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Higher education: 7 universities from the US set up college fair

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Representatives of seven universities and colleges from the Unites States engaged with students aspiring to pursue higher education abroad at a fair held at the Forman Christian College on Sunday.

New York University, Emporia State University, Valparaiso University, University of Kentucky, Hiram College, University of Northern Iowa and the Savannah College of Art and Design were represented at the event.

The fair was organised by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP). It came to Lahore after Karachi. There was a modest turn-out.

USEFP Fulbright Outreach and Educational Advising In-charge Umair Khan said the representatives would be visiting the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the National College of Arts on Monday. They have visited the NED University of Engineering and Technology and the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi.

Fatema Dalal, operations manager at the graduate enrollment management and admissions of the Polytechnic School of Engineering at New York University, said many students from Pakistan were interested in engineering programmes. Dalal said NYU ranked fourth in ethnic diversity in New York and a fair number of Pakistani students were now opting to pursue engineering studies at the university.

Karen Slaymaker, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services at the University of Kentucky, said that engineering and business were higher education areas that were popular among Pakistani students. She added that students also choose inter-disciplinary options, particularly during their research. She said the University of Kentucky had around 600 graduates from Pakistan Slaymaker said students received several scholarships and funding options that helped lighten the financial burden. “The key is to plan ahead so that they have explored various options”, she said.

Kanwal Asiya, a high school student at a government school in Lahore, seems to be following this advice. Asiya was visiting the fair with her parents. Asiya said she wanted to explore her academic and financial options in advance. She said that although she was studying the sciences now, she had yet to make up her mind for the future. “The representatives have said I have a lot of time to explore my interests but at least I know what to look for when making that decision.”

“Students are quite naïve about their future and possible options for higher education,” said Moninder Singh. He is the director of the International Students and Scholars office of International Programmes at the Valparaiso University. This was Singh’s fourth time participating in the college fair in Pakistan. He said he tried to encourage students to look into inter-disciplinary options. “It is a difficult message to get across, but such options encourage holistic development”, he said.

USEFP’s Umair Khan said the number of institutes participating at the fair had grown this year. Last year five institutions from the US had been present. He said the USEFP hoped to expand the fair by including a larger and diverse group of institutions from the United States.

The fair will be heading to other cities in the country, including Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Islamabad. The last stop will be Islamabad on April 11.

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