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College Counseling

For many parents, one of the most exciting times they can share with their child is receiving an acceptance letter to their dream college or university. It’s a momentous achievement and is often indicative of years of hard work and dedication.

But as a parent you may not have been in the world of post-secondary education for many years, it might feel as though there is an overwhelming amount of information and work to do before you can even think of that moment. From schools to programs to co-curriculars, there are many factors that you and your child should consider before making a decision, nevermind all the forms, paperwork and additional information that will go along with said application. 

At ISB, we recognize the need for additional support at this critical time in your child’s life. That is why we invest in college counseling; your child deserves the guidance and direction they can receive from someone who understands the complexities of post-secondary education and the sometimes intimidating application process, and having access to a dedicated college counselor at your child’s international school is one of the most important resources you have at your disposal. To learn more about factors to consider when choosing an international school, click here.


Here are four areas where your child can benefit from having access to a dedicated college counselor:

  1. Help with finding their "best fit" university rather than focusing on the one they want to be their best fit.
  2. Help with planning and managing the graduation requirements and prerequisites often many years in advance.
  3. Assisting with letters of recommendation and references that will make an effective impact on college recruiters and admissions officers.
  4. Identifying and applying for scholarship programs.


What do we mean by "best fit" university?

Much like every child is unique, every school is unique and has differing strengths they bring to the table. But when making such a monumental decision, how can you know your child has made the choice that is right for them?

Whether it’s due to its prestigious name and reputation, location, program options, co-curricular opportunities or it’s just the school their friend chose, your child’s first instinct on their choice of university might not actually be a good match for them. 

A “best fit” university is one that has everything your child needs so the duration of their time at the school is enjoyed to its full advantage, and your child leaves with a good education and the drive to pursue their next goal. 

It may be tempting  to encourage your child to choose a school based on its reputation alone, but it's vital to consider your child’s individual needs and whether or not the school can meet them; many parents are attracted to Ivy League and other prestigious schools and don’t always consider whether or not such a school is suited to their child or vice versa.


At ISB, our goal is to help your child develop in a holistic environment that helps them discover who they are, what their passions are, and what their future aspirations might be. It is from this informed standpoint that our college counselors can provide specific and personalized guidance on where your child has the best opportunities to thrive.

Our Career and University Advisors (CUA) will never provide a “one size fits all” recommendation because all our students are unique and have different goals and aspirations, so what might be a great fit for one student could be terrible for another. 

College counselors work with your child for years, getting to know them and their preferences, habits, personality, goals and more and use that information to help guide your child to finding the school that is best suited to  their needs, rather than the school they want to fit their needs.


These are all questions that your child’s college counselor will be prepared to answer, or will work with you and your child to find the answer and their most appropriate  school.


Graduation requirements and prerequisitesIBresults2

At ISB, our career and university advising team begins working with your child in grade 9 and encourages them to be future-minded and goal oriented. Advisors develop and nurture a relationship with your child so they can help them discover their passions and interests and support them in selecting the right subjects to  prepare them for their chosen career or post-ISB journey. 

Our career and university advisors are well versed in our graduation requirements and also develop relationships with university admissions officers, and after years of working directly with your child and their teachers they are an extraordinary resource  when your child is looking for guidance on a direction to take in post-secondary education. 


Letters of recommendation and mentorship

When your child decides to apply to a certain school, they are in a pool of qualified candidates from all over the world. With so many applicants to choose from, it’s important for your child to stand out. 

Letters of recommendation can be a valuable addition to any application, and can carry a lot of weight depending on the author and the message the letter contains about your child. But how do you go about getting a letter of recommendation that will actually support your child’s applications?

College counselors know the application process well and know what college admissions officers are looking for in a candidate. They know how to formulate a letter of recommendation so it serves your child’s specific needs, and they can help brainstorm potential schools that would be best suited to their needs.   

Teachers are also an excellent resource, particularly when it comes to letters of recommendation. They are an essential component of the work your child’s college counselor does, as they are well informed of your child’s academic strengths and can speak to who they are as a student. 

Our career and university advisors partner with teachers and parents to ensure everyone is on the same page working together towards a common goal. It is this collaborative and strong relationship between student, faculty, and parents that ultimately provides the best results to our students. his partnership is essential for the continued success of ISB’s college counseling program.


Scholarship help

Post-secondary education is an investment that can often be offset by the scholarship opportunities your child may qualify for. Depending on the program, school, or co-curricular activities your child has chosen, there may be dozens of opportunities for scholarships available.

Between researching foptions  open to them and completing the applications, some of which require essays and multiple steps to complete, it can take up a lot of time in your child’s schedule. 

Rather than comb the internet for applicable scholarships, ISB students who are interested in learning about scholarship opportunities can lean on the knowledge of university advisors . Our dedicated department of career and university advisors can help streamline the process by directing students to the right websites and search engines and teaching them how to find potential scholarships that are a fit for them.

This can save them valuable time to focus on strengthening their college application.


Career and University Counseling at ISB

Having access to knowledgeable college counselors during the college and university application process is a valuable asset and should be a priority when choosing the right school for your child. They are filled with helpful information and are there to guide your child to their best-fit university, and it is with these good intentions that our college counselors at ISB will help your child find their path and find success. 


Questions ISB's career and university advisors help students answer

Things to consider when choosing a college or university

The biggest thing to consider about the location of your child's post-secondary school choice is whether or not they can live at home.

Distance may impact how often your child can visit home and for some, a cross-country or international relocation could present more of a challenge.

Our college counseling team is very knowledgeable about the many options for post-secondary schools. They understand that it is important for a student to find a school that fits their personality, their interests, their needs, and their goals.

For example, a child who is interested in athletics may find their best-fit at a school with a heavy emphasis on supporting athletic activities.

Or maybe your child is interested in arts and perhaps an academically rigorous university may not have a robust arts community for them to join and find their tribe.

Program fees can range widely depending on the school and the specialization. You'll want to ensure you are investing in an education that delivers what your child wants.

Even programs with similar names from different schools will have different curriculums and different expectations.

Try reviewing course descriptions on the various websites and speak to your college counselor to get an idea of what to expect out of each program.

This may be your child's first experience being fully independent and living on their own, and with that comes extra anxiety and stress.

Having friends or family nearby can help mitigate this.

If your child is a passionate swimmer, it makes sense to choose a school that provides access to pool and sports facilities.

Maintaining familiar comforts they enjoy in their K-12 school years, can help make the transition easier on them.

Learn more about the characteristics of the best international schools!

Discover more about what characteristics are found at the best international school in Beijing.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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High School College Counseling & Prep