Joan Liu from the “Justice League” and the Nepalese students she represented
When high achieving, qualified Nepali high school students were left stranded by funding problems at the University of Texas at Tyler, Joan Liu sprang into action like the super-hero she is. The talented career counselor at an international school in Singapore works with dozens of students each year, identifying university openings for them, guiding them through the admissions process. “No high-schooler should lose the opportunity for a fulfilling education because of a policy change,” she says.
Many of the students already had paid housing application fees and requested student visas, which required the name of the university and proof of ability to pay using the acceptance letter from UT Tyler. In response to an unfair situation, Joan rallied eight counselors from five countries to form a formidable “Justice League.” They resolved to save the day and find places for every single stranded Nepali student. Every day, this team worked long hours and called in favors to ensure each and every student found the placement they deserved.
A New Year’s to Remember, But Not in a Good Way
It was Nepali New Year’s Day when the axe fell on students selected for the Presidential Fellows Program at the University of Texas at Tyler. The program had promised a full scholarship, covering tuition, fees, books and room and board. “This kind of opportunity doesn’t just change the lives of students, it can impact generations of a family,” observes Liu.
Liu’s understanding runs deep. Her own father grew up in Taiwan and dreamt of attending a university overseas. “When he was admitted on scholarship to the University of Alberta, it changed the trajectory of his life, and mine. He was the recipient of that scholarship, but I was a beneficiary,” says Liu. “I knew that something had to be done to help the kids from Nepal.” That “something” quickly became a WhatsApp group, comprised of eight women with the skill and dedication to match students with welcoming universities.
They called themselves “The Justice League,” a fitting name in light of their mission to right the injustice visited on the students.
Streamlining Processes & Placing Students with Concourse Global
Eager to answer the call to action, one Justice League member, Jamie Kanki, knew she also had something meaningful to offer. Jamie is the Head of Partnerships and Engagement for Concourse Global, and she knew the Concourse platform could provide these students with a unique advantage. “The UT Tyler scholarships were revoked after the US process had finished. So whenever a new university seat appeared, students competed as if they were in The Hunger Games. When Concourse came along and brought the participants onto their platform, it enabled universities to narrow their efforts to best fit students that were still seeking placement, secure scholarships more effectively, and allocate them in a fair and equitable way.”
With no way of tracking who had applied to what and who was more suited to which university, the Justice League was under tremendous pressure. “The scholarships were revoked after the traditional application window had closed,” explains Liu. “That made it almost impossible for students to find new placements or accept an offer from a school they had previously declined.”
Concourse Global gave the Justice League a platform to make the affected students visible to any universities who could offer a seat and the power to streamline processes digitally and ensure transparency for everyone with skin in the game: career counselor, student and university. “In this crisis, Concourse provided a critical tool that changed the trajectory of these students’ lives,” reports Liu.
Students Use a 4-Letter Word to Describe Their Experience
“We love Jamie, Joan, the Justice League, and Concourse Global, and we don’t say ‘love’ to anyone in our culture, we don’t even say ‘I love you’ to our parents in Nepal!” say Shashwat Maharjan and Ankrit Gupta, two Nepalese students who could think of no other way to express their feelings.
Shashwat and Ankrit come from humble backgrounds, and most people they know have simple lives, and only dream of studying a subject they’re interested in. They are the first in their families to go abroad for higher education. For these boys, a multitude of possibilities is unfolding.
When asked about the University of Texas, the gracious teens replied, “We feel sorry for them really. We don’t wish them any hard feelings as we think they are a good university and they are nice people because they’ve offered so many Nepalese students full scholarships. We just want more students to have the same opportunities that we have had with Concourse and the Justice League.”
“We can’t understand why more people don’t use Concourse. They really have to.” Students gave two thumbs up to Concourse.
- User-friendly software – Students had previously tried ‘Common App’ and ‘Coalition App’ to apply to universities, but said “it was harder to use than Concourse.”
- Time saving attributes – Students noted it took “ways less time for us to do simple tasks” such as have our high school transcripts authenticated.
Ankrit is now studying computer science at Central Michigan University and says he feels more challenged than he ever thought possible. “We want more students to have the same opportunities that we have had with Concourse and the Justice League. ” With counselors like Joan Liu that’s exactly what can happen.
College Counselors Satisfy the Appetite for LearningLiu explains it this way: “Concourse Global is a platform that has unique value. It gives more power to students to connect with universities they otherwise would not have found. It also gives universities access to students they otherwise would not know. In this way, it is a unique meeting place for students and higher ed institutions to find each other.”
No other existing platform dedicated to serving college counselors brings everyone to the table like Concourse. Joan believes that education has the capacity to change people’s lives in a real and meaningful way. “Concourse Global’s role in this crisis was critical to these Nepali students, their families, and their communities. For me it opened my eyes to the potential for innovative technology to make a real difference and change the course of the lives of students around the world.” she says.
If you are a high school or a high school college counselor and you’d like to try Concourse Global, you can create a free account here. There is great training and help when you need it to ensure you get the most from it.If you are a student and you’d like to use Concourse for free, you can get started here.