This month we spoke to Kian, a Figtree student and keen tennis player about the benefits of tuition, his hopes for the future and why he’d most like to have dinner with Roger Federer.
What made you decide to study in the US and when did you know that was the right path for you?
I’ve always been a keen tennis player, and from my early teens I knew that the US would give me the best opportunity to follow this passion. The schools there offer extra funding for sports, and there is a big focus on extracurricular activities.
How did you find your way around the US education system?
It was definitely challenging to begin with. It’s different to the UK and they have strict requirements you have to follow. For example, every essay – regardless of subject – has to be written in a certain format. If you don’t follow that format completely, you’ll lose marks.
But once you get to know these quirks, and if you have lots of support around you, it soon becomes completely normal.
What brought you to tutoring and Figtree Learning?
After I moved to France in year 10 to attend a tennis academy, I found that I really needed help with statistics. I also knew I wanted to pursue my further education in the US, because of the sports scholarships they offer, so I began looking into tutoring.
A friend recommended Figtree Learning, so I started taking online sessions over Skype. I’d also have one-to-one lessons in London when I came home in the school holidays. The tutor was great – he really knew his subject, and how to make the lessons work for me.
When the time came to apply for colleges, I began working with Figtree to prepare for my SAT entrance exams. They even took me to the US on a 10-day tour of possible schools. With so many choices – like where to go and what to study – it could have been really overwhelming. But Figtree made the whole experience fun, and I’m now studying at a great East-Coast college on a tennis scholarship.
How has Figtree Learning helped you?
The tutors I’ve worked with have all been great. I had support with maths, physics and English, and the revision techniques in particular really helped me work towards my exams with ease.
When it came to my move to the US, I felt like Figtree held my hand through the whole process. They have consultants that specialise in US school applications, so I felt completely supported through what was quite a daunting time.
Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully taking my Masters degree – and still playing tennis!
Describe the characteristics of a successful student in 3 words.
Hardworking, patient, resilient
Finally, if you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
For me, Roger Federer seems like the most obvious choice, and the chance to have even five minutes with him would be a dream come true. Another option would be Jeff Bezos – the founder of Amazon. I’d quite like to become an entrepreneur, so it would be really interesting to hear his story. But it’s early days for me, so I want to keep my options open!