We asked our CAMPers: why do YOU want to study abroad?

ABOUT CAMP

What exactly does CAMP Philippines do?
Because our mission is incredibly ambitious, we do a lot to make sure that we are reaching out to students with proper and comprehensive information on the college application process, and with opportunities to develop as a student. We also want to make sure that you are getting all the attention you deserve and that your personal, specific questions are answered. We do this mainly through our mentoring program, where we pair you up with an actual college student who has gone through the application process to help you and guide you through your own. In July and August, we also hold college talks at local schools in the Philippines geared towards first, second and third year students to raise awareness about attending college abroad. Around the same time, we hold an annual CAMP Study Abroad Conference for high school seniors to get more in-depth information and training on how to apply to colleges abroad. We also recently started a summer internship program, which provides high school students with the opportunity to gain professional work experience.

What if I’m not sure whether or not I want to apply abroad?
That’s totally fine! Part of CAMP’s mission is to raise awareness on the ups and downs of going to a college overseas. You are still more than welcome to be part of our discussion group and take advantage of the resources on our website. You will ultimately have to make the decision yourself, but we hope that you will seek help from us if you do choose to apply abroad!

What will my donation to CAMP be used for?
Whatever donations we get are used 100% for our mentees and students. We will use this money to conduct school visits for college talks, hold workshops for students and teachers, keep our website running, and create guidebooks and instructional videos for the application process! Thank you so much for even considering to donate to us! 

MENTORING PROGRAM

Why do I need a CAMP mentor?
As much as we hate to admit it, there is a lack of college information and resources for local high school students in the Philippines, particularly for colleges overseas. While students attending most international or American schools are given this information from the beginning of their freshman year and are guided carefully through the application process, many in local schools do not have the same opportunity. Part of CAMP Philippines’ mission is to level the playing field among high school students, independent of socioeconomic status or background. CAMP mentors, who mostly come from the same background as you, are part of our effort to bridge the information gap. From their experience going through the college application process themselves, they can give you the information and guidance necessary to have as much competitive advantage as any other student.

Will it cost me anything to take part in the mentoring program?
The mentoring program is FREE! We absolutely do not charge you for wanting to learn more about applying to college—in fact, we should be rewarding YOU for attempting it!

Who is eligible for the CAMP mentoring program?
High school students who are currently in their THIRD YEAR or FIRST QUARTER of FOURTH YEAR are eligible to apply for the mentorship program. We believe in making this program accessible to anyone who applies, so we do not have any GPA or SAT score cut-offs for students whom we accept. However, students must submit a COMPLETE application before they can be assigned a mentor (this includes the written application, a video statement, and a copy of your resume). Additionally, if you are not making the most of the program (e.g. you are not replying to your mentors’ emails or have not been working on your essay), you will be given a maximum of three warnings by the executive team through email before we remove you from the program and assign your mentor to someone else.

How do I apply for the CAMP mentoring program?
We will officially open applications for the mentoring program to students in DECEMBER of their THIRD YEAR of high school. There will be three rounds of mentor-mentee assignments: February, April, and July. An important thing to remember here is that we assign the best mentors in the early rounds, so try to shoot for an earlier application date! View the full mentorship program description here. Currently, there is only one way to apply for the mentoring program, and that is by filling out this form.

When is the application for the mentoring program due?
All applications for the first round of pairings are due by FEBRUARY 15 of your third year in high school. Applications for the second round of pairings are due by APRIL 15 before you enter your fourth year. Applications for the third round of pairings are due by JULY 15 of your fourth year. An important thing to remember here is that we assign the best mentors in the early rounds, so try to shoot for an earlier application date! View the full mentorship program description here

Why do I have to provide my SAT scores, grades, and personal achievements in my application for the mentoring program?
Given the extremely complex nature of the college admissions process, we want to pair you up with a mentor who will be the most helpful for your particular set of college, academic, and extra-curricular interests. We also want to make sure that your mentors are giving you reliable advice, and the only way that they can do this is if they know as much about you as possible. Knowing your scores, grades, and personal achievements really helps mentors determine what type of student you are and which colleges would be most suitable for you to apply to.

How do you guys monitor what my mentor and I are doing?
Members of the Executive Team will be checking in with you and your mentor on your progress every month. We will also be sending out a monthly newsletter for mentors and mentees. However, it is up to both your and your mentors' discretion which information to share with us and how best to update us on your personal progress.

Does CAMP offer assistance to transfer applicants?
Because our mentoring program is specialized for undergraduate freshman applications, we are unable to formally mentor transfer applicants. However, we would gladly answer questions about the transfer application process to the best of our knowledge.

Does CAMP offer assistance to graduate school applicants?
We direct all interested graduate school applications to GRAD Philippines, whose mission is to provide Filipinos with a venue for dialogue, a network of mentors, and a collection of resources that will help them navigate through the graduate school application processes to schools around the world.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

What is the Common Application?

It is a virtual platform that condenses the application process to over 700 member colleges all around the United States, and the world! The platform also allows you to keep track of application deadlines, requirements, and others of the sort. Here, you can submit input SAT scores, College Personal Essays, list your previous and current extracurricular activities, personal information and so on. These will make up the core of your application which you can send to all the colleges you are applying to. It is still important to note that you should take the time to research on your prospective colleges in detail as they may require other information that must be submitted outside of the Common Application. What is also worth noting is that not all colleges make use of the Common Application platform.

Difference between Early Action, Early Decision and Regular Decision?

These are all types of applications that you can do as an applicant. However, each one has it’s own advantages, disadvantages and limitations. It is important to evaluate the status of your current application to determine the one most suitable for you. In any case, here is a brief description of how these types of applications work:

Early Decision - The early decision application period happens a lot earlier than the regular decision period. You follow a much more rigid and accelerated period that is usually reserved for people who are most prepared. That being said, you are only allowed to apply to one college through early decision. If you get in through “ED”, then you’re committed to that school. However, if you don’t get accepted or get deferred, most colleges have their own policies on this which can range anywhere from being deferred to the next round of applications, or not being admitted entirely.

Early Action - Very similar to ED as whole with some certain aspect being less binding. You are permitted to submit more than one application during the early action period and admission through EA is not binding meaning you are generally allowed to apply to schools through regular decision even after being admitted to a school through Early Action

Regular Decision - Follows the normal application process which follows a later schedule. This is when most people apply.

Can I waive application fees?

It is possible for application fees to be waived. The Common App has developed its own process through which students can seek fee waivers for colleges that use the Common App. Fees are usually waived when a provides a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader.

What do I need to apply?

A broad generalization would be:

  1. SATs and SAT 2s

  2. High School Resume

  3. Common App Essay

  4. Supplemental Essay

  5. Guidance Counselor Recommendation Letter

*It is worth noting that this is a very broad generalization. Many, if not all schools, have their own requirements for application and thus, require much more rigid research because all of these requirements must be met for a successful application and hopefully, successful admission to your school of choice.

When is the best time to take the SATs/SAT 2s?

This question is very subjective. We would not recommend one specific “best” time to take the SATs, but it is worth noting that from previous experience, getting these standardized tests out of the way earlier is better. However, you should evaluate your timeline and determine what time is best for you. A recommended time to take them would be November of your junior year.

FINANCIAL AID

Does CAMP give financial aid to students?
Unfortunately, we do not give financial aid to students to attend college. Alternatively, we help students search for and apply to financial aid programs and scholarships, as well as understand and negotiate their financial aid packages with colleges. In special cases, we may solicit funding from donors on your behalf. The good news is that all of our services are offered to students free of charge! 

What is the difference between financial aid and a scholarship?‬
Financial aid is based on your family's income, while scholarships are based on merit or a certain set of criteria. There are not very many scholarships that are available for Filipino students. On the other hand, financial aid, while difficult to get, is more accessible since colleges/universities usually will have money set aside for financial aid for international students.

‪Will applying for financial aid lower my chances to get in a selective school?
If you are an international student, then most probably, yes; for most colleges, the more aid you need, the harsher admissions officers may be on your application. This does not apply to colleges that are "need-blind" for international students (Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, NYUAD, Amherst). For these listed colleges, applying for financial aid should not affect your chances whatsoever.

Is financial aid for international students accessible? Or is it very difficult to get?
It is always much more difficult to get financial aid for international students than it is for local students (Americans in the US, UK citizens in the UK, etc), and getting a full financial aid package can be difficult. However, it also depends on the universities you are applying to. Though most universities in the US are need-aware for international students (meaning they factor your financial need into their decision), many of them still have significant financial aid packages. This takes a bit of research.

At CAMP, we often encourage mentees to heavily research their schools and consider applying ED to a university that, while need-aware, states that it has financial aid for internationals. Applying ED and showing commitment to the university can help an applicant's chances of receiving financial aid.

‪Do need-aware universities accept international students even if their need is too big? Does it happen that you get in but don't receive any scholarship or aid?
Yes, you can get accepted to a university without being offered financial aid  even if you asked for it. If you get accepted and asked for aid, the usual scenario would be that the school offers you some funding, though this may not match how much you need.

‪Is it possible to bargain for additional aid later on if a university gave me a partial scholarship in the early round?
For many colleges, aid is assessed per year; they can give you the same, more, or less aid after each year enrolled if your circumstances change. Typically, you cannot bargain for more aid. One of the few cases you can is if you were accepted and offered aid by two (or more) universities: sometimes, a student in this scenario can have the colleges "compete" for his/her decision and try and match/beat each other's aid offer.

I'd like to enter to a university and apply for a financial aid, but I don't know how to get in. What do I do?
This question requires a very comprehensive answer and is contingent not only on your interests but also on your grades, extra-curricular activities, and experiences. We recommend that you apply for a CAMP mentor who can give you more personalised mentorship and can really help you through the application process. Apply here.

‪The amount of financial aid available per university is usually found online. Does this amount refer to aid available for all students in the applicant pool applying for financial aid or for one student only?
The number normally listed is the average financial aid per student. Take note that this includes American citizens, who are able to receive significantly more financial aid than international students. Most universities will not have information on the average amount of aid received by internationals.

LEAVING HOME

In the job market, are there significant drawbacks to attending a small unheard of LAC in the States instead of a big university here like UP?
The disadvantage of this can be your lack of connections and networks in the Philippines, especially if you plan on coming back to the country right after graduation. One drawback in going abroad is that you can become distant from the ongoings in the Philippines, which can cause you to lose touch with people and events that may help push you forward career-wise. This is a very important question and should definitely be discussed at length with parents, teachers, and mentors. If you want to discuss this more in-depth, please feel free to contact someone from CAMP!

‪Would you recommend that we take one year of college here in the Philippines first before applying as a freshman in the United States?
This depends on a student's situation; we recommend this strategy to students who feel that they are not yet ready to apply or are too late in applying to colleges abroad. You may also want to try one year of college here in the Philippines if you want to build a network of friends or experience university here before going abroad. If you want to discuss your situation more in-depth, please feel free to contact someone from CAMP!

‪UP vs Less selective school with full scholarship/ big amount of aid?
This really depends on what you're looking for. You need to consider a lot of factors that include what major you want to study, the environment you'll be in, what you want to do after college, and what you want out of your college experience. We recommend applying for a mentor or getting in touch with someone at CAMP if you want to discuss your options further.

‪If I plan to transfer to a college in Europe after one year of college here, would it be better to go to Ateneo or UP?
This depends on what course you want to take and what field you want to pursue. Remember that for most if not all European universities, you declare your major during your first year and take classes specifically towards that major.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach us at exec@campphilippines.org!