blog Higher Education Trending | 2min Read

SAT is going DIGITAL!

Published on April 28, 2023

blog Higher Education Trending

SAT is going DIGITAL!

I know right, like everything else in life.

This move to digital means that students will take the exam on a computer,

What does that mean?

The exam will be adaptive, streamlined, and shorter than the current format.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes:

Adaptive Test Format

The digital SAT exam will be customized to each student’s performance. Students who perform better in the first section will receive more challenging questions in the second section, but each question will be worth more points.

Shorter Test Duration

The new version of the SAT exam will be about two hours, which is shorter than the current three-hour format. The shorter duration will be beneficial in preventing testing fatigue. Additionally, the exam will have shorter reading passages and more direct questions.

Expanded Calculator Use

The “no calculator” section of the exam will be removed, and all students will have access to a built-in graphic calculator. Students can also bring their own calculators to use during the exam.


Students can bring their own computers or tablets to the testing center on the day of the exam, or they can use the computers provided at the center.

Colleges and Universities

Although more colleges are opting for the test-optional policy, however, all colleges are not moving at the same pace. In a recent survey, colleges have still stated that they would consider standardized test courses as part of the application process.

In conclusion, the digital format of the SAT exam is a significant change that students need to prepare for accordingly.

Keep an eye out for more updates from the College Board regarding the new digital SAT exam.

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blog Higher Education | 9min Read

7 Tips to Improve your Public Speaking in High School: Ace it to make it!

Published on July 23, 2022

blog Higher Education

7 Tips to Improve your Public Speaking in High School: Ace it to make it!

Do you also believe public speaking is a nerve-wracking skill like I do? Yes, fear of public speaking is pervasive in all ages, especially teens like us who are hesitant to speak gibberish. For this reason, it may become a difficult pill to swallow. Public speaking is often overlooked in school, which results in children not being acquainted with the skills to speak in front of a large gathering, especially on a prompt topic. This results in high palpitations and a state of a meltdown when faced with the possibility of being asked to present a topic in public, even when the subject is well versed in your brain. 

As seen in most of us, when given a topic to present in front of the class or school, we usually hesitate, have a second thought or wait for the time to pass by quicker. And then, you may have realized it too. Don’t we all end up envying the person comfortable in public speaking? While you struggle to complete it quicker, you question how the other person is good at this. Making you feel insecure and less skilful than others. Well, that is the importance of good communication and public speaking skills in today’s life.

Why is public speaking important?

Adolescents usually believe that public speaking is associated with marketing or sales, as you require it during elevator pitches and promoting your product. Indeed, that isn’t true. It is a skill primarily needed in all fields of life. It is a hallmark of good communication skills, and having good communication skills is essential for any career unless you are the only person in the entire office (which, of course, is next to impossible).

Nowadays, jobs and firms also judge you based on your communication skills and how you express yourself rather than just confining it to your qualifications. Even if you are the most intelligent person in the room but do not know how to communicate how you feel, the audience can’t grasp the primary objective of the presentation, losing the essence of the most brilliant idea. Likewise, the most common argument expressed more creatively is effective and appreciated as it is necessary to maintain the perspective and motive of your presentation that you want to educate the audience about. 

Tips to improve public speaking skills:

1. Confidence is the key

It is essential to convey the message to your audience confidently. If you are hesitant or underconfident, the audience does not take your message seriously, and the ethos of the message usually fades away. They are attracted to good public speakers. This means that if you have the right public speaking skills, the more people you can motivate and influence. Communication plays an essential role in success, without which one is doomed. Yet for some reason, even those who are excellent communicators seem to lose their talent the minute they are asked to stand and speak before an audience. As this particular set of skills seems to be so rare and hard to find, if you study harder and you apply yourself to become a better public speaker, you will instantly see yourself growing as a different person altogether.

 Likewise, the audience is always attracted to those who speak well in public. Listeners are more likely to listen to someone with killer presentation skills than someone who just stumbles their way through their cue cards. This means that if you have the right skill set, people are likely to learn from you, be swayed by you, or buy from you.

2. Bring creativity through simplicity

When talking about public speaking as a skill, the foremost aspect that needs to be kept in mind is to have no fear of failure by bringing on your creativity through simplicity. Children believe that using complex or ambitious words to express can help elevate the pitch or make it sound more pleasing to one’s ear. 

However, that misconception needs to be detached from every developing mindset. The more complex your dictionary is when expressing yourself to an audience, the harder it becomes for the audience to understand what you are trying to convey. This often results in misunderstandings and the audience finding you ‘over-smart’ and not a ‘good communicator.’ Thus, it is best to keep your message crisp, clear and in the simplest form so that every kind of audience can understand the crux of the message. 

3. Be clear without any fear

In a survey conducted in the United States of America, students chose ‘public speaking’ over ‘death’ when asked what their most significant fear (Ankur Warikoo, October 2020). This is the fear retained in every young heart. The reason why most teens lose out on their confidence when they are sent on stage to present a piece of art. As students, it is important to understand why this happens and how to overcome it:

  1. One should listen to themselves and what they are speaking. If you hear yourself, you will understand how much sense you make from the message you are trying to convey to the greater audience.
  2. ‘Be heard by the public. If they don’t take you seriously, considering you to be a child, no concrete message is being passed on by you to them.
  3. Be vulnerable and rhetorical. You must have a sense of emotional vulnerability to engage the audience in your speech/dialogue. The audience wants to be able to understand and connect to the speaker. But, one has to be eloquent in doing so too. Extending your hand across the stage and accepting perspectives isn’t easy even for public speakers- it requires a lot of reflection and active listening. 

4. Maintain a good body language & wardrobe

Simultaneously, a point often neglected by people which plays an important role just as confidence does is body language and a decent wardrobe. When standing in front of an audience, it is important to have the correct body language and outfit. Well, most high schoolers like me would question why. This is because a first impression always sets a standard and is essential in judging what lies ahead. 

When speaking in front of an audience, a sluggish posture portrays a bad image of us as children and loses the importance of the message being conveyed. One can’t tell if they’re relishing themselves, but one of the things that makes them compelling is their surrender to the moment, being fully present in their story and message. In my opinion, this presence makes them credible, captivates us, and makes us want to follow them.

5. Weave your speech in the form of a story

Furthermore, ever noticed how a speech or presentation that has left a mark on you is usually woven into a story. This is the influential art of storytelling which leaves a stone on every young/old heart. Storytelling is the most potent speaking tool in your public speaking skills toolbox. Teens like us may question why storytelling is the key to becoming a great speaker. Because people are hungry for stories. It is part of our very being. The storyteller brings a story to life and transports the listener to another time, location, or situation. When we connect to a story well, it foreshadows other thoughts and memories running in our mind. We remember the experience long after the account has been told. 

A story provides the “hook to hang on” that a good speech must have to be remembered. Firstly, to be a creative storyteller and a great public speaker, the hunger to be creative and spontaneous is very much required. You should be well-versed in the topic, more than just cramming information from your speech that you rote-learned last evening. Nevertheless, bringing the story to your life is essential for the audience to connect better with it. The need for pathos is necessary to understand and captivate the audience. 

6. Don’t repeat or linger around

Lastly, don’t be repetitive and linger around. For example, you may have noticed when someone tells a good joke, but then they mess it up by repeating it? It feels like you are being robbed of the experience. Once you’re done reciting, stop! Don’t try to explain it. Let the audience savour it. Let their thoughts linger on so they can enjoy it, think about what has been said and draw their meaning from it. By reflecting on it, they internalize the lesson and will remember your speech long after it’s been given. The more you become explanatory, the more the message loses its meaning, affecting the speech and the speaker.

7. Don’t look out for appreciation

Adapting to your innate abilities and current circumstances is critical for successful public speaking. It is crucial to assimilate and adapt to changing knowledge, circumstances, and environmental demands. The ability to adapt to the audience; real-world problems necessitate the active deployment of your intelligence, a key characteristic of excellent public speakers. Simon Sinek, a famous public speaker, said, “No speaker comes on the stage to receive anything; they come to give.” He validates his quote through an example: no speaker from backstage says that he is delivering a speech to get a standing ovation. Obviously, you get one if the audience relishes you, but it is not why we deliver it. This showcases a vital characteristic of a public speaker: have a selfless attitude, where you don’t believe in getting anything in return. The attitude shift is what marks a significant difference between a public speaker and a sales analyst.


Public speaking abilities are helpful in situations where you must address a large group of people. Because communication and general speaking skills are inextricably linked, improving your public speaking skills will inevitably enhance your interpersonal communication skills with your peers and family. As a result, if you are ever allowed to practise or learn public speaking skills, don’t pass it up. Please pick up your courage and go for it whether you’re in class, the office, or any other situation that requires you to deliver a message to an audience. The ability to speak in public is a skill; the more you use and practice it, the better you will become. There are many public speaking audio books or guide books to learn from if you want to improve your public speaking skills or are a new beginner. You will have an advantage over others if you learn to speak in public.

It doesn’t take much time to improve your speaking skills, and with all the potential benefits you can reap from those skills, it seems clear that this is an area you need to be involved in. Even working just a little bit each week can, over time, turn you into a speaker that will be the envy of everyone around you. That is why we must accept that speaking in front of an audience is inevitable, and when life throws lemons at us, we squash it to make lemonades. Face our fears head-on. Before you let that fear get to you, catch it head-on. Learn better public speaking skills. Be the best speaker you can be. Remove all the hesitations and insecurities and do what you must do. You have to do them anyway, so do them with style and make yourself proud. These tips (mentioned above) are helpful as they mostly came from a group of professional speakers who want to help you conquer that fear.

Check out our Harvard YLC Programme

Finally, I will reiterate that the best way to improve your communication and public speaking skills is through practice, because practice makes a man perfect. You must speak to enhance these skills—volunteer to speak whenever you can. Our Harvard Youth Leadership Conference is a five-day conference on leadership through the realms of public speaking, collaboration, and communication. The 5-day conference is aimed at high school students who are essentially advised to learn these skills, as it helps in every aspect of life post-school. You, as children, learn how to collaborate and communicate with your peers to develop a social project that you present in front of a large audience by the end of the conference. This way, you learn the skills of public speaking from collaborating, being confident and then communicating. This results in boosting not only your confidence but also helps you conquer your greatest fear. 

To have an in-depth understanding of the conference, you can check out our website or various masterclasses on youtube! Don’t forget to check it out and educate yourself from our webinars and masterclasses, which are easily accessible and targeted at YOU and YOUR PEERS. For more information, please go check out our official website Till then, we will keep you updated!

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blog Higher Education Innovation | 6min Read

Practicality or Passion? Top Seven Professions of the 21st Century

Published on August 4, 2021

blog Higher Education Innovation

Practicality or Passion? Top Seven Professions of the 21st Century

Tug Of War

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is often an anxiety-inducing dilemma for all teenagers. It can be overwhelming to try to make such a decision when it feels like your life is up in the air and the only thing that feels certain is uncertainty. In the modern-day and age, this question gets even harder to answer as innumerable factors weigh in – some high schoolers value job satisfaction overpay and get stressed out when they struggle to find a career path that suits them. Others hold wage factors in higher regard and don’t care much if they get incredibly bored working 9 to 5. Others can fall victim to parental pressure, unable to pursue their true passion. There are countless scenarios where students struggle to decide, finding themselves stuck in a tug of war, wondering which to choose, practicality or passion?

The Promise Of Practicality

In the 21st Century, the way we work and the number of career choices have changed substantially. For most non-manual professions, being highly literate in technology, business and creativity is a necessity. New generations are continuously coming up with ingenious and inventive job prospects and carving their own paths in this new world. Radical changes in globalization, technology, and competition in the marketplace as well as shifts in societal conditions have altered our speculations for the future. Experts continue devising new scenarios about working in the 21st century and the careers that will be highest in demand. Currently, these include:

1. Nanotechnologists

For many years now, our gadgets have been getting smaller and smaller which has caused an increase in the demand for nanotechnologists. These are people who can manipulate matter at a molecular level, and as miniaturization and portability for our gadgets increases, so will the demand for this job. Those who wish to study <a href=””>nanotechnology</a> should opt to study organic chemistry, molecular biology, and microfabrication.

2. Stem Cell Research:

For many years now, our gadgets have been getting smaller and smaller which has caused an increase in the demand for nanotechnologists. These are people who can manipulate matter at a molecular level, and as miniaturization and portability for our gadgets increases, so will the demand for this job. Those who wish to study nanotechnology should opt to study organic chemistry, molecular biology, and microfabrication.

3. Business Developers

These workers pursue strategic opportunities for businesses by, for example, cultivating partnerships or other commercial relations. It is one of the most sought-after jobs for fresh graduates and has many sub-areas to work within. To get hired as a business developer an individual must possess good analytical, negotiation, creative, and communication skills.

4. Robotic Experts

Individuals in these careers will be sought after in the coming years due to increased automation outside of factories and production facilities. These developers and specialists will have a special responsibility as artificial intelligence and automation continues to grow.

5. Genetic Programmers

Another profession in the scientific field that is speculated to increase in demand is genetic programming. As a genetic programmer, you will work on the development of medication that suits the individual genetic code of the patients to achieve the best possible treatments for diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s. Health and medicine, in general, will remain hot topics, so seeking a career in them instead of genetic programming will also result in high pay.

6. Urban Farming

Even though manual jobs, specifically in the agricultural sector are fading, inhabitants of large cities will have to be increasingly provided for by urban farmers. Jobs in this area will require agricultural and technical knowledge and many sub-areas involving R&D, automation, etc. may open up under it.

7. Data Scientists

This unusual profession shocked many when it originally came to be, but now its demand is expected to increase in the coming decades. Data scientists are big data wranglers who gather and analyze large sets of structured and unstructured data. Their role combines mathematics, computer science, and statistics.

8. Software engineers

The demand for software engineers has been growing with technological development. It will most probably grow more as the need for never-before-seen solutions increases. Along with mathematical skills, to be a software engineer you need to be creative and be able to make new, innovative software systems.

9. Healthcare Workers

The demand for nurses and care workers is predicted to grow as the work hours of physicians decrease and the population grows. These jobs have many opportunities to grow and succeed and are perfect for someone interested in healthcare.

10. Artificial Intelligence Practitioners

AI promises to deliver some of the most cutting-edge breakthroughs and innovations of this century. With an upcoming AI revolution, there are limitless opportunities for those who want to go into this field.

The Heart Wants What It Wants

Of course, working in the highest-paid professions is tempting. But what if you just don’t want to? What if you know that the benefits of entrepreneurship are far better than pursuing something you’re not interested in? Teenagers struggle to decide what to do, especially at such a young age but should you really settle for something that you don’t love doing just for money? Or just to make your parents proud? Taking the more creative path is riskier, and will probably result in uncles and aunties judging you, but if it may ultimately result in contentment – is it worth it? 

The answer may be affected by many external factors, but following your heart can rarely ever prove to be detrimental. Rather than being average at a job you dislike, but get paid a lot of money to do, it may very well be better to get paid less but be much happier. In your one life, it should be your choice and your will that guides you, not the opinions of others. Even if you possibly end up disliking what you once thought was your passion, that is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s needed because knowing is always better than wondering.

So, to know, to experience, to be satisfied and happy, listening to your heart instead of your head may be what’s best for you. 

Passion and Practicality can go hand in hand, but even if they don’t, your choice matters most. Deciding what you want to do based on your situation is completely up to high schoolers or even adults as it’s never too late to switch sides.

The Big Red Group and our Ivy Early Entrepreneur Program

In our entrepreneurial workshop – Ivy Early Entrepreneur, students go through the process of business development and leave the entrepreneur program having completed a business model canvas, competitive analysis, financial model, minimum viable product, and a pitch deck.

Students get an opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs who are alumni of reputed universities and are experts in their respective industries.

These experts serve as coaches guiding students through the processes of developing a business concept. Risk-Taking, Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Communication &

Storytelling, Design Thinking & Innovation, and Opportunity Recognition are a few of the key learning areas of our program.

On successfully completing the entrepreneur workshop, the guaranteed internship will be extended to all the students within our partner firms and with most of the mentors teaching the program. Students will be provided with a certificate of participation by The Big Red Group. This certificate can be used for your college portfolio.

Ivy Early Entrepreneur

11th – 17th Jan 2022

Idea Generation | Market Research | Design Thinking | Pitching

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blog Higher Education | 3min Read

3 Ways Of Going About Your Career

Published on January 20, 2021

blog Higher Education

3 Ways Of Going About Your Career

Just like a coin, a dice, or any other multifaceted thing in the world, there’s never only one way to go about doing things. Conventionally? Yes. However, realistically? No. Similarly, there are numerous ways to go about making your career. We like to assume that most of them have been discovered, but in today’s ever-changing times, we shouldn’t be surprised if a new, never-before trodden career path emerges because of some kid who believed in their abilities.

We dug into this matter further and discovered 3 profound ways of embarking upon your career.

1. Bolting

The people who sprint through their careers are usually characterized as being ready, willing, and able. Such students start early. They select a degree and stick with it, allowing them to learn and advance through internships that look more and more impressive each year. Some people have the dream job waiting for them after graduation; others with eagle-like excellent long-distance vision concentrate and move from one job to the other, up the career ladder. They have little to no student loans, which helps them in choosing jobs without regard to pay. But pace is not the only defining characteristic of this group. Some are unrushed but methodical, putting together the building blocks for a promising career by investing in personal capital, possibly in graduate or vocational schools, before the job market is hit.

2. Strolling

These are students that are unsure and pursue an uncertain path. Usually, this involves lesser planning or a sudden lack of interest in their previously chosen profession. In today’s world when the master’s or postgraduate degree has become the new bachelor’s degree, it has become even harder to plan and select one major that would enhance our capabilities for the job market post-graduation. Even after that, about 30 percent of college graduates are back in school within two years. Graduate school offers structure and guidance. These students usually have a blurred idea of what they want to do with their lives, and more often than not do not consider a gap year as a practical option to discover their interests or explore majors in different ways due to the conservative thinking of their parents. However, after much pondering and understanding, they too find their perfect fit for a career.

3. Drifting

Many stragglers struggle after high school to find viable career choices. They either choose to stay home and get work or enter the family business if that’s an option. They might hop, skip and jump from one career path to another. However, a longer life expectancy for today’s children means that we could define new paths to adulthood in various ways. We should no longer think of college as a place in our lives that must be visited at 18 years of age. Nevertheless, educators and advisers keep pushing families on a one-size-fits-all route. It is nearly inconceivable to think differently on when a college education should take place as a parent in our hyper-competitive society — the result is that it has become more difficult than ever to forge a path to a satisfying career and a meaningful life. We may also argue that the pathway is more gradual and varied than it was a few decades ago. Traditional milestones like marriage and parental ties are now not the beginning, but the end of adulthood.

No career journey is inferior or superior to the other, it might only take a little longer or quicker in terms of pace and age before you get there. And as long as you have faith in yourself, you will harness the abilities and skills needed to develop a unique and shining career that is tailored to your liking like none other.

Furthermore, the issue is that colleges have sought to improve the predictability for a four-year experience by incorporating substantial guidance and related programs so that basically everything is done to ensure that students graduate and then secure a job. However, this also discourages students from gaining the strength they need to handle risks as adults and excel in an unforeseen profession. There are also career counselling programs for students that are curated to help you identify the right career for you.

Do Entrepreneurship interest you? To pursue their dreams of becoming an Entrepreneur, you can learn leadership skills and join an entrepreneur program to build an empire in your teenage or continue to chase your passion.

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blog Higher Education | 3min Read

How The Pandemic Can Boost Your College Applications!

Published on January 4, 2021

blog Higher Education

How The Pandemic Can Boost Your College Applications!

It is safe to mention that the pandemic has undoubtedly reshaped the manner in which colleges look at the application process. However, in instances like this, it is natural to overlook the benefits this situation has brought to us. Having to juggle Senior school classes alongside a very vigorous college application process places an inconceivable weight on young shoulders.

Furthermore, this could naturally be demotivating for a lot of graduating students who had been preparing for university in advance and are now having to face unprecedented challenges.

The good news: “Faculties are going to be far more flexible this year,” says Todd Rinehart, president of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

Here are a few pointers that will help you use this last-minute ‘extrade of rules’ to your advantage.

1. Most Indian Universities Have A Merit-Based Admissions Criteria

In the race of bagging accolades to their name so as to qualify for certain colleges that require a high standing in these non-academic features along with high grades on a student’s application, a primary factor that numerous college students lose track of is if you’re aiming to get into an Indian University, you aren’t required to provide your extracurricular activities (ECA) certificates at the time of your admission. This fact should be taken into account, provided that a big number of students who had initially been intending to study overseas are opting to stay in India for their undergraduate studies.

2. Most Universities Have Become SAT-Optional Or SAT-Blind

Not too long ago, the College Board, conductor of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, announced that keeping the pandemic in mind, the universities would most likely not give the same weight it did to the aptitude tests, earlier. They have asked colleges to extend score deadlines for early action and early decision to take some pressure off students and give them more time to test and send their scores. Additionally, they’ve requested colleges to recognize that students who do submit scores might not have been able to test more than once. (e.g., taking into account that students who tested as high school juniors but who could not as seniors would have likely achieved score gains). Additionally, The University of California and several other universities formally declared their admission process to be SAT blind, i.e. applications containing SAT scores would no longer be favored.

3. More Number Of Opportunities Online

When seeking to boost our university applications, we generally tend to search for any and every volunteering, internship, and/or conference opportunity to participate in. Luckily, this pandemic has taken all of these activities and much more online! Reputed organizations are starting to arrange and conduct their conferences, seminars, and debates virtually, thereby giving us the upper hand through having the ability to participate in more activities than we might otherwise have in an offline environment. The price and inconvenience of moving to another city or country has been absolutely wiped out and you can still get a legitimate certificate sent to your doorstep.

4. There Is No Better Time To Explain A Gap Year!

Earlier, Gap years used to be a hush-hush topic, almost a taboo, amongst graduating students. However, this year has seen more students deciding to take a gap year than any other before. Be it your mental health, indecision regarding your field of higher studies, financial difficulties, or just an urge to take a break — this year has got your back! Your reasons for taking a gap year, the projects you undertook and how you learnt through the process is not only going to be easier to work out but also more legitimate and generally accepted on your college application now than it used to be.

Several important factors like colleges’ refusal to reduce tuition fees even though education has transitioned onto the online platform, constant and spontaneous travel bans, and the uncertainty of health at this time have put parents under pressure as well. Sending off their loved ones in these distressing times can be extremely difficult. Taking a step back to reflect on some of these points could help ease that stress! Remember, no application is more important than you are.

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