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  • Welcome to Nord Anglia International School Manila

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When is the right time to start making decisions about university?

Every step on your child’s learning journey helps to shape their aspirations for what they might do in future. Each subject they explore, MIT professor they meet through Global Campus, expedition they go on to visit new cultures and communities - it all feeds into their ever-expanding view of the world and their place in it.

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We are often asked when the ‘right time’ is for conversations at home or in school to be had around making decisions for the future. Rather than recommend a specific time in which these decisions need to be made, we suggest instead that all of our parents keep in mind two key milestones in the Secondary School calendar and how decisions at each of these stages help to open up potential future pathways and opportunities.

Year 9, shaping their path to university

In Year 9 our students encounter the first point in their school career in which they can elect to study particular subjects. At this stage, we recommend for all students to keep their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) choices broad and varied. The aim in Year 9 is not to place students under pressure to decide what they would like to study at university and therefore how they should shape their subject choices, but instead to focus on where their strengths and interests lie across a mix of different subject types. By choosing subjects your child enjoys and can excel in, it sets them up with a great foundation for the A-Levels in Year 12 and Year 13.

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Year 11, identifying students interests leading to the university of their choice


Year 11 is when students make their most significant subject decisions as they look ahead to A-Levels which they will begin in Year 12. This decision process takes place in September and is also when students receive their most substantial university guidance from our school’s Exams and Careers Coordinator.

A-Levels deliver a breadth of study in Year 12 before specialisation in Year 13. This provides a deep understanding of chosen subjects, enabling students to prepare for specific university courses and career pathways. One method we use to help students approach this is to think about their education not as a specific destination, but as a journey. In practice, this means that instead of encouraging a student to say that they would like to study at UCL in London, for example, we instead encourage them to think about what values and interests underpin their subject interests. Instead, they might identify that they are passionate about making a contribution to healthcare and securing an internationally recognised degree that helps them to do this around the world. We then help them to identify what skill sets and subjects they would need to pursue that direction and achieve their ultimate goal.


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 may not have an idea yet of where their interests lie. We hold sessions to help students think about different career pathways and possibilities, understand university systems, and gain a better understanding of which careers different university courses can lead to. Our Exams & Careers Coordinator also provides an enormous amount of online resources, webinars, careers workshops and career showcases in which students can explore jobs through the experiences of people who work in the field.

Importantly, when choosing subjects we guide all of our Year 11’s to think about and understand the importance of gaining a 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 is our job to prepare them for this and to help them build a robust, competitive skill set that will prepare them for success in a diverse and changing jobs market.


Find out more

We hope we have helped you to better understand how we guide our students at NAIS Manila towards a pathway that equips them for the world of work and pursuing their career ambitions.


To find out more about a Secondary School education with us and the curricula we teach visit our Sixth Form page.

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Sixth Form

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