September 07, 2020 – This year will surely remain in our memory, mostly not very beautiful because most of us associate it with the coronavirus, layoffs, and getting used to the ‘new normal’. But not everything is so black, at least not for Nikola Jurković, a graduate from Metkovic, who has great reasons to celebrate.
Years of work, effort, and study paid off, and the result of all this is enrollment in one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Harvard University. He will pause the academic year due to the epidemic, but he is launching an interesting project through which he will try to help future graduates enroll in American universities, reports Srednja.hr
A very small number of Croatian students decide to continue their education after high school at one of the foreign universities, and even fewer of them manage to get into one of the world’s most prestigious universities. One of them is Nikola Jurković, now a former graduate of the Metkovic High School.
It is ranked the third best university in the world
Nikola will study at Harvard, the world’s third-best university according to the Times Higher Education rankings.
‘I knew I’d be sorry my whole life if I didn’t at least try. Some colleges are better than others, and I don’t see why my geographical location should limit my choice of colleges. In addition, studying in America opens many more doors than studying in Croatia. I decided to aim for the best possible, so whatever happens, happens’ – Nikola begins his story.
During his schooling, this excellent student participated in numerous school and county knowledge competitions. He says that he competed most seriously in physics, from which he participated in two national competitions and the European Olympics. He also participated in the state of logic and several hackathons.
And at the final examination, he achieved excellent results – he wrote higher levels of compulsory subjects and Physics. In the Croatian language, he received a grade of four, and similarly in other exams. However, an excellent result on the final exam was not decisive for Harvard enrollment – the Croatian final exam is not even taken into account when ranking candidates.
‘The process for Harvard is the same as for most of the better American colleges. At the beginning of the school year, I wrote standardized tests and an English language exam. Of the standardized tests, I wrote the ACT (general test) and SAT Subject Tests (electives) in physics and higher levels of mathematics. By the New Year, I had sent applications to colleges. I applied for college scholarships in January, did interviews in February, and got results in March. An important part of the application was the engineering portfolio, where I documented various projects I worked on in the high school STEM group Acervatio. It was all over before graduation, so it didn’t affect enrollment. I just had to go through it to officially finish high school’, Nikola explains.
He pauses for a year because of the epidemic
In the first year, he will not have to choose a study direction, it comes only later. Nikola says he is not yet sure in which direction he will go, but his main interests are physics and mechanical engineering, especially in the context of the space industry.
Although he got into Harvard several months ago, he is still not moving to the United States. He decided, due to the current epidemiological circumstances, to pause for a year, and he also told us what his student life there would look like.
‘Because of the coronavirus, I had the choice to work all year online from home or take a break for a year. I decided to take a break, so I’m going to America next fall. This year I was offered a full scholarship with pocket money and covered plane tickets, which means that my costs would be lower at Harvard than if I had decided to study in Croatia. Almost all students live on campus, and I will, if the pandemic is reduced by then, be one of them. In the first year, you live in a freshman home and eats at Annenberg, a canteen often compared to the Great Hall of Harry Potter. Inside it looks like a cathedral. I have always loved to travel, and I have a lot of the most beautiful memories from trips where I met people from other parts of the world. I will miss the Neretva valley, but I still can’t wait to leave’, Nikola points out.
He launches an interesting project on YouTube
The whole process of applying to foreign universities is perhaps the biggest ‘obstacle’ due to which many do not even dare to study abroad. That is why Nikola decided to help future graduates clarify their doubts about applying to American universities. How different – than through a video tutorial on YouTube.
‘When I applied, I went directly into the unknown. I had no idea what the entries looked like, and during most of the process, no one helped me. I have a feeling that most, like me a year ago, are completely unfamiliar with the process of enrolling in American colleges, and don’t know where to start. I decided to make these videos so that it would not happen again, and so that future graduates have a place where they can easily get answers to their questions without the need to contact a counselor. They are not there to replace advisors, but to be the first step in understanding the process. I plan to make five videos on enrollment for now and am currently working on a third, which is about the applications themselves at the end of the first semester. For the animation, I use Manim, made by Grant Sanderson. At the end of the enrollment, I had a nice experience with EducationUSA (BiH because Mostar is closer to me than Zagreb), which provides free counseling, and I would definitely recommend that you contact them if you are considering enrollment’, Nikola advises.
And for all those who want to enroll in one of the world’s best universities, but may be afraid of the distant and unknown, Nikola has a message:
‘Do not be afraid, and do not limit yourself! If you want to get the best college possible, then I recommend you try to apply to American. Take a look at the world rankings to see which ones are the best, go to their websites and see if you like them. It may seem strange and unknown now, but a year ago I was in exactly the same position as you. Think about the chances of breaking in, winning, and investing in the enrollment process, then calculate for yourself if it is profitable. If you look at enrollment as a bet, it may be the best bet you’ll make in your life. If you have any questions, take a look at my videos, email me, or contact a consultant. Good luck! – says Nikola.