Ready, Set, Undergrad!


KGSP students and UIUC instructors in Tech Hub
                                              KGSP students and UIUC instructors in Tech Hub

This summer KGSP Foundation Year (FY) students participated in an eight-week KGSP-tailored course entitled Ready, Set, Undergrad (RSU), a course designed to give FY students invaluable preparation for a successful transition into KGSP undergraduate life at their respective universities.

In collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the KGSP designed ‘Ready, Set, Undergrad’ for virtual implementation the summer of 2020. The course was created to ensure that students would continue to receive the same high quality of academic support and preparation for life in the US and their future undergraduate institutions despite the pandemic. The RSU course offered synchronous virtual classes on such topics as budgeting, living with roommates, housing responsibilities, developing time management skills and effective study strategies, and identifying campus resources that would support them as they acclimated to university and academic life. 

After a positive reception by KGSP students, with 79% reporting that it was useful in preparing them for college and life in the U.S. and the KGSP added the RSU course offering to the other FY institutions, University of Boston, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Texas at Austin, in preparation for the summer of 2021. Much to the delight of the students, the course was held in-person this summer and extended from four weeks to eight weeks which allowed two new KGSP-specific sessions to be added to the curriculum.

The additional sessions, led by FY and Undergraduate Advisors, were designed to help students prepare for the different pace of life as undergraduate students. FY instructors provided more in-depth instruction and guidance on skills necessary for undergraduates, such as professional email correspondence, instructional videos on academic etiquette and even dealing with negative thoughts. For their final project for the course, students created campus reference guides for their respective universities in order to help future KGSP students prepare for their academic journeys in the United States.

According to Foundation Year Advisor Nick Willon, the basis for the success of the RSU course is its interactive and discussion-based learning exercises. Students are given the unique opportunity to reflect on their past year’s successes and challenges while forming new long-term goals.

Remarking on the success of the RSU course, Kristen Bouton, Senior Instructor at the Intensive English Institute at UIUC, said, “I think the students liked that all of the topics were very practical and that they had to find corresponding resources for the university that they were going to attend. They had some choice in the topics that they researched about their university, which they appreciated."

Anas Shamsan, a rising Freshman at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill majoring in Statistics remarked, “The content of the course was really helpful and practical. It helped me to be more confident about my freshman year. The course focused on helping us to navigate through a lot of things, but most remarkably courses registration, planning for housing, stress management, and understanding the U.S healthcare system."

Lena Alabdulwahab, who also participated in this summer’s RSU at UIUC said "I benefitted the most from creating the final project portfolio. It gave me a chance to look at services and opportunities at UC Berkeley that I didn’t know about.” 

The KGSP is able to provide the type of innovative, quality programming for student development by working closely with partner institutions. "The relationship between KGSP and the University of Illinois has grown stronger and stronger each year. Now entering the 5th year of the partnership, with the arrival of the new cohort Illinois will have hosted over 70 Foundation Year students. The impacts on those students have been tremendous, as they have gone on to matriculate at top U.S. universities around the country following their year at Illinois," said Dr. Matt Rosenstein, the University of Illinois Director of Global Education and Training. He continued, “Our faculty have developed a familiarity with KGSP, and they love teaching these bright young students.”

                                         UIUC FY instructors and KGSP students
                                                            UIUC FY Instructors and KGSP students