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Prabhgun had always worked hard in high school to set himself up for success when it came time to apply to university. He got solid grades, participated in a bunch of extracurriculars, and stayed on top of the application process.
However, while doing more research about what it would take to get into his dream program, Waterloo Engineering, Prabhgun realized that he didn’t completely understand their application and selection process. He also wasn’t prepared for the university’s comprehensive written supplementary application (the Admission Information Form) and the recorded video interview.
While he had participated in a lot of extracurriculars in high school, he didn’t have a lot of depth in them and he lacked strategic direction. This is something we see all the time — students feel pressured to build their resume with anything and everything, so they take on a million different extracurriculars. The problem is that having so many actually complicates things because it makes it seem like there’s a lack of direction and focus.
Prabhgun also struggled to identify a clear personal brand (something we call the Student’s Identity) and he was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to showcase his oral and written communication skills to Waterloo’s admissions committee.
Prabhgun contacted a Youthfully coach so he could improve his skills, apply his interests and values, and achieve audacious goals. He knew that becoming a better student using our ‘full student’ approach would help him fulfill his potential and get into Waterloo’s highly competitive engineering program.
After Prabhgun completed our Student Identity Blueprint™, his coach dug deep into his background during the discovery process. He helped him understand his core skills and values, while also explaining how these could help him reach his goals. They identified and focused only on extracurriculars that would add value to Prabhgun’s portfolio and help him develop his true interests: coding and fitness.
“I always participated in so many different activities in high school, but none of them really benefited me. My coach helped me realize that it wasn’t about how many ECs I had, but the value they added to my life.
We focused on high value extracurriculars that would let me pursue my interests and make me a strong candidate in my application to Waterloo — and it paid off!”
Over the next few months, Prabhgun’s coach helped him build out a purposeful portfolio that showed his interest in coding, fitness, AI/machine learning and data/analytics. The coach used his own expertise in IT consulting to identify key skills and learning outcomes to focus on, as well as connected him with subject matter experts in the areas of interest. He also helped him find other ways that he could apply his interests, such as participating in various math and computing contests, completing online courses, and getting a fitness certification.
“The help and support that I received from my Youthfully coach is the reason that I am where I am today, and I am so grateful for it.”
To help Prabhgun build his brand, his coach suggested that he design and build a website to showcase his portfolio, as well as thought leadership articles on fitness to flex his communication skills and knowledge of the fitness industry.
For the website, Prabhgun’s coach worked with him to come up with information architecture for the site, and then helped him get set up with a designer within the coach’s network to create wireframes and final designs. The coach then helped Prabhgun hire a developer, where they collaboratively worked together on the final website build. These experiences inspired him to start a personal training company, and he worked with his coach to come up with a strategy and business plan.
His website can be found at prabhgunbehniwal.com.
When it was time to apply to Waterloo, Prabhgun felt much more confident because he spent significant time and effort with his coach crafting a unique, yet authentic, identity—and built a set of real-world skills and outcomes that supported this.
His coach then helped him throughout the entire application process, working with him to identify key dates, developing his AIF to highlight his strengths, and preparing him for the intense video interviews via mock practice sessions.
And all that hard work paid off! Prabhgun was accepted to Waterloo and received an $8,000 Faculty of Mathematics Scholarship, as well as the President’s Scholarship of Distinction.
During his first year, Prabhgun says that he felt so much more prepared to deal with the expectations of university because of the work he had done with his coach.
“The transition to university is really difficult, but because I had worked with my coach on key skills like communication, problem solving, and project management, I was able to really thrive in my first year.”
Prabhgun continued to work with his coach after getting into Waterloo so that he could achieve an even bigger goal: getting a co-op. Even though the application process was extremely competitive and difficult, his coach helped him identify ways that he could prepare for and stand out during his interviews. His impressive portfolio that he built while working with his coach and his interview skills helped him land two high paying, high exposure co-op positions as Security Software Developer at Blackberry QNX and as Software Engineer at Ford.
In the future, Prabhgun plans to develop a Deep Learning SME, and work for Google after he graduates from Waterloo.
Prabhgun’s journey shows that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. By working with one of our coaches, you’ll get access to constant support and guidance so that you can identify and execute goals and achieve things you never thought possible.
Connect with a Youthfully coach and start your journey today!