Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) gave prospective undergraduates a taste of college life and a unique opportunity to gain valuable information on the admissions process. The Georgetown Pre-College Series (GPS), a follow-up effort to the Summer College Preview Program co-hosted with Carnegie Mellon in Qatar this past July, offered a series of informational workshops geared toward students wanting to expose themselves to college-level study and strengthen their applications before applying to college.
“We wanted to find more ways to engage students in college-preparatory programming, allowing them to sample the programs Georgetown has to offer while getting them geared up for college admissions season,” said Melissa Meyers, GPS organizer.
The participants, most of whom are interested in studying at SFS-Qatar and pursuing careers in international affairs, came from the Academic Bridge Program (ABP), a Qatar Foundation initiative designed to prepare post-secondary students for university-level study. “ABP was very enthusiastic about getting involved and provided a terrific pool of students to work with,” added Meyers.
The six-day program included workshops designed to improve the students’ research and presentation skills as well as an introductory session on international politics taught by SFS-Qatar Visiting Professor, Gary Wasserman.
At the end of the program, students were given the opportunity to showcase these skills through group presentations on a global issue of their choice. The presentation topics were diverse ranging from addressing human rights issues, such as child labor in India or human trafficking, to more political subjects like Iran’s nuclear program.
Waad Salih, a Hoya hopeful who presented on genocide in Darfur, expressed her appreciation for the workshops. “I liked the GPS program because I was able to boost my self-confidence, especially in public speaking. Giving a presentation like this is not something I would have been able to do just a few weeks ago,” she said.
Students seeking to improve their applications before applying to college also benefitted from the workshop on how to write a personal statement, an often daunting task due to its open-ended nature. “Now I know how to write personal statements and can avoid some common mistakes that I may have made before,” said another GPS student, Roudha Al-Nassr.
The end of the GPS program was marked by a closing ceremony where students were recognized for their accomplishments. Liz Kepferle, Director of Admissions at Georgetown University’s Qatar campus, congratulated the students on their drive and interest in international affairs and in submitting the best application possible. “But beyond using the past three weeks at Georgetown to improve your research and presentation skills, and personal statements, you have set yourselves on an upward spiral that will benefit you well past the application deadline. These improvements will serve you into university and beyond,” remarked Kepferle.
Mehran Kamrava, the interim dean of SFS-Qatar, recounted his own experience with studying international affairs and explained how it had given him a valuable framework with which to ask important questions in order to better understand political phenomena, such as revolution and violent political transitions. Dean Kamrava praised the students for demonstrating their ability to confront such issues and ask important questions relating to their topics, and encouraged them to continue their academic pursuits at SFS-Qatar. “Here at Georgetown, we look forward to helping you ask and explore these questions further.”