Photo credit: MEGAN TAN

IMPACT 0336: LET’S TACO-‘BOUT IT: HELPING STUDENTS MAKE THE RIGHT CAREER CHOICE

Megan Tan, 20, an undergraduate student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), is the co-founder of TaCo, a start-up that aims to help pre-university students make informed decisions on their university careers through mentorship and immersive experiences.

She hopes to inspire youths to explore their interests and find out what makes them excited. She gives us an insight into the works that TaCo deals with!

Tell us more about what you do!

I am the co-founder of TaCo, which was established in 2019. Since then, our team has reached more than 3,000 students in Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries. Personally, my co-founder and I have also reached out to several different schools and educational ground-up initiatives to expand our reach. Furthermore, we often talk to other founders to learn from them so that we can continue to improve the events that we have.

We often host events that feature “tasters” of a large range of courses. These are conducted by undergraduates who are currently in the midst of their university education. Besides sharing information on the course, we greatly emphasise on mentorship as we believe that this period is often stressful for incoming students. It is extremely fulfilling when we get thanked by students who successfully choose a course and enjoy their time in it.

What inspired you to start this?

When I was a student in Junior College (JC), I felt extremely lost, confused and anxious at this crossroad of entering university. In particular, I always envied my friends who knew several seniors in the university they were interested in, which meant they could just ask them more about university life. Hence, my biggest motivation was to ensure that all students, despite their circumstances, had access to nurturing mentorship.

Furthermore, after conducting thorough ground research, we found that about 30 per cent of students would not be in the course they were in if they had known more about another course. We wanted to do something to enable students to discover themselves beyond formal education.

Have you faced any challenges so far? How did you overcome them?

One challenge that we still face is getting a variety of different volunteer course teachers to join us at TaCo. Given that university students are extremely busy, we find it hard to secure genuine and capable teachers. However, ever since TaCo started gaining traction, we have managed to reach out to more people and were extremely fortunate to have several volunteers step forward.

Another challenge is seamlessly incorporating TaCo related events into JC students’ everyday lives. This is something we are still trying to work out, and have managed to analyse the trends of student attendance and find sweet spots where more students are available.

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

Try not to lose your passion for life. I think especially for youth my age, life can get so busy that we often feel extremely tired and jaded. I would urge my peers to hold on tightly to things that make them excited to continue chasing what they think is meaningful.

What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

TaCo has an exciting year ahead of us! We are looking to make mentorship and immersive experiences available on the go and to help students all year round. This is just a tiny sneak peek – feel free to follow us on Instagram @tacotastercourse to be updated and benefit from our initiatives.

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