According to the US embassy in Nepal, more than 13,000 Nepali students have enrolled in US undergraduate schools this year. However, with most high schools not having college counselors, the majority of these students are not able to pursue their education in schools at their aptitude. When I was applying to colleges, the only people I could go to were application consulting companies. They charged very high prices for access to a very limited list of schools. Through hard work, reaching out and, most importantly, luck I was accepted at Oberlin College. However, opportunities should not be a function of chance. Students with the right character and work ethic should have access to deserving opportunities.
This is why we created Nepali Dreamers. We are creating a community of students with big dreams and mentor them from college search to graduation. With self-awareness and community service at the core, we will develop the next generation of Nepali leaders who will utilize their education to create opportunities for everyone else.
In our first year of organizing, we worked with students from three high schools. They met three times a week for three months to focus on three things. First, the students skyped with native English speakers to work on spoken and written English. Second, we organized college application workshops centered around reflection. Finally, the students had online SAT classes and practice tests with a Californian test preparation non-profit.
As we recruit our next cohort, Nepali Dreamers is working to take the next steps: establishing an application and test preparation library, and partnering with local NGOs. The library will be valuable not only to provide materials that are scarce in Nepal but also to build our community more actively. Similarly, the NGO partnerships will connect our scholars with local communities and move us towards our larger goal of having the students come back to Nepal.