Beginning in Year 10, each parent and student is provided with a comprehensive bilingual University and Careers Counselling Resource Guide that includes detailed information on all aspects of our programme.
In Year 9, students have a structured academic schedule that allows them to settle into the new routine. The first year in the Senior Secondary School is an opportunity for a fresh start, a time to try new activities, or delve deeper into what really interests students. The University Counselling Department is here to help the students get settled in and to begin thinking about the future. University counsellors will meet with Year 9 students to discuss their four-year plan as well as the importance of their academic records, setting goals. The department will also assist in developing plans for the summer. Each student will also complete a VIA Characteristics Strengths exercise to learn more about themselves and their values.
In Year 10, students begin creating their own individual schedules and make major plans for the future. By the end of the year, many students will make decisions about which IB Diploma courses are most suited for them. This is also the year in which students take the information that they have learned about themselves and start to think about how to use those strengths to their advantage.
At this stage, students and their parents will be introduced to Family Connection, and will begin exploring the various tools that the platform has to offer. These include interest inventory tests designed to help students learn more about themselves as well as the most comprehensive up-to-date list of colleges and universities around the world.
Through monthly workshops, the University Counselling Office will introduce a variety of topics, including testing, country profiles, research tools for college searches, writing resumes and Family Connection.
In the spring of Year 10, students will be able to write mock SAT and ACT tests to determine which system is most suitable for them and with the help of the university counsellor work on an individual testing plans. There will also be an opportunity for students to complete the Morrisby Career Inventory and attend a feedback meeting with a company representative to discuss results and possible career paths.
In addition, Year 10 is a great time to take advantage of admission officers visiting Pao School during fall and spring months to begin asking admissions officers pertinent questions regarding the differences between colleges and universities and what they have to offer.
Parents are invited to attend the parent meetings, workshops and monthly ‘Coffee with Counsellor’ sessions to hear from the University Counselling staff, learn about the university counselling timeline and ask questions.
Year 11 is when the University Counselling programme begins to play a more significant role. Pao School students should hit their stride academically as they begin more rigorous IB coursework. This is also the time for students to start seriously considering their future options with the support of University Counselling staff. Understanding and setting realistic expectations plays an important role in choosing potential future colleges for further study. For most students, going to college or university is the first time they will take charge of their own education, ultimately choosing their area of specialisation, and determining where in the world they wish to pursue their studies.
The challenge for the students is to navigate through all of the information and identify colleges or universities that are the best match for them. With support of the University Counselling Office, by the end of the year, each student will have a list of potential colleges and universities to consider.
To help guide students, university counsellors will begin by meeting with students individually, following with a family meeting to get an understanding of their personal and individual goals in terms of countries of interest and majors they may wish to pursue. They will develop testing plans and begin exploring ideas for their personal statement. University counsellors have an ‘open door’ policy to answer questions and provide guidance, so students are welcome to meet with their university counsellor on a drop-in basis, outside of these scheduled meetings.
Year 12 is when all the skills students have gained over the years will help them in the application process. Together, each student, along with their parents and the university counsellor will create a plan to apply to universities or explore other opportunities. While this is primarily a student-driven process, they will be given plenty of guidance and assistance.
Throughout the year, students will need to balance their academic responsibilities together with the college application process, so planning and time management are important skills to master. The academic foundation students have built at Pao School will prepare them for the next stage of their educational career.
In Year 12, students will attend individual meetings with a university counsellor for an opportunity to ask questions about their individual application process, obtain feedback on essays, and review application forms and deadlines. Students are also welcome to meet with university counsellors on a drop-in basis.