11. Organizations in Kenya that Help Students Apply to US Universities
EaSEP picks a group of about 10 promising students and guides them in their application to US colleges. EaSEP’s requirements are quite straightforward:
You must have completed KCSE in the previous year, e.g. for EaSEP’s Class of 2016, the students did their KCSE in 2015
You must have earned at least an A of 82 and be among the top in your high school. Bonus points if you scored highly in English!
You should have an A- in KCSE. Bonus points if you scored highly in English.
You must have demonstrated leadership. NB. Being a prefect is NOT the only form of leadership!
You must have roots in Western Kenya.
The camp is based in Nandi Hills and runs from July to November. Its applications open in early March, so keep an eye on their website. To get accepted into the program, download, fill and send a scan of your completed application by the deadline (usually in early May).
The program consists of 3 parts. From July to August, students get guidance on the SAT & TOEFL, and take the TOEFL Test in August. In the 2nd part of the program, which begins sometime in September, students mainly focus on the SAT Reasoning Test, which they take in October. Students also begin intense prep for the SAT Subject Tests and complete their first college application to their most desired school. The students get a short break and come back for the final stretch in which they do their Subject Tests and work on more college applications.
It’s worth noting that the East African Scholars Fund sponsors EaSEP, so the students do not incur any costs. That granted, EaSEP and EASF will NOT fund your college degree; EaSEP’s work is to help you secure a scholarship from the university itself!
EALP (Equity African Leaders Program)
EALP is a merit-based program that enrolls high-school graduates. The selection criteria for these candidates include:
Best male and female student in every district.
Wings to Fly scholars who have attained A- and above in their KCSE exams.
Although EALP does NOT give you any scholarship to study abroad, they provide the following:
Two camps where you are assigned a mentor who guides you through the application process. You also get to do SAT and ACT exam practice to improve your scores and orient you to the exam that you will eventually take.
Revision material such as books and other online material.
A stipend once you get admitted to a university abroad. This caters for your air ticket as well as basic shopping once you get to the US.
Recommendations that boost your chances of getting into schools abroad.
Mailing of documents to the respective schools that you apply to.
This is also a leadership program and NOT everyone enrolled to it gets to apply abroad. Within EALP, you still have to qualify to get into the College Counselling program. This process is merit-based as well.
KenSAP's applications roll out in March, but you need an invitation. Inquire early on how to receive an application form (there’s a contact email on KenSAP’s website). KenSAP generally invites the top 100 students in KCSE. But anyone with an A of at least 81 points and an A in English is also welcome to request an application. You must have scored 77 or above in KCSE with at least a B plain in English.
To apply, submit a request through the ‘Contact Us’ tab on their website. KenSAP will get back to you with instructions on how to proceed. If you pass the 1st round, KenSAP will send you an individualized application form. Completing the form will require a lot of time, so start early. If your application goes through the 2nd round, you’ll be invited to an interview and an exam.
KenSAP also includes a 1500m run. The run takes place in Eldoret, and at the end of the day, applicants are notified of the decision. Don’t despair if you’re really good at being a bad runner. The run exists only for KenSAP to identify potential applicants that could pursue athletics in college; most of KenSAP admits do poorly. Your written application, test and interview matter more in the selection process. Either way, train a bit to ensure that your body is ready for the run. KenSAP picks 14 – 16 students.
KenSAP students attend camp from July to November, but there are breaks in between. In the camp, you’ll get guidance on the TOEFL, SAT, SAT Subject Tests and your college applications. Of the college access programs that require applications, KenSAP is very selective. It’s worth noting that students pay nothing. Kenya Fluorspar sponsors KenSAP.
EducationUSA has always been providing counseling for students who wish to apply to US universities. To access these resources, set up an appointment with the College Advisor through this email address: NairobiEdUSA@state.gov. You can either set up an individual appointment or attend a group session. To get the most out of the individual appointment, have copies of academic certificates that you already have (KCSE result slip, high school transcript, SAT test scores, etc) and a paragraph describing your career objectives. The group session is held on the last Friday of every month, but you’ll also need an appointment to be allowed into the US Embassy.
EducationUSA offers access to test prep books, computers equipped with internet access, workshops (choosing schools to apply to, applying for financial aid, applying for student visas and even sessions with admissions officers from US universities).
In addition to these resources that are available for free to everyone, EducationUSA also has the College Club, a college access program for high achieving low-income students. The College Club requires that you submit a complete application. Send an email at around March to EducationUSA to inquire about the application. In addition to the guidance offered to all students interested in applying to US universities, the College Club pays for the test fees of its selected applicants.
Whether you end up in the general advisees or in the College Club has nothing to do with your chances of getting a scholarship. Everyone has access to the same resources, except for the payment of test fees.
Sorry dudes - Zawadi only takes girls. The applicant should have:
Completed her secondary school examination i.e. The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE)
Demonstrated academic excellence ( A- or A Plain or a B+ under exceptional circumstances i.e. from marginalized areas)
Demonstrated leadership qualities e.g. in school as a prefect, in the community, church, leadership in peer related activities etc.)
Overcome insurmountable odds such as serious financial challenges, oppressive social-cultural practices such as early marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) etc. in order to attain academic excellence.
Come from a financially disadvantaged background.
Demonstrated clear financial need
Applications open in February and close in April. Check Zawadi’s website for updates. Their offices in Kenya can be found at:
Zawadi Africa Education Fund-Kenya
Lenana Road, Kilimani
Cathy Flats, Suite No. 4
P.O.Box 59949-00200 Nairobi,Kenya
Remarks About College Access Programs
Numerous applicants reach out to us asking what chances they have if they attend a certain access program. None of the programs guarantee that you’ll get into a US college. All they do is provide guidance. If a student is lax on his/her application, there’s nothing that the college access program can do. You may have noted that these programs were designed for low-income applicants. This is largely a matter of who needs more help in completing a college application. As long as you diligently complete the college applications and the required testing, you can also get admitted into a US university, like many before you have done. Also remember that Education USA offers guidance to all applicants, whether they are in a college access program or not.
Edits to the Article
The required score for KenSAP changed from 81 points in KCSE and and A in English, to 77 points in KCSE and a B plain in English. (22nd Mar, 2017)
EaSEP also lowered the cutoff from 82 points in KCSE to an A-minus. (22nd Mar, 2017)
A more detailed account of what happens when you apply to KenSAP (22nd Mar, 2017)