Credit: www.thedailyguardian.com (reprint)
Anjali Raghbeer, Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Writers Qi, recently joined NewsX for a conversation as part of its special segment NewsX India A-List. With Writers Qi, Anjali has been helping students to achieve their dream of gaining a world-class education. She does so by making the college application process, both easy and fun. In the exclusive interview, Anjali talks to us at length about WritersQi, her journey so far as an educational consultant, the upcoming educational fair called ‘College Brew 1.0’, and more.
Speaking about Writers Qi and how she helps students to opt for the right college, Anjali said, ”I run WritersQi, it is an educational consultancy and we are based in Delhi. Much before the lockdown began, we have always had international clients from Singapore, US and the UK. I help the students with their college application journey and students come to me as early as Grade 9. I personally feel that grade 9 and 10 should be taken slower so that the children don’t have burnout by the time that the applications are actually going out. The bulk of the work is done when one is in the 11th grade and grade 12 is when you end up applying for the colleges. I have been doing this for the last 6 years and I am very passionate about it. It fits really well with my writing background, that’s how I got into it and I really enjoy it.”
Writers Qi also advises students on which courses would be good for them. Anjali emphasised, ”When students come to me from Grade 10 onwards, the first thing that we do is give them a psychometric test, which is an aptitude test about where the child is best suited. As per that, we build the profile of the child by always keeping in mind what the interest and passion of the child is. I think it is very important to co-relate that and not have a manufactured result on the basis of what the colleges are looking for. I think it is very important to note what they are interested in and then make them passionate about what they are doing and eventually of course help them in shortlisting colleges. We do it on the basis of Dream-Target-Safety. Dream could be the college that one wants to get in, targets could be what we think is best suited for them, and then, of course, you want some safety and fallback option.”
Talking about College Brew, an endeavour of Writers Qi, to help students coming from different backgrounds to gain insights from global experts and counsellors with a series of webinars and events, Anjali expressed” College Brew is a baby of the lockdown. When the lockdown happened, one needed ways to reach out to people. I started doing these webinars. Since the world was absolutely closed, I think i had a lot of access to great resources such as NYU and Georgetown. So many people came on-board and there were happy to go on this platform. Then, it took a journey of its own. It has been almost a year now since we did the webinars consistently every month. College Brew is the mother of it all. We are using all of it under one platform on one day.”
She added, “College Brew is basically a series of talks with about 12 talk sessions in a day held by several experts. We have got Viral Doshi from Mumbai, who is a world-class counsellor. He will be coming to the platform to talk about applications. We have got people talking about the psychometric tests, some experts from the UK and the US, then people from ‘University of Sydney’ who will talk to students about the opportunities in Australia, Ashoka talking about India. So, we have tried to give it a mix of everything. There will also be workshops on SATs by experts, who will help you with your application process. If you are thinking of applying to an IVY league, it is better to start the process early and this is a place where you can come in and get all the information you require. And, we have got a tremendous response and have received over 500 registrations already”
On being asked if people are preferring one country over another for college applications and whether the pandemic has changed the priorities of people, Anjali responded, “Not really. People who are aspiring to go abroad are anyway aspiring. Everyone wants to go to the best. The US is still a very coveted place. There is a lot of interest in UK, more so than pre-lockdown. That’s why we are bringing experts from there.”
When prodded further on whether there is a session at College Brew that she is really looking forward to and will be the most useful to students, Anjali said, “The way i structured it is, anybody from any kind of stage wherever they want to apply, they can come and get something out of it. If someone is in Grade 9, i recommend the psychometric testing and a session with Viral Doshi. This will help them get an overview about how to progress. For students in Grade 12, we got workshop in writing and we have got an expert from UCLA who will be giving the workshop. I have two companies who will be speaking about research opportunities. If someone is a design student, i have got a person who will be talking about how to build your portfolio as well as special one-on-one sessions. If you are interested in food, we have got an expert. We have tried to bring everything under one umbrella so that whatever your interest might be, there will be something for you there.”
Addressing the question of grants and scholarships and whether there would be a session on this particular subject at the College Brew, Anjali said, “Unfortunately, we couldn’t put that together. But, I’m sure Mr Doshi would be answering those sort of questions.”
On a parting note, she spoke about what made her get into the field of counselling. ”I think it has to do with the writing background because I studied writing and did a lot of creative writing courses. I have also done a lot of children’s books. People used to come to me seeking assistance with their college essays. While helping them out, I sort of decided to get into the field and started doing it on a full scale rather than doing just bits and bobs. I found it so fulfilling because a lot of my students have won full scholarships and it has really been rewarding, in that sense.” Anjali stated.
Check out our page for the fair: College Brew 1.0 - Stay tuned for the recordings!