“We think that having a community feeling is essential. If we co-operate each other and thus everyone does good, then we can change the nation, the community, or the society-- and that was our objective,” said Jannat Ferdous, founder and CEO of Nerd Community that is helping thousands of students every day in their education and in getting into their dream universities. Nerd Community is a platform created by students with the aim to bring Bangladeshi students studying globally to share ideas, experiences and knowledge on university admission.
When Jannat Ferdous was completing her A level and thinking about applying to universities, she faced a difficulty of not getting relevant information at the right time. She decided to take a step toward helping others who might be facing the same problem. She opened a Facebook group called Nerd Community back in November 2015 where she added people from her friend-list who might need the help or could be of help and encouraged them to add people they knew. That was the beginning of what is now a community of more than sixteen thousand members, with a website of their own and regular community meetings, organised events and counselling sessions.
The Facebook group and website have much-needed information about the Cambridge and Edexcel curriculum for O level and A level, necessary information for applying to foreign universities, and essential past papers and books. The Facebook group worked as the key forum to share any helpful advice, finding tips and tricks, and for asking about any query that one may have regarding university admission in Bangladesh. Moreover, the process of applying to foreign universities involves a great deal of stress. Especially in Bangladesh, information about the lengthy procedure is hardly available unless one knows people who have gone through the process before. For English medium students of Cambridge and Edexcel applying to local universities, it is quite difficult to find necessary test papers, booklets and other study materials because most of the content in the market is catered to the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) students. Nerd Community solves these problems by connecting current students of different universities in the country and abroad and the admission seekers.
Events hosted so far
The first event that Nerd Community hosted was a website launching and get-together session in December, 2016. The website nerdcommunity.org was launched on that day. All the information that they had gathered so far was put up on the website. They had another big event with Education USA at the EMK Centre with around 200 students present. Authentic information about applying to universities in the US, which has one of the lengthiest application processes, was provided in this event.
Every year Nerd Community does A level counselling for students. Students are counselled on how to choose their A level subjects wisely. It is crucial that they start thinking about their career. Students often do not know the implications their subject choices may have in their professional career. Nerd Community hosts a big event every year called NC Pathway to University. They have organised this twice so far and plan to make it a yearly practice. More than four hundred students attend this event every year. During this event, many Bangladeshi students studying in foreign universities are invited to attend it, along with the local counsellors and teachers to help the admission seekers and aid to their application process.
Nerd Community also organised another exciting event named Robotics Workshop 1.0 that took place in November 24, 2017. It was hosted by the Robotics club of AIUB. Students showcased their robots in the event. This event was open for students of class eight to A level. A lot of Nerd Community events are impromptu sessions arranged when speakers are in the country and are available to speak.
Feedback from students
The students get many benefits from the discussions and events hosted by Nerd Community. Shams, currently doing his A level, said, "This group is a blessing for many students. You find class notes, online links to books, YouTube tutorials, event news, open discussions about any subject and what not." Another student, Marha, also talked about how Nerd Community has helped her. "Groups like Nerd Community is putting Facebook to proper use. I had issues while solving question papers before my A level. I would often post questions on the group, and someone or the other would help. It's a cyclical process of both questioning an answering and learning in the process."
Nerd Community aims to have a full-fledged website. It will be an open forum for all. Students would be able to search for resourceful contents and have discussions. They have another goal which is to provide people of Nerd Community an initial platform to work for educational fields in the future. "I would want more youngsters or high school students to come forward and contribute in social activities, give their wholehearted participation. If you want to make a change, then it's better to start early in your life. Then you can see what the opportunities are out there and there will be enough time to make mistakes and learn out of it," commented Jannat Ferdous.
The writer is a first year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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