MIRPUR (AJK)  -  Forty-six Pakistani high school students as well as 13 counsellors paid a visit to various US educational institutions during the summer vacation.

The summer tour of higher education institutions was aimed to get the taste of American higher education through a series of short classes and workshops. Career Pathways is a three-week summer program offering multidisciplinary summer classes to high school students at a range of different US colleges and universities. Concurrently, high school counsellors are offered professional development programs related to counselling and admissions practices in the United States.

Syed Zainul Hassan from Roots Millennium Future World School, Lahore participated in the East Coast programme and recalled that, "The tour allowed me to finalise my decision on what course to apply for and gave me a far better idea of how to pursue it in the future."

"The universities gave us a good idea of what is needed to apply and how to ensure a spot in their freshmen classes. It was fun too," he added. "The tourist activities allowed us to let loose and truly enjoy our experience, an experience of a lifetime!"

Students learned about career development, health sciences, business, entrepreneurship, computer sciences, media sciences, film production, engineering, informatics, international relations, public policy, civic engagement and much more. They returned to Pakistan with a deeper understanding of the American education system and newly fields in an evolving marketplace.

The accompanying high school counsellors got unique opportunities to build on their skills and to learn more about the US college admissions process directly from key stakeholders at select universities and colleges.

The tour was arranged by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), in collaboration with Educational Programmes (EdPrograms). Its spokesman said, "Participants in Career Pathways choose to explore the American Midwest or the East Coast as parallel tours saw twenty-four students and seven counsellors visit ten HEIs across four states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Iowa) from June 18 to July 8 in the Midwest while twenty-one students and six counsellors visited fifteen HEIs through another four states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) from July 15 to August 5 on the East Coast.

"The transformation, we see in a span of three weeks, justifies the importance of the program," notes the Director of EdPrograms Umair Khan. "Students not only learn about unconventional fields of study, they get to experience life as an international student on multiple campuses instead of at just one university. Above all, this program re-establishes the quality of education all the US universities offer to international students."