to model it to him. A parent can also have days where they read out to the child, during bed time stories for example.

I find this checklist is still relevant several years after and I find it useful in introducing my children to reading, especially. This in addition to other tips can help teach or show a child how to read without pressure. Have you read about this checklist before today? Is it helpful for you? Are there other guidelines you know about? Please leave a comment below. I would like to read from you. Also, if you find this helpful, please like and share. Also, feel free follow my blog to read more about education, parenting and lifestyle. Thank you for stopping by. Bye for now👋