Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What is the EducationUSA Competitive College Club?

The EducationUSA Competitive College Club (CCC) is an intensive group advising program that assists top high school students who want to be competitive applicants to U.S. colleges and universities. Students meet year-round and participate in lectures, book clubs, community service activities, cross-cultural exercises and test preparation. The activities help ensure that students are properly advised as they go through the process of preparing themselves both academically and socially for a U.S. college or university, and work to determine which schools might be a good.

Who can join?
Participation is open to high school students who are in the top 10% of their class . The only other requirement is commitment. Students must attend all meetings, held bi-weekly during the school year and weekly during the summer. The CCC is open to all students in a city/town of any nationality, ethnicity, and economic background. CCC does not limit the number of members and students can join at any time, right up until applications are due.

What do CCC participants do?
The EducationUSA CCC involves a number of activities, including bi-weekly meetings during the school year (weekly during the summer), community service activities, book club, movie nights, study groups and more. From the beginning, students prepare for standardized tests as these provide a U.S. college or university with a quantitative measure to back up the student’s school grades.

What age should CCC students be?
High school students who are freshmen, sophomores, juniors and first semester of senior year may join (or equivalent levels in your country’s school system).

Application is now open until December 21st 2015! 
Follow the link to apply:

For everyone that applies there will be a general presentation for CCC on December 28th 2015 at 5pm!

For more information visit us to talk to EducationUSA advisor or take a look at our blog

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Make and Take Summer Creative Camp for kids June 29th –July 2nd

American Corner Skopje organized another fantastic summer camp. This camp was intended for young kids who are part of the Roma NGO Sumnal to work on developing creative skills. The reasons to craft are virtually endless: discovery, wonder, exploration, creativity, learning and bonding.
The camp was scheduled for four days. Every day, the students were led by different volunteers who are part of the Competitive College Club. They worked on different crafts, talked about future plans, learnt English and spent time together.

Making friendship bracelets and colored cooling fans –Day 1-June 29th 2015

Together with the assistance of the CCC volunteers, the kids made friendship bracelets and rainbow colored cooling fans. During this fun activity, the children expressed their creativity and imagination, learned arts and crafts vocabulary in English and the color order of the rainbow. Moreover, they discussed their school activities and shared their hopes and aspirations for the future with the CCC volunteers. In the end, they managed to create beautiful bracelets and fans which they would later share with their family and friends

Crowns and bunting decorations- Day 2- June 30th


Our volunteers prepared the today's program and materials for making crowns .First they started making crowns from paper. The children enjoyed while cutting their own paper hearts, flowers and other figures and putting it on a sling so they can put on their heads. The children were so happy when they heard they are going to draw something on triangle papers in order to finish the second project where they need to collect and merge all the drawings to make a unique bunting decoration for the room. At the end of the camp the children had a chance to enjoy making smoothies with milk and yogurt mixed with fruits and cereals.

Building a dream house- Day 3- July 1st

For the third day of the summer camp, a group project, involving the construction of a city, was planned. Ten children took part in the workshop together with three volunteers and a CCC intern. Their role was to build a house and decorate its yard on one street, on which each of the children had a particular place. After a brief preparatory discussion by the volunteers, the children arrived. At first, they seemed a bit shy, but shortly afterwards they showed great enthusiasm and willingness to participate in the project. What was truly wonderful was how friendly and positive they were, which helped us, as volunteers, very much in creating a nice and creative atmosphere. At the end of the day, the final product was astonishing, simply because it presented the creative potentials of ten wonderful children, who had lots of fun while creating it. However, it was a great experience for us, volunteers, as well, to work with these young individuals to help them develop their creativity and imagination at such an early age.

 Lego workshops- Day 4-July 2nd

 The last day of the camp was intended for LEGO building and the kids were divided in several groups. Each group was led by different volunteer and was working on a different LEGO set. Through this interesting crafting, the children were improving their creative and building skills. Also the children were learning about teamwork and collaboration with the CCC volunteers and everyone was enjoying the workshop. At the end of the daily project, the CCC members awarded the children with certificates. The AC Skopje coordinator awarded certificate of collaboration to Elena Neshovska, the Roma NGO Sumnal coordinator.   

AC Skopje coordinator and EducationUSA adviser, Olgica Gjoprgjevska led this initiative as joint activity of Makerspace program and raising awareness for volunteering among the Competitive College Club students. It was a great four day experience of crafting, learning, bonding and fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Past Meetings and Future Plans

June 10, 2015
Presenter: Olgica Gjorgievska

Today's meeting was about reflecting on the past -  a crucial part not only for any club or organization, but also, incidentally, for the college application process, which demands of students to turn their mercilessly curious gaze not toward the world, but toward themselves. Our members talked to their advisers about their experiences as part of the Competitive College Club - good, bad, and transformative altogether. Each member had the chance to reflect on what they had learned in these past six months, and what they hoped to improve on in the future. A commonly held position among all members was that through the Competitive College Club, they could make better, more informed decisions regarding their future academic careers.

The opportunities that the Competitive College Club offers to its members will only grow in scope in the coming months. Our CCC advisers plan to continue with more interesting, in-depth activities that will help the students know for certain which colleges in the United States best fit their individual student profiles. In addition to this, the club will organize a camp in collaboration with the Maker's Space project at the American Corner that strives to turn libraries into spaces where creativity, curiosity and entrepreneurship can flourish through various hand-on activities. Our members are excited for the chance to volunteer at the various workshops that will be a part of the camp agenda.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

TOEFL and "The Color Purple"

April 22, 2015
Presenters: Ivana Angelovska and Katie Burk

In the first part of today's meeting, the CCC members received tips on taking the TOEFL, a standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in U.S. universities.

Next, the students participated in a group discussion regarding "The Color Purple" by American author Alice Walker. They went over favorite characters and relevant themes, such as racism and its presence in today's society, as well as womanhood, empowerment, and their representations within the novel in the context of race. They also analyzed the format of the epistolary novel, as well as the use of language and slang. The students also made comparisons to their own lives and how they relate to using a different language  on a daily basis as non-native speakers of English. 

Our members ultimately concluded that many of the issues the novel grappled with were purposefully complex, so as to prevent readers to coming up with straightforward distinctions between right and wrong answers, and to rather create an engaging space for debate and reflection.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Value of Volunteering

April 4, 2015
Presenter: Tami Gjorgieva

Competitive College Club  members are required to spend at least 8 hours a week engaged in volunteering and community service activities. Today, Tami Gjorgieva, a passionate volunteer and former intern at the American Corner came to talk to our CCC members about the value of volunteering. She began by defining the term: a volunteer is a person who does work without getting paid to do it - as Ms. Gjorgieva said, "not because volunteers are worthless, but because they are priceless." Stressing that there are volunteering opportunities for anyone and everyone, she went over the plethora of informal, self-initiated volunteering opportunities that our members could look into, such as organizing a play in the local kindergarten, a charity concert, or  an environmental action to clean the park or school yard.

The many benefits of volunteering were also outlines in the presentation. For instance, our members learned that volunteering is a practice of mutual benefit for the community and the volunteer. While it centers on giving back to the community, it is also a skill-building activity that paves the way for both professional and personal development in the volunteer. Namely, it is a way for us to test out future professional paths, learn a lot about ourselves, save community resources, equip ourselves with new interests and hobbies, network and meet people from different fields, etc.

At the core of the practice of volunteerism, however, is initiative and creativity. Ms. Gjorgieva's parting words to our CCC members were that they don't have to save everyone to make a change - they only have to plan smartly, and dedicate themselves to a cause they are passionate about, beginning as a basic volunteer and ending up in a leadership position. In this way, they can not only make a change in the world, but become the well-rounded students that are sought-after in the college application process.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Experiencing "The Hunger Games"

March, 2015
Presenter: Katie Burk

In March, the CCC in Skopje had a chance to experience the Hunger Games for themselves. After reading the book, they played a game that forced them to make decisions similar to those made in the game. Members were given a short profile, explaining their personal strengths and weaknesses. Based on this information, they had to make choices, such as whether or not to form an alliance, whether or not to attack, until only one remained. The choices were challenging, and led to discussion about having to make those choices in reality. It was a fun, and exciting meeting!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

University Life in the United States

March 12, 2015
Presenter: Trishita Maula

Trishita Maula has been a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department for over 6 years. She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a degree in Economics and Mathematics. Prior to joining the State Department, Trishita worked in corporate finance at Citi. Today, she came to the American Corner to speak to our CCC members about what university life is like in the United States.

Ms. Maula described the process of applying to American universities as a challenging experience that requires students to reflect on who they are. She stressed that in the process of narrowing down one's choices, one must be aware that choosing a university, especially one situated in a foreign country, is part of a four-year-long commitment, and thus an important responsibility for every applicant. Consequently, each member needs to consider several factors related to the university experience, such as the academics, the dorm life, the university location and surroundings, as well as future opportunities the university offers.

Ms. Maula reflected on her own process of applying to college, and singled out her college essay as the key contributor to her being accepted to Barnard, a women's liberal arts college (affiliated with Columbia University, an Ivy League Institution) located in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. She advised our CCC members to think of the personal statement as a document where they have the opportunity to show what they can contribute to the university they're applying to in their own words, and stand out among the thousands of applicants that are being considered. Advice that was shared among members included to "make your essays so personal that you would be embarrassed to show them to someone" and to "avoid writing about what we think colleges want to hear, but rather to speak from the heart."