The tension for UPCAT sure is high. :) Thank you so much for those pointers!

by aishizuki on Twitter

On DLSU Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, chances are you already know that the global economy is still recovering from the slump it’s in.  People are doing their best to cut costs and to stretch the purchasing power of their peso—even with respect to things as important as education.

Fortunately, one need not sacrifice quality on the altar of thrift.  Schools like De La Salle University (DLSU) offer financial assistance to students under certain conditions.  If you’d like to know what those conditions are, then read on.

College Cash Criteria

Since the university has a budget to work with, we can’t expect it to help every student who comes along.  Only students who fulfill the three main criteria may receive financial aid:  one, they must have performed well in high school and on the DLSUCET; two, the annual income of their families must be less than five hundred thousand pesos; three, they must pass an interview.

Note that I said “three main criteria.”  The fact of the matter is that there are other limitations mentioned only in the fine print.  For one thing, the number of vacant slots left in the degree program of the students’ choice also determines whether they’ll receive aid or not.  If too many students are vying for slots, then the Scholarship and Financial Assistance Office (SFA) will have to get picky.

Also, aid is usually limited to only one grantee per family, so better get those lots ready for drawing.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

The request for financial aid is even simpler than that of applying for admission.  Just fill up the Recommendation for Financial Assistance Form and the Personal and Educational Background Form along with your normal DLSU application form.  These are downloadable via DLSU’s official website.

Send in the following to the university’s Admissions Office as well:  a photocopy of your parents’ Income Tax Return form (for last year) and a personal letter of request for financial assistance addressed to the SFA.  Be specific in the latter case—tell DLSU why you chose the school and why you need help.  Include anything pertinent that will make your reasoning sound more convincing, too.

Special Cases

Not all students have to go through the process I’ve outlined above.  Special cases that yield automatic scholarships for the people do exist.

For example, the university readily awards aid to salutatorians and valedictorians of any La Salle school.  DLSU staff members who are married, permanent employees and working full-time may also apply for financial aid on behalf of their kids.  Soldiers’ children and athletes may also partake of a tuition fee waiver.

Feel free to inquire at the SFA office if any special case applies to you.

Can the Complacency

So you’ve applied for financial assistance and your request has been granted.  Congratulations!  Don’t think that you can just kick back, rest on your laurels and renew your request next trimester, though.  The SFA will be keeping a close eye on your academic performance, which means you’ll need to hustle if you want continuous help.

The powers-that-be may also require you to spread the love by rendering assistance or service back to the school.  When you receive something good, give back to the community and receive some more good stuff.  It’s only fair, after all.

DLSUCET Schedule Changes

There have been some changes to the DLSUCET schedule and timetable.  First of all, the DLSUCET application form and other requirements’ submission deadline has been moved to October 8, 2009.  Second, there is no longer going to be an October 4 exam.   Two days ago (September 29, 2009), De La Salle University announced on its website that the DLSU College Entrance Test scheduled for October 4, 2009 has been moved to October 25, 2009.  Those who are scheduled to take the October 4 exam are therefore advised to report for the DLSUCET on October 25 instead.

In effect, first-round DLSUCET exam-takers have become the last-round DLSUCET test-takers.  Such exam takers will be using the same DLSUCET Test Permit (their October 4 Test Permit, that is) and must report to the originally indicated testing room at the originally scheduled time.

This is a snapshot of the announcement at the DLSU website:

DLSUCET schedule change

DLSUCET schedule change

DLSU Freshman Application Ongoing

The application period for De La Salle University incoming freshmen (1st trimester of A.Y. 2010-2011 only) is ongoing and will end on September 30,2009.  De La Salle University College Entrance Tests (DLSUCET) will be held at DLSU-Manila on the following dates:

  • October 4, 2009
  • October  11, 2009
  • October 18, 2009

If you are planning to take the DLSUCET at Aquinas University in Legaspi City, your completely filled-out application has to be in before September 26, 2009, the set DLSUCET testing day at that venue.

The following are some other important dates to remember (taken from the DLSU website):

DLSU deadline

DLSU deadlines

Increasing your Chances of Passing the DLSUCET

Thinking of Enlisting as an Archer?  Going for the Green and White?  Good for you.  You’ll need to nail that DLSUCET first, though.  The entrance exam can be manageable, or it can be difficult, depending on how you go about preparing for it.

If you’re dead set on making your mark in DLSU, then by all means, read on.

Complacency is Deadly

The first thing order of business is to forget what you’ve heard about the DLSUCET being the easier than the UPCAT and the ACET.  Regardless of whether this is actually true or not is irrelevant; your job is to clear your mind of preconceived notions and to focus on doing well.

There are actually two good reasons for doing this.  First, just because some people have found the DLSUCET to be easier doesn’t mean that you will.  Truth be told, others have thought that La Salle’s exam was harder than the UPCAT or the ACET.  There’s only one real way to find out, and you’ll need to prepare beforehand.

Second, overconfidence puts you in a prime position for failure.  There’s always the danger that if you think it’s too easy, you’ll grow complacent in your preparations and in the way you take the test.  Be prepared, be confident, but be on your guard all the same.

Sharpening Your Axe

Preparations for the DLSUCET actually share a lot of things in common with preparations for other entrance exams.  For example, if you really wish to be ready for it, the best time to start reviewing for it would be during your freshman year in high school.  It makes sense, considering that one of the university’s application requirements is your Transcript of Records.

You may find this piece of advice strange, but I’ll mention it anyway:  take other entrance exams before you take the DLSUCET.  Yes, you heard me right.  “Practicing” with other entrance tests can do wonders for your self-esteem.  Passing them gives you a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of competence, too.

As an exercise in applying “The Secret,” repeat the following words to yourself everyday while you gaze in the mirror:  “I will pass the DLSUCET with flying colors.”  You may find it hard to believe at first, but persevere.  You’ll not only end up believing it; you’ll actually make it happen.

The Day before the Big Day

Take the time to get your stuff in order on the day before the exam.  Make sure your exam permit (Don’t leave home without it!) and your school identification are within easy reach.  Prepare your pen, pencil, sharpener and eraser, as you cannot pass what you cannot write on.

You may also wish to bring a jacket, a sweater, or something that can keep you warm.  There’s always a chance that you’ll get assigned to some uber cool room.  Believe me, freezing during an exam does not improve your chances of passing it one bit.

Finally, remember to pack some brain food (fruits, veggies, nuts, tuna etc.) and water for refueling purposes, as well as some medicine and tissue.  Now this is not to suggest that the DLSUCET will make you sick, but you’ll never know…

The Big Day

Get a good night’s sleep before the big day so that your mental powers will function at their peak.  Fill your gasoline tank (read: your stomach) with fuel in the morning so that your brain can think properly.  Offer your daily libation (i.e. visit the comfy room) before hand.  Most importantly, pray before the exam.  Divine guidance is a must!

Leave early enough so that you can get there at least thirty minutes before the exam, then take the time to relax and clear your mind.  Do some yoga or meditation to calm yourself down and to give yourself that feeling of empowerment.

After The Exam

Consummatum est.  You’ve done your best.  Now pray, relax, and chill out.

I’ll leave you with this bit of encouragement:  it is said that De La Salle University actually has more slots for enrollees than other schools (mainly Ateneo and UP), so there’s a pretty good default chance that you’ll make it.  If you’ve done your best, believe that you will, and the universe will move according to your beliefs.

Why Study in DLSU?

De La Salle University isn’t just about archery, you know.  Each university is unique, and DLSU has identifying features and facilities all its own.  If you’re wondering what the university has to offer you, then a gander at the following.

Among the Crème de la Crème

In past articles, I noted how several Philippine universities made the prestigious Times Higher Education Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings in 2008.  It just so happens that DLSU is right in there along with other heavy hitters like UP, UST and Ateneo.

Since no one really becomes successful on their own, DLSU has seen it fit to take part in a consortium of agreements with other well-known schools.  These universities include Adamson University, the University of the Philippines and even arch-rival Ateneo de Manila.  Basically, all these learning institutions work together, share knowledge and facilitate exchange programs.

From Whence It Came

De La Salle University’s history also goes way back to 1911.  The institution stands about among the top Catholic universities in the country in the sense that it was established by foreign lay religious instead of foreign priests.  The brothers under St. Baptist de La Salle helped make the institution that bears his name what it is today.

Despite having gone through some tough times (including a massacre of nearly all the resident Christian brothers during World War 2), the survivors managed to pick up the pieces and move on.  This resulted in the expansion of many academic programs and the establishment of the university’s notable trimester system.

Facilities

If you’re looking for more multimedia-based learning experience, then DLSU has it in abundance.  Its famous e-classroom throws in dual screen projectors, video, audio and even an interactive distance learning system named ROBOTEL.

The institution is also recognized as the very first Philippine university to have received a full internet connection way back in the early 1990s.  It’s an invaluable asset, which has led to the University Library’s tie-ups with other esteemed university libraries.

If it’s one other thing that DLSU has plenty of, it’s laboratories.  In fact, each and every college on campus –from the College of Computer Studies to the College of Engineering – has its own native lab.  Students of any course may perform experiments to their hearts content without having to borrow another college’s lab

Helping the Atheletes, the Connoisseurs and the Handicapped

Looking for a place for physical training or a place where you can vent off some steam?  Look no further than the Enrique M. Razon Sports Center.  The center’s highlights include multi-level parking, volleyball and basketball courts and a swimming pool fit for Olympians.

In keeping with the La Sallian brothers’ principles, the university has also installed physically-handicapped-friendly facilities.  These come in the form of ramps, elevators and special toilet cubicles.

Finally, if you’re an aesthete, you owe it to yourself to visit the University Museum.  Bask in the glory of unabashed expression (Works from such famous artists as Fernando Amorsolo and Vicente Manansala are on display.).  Alternatively, you may also take a closer look at the Brother Andrew Gonzales Hall and appreciate its progenitor’s modern take on neoclassical architecture.

A Final Word

If you’re tired of the traditional semester system that other schools have to offer, DLSU’s tried and true trimesters may be just the change of pace you need.  That means you’ll have to pass the DLSUCET first, but we’ll take a closer look at that in another article.

DLSUCET Schedule and Important Dates

If it’s one thing you learn when you’re saddled with responsibilities, it’s the ability to get organized.  For students, this can start way before they even begin their college education—during their college application days, that is.

Fortunately, learning institutions have prepared schedules to help applicants along.  Let’s take a look at how De La Salle University (DLSU) has things drawn out with respect to the DLSUCET application process.

The DLSUCET Application Period

July 1, 2009 – September 30, 2009:  for incoming freshmen, school year 2010 – 2011

July 1, 2009 – August 15, 2009:  for transferees, freshmen and second undergraduate degree students entering their second semester for 2009

November 3, 2009 – December 2, 2009:  for transferees, freshmen and second undergraduate degree students entering their third semester for 2009

March 1 – April 16, 2010:  for transferees and second undergraduate degree students entering their first trimester for school year 2010

July 2009 is the definitely the month for college applications.  DLSU started the ball rolling on the first day of the month, and the cut-off dates are different depending on whether you’re applying for the second or third trimester of 2009 or the first trimester of 2010.  Being a transferee or a student going for a second undergraduate degree also changes things.

Another curious thing about the process is the fact that if you downloaded the application form via DLSU’s official website, you only have until September 28, 2009 to send in all the requirements.  Group or school applications end even earlier (September 25, 2009), while applications for financial assistance end the earliest (September 24, 2009).

If you think you’ll need those two extra days, it may be better to visit the Admissions Office in person.  Just go to Brother Andrew Gonzalez Hall in the DLSU campus, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila. Be sure to drop by during office hours on weekdays (8:00 am – 12 noon and 1:30 pm – 5 pm) or on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12 noon.

DLSUCET Testing Dates

October 4, 11, and 18, 2009:  for incoming freshmen, school year 2010-2011

August 5 and 19, 2009:  for transferees, freshmen and second undergraduate degree students entering their second semester for 2009

November 11 and December 3, 2009:  for transferees, freshmen and second undergraduate degree students entering their third semester for 2009

April 21, 2010:  for transferees and second undergraduate degree students entering their first semester for school year 2010

As is the case with the application period above, the DLSU system makes for different schedules based on the person’s status, the trimester the student is applying for, the year the student is applying for and the testing center venue in question.

Potential students from the province need not feel left out—they may take the DLSUCET at selected testing centers.  For more information on these, kindly refer to this site.

Releasing of Results

If July is the applications month for DLSU, then January is results month.  The university will disseminate the official results of the last DLSUCET during this time, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Again, there’s no exact date as of the time of this article’s writing, (my contact at the College Admissions Office estimates the time at around mid-January of 2010) so feel free to check with them for updates.  You may get in touch with them at 523-4230 or 524-4611 to 19, locals 166 or167. Alternatively, you may e-mail them at college.admissions@dlsu.edu.ph.

The DLSUCET and DLSU Application Process

Ask any aspiring college student which university they’d like to attend and chances are high that De La Salle University (DLSU) is on their list.  As one who’s benefited from a hybrid education, I can understand why DLSU would be a prime candidate.

While DLSU is fair game for anyone who’s interested in studying there, the first thing that they have to do is to pass the university’s college entrance test-the DLSUCET (De La Salle University College Entrance Test).  Before we get into that, do know that the institution needs applicants to turn in several things first.

The Paperwork before the Paperwork

If you want to get a green signal for the DLSUCET, your first order of business is to fill out the DLSUCET application form.  You can get this form from either the DLSU official website or the university Admissions Office.  Upon completion of the form, the school will hand you your brochure.

There’s no reaping without sowing-so be sure to prepare the application fee beforehand.  DLSU will charge six hundred pesos (if you’re a Filipino citizen) or fifty US dollars (if you’re a foreign student).  This will cover everything from the application form to the actual processing of your exam.

The Devil is in the Details

Besides that, DLSU also requires a certified true copy of your secondary school records, a photocopy of your birth certificate and a couple of recommendation letters.

Please note that the school records I mentioned above should cover the period from your freshman high school year to your junior year.  Just ask your school registrar fro assistance with this particular DLSUCET requirement.

Regarding your recommendation letters, feel free to ask any of the following people to write them for you:  your high school guidance counselor, your class adviser or your high school principal.

Finally, the university also needs three identical pictures of your mug-size 2 x 2, to be precise.

Special Cases:  Transferees

Transfer students and international students have a little extra work to do when it comes to applying at DLSU.  Let’s take a look at each of them in turn.

DLSU Admissions will ask transferees for their Transcript of Records and a list of courses that they’ve already taken.  DLSU tends to frown on the following:  failing grades, incomplete grades or grade point averages (GPAs) that fall below the 85% mark or its equivalent.  Better make sure that your record is free of these eyesores.

Sound strict to you?  It is.  The good news is that DLSU may credit units from the applicants’ completed courses.  The catch is that the credited units can go no higher than twenty percent of the total unit number in the applicants’ course of choice.

Special Cases:  International Students

International applicants, on the other hand, will need to turn in both their high school records and their passports.  A photocopy of the Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) may serve as an alternative to the birth certificate I mentioned previously.

It doesn’t end there, however.  Even if you pass the DLSUCET as an international student, you’ll still need to go for an interview with the coordinator of the school’s International and Graduate Student Services (IGSS).  All you have to do is to secure your clearance from him or her and then proceed as usual.

The Early Bird Special

As with most other things, being early has its advantages.  The scheduled date for your chance at the DLSUCET will ultimately depend on how soon you can turn in the paperwork, so be sure to get those documents in ASAP!

If you’ve already done so, just be patient and wait.  The school will inform you when it’s your turn to face the music (read:  tackle the DLSUCET), so until then, use your time constructively.

What to Expect from the DLSUCET

DLSUCET stands for De La Salle University College Entrance Test.  This is the test you’ll need to sit (and pass) in order to become part of the elite body of LaSallites.  Therefore, if you are planning on studying at De La Salle, prepare yourself for the DLSUCET.

It seems that different people have different perceptions about the DLSUCET.  Some say it’s easy, others say it’s difficult, still others say it’s somewhere in between.

So which is it?  It depends upon a variety of factors – what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.  Regardless of what the DLSUCET’s real or perceived difficulty level is, there are still certain things that you need to watch out for.

Of Essays, Formulas and Weirdness

Like the entrance exam of its arch-rival, the Ateneo de Manila University (Ateneo de Manila University’s entrance exam is known as the Ateneo College Entrance Test or ACET), expect the college entrance test of the De La Salle University to throw a couple of essay questions at you – one in English and one in Filipino.  Brush up on your bilingual skills or you may just find your nose bleeding during the exam.

You may also come across a host of spatial reasoning and trigonometry questions, so be prepared.  Don’t worry if the seemingly random ordering of the questions seems weird in a frustrating sort of way.  In all likelihood, you’re not the only one who’ll be thinking that come test time.

For the science and math portions, the trick is not to rely on stock knowledge alone.  This is what your DLSUCET exam review sessions are for.  If there was ever a time to re-familiarize your brain with formulas new and old, it is months or even years before you take the DLSUCET.

Extraneous Variables

In another article, I wrote about the need to bring a jacket, a sweater or anything that can help keep you warm.  There’s actually a good reason for this.

If the Fates have decreed that your exam be held in the Miguel room, the temperature of the place will stop you cold.  Let’s put it this way:  are you familiar with those brain freeze drinks?  Imagine them on steroids and you’ll get the picture.

As with any entrance exam, you will encounter a deluge of vehicular and human traffic en route to the testing site.  Cultivating the habit of being an early bird early on will not only get you the worm but the peace of mind that will help you do well in the DLSUCET.

The Bottom Line

How easy or how difficult is the DLSUCET, really?  Ask anyone and chances are you’ll get a variety of answers.  The test’s perceived difficulty level will change depending on a person’s background, academic training, talents, skills, etc.

If there’s more or less a general consensus about the DLSUCET, it’s that the test is not as much a time pressure cooker as the ACET is.  This doesn’t mean that you should rest on your laurels, though.  You will still need to confront a plethora of test questions – and answer a majority of them correctly in order to pass.

In closing, allow me to leave you with this piece of advice:  some people who lamented their “poor” performance in the DLSUCET actually made it.  Worrying about the difficulty of the exam is not your concern.  Breaking it down into something more manageable is.  Prepare for the DLSUCET as best as you can, and then go out there and give it your all.