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The Pragmatic Humanities Major

With admissions season well under way, we thought we would take a moment to consider briefly the benefit of a degree in the Humanities. Let’s start with a quote: According to John Kroger, the president of Reed College, “College shouldn’t prepare you for your first job, but for the rest of your life.” And, since people are generally living longer and changing jobs more frequently, the transferable skills you need to take with you from job to job, i.e. critical thinking and organizational skills, discipline, and self-reflexivity– all of which feature prominently in humanities and liberal arts studies– become even more financially valuable when paired with job experience and field expertise. Right now, the Prime Minister of Canada holds a B.A. in Literature. The Governor of California majored in Classics at Berkeley. Fortune 500 CEO Andrea Jung has a B.A. in English Literature. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has a degree in English. Although there is much wisdom in pursuing a degree that gives you a specific set of skills for a specific career in a specific field, being able to communicate clearly and thoughtfully also makes you a highly marketable job candidate across a broad range of career options. Frankly, the skills that employers value most are the ones in which humanities majors shine: problem-solving, written and oral communication, critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. If you are 17 or 18, and not sure what you want to do with the rest of your life, concentrated work in a humanities field, such as English or History, can help you figure out who you are and what your priorities are, as well as giving you widely marketable professional skills. Job prospects for humanities majors look great. Please feel free to check out the links below for more perspectives on this issue.

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Hot Off the Press! Zahra’s IECA Article on Int’l Med School Admissions

Check out Zahra’s advice in the August/September issue of Insights, the IECA Newsletter, to those looking to apply to international med schools!

Article on pgs. 6-9.


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The Value of the SAT Subject Tests

Considering taking an SAT Subject Test but can’t quite figure out why? Taking the AP exam for a subject and curious about whether an SAT Subject Test would be redundant?

SAT Subject Tests can be valuable if your university choice recommends them. The most important thing about the SAT Subject Tests is to find out whether or not the schools you would like to attend want you to take them! Unlike APs, the Subject Tests do not count for university credit but, rather, are used by universities to decide what level of understanding you have of a particular subject and where to place you in university courses.

Here’s a great overview of the SAT Subject Tests and how they might be useful to you.

Curious to learn more? Contact RLG today to find out whether and which SAT Subject Tests might be valuable for you!





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Take Your Interview Prep to the Next Level!

Rasul Learning Group
360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

Congratulations! You got to the MMI stage of your application to medical school. Or you were selected to interview for your dream internship in a hospitality co-op program in Switzerland. Perhaps you were selected to interview for a CaRMS residency or fellowship. Or maybe you are about to interview for the promotion that will make your career.

How will you go about prepping for what might arguably be one of the most important interviews of your career?

Rasul Learning Group’s 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ was designed to make sure that you are absolutely ready when you enter the room for your interview. Zahra Rasul and the expert consultants at RLG have 15 years experience and a 99% success rate getting our clients the jobs they want and getting them into their first choice educational programs. This program is proprietary and RLG consultants take pride in providing the most thorough and exclusive interview prep in town!

Our system helps you to focus where it matters most— technique, content, and strategy.

1) Technique-360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ focuses on building and strengthening foundational interview skills, such as appropriate eye contact, voice intonation, personal presentation, etc. We can help you craft a flawless résumé or C.V. On this firm foundation, we build your interview confidence so that you can create rapport with your interviewer.

2) Content-We pay special attention to the relevant issues related to the field or position to which you are applying. Our highly knowledgeable consultants can help you to develop and express ideas about yourself and about contemporary issues that may apply to your interview. Our 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ draws on the shared knowledge and proven success of our entire team to ensure that your interview prep is a dynamic and collaborative process that precisely fits your needs.

3) Strategy-At RLG, our interview preparation strategies are designed to prepare you for even the most unexpected interview scenarios. Our team makes certain that you are able to generate relevant and engaging answers to difficult, on-the-spot questions. Many of our consultants are particularly passionate about helping you to shape your personal narrative and tell compelling stories. We also make sure that you can effectively communicate the great ideas and competency in high-level skills that got you the interview in the first place!

Please contact us today to start your 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

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Call of the North

Call of the North

By Sarah Thornton

January 23, 2017


As of last Friday, the United States officially ceded control of all three branches of government to the G.O.P. As a result, many politically-aware U.S. high school students are looking at international options for their 2017-2018 university studies. Canada’s reputation for multiculturalism and civil political discourse, as well as its relative proximity to the U.S., makes study here an attractive option. Indeed, Canada is an excellent choice for those U.S. students looking for an elite international education that’s not too far from home. Study at one of Canada’s top universities can also be an incredible launchpad for further travel and global citizenship.

However, there are an enormous number of things to consider before applying anywhere as an international student, and applying to study in Canada is no exception. International students must navigate immigration policy, cultural differences, academic expectations, and urban/rural campus life. If you are thinking about applying to any of Canada’s universities, this article provides a good starting point as you consider whether or not Canada would be a good fit for you personally and academically, and perhaps, later on, professionally.

Canadaland is, in many important ways, very different from the U.S. and, depending on who you are, those differences may greatly influence your academic success in the “the 51st state.” An undergraduate or graduate degree from a Canadian university can create lots of opportunity for you in a country with a different set of political and cultural priorities than the U.S. And, yes, studying in Canada is a great way to get started on the road to permanent residency or dual-citizenship.


The Undergraduate Experience:

Decidedly less political. Decidedly more polite.

  • Shorter semesters.

13-week rather than 16-week semesters.

  • Ivy League professors accessible at public universities.

A look at any departmental website will show a huge number of professors who earned their Ph.D.’s at elite schools in the U.S. and then came to Canada to teach.

  • No Greek system except at UBC.

-­ This doesn’t mean campus life is boring! It just means that the social life of most universities tends to be focused in social and academic clubs, and sports.

  • No federal oversight of public universities.

Provincial governments have oversight over these universities and so policy administration varies from province to province. In practical terms, this means that there are no Title IX protections based on gender, and funding for public universities varies significantly.

  • Currently, immigration to Canada is still relatively easy.

The U.S. and Canada are great economic allies and because of this student visas are relatively easy to obtain. This may change depending on how the relationship develops between Prime Minister Trudeau and the new U.S. President.

  • Political protests on Canadian universities tend to focus on global issues rather than issues commonly found in U.S. politics.

Black Lives Matter and activism around sexual assault on campus were definitely issues at many Canadian universities in 2016. In addition to protests over domestic politics, because of the number of international students, many of the politics found on Canadian university campuses represent students’ intimate understanding of global issues.

The Graduate School Experience: “Don’t get isolated up there.”

-My undergrad mentor, on hearing that I had been accepted to an M.A. program at U.B.C.

  • Great funding and elite mentorship but at less well-known universities.

This is a major consideration for students working toward a professorship or some kind of tenured academic position after completing their graduate work.

  • Graduate study provides major opportunities for international travel.

About a half dozen of Canada’s universities are on the list of the world’s top 200 universities. This means that completed graduate work at one of these universities can open the doors to work and further study in some European Union states, which are notoriously difficult to emigrate to.

  • U.S. Stafford and GradPlus loans are still available for study at Canadian universities.

Often, study at a Canadian university will come with a decent-sized funding package, but depending on where your university is, it may or may not cover the cost of living expenses, especially Vancouver or Toronto.

  • Your Canadian tuition may be less than your domestic U.S. tuition.

 – Canadian public universities offer really democratic tuition rates, and the conversion rate of the U.S. Dollar to Canadian Dollar might mean that you pay significantly less for your graduate degree.

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Graduating Class of 2015

Rasul Learning Group would like to congratulate our Grade 12s who were accepted to top US colleges and international universities during this admissions cycle. It has been an exciting and rewarding year for all of us, and we are so proud of our students’ accomplishments!

Many of them were recognized by the colleges and universities to which they applied with scholarship money, honours designations, and hand-written notes from admissions officers. This is such a monumental time in their lives, and we are looking forward to continuing their journeys with them.

Though we will be posting a comprehensive list of our students’ acceptances, and state with pride that RLG’s 99% first-choice university acceptance rate remains in tact, I would like to take this opportunity to say something that I think all students and parents need to hear.

For both those who have been accepted to your dream school and those who will be going to another amazing school that you had not previously considered, I encourage you to remain open to possibilities.

Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist for the NY Times, says it best in his new book, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.” He reminds students that “an openness to serendipity” and “a nimbleness in adapting to change, a willingness to shoot off in a new direction” are important factors that shape who you will be. I have learned in my own life that you can make well-laid plans, but often the opportunity to discover your passions and tap into your unique talents takes forms (and sometimes schools) that you had not anticipated.

The trajectory of your lives will take forms that you cannot yet imagine, and that is both exciting and frightening. Embrace the unknown and be open to the possibilities that you don’t understand yet.

Congrats to the class of 2015!


Zahra F. Rasul – Owner and Director


See below for the impressive list of schools that our students were accepted to.

US Schools International Schools (mostly law)
Arizona State University University of Birmingham
Bates College Bristol University
Boston University University of Buckingham
Bowdoin College City University London
Brown University Durham University
California Institute of Technology University of Exeter
Carleton College Kings College London
Chapman University University of Liverpool
Colby College London School of Economics (PPE)
Colgate University Univeristy of Manchester
Cornell University Queen Mary University of London
Duke University University of Reading
Emory University RCSI (medicine)
Franklin and Marshall College Royal Coolege of Surgeons in Ireland
George Washington University University of St. Andrews
Georgia Institute of Technology St. Georges University (medicine)
Hamilton College Yale -NUS College (Singapore)
Harvard University University of York
Haverford College
Hofstra University
Johns Hopkins University
Kenyon College
Lafayette College
Middlebury College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mount Holyoke College
New York University
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Pitzer College
Rollins College
Santa Clara University
The New School (Eugene Lang College)
Tufts University
Tulane University
University of Arizona
University of California Berkeley
University of California San Diego
University of California Santa Barbara
University of Chicago
University of Illinois
University of San Diego
University of Southern California
University of Vermont
Washington University in St. Louis
Wesleyan University
Yale University

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Huffington Post’s 6 College Admissions Myths

Take a look through last week’s Huffington Post article about the six myths you shouldn’t fall for during the college admissions process. You may tell yourself that you may have a good chance of getting in on standardized test scores alone, but think again.

As our US College Admissions specialists will tell you, you can’t wait until your Grade 11 or Grade 12 year to start the application process:

“Your application process begins when you start high school, not when you begin your senior year. In your first year, you should develop an academic plan with tangible goals, as well as the appropriate strategies necessary to succeed. You will need to use all four years of high school to become an applicant who is well-rounded and well-matched to the schools you choose.”

Take a look at the article here to learn more about very common mistakes made during the process.

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US College Application Deadlines are Delayed

“Several of the nation’s top colleges and universities have postponed their early application deadlines over the last few days, prompted by continued reports that students and high schools are stumbling over technical problems with the Common Application.”

Click here to read more about specific schools that have pushed back their deadlines as a result of the issues with the new Common Application online system. There is also mention that schools will begin accepting competing online application system, Universal College Application.

Please note: colleges such as Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Harvard have not yet announced later deadlines (18/10/2013).

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Common Application woes cause additional anxiety for students

The updates to this year’s Common Application is causing stress for students and schools alike. Typically used as a blanketed (or common) application for a number of US Colleges, the Common App recently had a face lift… causing technological stress and other dysfunction to the online site.

“Problems became evident as soon as the application was released in August, including some confusing wording that was later changed. Students who thought they had finished the application found that it was incomplete because questions had been added after its release. As changes were made, some who had started their applications early found themselves locked out of the system.”

With early application deadlines fast approaching, Common App is trying to fix glitches in formatting, payment and submission. Since the application process is focused on attention to detail, the glitches are taking that control away from students as essays appear garbled or missing characters on screen. Admissions officers at schools are also feeling the burden of the late release, saying that they may have to add extra staff in order to release early acceptance decisions in December.

Read the full NY Times article here: Online Application Woes Makes Students Anxious and Put Schools Behind Schedule

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Why all education consultants are not the devil

In recent years, education consulting has emerged as a growing trend throughout the US and Canada. This is a result of the increase in the number of college applicants and the highly selective acceptance numbers that some top institutions boast. Not to mention that parents are dedicated to ensuring their child has the best possible chance of getting into a top tier school.

So what do good consultants do? They take the time to get to know their students. Here at Rasul Learning Group, we have a hands on, personalized approach to tutoring, application, essay writing, course planning and standardized test prep. It is important to note that good education consultants give honest advice, empower students to be more self-aware, answer questions thoughtfully, do their research about schools, regions, academics and programming, and be knowledgeable when giving advice to students.

Good education consultants work in conjunction with high school college counselors in schools, they don’t interfere with them. School counselors have a very important role in a student’s life, it is just not the same role that education consultant plays. Counselors have an entire class of students to focus on, so while they can send transcripts, suggest teacher recommendations and navigate the school, they don’t always have time to spend get to know each student’s passions, strengths and academic aspirations. Education consultants, on the other hand, can provide the personalized time and support in order to empower students.

At Rasul Learning Group, we are dedicated to working with high school counselors in order to ensure our students thrive during the college and university application process. For more information on our services, please reach out to We look forward to this year’s application season!

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