My father said “No” because of the test fees
Throughout my high school experience, my aim was to have access to the best international education in order to be able to blossom effectively and participate in the development of my continent. Unfortunately, this dream quickly started fading because of the cost of these standardized tests I had to take. My family was not able to afford the cost of the tests like SAT & TOEFL required by the universities I was targeting. It was a big challenge for me. Even if my parents were able to pay for these tests, I would still have challenges since I had to travel eight hours to the capital where I would take the test, rent a place to stay over the period of time I would spend there in addition to the classes I would miss.
My father said “You know we cannot afford this cost. We should take care of your siblings as well. So, consider enrolling in our local university to study something else. We have no choice”. Tears fell off my eyes as I could see how sad my father was and as I could understand the case of my family. I saw my dream to study Business Administration leaving my strongest body and leaving me wordless and weak. I don’t think I felt this weakness and sadness before.
I gained strengths and hope when my school counsellor told me Ashesi University is accepting the Duolingo English Test (DET) and that he got a free DET voucher for me through EDULCOD-Togo, a community-based organization which aims at increasing access to higher education by supporting high achieving low-income students of our country in their transition to higher education.
What good news!
I finally applied to Ashesi University which accepted the DET in lieu the TOEFL Test. It was a great opportunity for me because I had the chance to practice several times on the Duolingo platform before taking the final test which is about 45 minutes. With the Duolingo English Test, there was no need travelling to the capital because I could take the test at my place. My parents were no more worrying about paying the $200 for my TOEFL test fees which pushed them to ask me to give up my university applications.
Most interesting about the DET, I got my score and certificate within 48 hours. With the DET, I was able to get admission to Ashesi University with a Mastercard full scholarship. I am now majoring in Business Administration. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Duolingo team for giving this opportunity to me and to my classmates to make our dreams come true. I am grateful to Ashesi which accepted my application with the DET and offered me a place. I am proud to be part of the Ashesi community that offers an ethical entrepreneurial education to the future leaders of our African continent.
It would be a good idea for other universities, colleges or institutions to consider the DET. I wouldn’t have made it without the free DET voucher I got as support from Duolingo as a high achieving student coming from a disadvantaged area.
I will always be grateful to EDULCOD-Togo which brought the information related to University Applications to me and supported me through my application to Ashesi University. My presence at Ashesi is a great motivation for young girls in Togo as they believe now that girls can make it higher. There are many Elvira’s in my country. I would encourage EDULCOD-Togo which sought and took me out of my hidden place to also seek the other talented Elviras in our country looking for information and opportunities to access higher education.
Elvira Ayawa Agbatsi