Case: Mikhail, 23, education in England, entering British university

When Mikhail’s father came to us with the request to help his 23 year old son to choose a University in Great Britain, he immediately wanted us to communicate with Mikhail directly so he could become more independent and make the decisions for himself. One day the father decided that his son should study Finance but this led to Mikhail eventually dropping out of his course at London School of Economics because Finance was not a subject he was keen on. On the second time round Mikhail didn’t feel confident when choosing a course as he blamed himself for his first failed attempt to get a degree. Mikhail’s lack of confidence impacted his results when he finally received his degree in International Relations. He had become disillusioned with British University life and didn’t know what he wanted to get out of it.

After talking to Mikhail and giving him some psychometric testing, we saw that the marks Mikhail had got didn’t reflect his real potential. The way he spoke showed his interest in the subject, the depth of his knowledge and his insight. He was well mannered and charming. We arranged lessons for Mikhail where he could develop his interview and presentation skills. Together with the student we discovered and explored his strengths and he learned how to use them. Also, as a result of work experience and aptitude tests he developed an understanding of which profession he was really interested in.

Mikhail worked very hard during those sixth months and was very dedicated to what he was doing. He also sat an exam for a diploma at Moscow University. Besides that he had to prepare for his IELTS exam too. We adopted out normal policy of choosing three universities with the student: first, a “best-case” option; second, the realistic choice; and third, a back-up option. When Mikhail received an offer from his third choice university he was very happy. When the second choice university offered him a place Mikhail’s father said “Good. We settle on this. Kingston University is a great choice, many of our friends study there.” However, we insisted Mikhail retook his IELTS exam as his English teacher believed he could do better than he did first time. In the end Mikhail got into his first choice university after achieving an IELTS score 7.5. Neither his University grades nor first IELTS result met the requirements of Royal Holloway University but that didn’t stop Mikhail taking his Masters at a University he couldn’t have imagined getting into at the start. He enjoyed studying: “The British university life has a different atmosphere to that in Moscow. I have made new friends and I have new interests. I have a desire to have deep knowledge of the topics related to politics and the internet as well as the role of Mass media in our life thus I read more additional literature and follow the world events.” We continue to watch with interest as Mikhail develops his potential further and further. Everyone needs support at some stage, Mikhail is a good example of how people can grow with the right professional help.

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