As a parent, we nurture and prepare our children for life’s challenges. Nothing however can totally prepare you and your child for the college application process!
The reality is that no matter how many colleges you applied to and attended as a parent your experience is dated. The game has changed and the competition is fierce! You can purchase a variety of books and guides on the subject, but they tell only part of the story.
This is where Zahra and [her team] from Rasul Learning proved to be invaluable.
We were introduced to Zahra based on a recommendation from friends. After interviewing them and speaking with former clients, we engaged her to help our daughter with SAT tutoring and the Canadian and American college application process.
She methodically explained the college application process and conducted an extensive interview to discern our daughter’s interests, strengths, and goals for a college education.
Based on this, a series of colleges were selected that encompassed a range of potential educational experiences, small and large universities, focused and general liberal arts schools, and attainable and stretch institutions. She integrated our feedback, and checklists were made to insure all components for each application were submitted by their deadlines. Progress towards these goals was monitored and regular feedback was provided.
The SAT tutoring focused on smart strategies to maximize one’s score in the Math and English components as well as writing clear and concise essays. Rasul Learning guided our daughter through the subtleties of the applications process spending the majority of the time on the essay components. The criticality of the college essays cannot be underestimated, especially for American institutions in which they will need to write five or more essays. It is an arduous and time-consuming process requiring an intense focus on the part of the child with each essay requiring multiple revisions. Salima and Zahra provide detailed and timely feedback guiding the essay writing process and helped hone the essays to their finished product. The SAT scores allow one to enter the door; however, the essays allow your child to stand out in the crowd. They were invaluable in helping our daughter capture and channel the essence of her social awareness, activism, leadership skills, and passion for film into her essays. This allowed her to present a picture of a young lady who can and will contribute to build what every college application officer seeks, a community of people.
The results speak for themselves and why we recommend Zahra of Rasul Learning without reservation. Our daughter improved her SAT score by over 200 points and was accepted to five of the six American universities she applied to, including her top two choices which were both stretch goals! The joy on our daughter’s face upon receiving her acceptance letters was the culmination of one journey and the beginning of another.
– Jeff and Dana G.
Thank you Zahra for helping me along my college journey more than anyone else (aside from my parents from basically birth) could have. You have cared about me not only as a client but as a student and a person and I greatly cherish all of the time that I have spent talking to both of you and all of the advice, college and life related, that you have given to me. I have committed to UChicago and am proud to be a part of the class of 2019 thanks to the aid that you guys (or should I say gals) have given me in nurturing my creativity with all of the essays I wrote for the college admissions process. We will be sure to recommend The Rasul Learning Group to others and only have positive things to say about our experience with you. Thank you again for everything this past year and have a great summer!
Working with Zahra on my MBA applications was a fantastic experience. Zahra helped me to clearly lay out a compelling profile, and made sure that each application was of the highest possible standard. Not only is Zahra brilliant at what she does, she also makes an otherwise time-consuming process fun!! Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious and I would highly recommend the Rasul Learning Group to others. I couldn’t have gone through this process without her!!
I spent most of my August before Grade 12 attempting to write supplementary essays and trying to navigate the treacherous depths of the new CommonApp website. Getting nowhere, I began working with Rasul Learning in September. The US application process is daunting at the very best of times; Zahra was there to help guide me at every step of the way. Near the beginning, I honestly didn’t think I would complete my application in time for the Early Action deadline. But once we began work, this apprehension quickly dissipated. Each session was full of productivity and, week by week, I saw the pieces of my application come together. I ended up submitting my application to my first choice school two weeks before the Early Action deadline, and was ecstatic when I later discovered I had been accepted! With Zahra, what was initially an arduous and overwhelming task became a process of self-discovery and self-exploration. Rasul Learning gave me the focus, support, and confidence I needed for successful applications to Princeton and Harvard, and for that, I am very grateful.
Upon realizing how overwhelming medical school applications can really be, I truly found Zahra to be extremely helpful and invaluable. She helped me to find the best possible way to condense my life into the short boxes and spaces I was limited to and prompted me to remember accomplishments and experiences I couldn’t have remembered otherwise. Moreover, she made what some may consider a tedious process to be enjoyable and continuously had me laughing and in high spirits. Best of all, I was accepted to my first choice medical school in year 3 of my undergrad. Thank you Zahra!
While walking across the campus lawn on Saturday, we discussed how blessed we feel that Zahra came into our lives right when we were floundering over the whole college application ordeal. Our daughter told me in the most convincing manner that she regards Zahra as her best friend and most trusted ally.
I know that we will have an ongoing association with Zahra for many years to come and I am just so grateful that she is there, as a friend, mentor, resource, advisor, etc. Zahra does wear many hats, after all!
Zahra, I was accepted to Social Work!!! I just want to express how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me – for dealing with my frantic, time crunch emails, for all of your professional and personal advice, and for making me feel like you were wholeheartedly supporting and rooting for me to achieve my dreams of getting into this social work program. I know we are paying you for your services but it feels beyond that; that you genuinely, truly care about my success. That means so much.
Zahra was great….she was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, inspirational, fun and cool. She taught/modeled my son excellent study and planning skills – getting him to think about the long term. My son was Zahra’s first student many years ago – it was an amazing experience for him and one that he values still to this day!
Thank you so much for the kindness that you have shown my son, helping, guiding and mentoring him, I can’t say enough thank you Zahra – Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We sincerely appreciate all your direction and advice. You have been so good to KM, and we are so grateful that he was accepted to his top choice Pharmacy program.
My mom was in search of someone to help me with my US College Applications. I will looking for someone with experience so that I could trust them entirely with the important process of applying to college. With Zahra, it didn’t feel like work at all. While writing essays did take a lot of time, working with Zahra was fun and enjoyable and made the whole process much easier. It was important to have someone who really knows what the Undergrad Admissions Offices are looking for in an application, and how to market oneself in the best way possible. The best part was learning how to pick an interesting personality trait you have and use it to your advantage, whether for a school of choice or job application. Zahra saved my life. We didn’t start working on my applications until the start of October, so we had to move at a very fast pace. Even though I had about a million essays and revisions to do every week, working with Zahra hardly felt like work at all. She was so fun to work with and I know there would have been no way I would have known how to apply to anywhere in the states without her!
I began working with Zahra in the first years of high school and continued with her through my graduation. Few of my relationships in my high-school years were able to offer as much guidance and fulfillment as that which I had with Zahra. To begin, she was the first person in my world who I could look up to as a model of studiousness, diligence, and immensely bright, fun-loving personality. She quickly tossed away the notion in my young mind that there was a universal disjuncture between excelling at my studies and becoming the social individual I wanted to be. In fact, she did the same for many of my closest friends, and, through her group study sessions, gave us all the even greater benefit of an entire environment of peers who respected one another’s learning. In short, she forbade us to become victims to the most common cause of academic underachievement, by making it respectable and “cool” to excel in a life of the mind. After all, hadn’t she clearly done just that herself? She was particularly adept at managing groups of teenage boys and girls in an social-academic setting at a time in their lives when hard work and producing results were critical. By the time of my high-school graduation, I considered her as much a friend as a tutor and consultant, and she guided me through the college application process with quiet and well-guided suggestions, helping me chart an unconventional path to a remarkable university and its accompanying expanse of new learning opportunities.
When I think of long-term benefits that working with Zahra has imparted on me, my mind turns to the great friend she has become and the impact that her progressive thinking, her impeccable character, and her genuine care for my own development continue to have on my life. I believe we carry with us the presence of great individuals long after they’ve left our sides, and Zahra is clearly one of those individuals, whose omnipresent spirit seems to speak to much of what I do as I navigate life as a young adult.
Zahra is professional, youthful, and disposed to making life-long impacts on young people. RLG seems to hold the maxim that work must always come first, but only if it is done in an enjoyable way.
We heard Zahra at an Ismaili Education Board seminar where she gave a talk and were impressed. We also know her parents. Our daughter wanted to attend an upper end U.S. school and we wanted to work with someone who was well qualified and would be easy for Alisha to work with. Zahra exceeded all expectations and our daughter was admitted to her first choice of schools. Zahra provided help in any area where it was required. We could talk to her and input on any aspect of the application/ decision making process. She is fresh and flexible. She is also very easy to work with. Long term, Zahra has given our daughter an idea of what to expect once on Campus and what long term opportunities may open up for her with hard work and some good fortune on her side.
Zahra exceeded all our expectations. Our daughter loved working with her as did we. We could go to her for anything related to the application process. Our daughter was accepted at her first choice, Stanford and none of us can imagine it having happened without Zahra’s help. We would highly recommend her services.
I wanted a young woman so that she would be able to relate to my daughter in all areas of her academics and life in general. We had various tutors and it became very time consuming and not very efficient. Zahra is an excellent tutor and mentor to our daughter. She understands fully what our daughter’s needs are for her education to pursue her Universities of Choice and her mannerism is very professional yet she is also able to communicate very effectivley with our daughter. She makes the work fun for her and I have seen a huge change in our daughter’s work ethics because of this.
The proof is on our daughter’s Report Card!!! She has never done so well at school and taken such a keen interest in it. She respects Zahra very much and always looks forward to her sessions with her.From my experience, Zahra takes time to get to know her students and treats them each as unique individuals. I feel this is so important for the students.
RLG is very professional and meets each students requirements on a personal level to ensure that they get the best assistance for their career planning. It is a well run programme and I feel that my daugther has the highest level of tutoring that I have ever seen. It has been very effective for her and she continues to improve.
Zahra is a mentor to our daughter and she will always be involved with Zahra to some degree whether academically or on a personal level.
Since my first meeting with Ms. Rasul I have been very impressed with her. I knew that she was a perfect fit for our daughter and her marks and determination says it all. Zahra has a lovely personality which makes the sessions very enjoyable for our daughter. Yet at the same time she challenges our daughter and I feel that this is very important in education as well as in the workforce. I have really enjoyed getting to know Zahra. I would not hesitate to refer her to any of my friends, family or associates. She is an excellent teacher!!!
I needed support with organizing my school work and preparing myself for university applications. I needed a mentor to support me and help me through all of the obstacles. Working with Zahra Rasul has been an amazing experience for me because she really makes me feel comfortable with my work load and helps me manage all my time so that I am not stressed. She has been a great role model for me, who gives me great advice that I can carry into my university experience. The greatest benefit of working with Zahra is that she is extremely reliable and someone I know I can depend on when I am need of support with my work. Not only does she help me get my work done, but she makes sure that it has been completed at the best of my ability. The main benefit of working with Zahra is the product of how much work is put into the work that we do together. On top of that, she will help me with my university applications so that I can get into a good university. Zahra is an amazing person who has supported me through thick and I believe that she can help many others, like myself, amplify in all aspects of life.
RLG definitely defines dependability, encouragement and motivation.
I had the privilege of working with Zahra in the summer before Grade 12 and the first half of my Senior year. It was one of the most enjoyable and enlightening experiences I have had learning about myself and working towards accomplishing my personal goals. Although the school year was very busy with academics, sports and Head Boy duties, Zahra was honestly the most fun part of the work week. She catered to my learning style and I had an absolute blast. More importantly, she was a brilliant mentor who can see the big picture when it comes to applications. Not only did she help me organize my profile, but her presence allowed me to reflect on my identity. I can still recall getting excited to see them every week as she made the University application process engaging and gratifying. Zahra is a great role model and have been everything I could have ever asked for as a student and a friend. I feel as if we have developed a strong relationship and I can seek advice about anything from him. Even as I move into my University years, the relationship that I have developed with RLG will remain an invaluable and life long facet of my everyday experiences. They inspired me to be the best that I could be, and for that, I am grateful. The fact that I was accepted early to Harvard was just the icing on the cake!
– S. Siddoo
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