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  • A Premium Education

    We provide a rigorous but nurturing environment in which our students will become active and capable citizens of tomorrow.

    British International School Hanoi| School

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    Our students will leave school prepared to enter a very competitive world where they will need all their academic ability, strength of character and personal skills to be happy and successful.

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  • Dedicated, skilled and committed teachers and support staff

    Our teams are strong and innovative, constantly re-visiting ways of bringing the curriculum to life.

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    Learning to learn and developing study skills to make our students lifelong learners is a key focus as BIS Hanoi

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Applying to university: Things your guidance counsellor can support you

For all of our students at BIS Hanoi, our university counsellor plays a key role in helping them to understand and successfully navigate the pathway to their university of choice. Taking the step from Sixth Form to university is an exciting challenge for students, but there are many big decisions which sit between these two milestones. It is the role 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.

Giving guidance for students on decision-making process

At the very beginning of a student's journey to university, there should be a considered research and decision-making process. At this stage, university counsellor plays an important role in guiding them and signposting the important factors they should consider when making their decision.

Often, university ranking plays a leading role in the decision-making process for students. However, in reality, there will be a number of criteria which shape their university experience. Therefore, our counsellor’s role is to encourage students to not just focus on the ranking but 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.

The global pandemic has been affecting the students’ choice of university and interrupting the study plan of many students. Lori Fairbairn, BIS Hanoi’s Counsellor, advises students to be flexible in their thinking and adaptable in their goals. As a counsellor, she keeps well informed of the universities’ responses to COVID, and can help students change destinations, even at a very late date. This is extremely helpful for not only our current Year 13 students but also our past graduates, with whom she continues to work with.

Understanding the application system

At BIS Hanoi, popular university destinations include anywhere from the UK and North America, to Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Korea and Singapore. This broad choice of universities requires students 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 parents too. This is where the university counsellor plays a vital role in guiding students as well as parents. Their experience and knowledge of the international application processes equips them to successfully steer students through this system, ensuring that they are prepared rather than overwhelmed by the challenge.

For example, at BIS Hanoi, we understand how difficult the Korean application system can be for our Sixth Form students and parents so we work directly with our community to ensure the process is as open and transparent as possible. Our Korean Liaison Officer is currently contacting all of the document review schools in Korea to ensure that we are up-to-date on best practice for Korean applications and we look forward to sharing this information with our community soon.

Uni counsellor

Assist students in making a stand out application

The written application process is 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.

We are proud to say that 83% of our graduates have been accepted to their first or second choice of university. Ms. Lori Fairbairn, BIS Hanoi’s Counsellor

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, IB students will have deadlines, the completion of their extended essay and completion of their Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) commitments. This is also when the majority of university applications take place, many of which are very time consuming, for example, a typical application to a US university takes 15-20 hours.

IB Options Evening

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 counsellor and Head of Sixth Form, Robert Airdrie, in conjunction with Sixth Form tutors provide multiple activities and sessions focused on student wellbeing. Mindfulness activities, yoga sessions, sleep information sessions and activities that build connection are a few of the activities provided for students to encourage them to take the time to relax their mind and help prepare them for the challenges the face. In the second term of Year 13, we also turn our attention to ensuring students are ready and prepared for university life discussing everything from cooking, finances and laundry to relationships, respect and consent. This is also where we hope parents are also working with their children ensuring they are modelling and encouraging health and wellness and preparing them for life’s future challenges.

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 time manage effectively, and provides support to them if they are struggling. For information on some of the academic pathways of students our BIS Hanoi alumni have taken, visit our Student Stories page.