How-to: Apply for HELB Loan

in CampusBiz 101
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How HELB loan work

The Higher Education Loans Board offers loans for both postgraduate and
undergraduate studies. This HELB loan must be paid immediately after completing your studies or at any time when the Board may decide to recall its loans. It also offers scholarships and bursaries.
Postgraduate loans and Continuing Education loans (under-graduate salaried)
are serviced immediately they are disbursed.
Undergraduate loans are intended to help needy students whose parents have little or no income. Students whose parents have a reliable family income need not apply.

HELB Loan products

  • Loan for undergraduate, direct entry students is available at 4% p.a.
  • Loan for postgraduate [masters and PhD] and continuing education students is available at 12% p.a.
  • Scholarships for postgraduate students – awarded on academic merit
  • Bursaries for needy undergraduate students

Conditions for award/eligibility for undergraduate loans

  • Kenyan nationals
  • Students in Public Universities admitted by JAB [Joint Admissions Board]
  • Students enrolled in self-sponsored programs in Public Universities
  • Students in Chartered Private Universities with a C+ and above in KCSE
    Continuing Education Students

Conditions for award/eligibility for Postgraduate loans/Continuing Education Students (under-graduate salaried).

Open to all Kenyans who are able to service the loan immediately upon disbursement.

The Board charges an application fee for all its loan and scholarship forms. Postgraduate and Continuing Education Students are  charged upfront while for the undergraduates it is loaded on the loan and paid when the loan matures.

For more details on Loan application please visit HELB website www.helb.co.ke. After the loan is awarded the students must ensure that any changes or discrepancies in personal details are communicated as soon as possible. This will help in eliminating errors during disbursing or posting in the
loan book.

What interest will I pay on the loan?

Although student loans are contracts which can be enforced by the civil courts, they are not profit making loans. The Government subsidises the actual cost of interest on the loans, so you do not have to pay the same rate of interest that you would be charged if you were to take out a commercial loan (for example, from a bank).

  1. Interest shall be charged from when you receive your first payment until it has been repaid in full.
  2. An annual administrative (ledger) fee shall be charged until the loan has been repaid in full. Ledger fee is charged in the month of July.

The interest will be ‘compounded’ (that is, added to the total amount you owe) every month.

Your responsibilities

A loanee shall be required, subject to and in accordance with HELB Act 1995 or any regulations made there under, within one year of completion of his studies or within such period as the Board decides to recall its loan whichever is the earlier:
(a) to inform the Board of his/her contact address;
(b) to begin repayment of his/her loan together with any interest accrued thereon;
(c) If he is in formal employment, to authorize his employer to deduct the loan repayment and to remit it to the Board in such a manner as the Board may direct.

When you take out a loan, HELB will ask you to sign a declaration which will be a contract. This states that you have read and understood the Terms and  Conditions. You must agree to repay your loan in line with the regulations that apply at the time the repayments are due and as they are  amended. The regulations may be replaced by later regulations. You must make sure that you provide complete and correct information when you take out the loan. You
must tell HELB about any changes to these details:
• during the application process;
• while you are at university or college;
and
• Until you have repaid your loan in full.

Your loan agreement is a contract.

Information needed

When you take out a loan, you will have to give specific information so that repayments can be collected when they are due.
You must provide your National Identification (ID) and Personal Identification number (PIN). HELB cannot process your application without this.

Changes in your circumstances

As part of the contract you sign, you must tell HELB about changes in your circumstances.
For example, you must let HELB know about:
• change of your postal address;
• change of the academic year in which you will begin your course;
• if you do not begin to study, leave your course or are expelled;
• Going abroad;
• Change of employer;

Procedure of Applying for a HELB Loan

– Creating a HELB Portal Login Account

Ensure your *email address is accessible and you are able to login to your mail box. (All HELB communications are sent to your personal email address)

Ensure your *ID Number is correct before sign up.

  1. Visit HELB website www.helb.co.ke
  2. Click on “Appl y for a Loan”
  3. Click “Register” to register your credentials (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, *ID Number, *Valid Email Address, Password) and Click “Sign Up”
  4. An * Activation Link is immediately sent to your personal email address.
  5. Login to your personal email address to access the HELB Portal * activation link and click on it.
  6. Login to the HELB Portal from the activation link
  7. Update Personal and Residence Details and Click “Save”
  8. Choose Appropriate Loan Product to Apply

LOAN PRODUCTS: NON SALARIED APPLICANTS

  1. Undergraduate First Time Applicants
  2. Undergrad Second and Subsequent
  3. Undergrad Loan Review/Appeals
  4. Constituency Loan Application
  5. TVET for Tertiary Institutions
  6. TVET for Tertiary Institutions Second and Subsequent
  7. Afya Elimu Fund (AEF) Subsequent Loan Application
  8. First Time and Subsequent Afya Elimu Fund Pre-Service
  9. Visa Oshwal Scholarship

LOAN PRODUCTS: SALARIED APPLICANTS

  1. Alternative Loans for Undergrad, Salaried Applicants
  2. Alternative Loans for Postgrad, Salaried Applicants
  3.  Postgraduate Scholarship
  4. Training Revolving Fund (TRF) for Civil Servants
  5. KRA Staff Loan Application Form

 

Once you complete the process of registration (creating the account), all available loan products shall be displayed

Please choose the specific loan product you wish to apply for

If you do not rightly indicate your county and constituency of origin, then you will not be able to view the  specific loan for your county or constituency in the list of loan products that you can choose from to apply

If you do not rightly indicate your employment status (employed/unemployed) you will not be able to view  loan products specific for either group.

To correct your details of county/constituency/employment status, kindly click to apply on the undergraduate application, go to personal details, correct your county/constituency/employment status and save

Go back to apply for loan and the application form for your county or constituency will be displayed, click apply and proceed.


READ ALSO >> How-to: Repay your HELB Loan

How-to: Repay your HELB Loan

in CampusBiz 101
how to pay your HELB Loan how to pay your HELB Loan

Guide on how to repay your HELB Loan

All loanees are required to start repayment after a period of one year on completion of studies, or within such a period as the Board may decide to recall the loan whichever is the earlier (Section 15 HELB Act). Paying the higher education loans at an early age reduces an individuals financial burden in midlife when one is bringing up a family, paying a mortgage as well as planning for retirement. Among other advantages of paying the loans include; reduction of the number of loans that an individual has hence avoid being blacklisted with the Credit Reference Bureau(CRB) and hence one can easily get a bank loan.

To ease your repayment, the Board has developed several different modes of repayment that suits the loanees who are employed and self employed such as check off system, mobile payment that include M-Pesa, Airtel among others.

Therefore your obligation as a Loanee under the Act is to;

  • Inform the Board of your contact addresses (section 15 (a) HELB Act),
  • Begin repayment of your loan together with the  interest accrued thereon (Section 15(b) HELB Act),
  • Facilitate the deduction and remittance of the loan to the Board – (Section 15 (c) HELB Act).

When is the loan due for repayment?

Loan repayment starts within one year of completion of studies or within such a period as the Board decides to recall the loan whichever is earlier. You must pay back your student loan even if you do not graduate, you do not get a job or your education did not meet your expectation.
Paying your loan on time will help to build a good credit history, which makes it easier to borrow money in future. If you do not make timely payments, you will face serious consequences including an adverse credit history and/or referral of your loan to a collection agency or litigation.
It is worth noting that civil proceedings under HELB Act 1995 for recovery are exempted from the provisions of the Limitation of Actions Act.

Alternative Loans (Post-Graduate, Continuing Education, Civil Servants Training Revolving Fund (TRF) and FUNZO)

Alternative loans are due for repayment immediately upon disbursement. Successful applicants shall be notified via e-mail.

Payment Options

Loan repayment can be made directly by loanee or through check-off (employer).

What you will repay

The amount that you repay per month will be based on not more than 25% of your basic pay. However, you can make higher payments which will reduce your balance earlier. You can also clear your outstanding balance at one go at no extra cost.

Making extra repayments

Whatever you earn, you can pay off your loan more quickly by making extra
repayments voluntarily. If you do choose to make extra repayments, you will pay your loan off more quickly. You cannot get a refund of any amounts you repay voluntarily, unless you have finished paying off your loan and over-paid.

Living abroad

If you do not live in Kenya and work abroad, you must tell us, and make
arrangements to make your repayments direct. If you think you may not be in
regular contact while you are away, you may want to grant authority to someone to act on your behalf.
Non-compliance will attract penalties on your loan and where necessary, ask you to repay the full amount of loan, plus interest and penalties in one lump sum.

Repaying loan instructions

You can now pay your HELB loan online, at banking halls or via Mobile Money. To make your payment online :

  • Register an account with HELB online portal here or if you already have an account with us login here
  • Once logged in, click on Online Services -> Online Payment menu.
  • Enter the amount you are paying and click ‘Pay Now‘.
  • A payment acknowledgement will be issued once the payment is successful.
  • HELB will issue an official receipt for the payment.

You can alternatively pay your loan through the following modes.

1.  BANK DEPOSIT (by Employer or Self)

All payments are payable to Higher Education Loans Board, by crossed cheque, Bankers

draft, direct transfer/standing order/EFT or CASH DEPOSIT to HELB collection A/C in any of the following banks:

Bank Account Number Branch Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Kenya Commercial Bank 1103 266 314 University-way SWIFT CODE : KCBLKENX
Family Bank 035 000 024 971 Family Bank Towers SWIFT CODE : FABLKENAXXX
Co-operative Bank 011290 612 228 00 University-way SWIFT CODE : KCOOKENA
Barclays bank 501 8216 Barclays Plaza SWIFT CODE : BARCKENX
Standard chartered Bank 010 801 826 4700 Koinange street SWIFT CODE : SCBLKENX
Equity bank 055 029 357 3408 Equity Center SWIFT CODE : EQBLKENA
National Bank of Kenya 010 016 039 1100 Harambee Avenue SWIFT CODE :NBKEKENX
Citibank 300 040 012 Nairobi SWIFT CODE : CITIKENA
Chase Bank 0332 084 215 001 Delta House SWIFT CODE : CKENKENAXXX
NIC Bank 1002 247 638 NIC House SWIFT CODE : NINCKENAXXX
Jamii Bora Bank 1174 852 7001 Koinange street SWIFT CODE : CIFIKENAXXX

2.  MOBILE PAYMENT SERVICES: M-PESA

Using M-PESA (Safaricom) Money Transfer:

  •  Select pay bill option
  •  Enter HELB business number as 200800
  •  Enter your national ID number as your account number
  •  Enter amount you want to pay
  •  Enter your secret PIN number
  •  Confirm transaction and send

Note: The transaction will take 2 business days to reflect in your statement

3. CREDIT CARD or DEBIT (ATM) CARD

Give authority to HELB to make monthly debits or lump-sum payments directly from your bank account or credit card. This is done by signing the CREDIT CARD AUTHORIZATION FORM (CCA) and forwarding the same to HELB. VISA branded credit cards or debit (ATM) cards can also be swiped at HELB offices.

 4. ONLINE PAYMENT via HELB PAYMENT PORTAL

You can now pay your HELB loan online. To make your payment:

  • Register an account with HELB online portal; if you already have an account please
  • Once logged in, click on Online Services > Online Payment menu.
  • Enter your National ID number as your account number
  • Enter the amount you are paying and click Pay Now.
  • A payment acknowledgement will be issued once the payment is successful.
  • HELB will issue an official receipt for the payment.

5.  WAVE

You can make payments instantly from the US and Canada through Wave via KCB account number 1103266314. Go to www.sendwave.com to update/download the app and then make transfers immediately. Once you complete the transaction, you will get a wave message like this;

 

NOTE

National ID number MUST be included as reference in all payments and enquiries; Payments MUST be made by the 15th   day of the following month for employers and within the month for individuals (self-paying)

Payments (cheques) delivered directly at HELB payment office MUST be  attached with remittance form;
For payments made directly to HELB bank accounts, the remittance form MUST be e-mailed to HELB (e-mail:  remittance@helb.co.ke ) 

The remittance form is available from the HELB website Download Remittance Form

No payment shall be accepted without the remittance form

HELB BILL PAYMENT GUIDELINES Using Equity bank ATM:

On the ATM menu:

  • Insert ATM card
  • Key in your secret PIN number
  • Go to ‘Pay bills’
  • Select ‘HELB
  • Enter National ID number when prompted.
  • Email contactcentre@helb.co.ke for further enquiries

Exceptions from loan repayment

There are circumstances where your student loan may be cancelled so that you never have to pay it back. These instances are:
• If you die before you pay the loan off; or
• If you become disabled and because of that disability you are registered as being permanently unfit for work.

What if I decide to take a further course of study at a later date?

At some point after completing your first course, you may want to take a further
course of study. If you are eligible for, and take out, student  loans for this further study, you need to be aware that the two loans must be repaid concurrently.

Keeping track of your payments

Loan repayment statements

Loan repayment statements can be viewed from HELB website www.helb.co.ke . Should you have any query on your statement, kindly contact statements@helb.co.ke .

Coming to the end of repaying your loan Upon completion of loan repayment, kindly seek clearance from HELB. Please note that only HELB and not your employer can confirm your loan repayment status.
HELB shall confirm loan repayment completion by way of issuing certificate of
clearance. Please contact certificate@helb.co.ke

What happens if you don’t make your repayments?

By law, you must repay your loan in line with the contract and the regulations.
Any loanee who fails or neglects his/her obligations may be charged a penalty which will be added to your loan account and  where necessary, ask you to repay the full amount of loan, plus interest and penalties in one lump sum.

Employers have a responsibility, by law,
(a) Upon the employment of any loanee to inform the Board in writing within a
period of three months of such employment;

(b) Upon confirmation by the Board that such a person so employed is a loanee,
to deduct from the wages or remuneration of the loanee, the amount of any loan as instructed by the Board.

The employer shall pay every deduction from the loanee’s wages or remuneration in the prescribed manner to the Board within 15 days after the end of each month.
The employer may have to pay fines if they do not comply.

 

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO: Keep track of your own repayments records.

895 selected for the Tuskys internship programme

in News
Tuskys internship applicants Tuskys internship applicants

Tuskys Internship has drawn young people from all the counties to join the programme. Joram Kamau leadership school is meant to offer empowerment,this being one of the values the brand stands by. The internship programme is focused on enriching the youth with basic skills through training. Integrity is among the values that trainees have to learn.

Retail chain Tuskys has selected 895 youth from a list of 10,000 applicants to join its internship programme.

This is part of the supermarket’s efforts to bridge an acute trained human resource gap in the sector.

This is the fourth cohort, which saw female applicants outnumbering their male counterparts, and 60 per cent of the applicants having degrees, an indication of the need to create employment opportunities for the youth.

Tuskys Tuesday said the 895 young people underwent a competitive shortlisting process featuring a panel of interviewers seeking to retain the most passionate and skilled beneficiaries.

“The selected beneficiaries will be attached to the Joram Kamau Leadership Programme to undertake comprehensive hands-on training in retail operations and management,” Tuskys said in a notice.

The leadership programme was established in 2015 to provide academic and practical skills training for entry level students wishing to pursue formal retail careers.

The studies cover both elementary and management level retail lessons, with plans under way to certify the school’s training curriculum with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) at certificate, diploma and degree levels.

Tuskys Internship is about giving a chance to individuals to gain skills and experience required in the job industry while shaping their future.


Read Also: Secrets to making your Cover Letter stand out

How to Win a Scholarship

in Information

I am currently looking for a Masters scholarships, Before I got here, I did a lot of research on scholarships generally, and, I realized that the best time to apply for an undergraduate scholarship is probably when in your last year of high school or immediately after and are sure about what course you want to pursue. Again, I would also advice anyone looking to get a Postgraduate Degree scholarship, to start on it early (like in their final year of studies) and only if you have a passion in the course that you are pursuing or are quite sure what Masters or Ph.D program you would like to pursue. If not, get into the job market. Explore and discover what line of career interests you and at that point you can decide to pursue further studies in the same line. Some postgraduate scholarships require some years of experience in the line of studies that you wish to pursue.

Scholarships, where to start, huh?

Let us start from the very beginning. A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support a student’s education (to help him or her further his or her education), awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.

Types of scholarships

Scholarships can be:

Merit-based: These awards are based on a student’s academic, artistic, athletic or other abilities.

Student-specific: These are scholarships for which applicants must initially qualify based upon gender, race, religion, family, and medical history, or many other student-specific factors.

Career-specific: These are scholarships a college or university awards to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study.

College-specific: College-specific scholarships are offered by individual colleges and universities to highly qualified applicants. These scholarships are given on the basis of academic and personal achievement.

Creative Contest Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students based on a creative submission. Contest scholarships are also called mini project based scholarships where students can submit entries based on unique and innovative ideas.

Scholarships are either provided by governments, corporations, universities or any organization with a little goodwill and some money to burn 🙂

When you finally make the decision to pursue one, here are a few hacks to help you remain organized and able to keep track of your applications:

  • Keep a master list of all the scholarships you ever apply to be it small, local, international, full or partial.
  • Gather your resources before starting the applications. Could be guiding essays, list of requirements, websites to visit, letters of recommendation, academic and professional certificates.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation before you need them. These could either be from lecturers or professors, former or current employers.
  • Identify and categorize the scholarships.
  • Recycle essays. Your essays should be original. Have a number that you can reuse as this saves you a great deal of time and energy. Also, reusing and rethinking old materials can mean improvements as you repeatedly refine and edit the same work.
  • Save every single essay you’ve ever written and date them.
  • Target small, local or branded scholarships.
  • Don’t feel entitled. If you do not put forth the effort, you will not reap the benefits no matter how good of a student you are.
  • Plan to apply for as many scholarships as possible. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you can maximize your chances of getting one by pouring all of your energy into one or two scholarships.
  • Remain hopeful and positive. Do not feel like the odds are against you or the competition is too stiff. You can find a scholarship requiring your specific talents or ideas, not all are aimed at the student with the best academic records.
  • Enquire and learn from past scholarship winners. This could mean reviewing past winning applications essays and other materials or interviewing past winners of scholarships about their approach and any insight about a particular scholarship.

 

Always read carefully through any scholarship requirements. Make sure you adhere to all that is required and provide all the requested documents. Scholarship providers follow up on their requirements strictly and it would be a waste of your time to apply and automatically be put in the reject list even before you are started on the application process.

CampusNews: University of Nairobi Closed Down Indefinitely

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University of Nairobi Closed Down Indefinitely University of Nairobi Closed Down Indefinitely

University of Nairobi has been closed indefinitely by the institution’s Senate due to security concerns. Through there twitter handle, UoN Administration has given students until 9am to leave the institution.

Director of Corporate Affairs John Orindi said the decision had been arrived at due to security fears.

“We will announce when the institution will re-open,” said Mr Orindi.

The development comes in the wake of  last weeks protest by students which left 26 of them injured. Last night, students at the main campus also held demonstrations and barricaded Mamlaka Road and State House Road. The students blocked sections of Mamlaka Road and State House Road before police arrived to disperse them, firing gunshots into the air. They burnt down security offices there saying the officials had failed to stop the police invasion and blocked a fire engine from reaching the site. The fire engine crew demanded to get armed escort to access the site in vain. More protests were Tuesday morning reported along Lower Kabete Road.

Some students closed roads near there forcing motorists to seek alternative routes. They were demanding the removal or resignation of Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi saying he is was the one who allowed and invited the police to invade the institution classes and halls to assault and steal from them. They chanted, “Mbithi must go! Mbithi must go!”

Most unrest happened at the main campus. This was after the institution had addressed a press conference to justify the police action. The incident is being investigated.

The competition just got younger…

in CV Writing, Internship Tips, My Intern XP

“I review CV’s from the bottom going up not the conventional top to bottom way….” Sarah Richson, Global HR Director,  Techno brain said.

The unemployment rate in Kenya, stands at 40%, with the highest percentage among the youth between the ages of 18 and 34 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. It takes a university graduate five years to get a job in Kenya according to the British funded study on unemployment and higher education

A report released by the Commission for Higher Education informs us that more than 50,000 students graduate annually from private and public universities in Kenya. Only half of them are suitable for employment. And of these graduates, more than half are not suited to their career choice, the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) notes in a survey.

Last year, India had the most graduates of any country worldwide with 78.0 million while China followed close behind with 77.7 million. The U.S. is now in third place with 67.4 million graduates, and the gap behind the top two countries is widening.

In a world full of learned youths with all kinds of qualifications,what sets you apart? There is a 23- year old lady/gentleman somewhere pursuing a Master’s yet applying for an entry-level job and an undergraduate and a forth form leaver applying from the same job. More often than,  it’s not that to you are underqualified, it’s that you are not selling your values and your worth well on your cv. Adding a masters on a degree doesn’t really guarantee you a job, but I am not discouraging anyone,  if anything education has no barriers and boundaries so please read but just remember that it doesn’t guarantee you a job.  In government offices especially, half of the population is old people, men and women about to retire and more often than not their jobs are acquired on a basis of who do you know and who do they know ( a topic for another day). Who does your network comprise of? In rare cases so you find youngsters in this offices and if you do they are restricted to certain jobs or are jobless at all but still being paid to be in the office.

With age, technology and high rates of unemployment currently affecting us, we – the youths need to shape up or ship out. It’s a two-way traffic, no more, no less.

In her motivation speech on 08/09/2017 at Yusudi, Sarah Richson, Global HR Director Techno Brain, said the she reviews all the CV’s she get from the bottom – the interests part to be precise. It sounded weird to me too at first. Our CV’s are crafted top- bottom and not the other way round. Not because the too is not important but almost everyone can brag of a degree or certification in something. So it’s a common thing. The interests  and hobbies – your interests and hobbies to be precise- is what makes you stand out. The market is flooded with very many learned friends refer to the statistics above, so she looks for that which sets you apart, your interests.

This settles well with me because recently in an interview, that was the second question i was asked and we dwelt on it for more than ten minutes as the interviewers tried to understand me better besides my academic qualifications. One thing that struck me about that interview isthat things are change and real quick (0 -100 real quick). I was used to a certain set of question (tell me about yourself, why should we hire, what are your salary expectation, why this, why that, how about this and that but rarely did any of those questions ever focused on my interests.

Listening to the HR Director of an organization that spans 5 continents out of the possible 7 and considering the large numbers of learned and qualified jobs seekers, we must have that one unique thing that sets us apart from the rest. That element that makes any employer want to hire you at the blink of an eye despite your academic qualification. There’s more to it than just the good results and certificates. That is why we have school dropouts running very big businesses and making money left, right and center and smiling all the way to the banks like nobody’s business. No one wants to hire someone with literally no interests on earth. Your interests set you apart and the bottom line is let them be of VALUE.

Having said that, make sure that when writing your interests and hobbies they are:

True
Have something you are passionate about. Something that excites you, something that makes your eyes sparkle when you talk about it. Passion is displayed in our eyes, research has verified that.

Unique
Mention your hobby in a way that sounds unique. Don’t say reading, when you can say ‘classics’ or ‘Indian art history’ or something more specific. Have an example especially when it comes to reading. Have at least one book in mind that you really love and a reason why just to say the least. If it is music talk about genre, artist or even a special decade!

Demonstrable
You may like to think, but really that is not a hobby.
If you put something like singing, be ready to sing in the interview.
If you put something like dramatics, be ready to emote.
Put something that can break the monotony of interviews.

Relatable
Be honest at all times, but if you have more than one hobby, choose the one that the interviewers may be able to relate to.

If you don’t have a hobby or interest, get one!

It’s not just something to talk about in an interview, it is something to treasure and add value to yourself as an individual.

Get Interesting and interested!!!

SN

This is how you find a good college in the USA

in Career
StudyinUSA StudyinUSA

 

Getting an overseas college admission maybe the first step towards achieving your dream. A good college should be one that offers your program at a cost that you can afford. The application process could be time consuming, expensive and full of disappointments. Knowing what to look for could save your time and money. Through proper research before applying, you could also avoid the pain of being rejected.  Here are a few pointers in your search for that college admission.

Begin early

Most American college require that international applicants submit their applications around 9 months before their target academic year. If you are eyeing fall (September) intake you would want to apply before January. Most university application portals open in August and close in January. Therefore, the latest you should submit your application is December.

The application process can be quite tedious. On average, you will need to submit a statement of purpose and 3 letters from your referees. The referees can be your college professors and employers or supervisors. In the statement of purpose (admission essay) you explain how you settled for the program and university, what motivates you and what you expect to gain from the program. The first statement of purpose will take a long time to complete; better start early!

The first step here will be shortlisting the programs you want to pursue and the colleges that offer them. By the beginning of November, you should be sure of the college(s) to which you want to apply. Luckily, you can complete the online application in multiple sittings before submitting.

Be sure before you commit

To avoid wasting time and money you will want to get accurate information about the college and the program before you apply for it. You can supplement your information by emailing department staff or the admissions office. In many colleges, the program coordinator is the go-to person but anyone in the program will point you in the right direction. Some departments publish information about their current students on their websites. You might want to talk to a student to get a student’s perspective about the college or the program. You will be surprised to know that in other parts of the world, people read and respond promptly to emails! Unlike Kenya where canvassing is frowned upon, American colleges value applicants’ familiarity with their staff or college.

Affordability

Surprisingly, it is not that difficult to get admitted to colleges abroad. A second-class upper will get you into most colleges in the USA. However, education is unreasonably expensive in America. As a rule, private colleges will be more expensive than public institutions. Be sure to ascertain whether that college is private or public. An interesting fact is that most American universities known to Kenyans are private. Think of Harvard, Yale, Stanford. You will need to get your money right before applying to private colleges. Furthermore, private universities provide masters degree funding in very few programs but they have lucrative deals for their PhD students. For this reason, some international students go to public universities for masters degree and to private ones for PhDs. Other things to consider include waivers and assistantship opportunities that will reduce your financial burden.

Acceptance rates

This is the percentage of a university’s successful applicants out of all applicants in a given year. The lower this percentage, the harder it is to get into the college. In 2017, the acceptance rate was 4.65% in Stanford and 5.8% in Harvard compared to 66% in the University of Illinois system and 61% in the University of California system. The obvious implication is that it is easier to get into public colleges.

Masters or PhD

Another critical decision for graduate students is whether to pursue a masters degree or a PhD. While most Universities have stand-alone masters programs, some have a combined program in which students earn a masters degree after 2 years and after 3 more years they get the PhD. For some reason, it is easier to get funding for PhDs than for masters. Therefore, it is financially smart to go for a PhD program instead of a masters -if you meet the program’s requirements.

Standardized tests

Colleges often require at least one standardized test from applicants. For students whose native language is not English, American colleges will want you to sit for TOEFL. My previous article takes an in-depth look at TOEFL. The TOEFL pass-mark will vary with the college and program. Some programs may require GRE (God help you). Consider all these requirements while calculating costs of applying to colleges since these tests are costly. Also, understand how urgent the results are needed because, apart from the time you will need to prepare for the tests, it also takes about 3 weeks before the results are out.

Be organized

Chances are that you will send dozens of emails before you settle on a college. To avoid getting things mixed up, you should set up a new, decent email address for this purpose.  Marking important dates on your calendar will also help track your applications.

Credit: WALIMU WA KIZUNGU

Secrets to making your Cover Letter stand out

in CampusBiz 101
Cover Letter secrets Cover Letter secrets

When sending out your job application, there are cases where you are not asked to send a clear photograph of yourself. In such a case, your first impression to potential employers is your cover letter. A cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview or having your resume ignored (don’t you just hate it when this happens?). Therefore it is important to put in the time and effort to writing an effective cover letter. This means carefully reading the job description in the job listing, evaluating the skills required and thinking of instances where you applied those skills and eventually relating them to how you would be effective in the position available.

Here are some cover letter secrets that you ought to know to get ahead in the game.

  1. Always send a customized cover letter for each application you submit. Mention which job you are applying for. Mention how you got to hear about the job (mention a referral if you have one).
  2. Make sure that you connect the skills and experiences that are required on the job description to your actual skills and experiences.
  3. Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume.
  4. Get right to the point. 3-4 paragraphs with 3-4 sentences each.
  5. Send as a PDF file.
  6. Have a catchy introduction to make sure that your potential employer keeps reading and keeps you number one on their mind.
  7. Your cover letter should show that you have done research about what the company does and how you can help them or contribute towards their success (for example: cut costs or increase profits).
  8. Discuss your soft skills and strengths and what makes you passionate about your career and the job you are applying for.
  9. Compliment the organization on what they have done right and what you admire about them. Complete the statement “I like your organization because…”
  10. Show your enthusiasm! Do not be boring and make them want to fall asleep! You can keep it conversational and show your personality off.

Cover letters usually accompany resumes. Even if the organization does not ask for one, you may include one anyway. You do not need to include any personal information or salary expectations at this point (unless it is a requirement). If you have questions about the job, schedule or benefits then this is not the right time to bring it up. Keep it concise! If you write too much, it is probably going to be ignored!

With these key points in mind, look out for our Step-by-Step guide to writing an effective cover letter. Make your Cover Letter Count!

Step by Step Guide to writing a Cover Letter

in CampusBiz 101, Career, CV Writing
Dear Sir Dear Sir

A cover letter is a document sent together with your CV to provide additional information on your skills and experience to prove to a potential employer that you are qualified for the job that you are applying for. When writing your cover letter, be sure to take time to personalize it. This is because it is a strong endorsement of your ability to do the job for which you’re applying. It is important to do your research by looking into the role that you are applying for and the company to which you are applying. This enables you to tailor your cover letter accordingly. In addition, it can be helpful to review some cover letter samples so that you have an idea on how everything fits on a page.

A cover letter should not be more than one page. Remember to keep things short. Here is an outline of what should be included in your cover letter:

  • Header:

A cover letter should begin with your contact information (name, address, contact details to include phone number and email) followed by the date and the employer’s contact information (name, position, contact details). If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

  • Salutation:

Most salutations are addressed as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. However, finding out who to address the application letter to, be it by doing some research by either calling to ask whom to address the letter to or by asking via email may put you at an advantage. If you manage to find out the person’s name, do not use their first name. Use either “Mr.” or “Ms.” And their last name instead.

  • Subject:

Some job advertisements specify what to put as the subject to your cover letter. This is a line by itself. It states what job/position you are applying for.

(For example, “RE: Application for Supply Chain Manager Position”)

  • Introduction:

Why are you getting in touch?

Your goal here is to capture the reader’s attention.

Also mention where you heard about the job, particularly if you heard about it from a contact associated with the company.

  • Body:

Why are you suitable for the job?

Briefly describe your academic qualifications and one or two achievements relevant to the role. Mention specific qualifications listed in the job posting and explain how you meet those qualifications.

Explain why you are interested in the job and why you make an excellent candidate for the position. Give tangible examples that match your traits where possible.

The body should be in a paragraph or two.

  • Closing:

Here is where you restate how your skills make you a strong fit for the company and/or position. It is also a good time to indicate that you would like the opportunity to interview or discuss employment opportunities. Thank the employer for his/her consideration.

  • Signature:

Sign off your cover letter with “Yours sincerely” (if you know the name of the hiring manager) or “Yours faithfully” (if you don’t) followed by your name.

 

Formatting and Proof-reading your Cover Letter

The font of your cover letter should match the font you used on your resume and should be simple and easy to read. Basic fonts like Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Verdana, and Times New Roman work well. A font size of 12 is easy to read with a standard margins of 1” on the top, bottom, and left and right sides of the page. Add a space between your address, date, employer’s address, salutation, subject, each paragraph, the closing and your signature. You can reduce the font and margin sizes to keep your document on a single page. Be sure to leave enough white space for your letter to be easy to read.

Remember to edit and proof your cover letter before sending it. Read the letter aloud. It is a good way to catch small typos such as missing words or sentences that sound odd. Always double-check the spelling of your employer’s name as well as the company name.

 

In addition, use the following tips to make your cover letter outstanding.

ISN’T IT TIME YOU QUIT?

in Internship Tips
QUIT QUIT

Most of us go through life with set expectations and goals we would want to achieve in life. It is not abnormal to feel like a failure when all things don’t go as we planned in life. We keep on pushing ourselves s o hard that sometimes we either break or loose ourselves in the process. We forget to live life, to enjoy each moment as it comes and to appreciate our small goals. Sometimes we need to cut our losses early in life before they draw us down to our graves. So when is it time to say no, to actually realize enough is enough and cut our losses and move on in life.

A very good friend of mine once told me that the saddest person in the world is he who has set goals for all his life and doesn’t know when to be flexible. Goals are not bad but we should not let them run our whole lives that we forget what is most important; that is to actually live. Quitting doesn’t mean you are a loser. In fact it takes a lot of mental strength to walk away from a goal you have set for yourself. Here are a few signs that give you permission to quit:

  1. The cost out weight the benefit.

Most businesses go into business because they wish to make profits. But before they do that they usually carry out an analysis to determine if the venture will be successful. If not they pull out and invest somewhere else. This is the same strategy we should use to analyze the goals we have set. Does it require more than it will give back to you? If yes pull back it will not only be a bad in investment in terms of finances and effort but also your valuable time.

  1. Goals don’t match your values.

In the beginning of each year we make resolutions, at that point and time it seems like a good idea but a few months down the line the process of achieving that resolution might not seat well with you. Doing things that get us out our comfort zone is good because it tests how far we can stretch ourselves but that doesn’t mean we do things that make our conscience harden. Our values should always be kept in check.

 

  1. Change of plans.

Change is the only thing that is constant in our life. Things change, people grow, needs change and even goals change. Many people feel like once they have set their goals they are chained to them forever. Setting a goal for yourself doesn’t mean you have to commit yourself to accomplish it. If you find yourself stuck in a certain place in life, it could be because you are not quitting enough.

And while there is a lot to be said for perseverance, sometimes it just makes more sense to quit.