At NACIS, Higher Education guidance is embedded in the school’s curriculum. As it is approaching the busy recruiting season of international universities, we would like to share with you an overview of our Higher Education activities and how we prepare students for the next step in their academic journey after NACIS.
We understand that for students and their families, the task of deciding where to study can seem daunting. That’s why the university preparation process for students starts early as they enter Grade 10. For students at this stage of education, we run a series of Introduction to International Higher Education seminars and get them into thinking self-reflective questions such as: Why study abroad? What are the advantages and challenges of studying abroad? Which system suits me the best? By doing so, we ensure that students understand the decision of going to an overseas university is not just about picking a university that is highly ranked, but also entails an understanding of a foreign context, the integration into an international campus, and the ability to live independently in a new environment. Our Higher Education Advisor and some teachers have years of experience studying and working in foreign universities. They understand the needs and potential obstacles faced by Chinese students, and are committed to guiding students how to cope with cultural and institutional shocks.
Grade 11 students start to research individual universities of interest and we introduce the ‘Best Fit’ approach. In today’s environment, university choices can seem endless. However, just because there are so many options available to students does not make the procedure of selecting an institution any easier. Some students and parents, rather than creating a list of university criteria important to them, decide to focus on one which they believe will make the search process very easy. This process uses only ranking and reputation. The University and Careers Guidance Office is well aware of the various rankings and publications that year after year produce such lists. We understand how important this is to some students and parents, however, we advise against using such lists as the only criteria when completing university searches.
Instead, we offer an efficient and effective method that starts with what students know themselves. This procedure is very reliable, as long as students remain honest, and it produces wonderful results searching for institutions around the world. This is what we call the ‘best fit’: a university that is comprised of all the most important features that students are looking for. If safety, location, facilities and special programmes, for example, are most important to a student, and if a particular institution satisfies these criteria, then this institution is a ‘best fit’ for them. To aid with the ‘best fit’ search, our students have access to BridgeU - a big data platform matching up universities and courses with students’ academic achievements and living preferences. This state of the art database currently contains information about 23,483 higher education institutions from around the world, including entry requirements, historical data on success rate, and the surrounding environment. We encourage our students to generate a number of university matches comprised of ‘reach’, ’match’ and ‘safety’ options for them using BridgeU.
Starting from semester 1 of Grade 12, students are applying to universities. Throughout the process, we do our utmost to ensure that their applications are submitted in time. When university offers arrive, we advise students on the next steps and help them decide which offer(s) to accept.
We also host presentations by prestigious universities from various countries. This includes the US and the UK – two of the most popular study abroad destinations; Australia and Canada – international student-friendly countries renowned for their quality of higher education and student employability; and France and the Netherlands, for student mobility across Europe and opportunities to acquire other languages.
In addition, as part of the Nord Anglia Education family, NACIS students have access to a variety of NAE-wide activities relating to Higher Education. For example, every March our students attend a University Fair hosted by BISS Puxi. This is a great opportunity for students to meet with university representatives from around the world and learn more about what their universities have to offer. It also gives students and parents the chance to find out what different universities are looking for in their students, and how best to prepare an effective application.
What’s more, NACIS provides students with rare opportunities to experience outstanding teaching at the university level. We believe that exposure to higher education experiences at school will better prepare students for the kind of rigorous academic challenge ahead. In other words, it will benefit students in the form of a smoother transition from school to university life and enhance their resilience. NACIS has unique access to academia and has hosted several university taster lectures so far, all delivered by prominent professors with extensive industrial and policy making experience.
Last but not least, we not only encourage students to explore opportunities abroad, but also keep them updated about opportunities at home. According to student mobility statistics, the majority of Chinese students will return to China at some point following the completion of their studies abroad. This pattern creates a need, and indeed, responsibility for us to inform students about the job market situation in China and the country’s development path in general. This is to ensure students’ choices align with the demand of economic and social development in China, so that our students can take advantage of this fast-growing economy and therefore realise their personal goals.
We look forward to hosting more Higher Education events to broaden your child’s perspectives and prepare them for post-secondary success.