Updated: Sep 4
Who can help you choose the right university for you?
Are you starting 6th Form or the IB program this year?
University probably feels like a long way off right now – especially with all the work and revision you’ll be doing over the next two years.
Your journey on choosing the right university starts now, and it might be a good idea to get some help to guide you along the way. Navigating the university admissions process can be daunting, so how do you find resources to help you choose the right university? In this blog, we compare the options available to you, in addition, of course, to your own independent research.
School-based University & College Advisors or Independent Education Advisors - or do it yourself - who knows best?
What does a University Advisor Do?
Independent education advisors and school-based university advisors are both available to help guide you through the process. But should you rely on the trusted school counsellor who knows your academic background and reputation at school, or should you venture into the hands of independent education consultants, who can bring a fresh perspective to any number of possibilities?
Make sure you consider all of your options before deciding which route is best for your individual needs.
Let’s compare the options and weigh up the pros and cons of each.
👍 If you choose to go it alone on your path of discovery, you are the captain of your own ship! The internet has a huge amount of resources with dedicated websites, forums and social media platforms all ready to spill the beans on universities, programs and everything in between, at no cost other than spending hours trawling through websites, and perhaps writing emails for more information.
👎 It can be overwhelming, though. Sorting through the hordes of information can be like navigating a maze while blindfolded! Plus, you have time constraints on top of studying and revising for exams. With strict deadlines to be met, you cannot afford to procrastinate or miss submission deadlines, assuming you have been able to nail down your choices.
University / Career Counsellors
Most high schools have university or career advisors in place to help students decide what to do when they leave school, whether that is going to university, taking a gap year, or going straight into an apprenticeship or career.
👍 School-based counsellors support their students by identifying their interests, outlining options for course selection, entry requirements and the application process, if a student decides to go on to higher education. They may also review personal statements or letters of motivation and organise university tour visits.
👍 If an alternative route to higher education is chosen, they can help identify a student's interests and passions, and guide them through the process of writing a CV and applying for an apprenticeship or job.
👍 They already know your history, may have followed your academic journey, and can guide you with the school's knowledge database. Plus, this is a free service, which makes it a budget-friendly option.
👎 With a gazillion other students to manage, plus perhaps their day job on top of this responsibility, it could mean less time to devote to your personal needs. Their recommendations may also be based on your current studies and skills, rather than exploring new horizons that might be of interest to you.
Independent Education Advisors
👍 Independent education consultants are like having a personal GPS to navigate the system and guide you along the best path to achieve your academic goals. Individual attention is their speciality!
👍 The best advisors will have years of experience as former teachers, or university administrators, and are highly knowledgeable about universities around the world. They will ask you the right questions to get to know you better and tailor their recommendations to your aspirations, skills, and eventual career path.
👍 The most important signs to look for are that they genuinely put the student's needs and goals first, not the parents', and that they are genuinely impartial, receiving fees only from you, the client, and not from any university.
👎 You will have to pay for this personalised advice. This can range from a few hundred to a few thousand (in any currency). But for the peace of mind, and to compensate for the stress and time-consuming task of doing your own research, it can be a worthwhile investment.
Speaking from personal experience with my first child, the school managed the whole process, from providing information on how to choose a course to helping with personal statements, organizing university tour visits, and guidance (a little too proactively) on the choice of university.
As a parent, I had no information other than what I could extract from my teenager, and was not involved in any way. Luckily, it all worked out with great success. However, with my second child, I was a little more hands-on and sought advice to find the right school for him.
The key is to do your research and find a trustworthy and experienced professional who can help you navigate the path to university with confidence.
And don’t ghost your school if you follow the independent guidance route. Let them know that you are seeking additional advice.
If you would like impartial advice on any of the above options available to you, get in touch! I do not give advice on university admissions, but I can put you in touch with people who do!
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