Hi Ms Rahman, please tell us a little bit about your background
I was originally born in Singapore and my mother actually taught at Dover Court in the 70s and 80s! I moved to California when I was around 9 years old and continued my schooling there, missing Singapore the entire time. I attended university at University of California Davis, studying Biology but quickly fell in love with education after graduation, pursuing a career in admissions and guidance counselling. I worked for a few universities in their admissions departments with the goal of learning first-hand what different admissions offices are like so that one day I could work as a guidance counsellor. I was then lucky enough to have an offer to move back to Singapore and work for a university here and jumped at the chance. Since then, I’ve continued working in education in the public and private sector, and I am ecstatic to be at Dover Court International School.
Why did you decide to be a guidance counsellor?
This was something I’ve wanted to do for many years. I think there is something so special to be able to work with students and help them figure out their path. My career plans changed multiple times when I was in school and I often had a lot of stress and anxiety about what it would mean for me. Looking back, I’m glad I had mentors that told me it was okay and actually very important to explore and try different things. I didn’t know it then, but they had the luxury of perspective to let me know it would work out well in the end, as long as I worked hard and stayed curious! I want to be that source of support and calm for my students.
How important are the choices you make throughout your education, such as choosing GCSE and IB subjects?
They are more and less important than you think! If you know what you want to do in terms of courses/majors in university, then it’s important you take the right subjects in school that’ll give you those opportunities. However, if you don’t know what you want to do, you’re in a lucky position at Dover Court and with your subject choices that you have a chance to explore and learn many different subjects! The iGCSE and IB Curriculum are such perfect curriculums to give students the chance to explore while still diving deep into subjects. If you’re in a position where you decide to change paths late in the game but don’t have the right coursework, that’s what I’m here for! There are multiple paths to get to the same destination, so we can work together on an alternative plan.
What should a Sixth Form student do if they don’t have a clear trajectory yet?
Meet with me! Let’s have a chat and talk about what you enjoy. We have great tools at Dover Court to help students explore their interests, including working with Morrisby, a platform that gives student invaluable access to tools to help with career exploration. I also highly encourage students to talk to adults in different fields, including their teachers, parents, guardians or family friends that they know. It’s amazing how comforting it is when students reach out of their comfort zone to talk to these adults and end up finding out how so many adults had similar experiences at their age.
If you could tell your 17 year old self something, what would that be?
The weight of the world is not on your shoulders. Enjoy what you enjoy and lean into the curiosity you have for different subjects, even if you don’t know exactly where it’ll lead you.
What are your top three tips for choosing a university?
1. Don’t get caught up in name brand schools. The networking you do, the connections you make and the activities you explore inside and outside of the classroom are what end up being the most important things. The journey is as important as the destination! Try to pick a school where you can picture yourself as one of the students walking down the halls.
2. Be smart about costs. Some universities may have a cheaper annual tuition, but cost of living in that area may be high, or it may require 4 years instead of 3 when compared to some other schools on your list. Utilise the various tools each university offers to help calculate how much it will cost you, as they can include hidden costs you may forget about, like fees for facilities.
3. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve had the same university goals since you were 5 years old, but keep an open mind! You may discover that another country has the perfect education system for the type of learner you are, even it hadn’t previously been on your radar. Maybe it makes more sense for you to take a gap year or focus on a foundations year before starting a bachelor’s degree. Be willing to research different options to really push yourself.
How can our students work with you?
Easily! I encourage all students to meet with me as often as they need, which ranges anywhere from once a term to once a week. Students can set up meetings with me here during their free periods, breaks, lunches and before and after school.