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Planning for university: how to support your child through key milestones

Every moment helps shape your child’s dreams for their future. Each passion they discover, school subject they explore, the adventure they experience - it all feeds into their understanding of the world and how they fit into it.

At BVIS Hanoi, our parents often ask us when the ‘right time’ is to have discussions at home around making decisions for the future. There are two key milestones in the secondary school calendar that help open up these conversations about university pathways and opportunities.

Shaping the path to university: Year 9

In Year 9, BVIS Hanoi students arrive at the first point in their school career where they can choose their electives, which paves the way for exploratory conversations about their strengths and interests. At this level, we encourage our students to keep their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) choices broad and diverse, so they can find areas they enjoy and excel in to set them up with a great foundation for A-Levels in Years 12 and 13.


Choosing a pathway to a first-choice university: Year 11

As they look ahead to the A-Levels, BVIS Hanoi students make the most important decisions about their Year 12 and 13 subjects, decisions grounded in their university and career aspirations. This process takes place in September, and will be supported by substantial guidance from our school’s University Counsellor.

The A-Levels is designed for KS5 students. One method we use to help students approach this is to think about their education not as a specific destination, but as a journey. This means that instead of encouraging a student to choose a university based on its name or location, we guide them to think about what values and pathways underpin their subject interests. Our University Counsellor will help them identify what skill sets and subjects they would need to pursue in order to travel in the right direction and achieve their ultimate goal.

University Guidance Counsellor (Ms Colleen) and Year 13 students discuss.

Many 15-16 year olds have a limited idea of what careers exist because they simply haven’t been exposed to them yet, so it is important that we help them to explore their options, particularly for those who are unsure about their interests. We hold sessions at BVIS Hanoi to help students think about different career possibilities, understand university systems, and learn more about the careers each university course can lead to. Our University Counsellor also provides an enormous amount of assistance in preparing multiple applications for their college aspirations, giving them more options.

Most importantly, when choosing subjects we guide all of our students to understand the importance of building a robust, transferable, interdisciplinary skillset. The world of work is forever changing and traditional pathways to a career that may exist now, may not exist in the future. It’s our role to make sure our students leave BVIS Hanoi with everything they need for success – whatever they choose to be or do in life.

Visit our below article for more information.

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International A-Levels Programme

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