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Nord Anglia
04 March, 2021

How does our university counsellor help your child to apply and secure a place at university?

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How does our university counsellor help your child to apply and secure a place at university?

For all of our students at BVIS Hanoi, our university counsellor Ms. Colleen Usher plays an important role in helping them to understand and successfully navigate the pathway to their university of choice. Taking the step from A-level to university is an exciting challenge for students, but there are many big decisions which sit between these two milestones. It is the responsibility of the university counsellor to provide support and guidance to students so that these decisions are informed, manageable, and ultimately lead our students to securing a place at a university which suits their ambitions for the future.

Making decisions about future pathways  

At the very beginning of a student's journey to university there should be a considered research and decision making process. Our university counsellor will take the duty to guide them through this and signpost the critical factors they should consider when making their decision. For example, does the student have a firm understanding of how their degree of choice is taught at their potential university destination, what they will learn and how the style of teaching differs from a university elsewhere?  


Often university ranking plays a leading role in the decision making process for students. In reality, there will be a number of criteria which shape the university experience. Our counsellor encourages students to be aware of the diversity of choice available to them. They also help students to understand the locations of their potential universities and what it would be like to live and study there, helping them to choose a location based on knowledge rather than assumption.  

Understanding the application system  

It is not uncommon for our students to apply to a selection of universities in numerous countries. Popular destinations include anywhere from the UK and America, to Australia, … This ideally gives students a number of options when it comes to choosing their university destination, but it also requires them to navigate a variety of application systems for which the requirements and structure may vary significantly between countries.  


As well as providing a new challenge to students, the application process is often unfamiliar to families too. The university counsellor will take the duty to guide students and parents through this. They have experience and knowledge of international application processes and are equipped to steer students through this system, ensuring that they are prepared rather than overwhelmed by the challenge.  

Preparing to impress  

The written application process is typically only the first step in securing a place at a top university. At this stage and beyond it, our counsellor is an ally for students and ensures they are prepared for each of the challenges presented. From writing references and recommendation letters, providing feedback on applications, and holding practice interviews which are appropriate to the university and country in consideration, our counsellor helps every student to put their best foot forward and to have a clear understanding of what is required of them to produce a successful application.  

Student wellbeing  

We recognise that our students have big ambitions and as a result are often tasked with numerous challenges to focus on simultaneously. In year 13 particularly, students will juggle a variety of demands. In term 1, students need to study new material in every subject while also preparing for their mock exams and continuing to undertake leadership roles within the student community and sporting activities. This is also when the majority of university applications take place, many of which are very time consuming - a typical application to a US university takes 15-20 hours, for example.  


The combination of workload and applying to university is the most demanding task students will have faced in the academic journey to date. Paying close attention to student wellbeing and their handling of these commitments is a top priority during this process. Our university counsellor takes a holistic view of everything students are juggling and helps them to understand and prepare in advance for what the demands of university applications are, where these fall in the school year so they can manage their time effectively and make supports available to them if they are struggling.  


For more information into the future academic pathways of students at British Vietnamese International School Hanoi, visit our International A-Level Programme page