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A Bridge to the Future

07 March 2018

This week the University Guidance Team has begun to meet with individual students in order to discuss initial plans for post-BIS study. They have also launched an exciting new platform - BridgeU - with Year 12 students to streamline and improve their approach to university applications.

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This week the schedule of Year 12 University Guidance Meetings - between individual students and their designated counsellor - has begun and by the end of the month every student in Year 12 will have had an initial meeting with either Ms. Halliwell or Mr. Finnigan. Students were assigned preliminary research and reflection tasks before the Tet break and the responses to these tasks help to form the basis of the discussions that take place in the initial meeting.

These meetings and discussions are the first stage in what is a lengthy process and there is no expectation that students will have concrete or clearly defined plans as to what and where they’re going to study. In most cases it is expected that students will use the discussions and input from the initial meeting, in addition to feedback from the preliminary tasks, as a jumping off point for further research and investigation.  Second meetings between student and counsellor are scheduled for Term 3 -  to allow students and their families sufficient time to undertake research about potential courses of study and institutions – and will also be open to parents.

Decision making about university choices is a multifaceted issue that includes a whole range of academic and non-academic factors.

Today, students face an overwhelming and complex landscape in terms of post-secondary pathways and it is one that is constantly shifting due to technological advancement and the social, political and economic developments shaping the global economy and job market. Many of our current Year 12 students could well end up working in roles and careers that have yet to be established or created, while even the more traditional and vocational of careers are undergoing significant changes in response to our rapidly changing world.

Unsurprisingly, with a student body as cosmopolitan and international as ours, students at BIS HCMC make applications to institutions all over the world: over the last 8 years our students have taken up places at universities in 22 different countries. In addition to the perennial favourites of North America, the UK and Australia, BIS alumni have also attended institutions in the following countries:  Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland and Italy. With each student able to make multiple applications to a range of countries, research and the subsequent collation of findings and relevant information is a laborious and time-intensive undertaking. The sheer volume of available options and information can easily become overwhelming and is another substantial workload to be added to already the considerable demands of the IBDP: continued progress in their HL and SL subjects, the undertaking of the EE and ToK essays, CAS commitments and involvement in extracurricular activities.

However, in tandem with the beginning of the University Guidance Meetings schedule, our Year 12 cohort has been provided with access to a powerful new platform - BridgeU – that aims to help students and their families make the best choices possible for their futures.

The University Guidance Team is excited about the new platform and the plethora of features that we feel will enhance the overall experience of our students during the application process.

Students now have a powerful tool at their disposal that will add value at every stage of their journey:  the initial research and identification of suitable courses and institutions; provision of reliable data about career progression, salaries and the broader job market; tips on writing application essays and statements; a streamlined system for requesting references and the final submission of their applications. BridgeU can assist with all these aspects and much more - the University Guidance Team is really looking forward to using it to assist our students to find precisely the right course and college to suit them and their unique needs.

At the current time BridgeU boasts an ever-growing database of over 100,000 Higher Education courses across four continents and dovetails with the application process for institutions in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. It is expected that further countries will join that list in the near future and despite the fact BridgeU does not have the same levels of data and information about those territories, students are still able to research and investigate programmes and institutions in other countries. With this ongoing development and further additional features to be incorporated for the coming academic year, BridgeU is only going to become an even more useful platform that will help our students to bridge the gap between secondary and tertiary education. 

For further guidance on University and College applications please visit our dedicated College and University Guidance website.