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Dignosco: The Next Step to College Counselling

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Ask any student enrolled in the tertiary levels of school or college, and the absence of counseling services will be an oft-cited problem. Confused career choices, dissatisfied youngsters in seemingly perfect jobs and oodles of disappointment is what ensues.

In a scenario such as this, counseling services for students, professionals and institutions initiated by Dignosco - a social enterprise that targets sustainable human capital development through counseling, training and consultancy - are a welcome step. Applying to colleges abroad can be a very tedious process. From the extensive paperwork and the associated costs to the tremendous time taken in compiling and reviewing and re-reviewing an application, the mere application phase can beat the energy out of anyone.

And if one is also vying for a scholarship, the amount of work nearly quadruples as even the minutes of details have to be carefully scrutinized. Yet, despite taking all the requisite steps, a student may not succeed in even securing a place at a desired school, let alone a scholarship, because of the lack of awareness regarding the strategies required for writing essays, interview preparations, taking required exams such as the GRE, getting recommendations, etc.

"Often, applicants are not aware of the opportunities available to them because of a lack of awareness," said Sadia Khan, Director at Dignosco Ltd. Given such predicaments, Dignoscos well-qualified team of counsellors has literally been there and done that.

The team members have themselves attended distinguished universities such as Oxford, Yale, University College London (UCL) and National University of Singapore (NUS), and have been assisting individuals and institutions with various college applications. Staying abreast with admission trends and statistics is key, and the Dignosco team has been working along precisely those lines to help applicants organise and align their college applications as per their needs and skill sets.

"Our services are very customised and particularly make a difference for applicants who otherwise may have weak profiles. We work on every applicants individual profiles and put together a strategy report for each one of them. Our success rate of nearly 92 percent acceptances out of all applications vouches for our work," said Abrar Rahman, Founder and Director of Dignosco.

Though the enterprise does charge a fee for offering their services, they also work on cases which are worthy of being considered but cannot afford to pay. Besides helping with college applications, Dignoscos scope of work also involves arranging funding for clients who cannot self-finance their studies.

This includes counseling for prominent scholarships such as the Fulbright of the US and Erasmus Mundus of the European Commission, as well as for individual financial aid packages of various universities. Mazdak Luni, a student at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, is a phenomenal instance of a student benefiting from Dignoscos services.

Starting his educational pursuit from a village in Sibi, he bagged a scholarship at LUMS through the schools National Outreach Programme, joined Habib Banks investment banking team and later Byco as an investment associate.

Eventually, with the assistance of Dignosco, he applied and successfully received scholarships from UC Berkeley where he currently studies, and Fullbright. "Dignosco...looked at (my experiences) from different perspectives to help me evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and highlight (those) which I might not have focused on otherwise.

Compared to my class fellows at Haas, I had much fewer resources available to help me through the process and Dignosco helped me overcome that disadvantage," said Luni. Other protégées of Dignosco have went on and secured scholarships and places in renowned schools such as the INSEAD, Oxford and London Business School highlighting the achievements of this counseling service. Given the dearth of good college counseling services offered in Pakistan, one hopes Dignosco will help set stage for other such services in the country to help aspiring students achieve their dreams.

Source: Business Recorder

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