22 Feb, 2019
10 : 00
As winter slowly winds into spring, our year thirteen students, wrapping up their coursework and reflecting on the outcomes of their mock exams, will soon be expecting to receive news from the universities that they have applied to.
Applying to university is daunting for our young people but is also exciting and hopeful. As IBDP students, our year 12 and 13 students are taking a qualification that is, I believe, the gold standard in international education. Universally recognized and understood by university admissions teams, it is the key to unlocking many doors in a wide variety of national contexts.
IBDP graduates really do have the world as their oyster! The trick, then, in knowing how to use this advantage. Below are some of my tips gleaned from the last five years of advising IBDP students on their approach to university applications.
1. Work hard, be motivated, and manage your time
Generally, the better your grades the more options you will have, so it is important to get the best grades that you can get. Do yourself a favour and work hard. Get work done when it needs to be done. This will help reduce your stress, but will help develop habits that are needed for success in your university applications.
2. Have an open mind
Don’t rule out countries and universities before applying based on your perceptions or the perceptions of your family and friends. Lots of families decide where they will NOT apply when they are not always in possession of the full facts. Applying to a university does not guarantee that you will go there but potentially puts you in the running to be able to open the door to entry.
3. Do your research
You need to balance an open mind with thorough research. Normally this happens in year 11 and 12 before applications begin in year 13. Researching a targeted list of applications will again reduce wasted time and stress in Year 13.
4. Stick to deadlines
Deadlines at school may be flexible but if you miss a university application deadline you will have to wait until next year to apply again. Get into the habit of submitting work and applications before deadlines.
5. Don’t use an agent
There are many education consultants who are unregulated and may not be so student centered in their motivations. Some of these may earn commissions from universities for submitting students’ applications. BEWARE. Your school based counselor is in the best position to advise you. They won’t have all the answers (In a field as diverse and changeable as university admissions no one does) but they will know where to get the answers. Work with them.