Bulawayo, July 17, 2013 – Close to four hundred high school students in and around Bulawayo at the weekend attended the American Colleges and Universities Fair held at Eveline High School.
The fair, organized by the American Corner based at the Bulawayo Public Library, saw 14 colleges and universities represented by Zimbabwean students who are either attending or are former students of the tertiary institutions. Each student provided information about application processes, admissions, campus and academic life as well as scholarship opportunities to prospective students.
“It’s a very good university,” said Tafadzwa Negonde, a graduate of St. Lawrence University based in New York. “If you want to go to the moon, it will take you there.” Negonde, a trainee auditor at Deloitte and Touche, told inquisitive students that the university is located in a rural setting and offers limited financial aid, according to students’ needs.
Most of the “college representatives” said the most common questions were related to financial aid and the application process.
The high school students learned that the admissions processes to U.S. universities included a review of grades as well as the motivation behind students’ desires to pursue further studies. “Even when you have good grades, if you don’t have the qualities that the institution wants, they won’t take you regardless of the number of points you get,” explained Hope Ndlovu, an engineering student at Harvard University.
“In addition to your high school grades, your personal statement will make you stand out…there are all those stories that build you that will make them look at you. What you need to sell is the story that sells you.”
“During the first year of your university experience, you have several options you can take in different fields,” said Charlene Stacy, a pre-medicine student at Brown University. “But above all, the schools also have a diverse social life and students can link up with different groups from different parts of the world.”
Wheelchair-bound Energy Maburutse of Lynn University also shared his experiences as a disabled student in the U.S. “We are treated equally and there are adequate facilities for disabled students,” said Energy, who has been conducting a motivational speaking tour in different parts of Zimbabwe while on holiday. “I am at the most amazing school – I open my door with the press of a button, everything is accessible and attitudes are good. Besides, I hold several leadership positions as I participate in various students and academic programs.”
Other colleges represented at the Fair included Morehouse College; Amherst College; Cornell University; De Paul University; Ouachita University; New York University Abu Dhabi; University of Pennyslvania; Yale University; College of St. Scholastica and Oberlin College.
During the Fair, other organizations took the opportunity to reach out to high school students. “We are telling them to come and read books at our library as they explore options for further study,” said
Wilson Julajulah, deputy chief librarian at the Bulawayo Public Library. He said his library has over 10,600 members in Bulawayo and had so far registered 50 new members in two hours at the Fair.
“We are here to encourage students to join in the campaign to build a generation of responsible adults,” said Khayelihle Moyo, and administrator at Lead Us Today, a youth group that works with students in Bulawayo, Esigodini and Gweru where it initiates sustainable programs that are then adopted by local communities.
A similar event will be held in Harare at Prince Edward School on Saturday.
The United States is home to more than 4,000 internationally accredited colleges and universities. The United States is increasingly a destination of choice for Zimbabwean students –with over nearly 1,200 Zimbabwean students at various American colleges and universities. A large percentage of those who pursue U.S. studies from Zimbabwe do so with full or substantial scholarships given for their academic, artistic or sporting talent.