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Support and guidance: How to navigate university applications

Support and guidance: How to navigate university applications

A key part of any student’s high school career is the decision to apply to university. But with so much information online about entry requirements, personal statements, admissions tests and more, it can be tough for young people to navigate the application process. This, coupled with fierce competition for university places, can transform what should be an exciting time, into an overwhelming experience. So, how can teachers guide their students through the noise? And what can schools do to give their students a fighting chance?

“The biggest challenge for students is the overwhelming amount of choice that’s available to them,” said Dr. Mark Zumbuhl, UK Head of University Guidance, EF Academy Oxford, and Former Admissions Officer at the University of Oxford.

Finding a selection of universities that would prove a good fit for the individual student is the first obstacle. Location, course of study, accommodation, community, facilities, and extracurriculars are just some of the aspects of university life that should be taken into consideration. With top universities located all over the world, each with their own specialties and characteristics, it’s important that students are given the right advice in school to guide them towards a decision.

“Our approach to university advising is to really look at each student as an individual,” said Michael Muska, Fmr. Senior Associate Director of University Guidance, EF Academy New York. “We know that every student is different and each bring their own dreams, goals and expectations of how they hope the college process will go. We look at what they’ve accomplished during their time here at EF Academy, we look at what their aspirations are, and we try to find the right fit for them.”

“I think my friends and I all agree that our counsellors have really helped us to figure out what we do next,” said Charlie Chow from Hong Kong, a recent graduate of EF Academy New York. “My path towards university is much clearer thanks to the university guidance I’ve received.”

But with applications piling up in admissions offices at universities all around the world, making a decision on where to apply obviously isn’t enough. The next question is: How can students out-shine the competition once they’ve made this big decision about where they’d like to be? The answer is thorough preparation. The earlier a student is supported towards making a choice about higher education, the easier it becomes to equip them with the right knowledge and experiences that ultimately, will set them apart.

“At EF Academy we organize all of our efforts around what we call pathways, which is essentially a package of activities including support classes, visiting speakers, visits to universities, visits from university representatives and careers events,” said Zumbuhl. “We help students find out about the opportunities that are available to them, identify what skills they need to acquire in order to get to those destinations and successfully execute whatever plan of action they need to get to where they need to be.”

It’s clear that schools play no small part in preparing students for success, and with the right guidance and the right framework of extra-curricular activities, learners will be better equipped to navigate university applications.



At EF Academy International Boarding Schools, our dedicated staff help our students consistently achieve top exam results and develop the skills they need to succeed at university and beyond.