II - SHAHEEN-PAKISTAN - GOALS & PEOPLE: To address this issue, we have created SHAHEEN-Pakistan: an initiative to create comprehensive and accurate admission-tips accessible online, for free. SHAHEEN-Pakistan aims to ensure that *all* Pakistanis have access to application guidance, irrespective of their institutional affiliation, personal networks, or socioeconomic class. Click here to visit the beta version of SHAHEEN-Pakistan online: www.shaheenpakistan.org. The project is backed by two Pakistani-Americans: Shaheena Raheem, a Michigan-based doctor, and Bilal Malik, a Boston-based academic (more about Shaheena here: msu.edu/staff, and about Bilal here: anthropology.harvard.edu). Since 2012, we have spent our spare time and personal finances on the project, hiring part-time or summer interns in Pakistan. We are at a cross-road. We now have an effective model and an operational online platform that can help Pakistani applicants. But we lack the funds needed to scale up the platform. We hope you will consider helping reach our goal of raising $10,000 to support fellows who will bring the project to fruition.* (Note: after completion, this initiative will only have nominal maintenance costs. Similar to the Fair Opportunity Project -- which has set up a website for US-based college applicants -- SHAHEEN-Pakistan's website, once completed, will remain accessible to all Pakistani applicants, free of charge).
III - WHAT YOUR DONATION WILL ACHIEVE: Should you choose to donate, the funds will achieve the following:
First-order impact -- on the individuals hired for the project: The funds will be used to hire, train, and compensate at least two year-long fellows on a salary of approx. $5k/year (roughly Rs. 50k/month), from June 2018-May 2019.* Our preference will be to hire recent-graduates, planning to pursue their Masters or doctoral studies after a year. Our past fellows benefited tremendously from this research-training and work-experience, going on to programs in Japan, Hong Kong and USA, often on scholarships. So your donation will help provide a transformational year-long work experience to at least two bright Pakistani students.
Second-order impact -- on the admission-tips generated for the benefit of all Pakistani applicants: The 2018-19 Shaheen Pakistan fellows -- with initial training, then ongoing support from us -- will take the project to fruition, generating admission tips for all major countries/programs that Pakistani applicants aspire to (and possibly also domestic programs in Pakistan.)
Third-order impact -- on Pakistan: Finally, in terms of the big-picture: each individual who benefits by gaining access to better educational opportunities will be an asset to themselves, their families, and the entire nation. If we consider the tens of thousands of applicants who will benefit over the years, you can be assured that your contribution to the Shaheen Pakistan fellowships will truly make a difference.
* Any funds raised in excess of $10k will be used to hire additional interns or fellows, and/or to defray non-salary project expenses: e.g. the cost of hosting the website, payment to secure the online domain for the foreseeable future, etc.
IV - OUR STRATEGY: In brief, our strategy to tackle the absence of reliable admission-guidance available to Pakistani students is: to develop country-, degree-, and field-specific application-tips (because admission-criteria vary along these three dimensions), then make this advice freely available online. In more detail: First, we identify a specific country, field and degree-level that Pakistani applicants tend to apply to. Second, we search for faculty blogs, professional organization websites and other hard-to-find sources giving reliable admission-tips to this field, and consolidate this information in a single tip-sheet. Third, we have this tip-sheet reviewed by faculty, admission officers, administrators, or applicants who have successfully applied to these fields, to ensure that the admission-tips are comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date. Finally, we upload the resulting tip-sheet onto the SHAHEEN-PAKISTAN platform (with admission-tips easily searchable by country, field, and degree-level). After the SHAHEEN-Pakistan portal is fully populated, we intend to work with educational institutions, non-profits and media partners to ensure all Pakistani students are aware of this resource when they start applying. We also intend to periodically update the content to ensure it remains accurate.
V - WHERE WE ARE TODAY: The SHAHEEN-Pakistan portal is currently operational. It contains 42 admission tip-sheets for USA based programs: 1 undergraduate, 20 fields at the masters level, 17 fields at the doctorate level, and 4 fields in medicine. You can check samples of our country- and field-specific tip-sheets here: undergraduate (US-based); Masters in Business Administration/MBA (US-based); Computer Science Ph.D. (US-based); Maths Ph.D. (US-based); Internal Medicine Residency (US-based). With your help, we can scale the platform to include application-advice for all major countries and fields, for the benefit of countless future Pakistani students.
VI - OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU: We want to ensure complete transparency. Should you want additional information before donating, we are happy to schedule a phone meeting. Also, for sponsors who want on-going updates, we would be happy to arrange quarterly updates via email or conference call, detailing the use of funds until the project is completed in summer 2019. (Beyond 2019, we intend to keep the portal available free of charge for perpetuity, and will periodically update it to ensure the information remains accurate.)