When Willson Basyal got an email confirming his enrollment for his higher studies in Physics and Mathematics in Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he could not believe it that he earned a full scholarship in Harvard, a dream university for many aspiring students across the world.
After completing his A Levels from Gandaki Boarding School in a Pokhara, Kaski district of Nepal – a partner school with British Council Nepal, Willson wanted to study in a place which would enable him to garner more knowledge around Physics and Mathematics. He wanted a liberal academic atmosphere where he had the freedom to major in the subjects he always wished to and in between live an experience of being a global citizen.
Willson also wished to study in Oxford University and Cambridge University but there were no full scholarship schemes. Therefore he also applied to a few medium-level universities and already had the taste of rejection by some. However when he got his confirmation from Harvard, he could not ask for more. An 18 year old from Kaski district has now entered Harvard University with a scholarship worth 81,000 USD, which covers everything for him for his four years course – tuition fees, accommodation, personal expenses, and travel allowances.
So, how did he get a full scholarship in such a reputed educational institution?
Willson says he was completely dedicated in his two years A Levels programme. “A Levels makes the learning process exciting and challenging. It takes you out of the stereotype learning methodologies and challenges your limitation. A Levels makes education fun, it gives you a liberal space to expand your knowledge beyond text books,” says Willson.
He further adds, “A Levels prepares one to face many challenges in real life too. You don’t just limit yourself to one idea or method while solving a problem. You think about risk assessments, you think about solving problems than worrying about it. One who studied a different programme than A Levels may not be able to answer questions of the final paper of A Levels, but one who did A Levels can easily solve papers of other such equivalent programmes.”
As a result, Willson’s A Levels result was “pretty good” – A+ in Physics and Biology, A in Mathematics, Chemistry and General Paper.
Attracted to Physics since he read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkings in grade 8, his passion for the subject got deeper when Basyal founded Skeptics — a science club — at his School. Through his club he conducted science literacy programme for his juniors. “The objective was to provide them knowledge and raise their interest about Science,” he shares. His application process was “based on Internet’s guidance and I researched a lot without help of any consultancy”.
His good academic performance and passion for Science has finally paid off. “I believe that my passion for Physics and Mathematics was noticed by the Harvard. I did not put my feet in many fields, and simply focused in one field,” he states.
Basyal was also interviewed by Harvard officials. “In the interview I talked about Science for almost an hour — I spoke more than the interviewers did. Maybe they thought that someone passionate as me deserved the opportunity to study there, and can use their resources well,” he opines.
For young students aspiring to study abroad, Willson says, “First of all, find out what your passion lies, it could be any subject within any faculty. Then make sure you work on it. Believe in yourself and work hard. You can achieve everything in life with sheer passion, dedication and faith.”