|Slogan||"Bridging the gap in higher education"|
Type of site
|SL2College is a volunteer driven not-for-profit organization that promotes higher education in Sri Lanka.|
|Registration||Required for some services|
|1,914,035 (April 2014[update])|
|SL2College is not affiliated with any universities or recruitment agencies that send students abroad.|
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (February 2014)|
SL2College is an educational Nonprofit organization formed in 2005. The goal of SL2College is "to help Sri Lankan students with their higher education goals by providing information and guidance as necessary". They provide a number of services via their website: www.sl2college.org. Some of these services include an online forum, a one-to-one mentor program, publications in local newspapers, informational seminars at local universities and schools across Sri Lanka, presence at educational exhibitions, internship postings, etc.
SL2College claims they may be the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, and is run by a global community of past and present Sri Lankan graduate students, faculty members, and entrepreneurs residing in Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, etc.. SL2College provides a platform for these people to share their own experiences so that Sri Lankan students who plan to pursue higher education can learn about the best local and foreign choices available to them, as well as receive guidance during the application process. At the same time, the organization is educating Sri Lankan students on the higher educational opportunities available within the country as well.
- 1 Early stages of SL2College (History)
- 2 Free access to information
- 3 Services provided by SL2College
- 4 Ongoing activities in Sri Lanka
- 5 Ongoing activities worldwide
- 6 Other avenues of online presence
- 7 The SL2College team
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Early stages of SL2College (History)
In 2005, an interactive forum called “RoyalCollege2000” was formed on Yahoo! Groups by Nayana Samaranayake, an alumnus of Royal College, Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was pursuing his Masters in Computer Science at Stanford University, USA at the time this started. As Nayana was getting questions from students at Royal College about higher education in the U.S., he realized there was a need to create a platform that gave access to free, unbiased and up-to-date information. “RoyalCollege2000” served this purpose, and started as an informal project by the Royal College alumnus group of 2000. Students from anywhere in Sri Lanka could post their questions on the forum, and those who had experience in the relevant field would then submit an answer. In 2007, seeing the potential of this group, its name changed from “RoyalCollege2000” to SL2College, as its main purpose was to help Sri Lankan students anywhere reach their higher education goals. Nayana was joined by Nishad Jayasundara and DC Jayasundera, (also students at Stanford University), and Sanjaka Wirasingha, who was studying at Illinois Institute of Technology and was involved with the group since 2005. They took SL2College to another level by forming sl2college.org, SL2College’s own website, in 2008.
Free access to information
SL2College later became a legal entity in Sri Lanka through the incorporation of the organization as SL2College (Guarantee) Limited by the Registrar General of Companies on 17 December 2010. Currently, SL2College is a global community of volunteers from USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Singapore, New Zealand, and many other countries. These volunteers are mostly graduate students with diverse backgrounds who tend to have high school and undergraduate experience from Sri Lanka. They share their own experiences so that Sri Lankan students who plan to pursue higher education can learn about the best local and foreign choices available to them.
Services provided by SL2College
There are a number of services provided by volunteers via the SL2College:
Students seeking information and guidance can post questions on the Sl2College forum, and moderators ensure that all questions are answered in a timely manner. If a question goes unanswered for 48 hours, moderators find someone in SL2College's large database of members to provide an answer. Information related to many fields and countries are discussed, and the forum acts as a platform to create dialogue. Some common topics of discussion include how to develop the best admissions application possible, what it is like to live on a campus in a foreign country, funding and scholarship opportunities, work experiences, etc.
SL2College encourages past and present undergraduate and graduate students, and those who have completed professional degrees, to share their educational experiences by answering questionnaires and writing articles. These are published weekly in the Sri Lankan Sunday Observer’s Education section where SL2College has its own column, as well as under the 'Resources' tab of and the SL2College website. They also publish in two Sri Lankan Sinhala papers-Navaliya & Vidusara. Articles range from advice on the application process, funding issues, housing in different countries, etc.
Students who are interested in higher education and are planning on applying to programs within a given year are matched with an experienced mentor for a direct, one-on-one exchange of information and guidance for about 3–4 months.
SL2College has a newsletter, ‘The Insider’, which is published on a quarterly basis. It includes events conducted by SL2college, major milestones, and introductions to new team members. An archive of past newsletters is made available on the website.
In May 2013, SL2College launched a brain gain initiative named "WorkInSriLanka", which is a volunteer-led initiative to advocate Sri Lanka as an attractive destination for highly skilled individuals and high caliber businesses. In the initial phase, WorkInSriLanka has developed a web portal that provides comprehensive information needed for relocation and links users with key industry bodies. WorkInSriLanka is actively engaged in building partnerships with key industries in Sri Lanka, while concurrently building a worldwide network to create awareness of the site and its services amongst educated professionals, mainly Sri Lankans, abroad. Beyond this information portal, future plans include the following:
- Become a channel for executive level job placement - provide networking and connectivity to high level positions which are often not openly advertised;
- Showcase Sri Lanka as a preferred investment destination - optimising the five hub strategy, especially the knowledge hub focusing on ITES industries
- Become an advocacy organisation - work with the government and others to further improve Sri Lanka’s attractiveness as the preferred relocation destination for experienced professionals
Ongoing activities in Sri Lanka
Seminars at Local Schools/Universities
SL2College conducts informational seminars at local universities and schools to discuss higher education opportunities in different countries. Seminars were mainly Skype sessions where graduate students from around the world would join in to talk to audiences on various topics related to higher education. For example, on 30 March 2011, nine graduate students, mostly alumni from the University of Colombo (UoC) who are currently based in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore, joined via a Skype conference call to talk about their graduate experiences to students at UoC. There was a rich diversity of research experience among speakers, who represented academic fields such as Biology, Maths, Physics and Computer Science.
This is the annual conference planned and conducted by SL2College in collaboration with various conference funding partners. It is usually held in August, and is aimed at promoting higher education via a series of talks and discussion sessions with prominent speakers in different academic fields within Sri Lanka.
University Ambassador Network
SL2College has built a vast network of ambassadors in Sri Lankan universities in order to promote higher education and act as mentors to high school students interested in pursuing a higher education. They are also building a network of ambassadors in major universities in other countries, such as Australia, India, Bangladesh & the U.S.
In line with the ‘Brain-Gain’ initiative, SL2College has launched a section on the SL2College website to promote internship opportunities available to students in Sri Lanka.
SL2College has worked closely with many key local and foreign organizations, such as the Fulbright Commission and other government institutions. It received endorsement by the Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka in 2013. SL2College works with British Council and AusTrade (Australian Trade Commission), with whom they collaborated to conduct an education exhibition called SparkEx in early 2014. They also received a grant from the American embassy in Sri Lanka to continue conducting educational seminars in rural areas of the country.
SL2College has been continually exhibiting their work and promoting their services at some of the biggest education exhibitions in Sri Lanka, such as Edex and Future Minds.
Ongoing activities worldwide
SL2College currently has over 800 advisors from more than 25 countries. They continue to expand and diversify their advisor base, which consists mostly of current and former graduate students from many countries. Currently, teams of advisors have formed in the U.S., Canada and Singapore. They are working on various projects to inform Sri Lankan students of opportunities in those respective countries. Advisors join the teams in various capacities such as forum moderators, mentora, writers, etc.
Other avenues of online presence
SL2College has its own channel on YouTube where videos of past seminars and other educational videos of interest are posted.
SL2College has an online presence in various forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Articles written by members at SL2College are posted on its blog.
The SL2College team
SL2College is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of: [add the names]. The core team of SL2College is composed of administrative directors, and project managers. The auxiliary team consists of assistant project managers, other volunteers, and well-wishers.