16-year-old student from Podar International School, Mumbai, Dhriti Oza was awarded a full scholarship for two years to study at Ardingly College in Sussex, England. Sean Sequeira finds out what it takes to attain that 100%
Q. WHAT METHODS DID YOU ADOPT TO ACHIEVE EIGHT STRAIGHT A’s IN YOUR IGCSE EXAMS?
The most impactful factor was that my mom never sat down with me and made me study. I think that freedom helped me learn from my mistakes and I didn’t want to let her down after she’d put so much faith in me. In terms of exams, solving past papers gave me an idea of the structure of questions, format of the paper and the answers expected. I referred to my school notes often, and I found those quite helpful. My teachers at Podar International were a major factor in my achievements. They answered our queries and encouraged us to solve papers at home and even corrected them for us to refer to later. The very first rule I set for IGCSE was that I’d never spend more than four hours studying daily, six hours during the last two months. I think it’s important not to procrastinate. Don’t leave anything for the last minute; it’ll only stress you out.
Q. HOW CAN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES HELP HONE A STUDENT’S SKILLS?
Sports and music instil values and improve skills in a way academics just can’t. Teamwork, dexterity, rhythm, observation, alertness, harmonising, stamina- building, toning – there’s several advantages of having a wide range of extracurricular activities. I played golf which helped me build confidence, understanding, stamina, and I learnt how to adapt to different circles. Other fields that are beneficial are languages, music, tournaments and competitions, dance, art, and examinations such as IPM and Spelling Bee. Everything can help you judge where you stand and where your strengths lie. I think every activity you participate in changes a part of you for the better.
Q. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO ATTAIN YOUR FULL SCHOLARSHIP TO ARDINGLY COLLEGE, SUSSEX?
Well, I attended a presentation two staff members from Ardingly were making at my school. I found what I heard of the school absolutely delightful, and quite like Hogwarts (I’m a big Harry Potter fan), so I introduced myself to them after the session. They were rather impressed with me, my grades and my past achievements. A short interview and a maths and English entrance exam ensued in the next few weeks. Initially I was informed that they didn’t offer scholarships above 50%, although the final decision was solely the headmaster’s. My principal, Dr Mrs Vandana Lulla, strongly recommended me to the Headmaster and in due time I was awarded a 100% scholarship. I am so, so very grateful to Vandana ma’am who was there from the beginning to the end of the process and helped pave my path to England.
Q. AFTER COMPLETING THESE TWO YEARS, DO YOU PLAN ON CARRYING ON STUDYING IN THE UK?
Currently, two of my options are law and journalism. I’m also interested in business and economics. The only thing I’m certain of is that I don’t see myself in science. I plan on studying abroad, maybe UK, maybe the United States, it could be anywhere. I’m on the lookout for universities offering scholarships all over the globe, with courses that I think are right for me. Hopefully I’ll have a clearer idea at the end of the year!
Q. WHAT DO PLAN TO STUDY FOR YOUR UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE?
Perhaps business or economics, maybe law. I’m still unsure.
Q. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION WHEN YOU INITIALLY WENT TO THE UK TO STUDY?
I landed in UK a week before term began. It is picturesque, especially in the countryside. The people are kind, helpful and polite. The education system isn’t too different, considering I’ve done IGCSE, but walking from one corner of this enormous campus to the other carrying giant folders is quite a change! The cafeteria is amazing. They make sure there is at least one vegetarian item in every meal. The salad bar is always open, and has delicious food. The teachers are ever so helpful, and there are people of so many different cultures and nationalities that there is no dull moment. I now have friends from Canada, Africa, France, Germany and UK; and that’s only the girls of my age!
Q. DID YOU HAVE ANY APPREHENSIONS ABOUT LEAVING HOME FOR TWO YEARS?
Surprisingly, no. I couldn’t wait. Of course, I miss my friends, and my family even more, but I’m not even homesick yet. I know I should be bawling my eyes out, but I just love it here! But yes, I do miss my family and friends.
Q. WHAT CONVINCED THE REPRESENTATIVES OF ARDINGLY TO OFFER YOU A SCHOLARSHIP?
Well, sports are very important abroad. I had certificates from golf and sports days. I also had several certificates from international competitions such as the Spelling Bee, ASMA, IPM, Macmillan, Olympiad, and so on. I have also participated in a folk dancing course. Taking short term courses (like baking or foreign languages) was also a great plus. I’d also participated in a course by TiE called Bizworld. When I was ten, I had been part of a three-week student exchange programme to the USA that showed I would easily adapt to the new culture. Such small little things made big differences and the entrance exam and interview sealed the deal!
YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR
J.K. Rowling completely changed my life, but I’m going through a John Green phase as well
A FAMOUS PERSON YOU WOULD LIKE TO MEET
YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIANS
The Beatles, The Doors, Queen, Mumford and Sons, Mayday Parade, etc
YOUR IDEAL PROFESSION
Something to do with owning an island and my own company
Volume 3 Issue 4