College Counseling

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College Counseling Philosophy

The small counselor-to-student ratio at British International allows for a highly individualized boutique approach to college counseling. Our college counselors draw upon their individual expertise to collaborate - creating a team approach when working with students and families.

We empower students with the tools and life skills necessary to have ownership of the college admissions process. The goal is to guide and support students in exploring a broad range of best fit post-secondary options both in the United States and abroad that align with their skills, strengths, and interests.

While this can be a stressful time, we prioritize confidence building and encourage self-efficacy and open-mindedness throughout the process.

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  • Administrative Team

Meet our Team

Every member of the South Loop team contributes to our reputation as a world-renowned educational institution.
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Director of College Counseling
Heike Spahn
Heike Spahn leads the college counseling program.
Heike Spahn
Heike graduated from DePauw University (Economics) and Valparaiso University School of Law. After graduating from law school, she practiced law for a short time before shifting careers to higher education administration. She worked in admissions, financial aid, student affairs and administration at Valparaiso University School of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago Law School.
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IB Coordinator
Laura Gilmartin
Laura is BISC-SL's IB Coordinator
Laura Gilmartin - IB Coordinator
Laura came to South Loop from Fulham Senior School in London as IB Coordinator, Head of English, and TOK Coordinator, she is an experienced international educator and has spent more than seven years working and leading in IB schools. Laura started her career at the highly rated Pimlico Academy in London but has also worked at the English International School of Padua, Italy as IB Coordinator, and at St Paul’s School in Sao Paulo, Brazil in a variety of roles (teacher, Head of Year, and Head of English). Laura has a BA Hons Degree in English and American Literature from the University of Warwick in England and a Masters Degree in English Literature from Newcastle University, England.
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College Counseling Approach

Throughout Years 10-13 (Grades 9-12), the college counselors work with students and their families individually and in group settings to discuss and explore a variety of college and career related topics. The college counselors work collaboratively with students and their families to develop an individualized and intentional plan for extracurricular engagement, standardized testing, and college admissions:

  • Year 10 Exploring Strengths & Extra-Curricular Engagement
  • Year 11 Exploring Careers & Summer Enrichment
  • Year 12 Exploring Colleges & University Options
  • Year 13 College Application Support

College Counseling Programs

College Visits: Many college and university representatives from the United States and around the world visit BISC-SL each year to share information about their institutions and build relationships with our students and college counselors in our intimate High School Hub.


Presentations & Events: From hosting evening presentations to offering standardized testing information sessions, we present a variety of programming each year to facilitate the sharing of college admissions related information and resources.


Coffee Chats: The college counselors regularly moderate informal conversations with parents of different year groups on a range of age-specific, college-related topics from College Admissions 101 to Summer Enrichment.


Workshops and Panels:  Each year we organize a College Kickoff that includes a mock admissions committee meeting, university admissions officer panel, and application strategy panel.  In addition, the College Counseling Department hosts a series of interactive panels aimed at different year groups, such as: Alumni, Liberal Arts, Parent & Student and Engagement.

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University Destinations

Our graduates were accepted to 104 colleges and universities and had a wide range of options for their higher education. Out of those 104 acceptances, they have decided to attend 28 different colleges and universities. This indicates that the students have carefully considered their options and made choices based on their preferences, academic goals, and other factors.
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College Representative Information

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