For many students. selecting and applying to the perfect university is the natural culmination of years of hard work throughout high school. And, although parents, teachers, counselors, and friends can help and support the student on this journey, it is ultimately the student’s journey to undertake and lead.
But, as students embark on this important journey, it is important to keep in mind that ‘finding the perfect university’ doesn’t mean there is only one right university for each student; there are likely a dozen or more well-suited universities for every student.
For these students, identifying their own unique strengths and talents is key to making appropriate and informed university and career choices, and a proactive and thoughtful approach throughout high school will help them succeed in the application process.
5 Tips for High School Students to Help Find Success When Applying to the Perfect University.
Seek out Advice, Support, and Guidance
Many international schools and education-focused organizations invite university representatives to give presentations to students, organise university fairs, and plan university trips to help students learn about their post-high school options. By seeking out these opportunities, taking career guidance tests, and requesting meetings with university counselors, students can make better, more informed decisions for their future academic career and the university they would like to study at.
Focus on Personal Development in Addition to Academic Development
Each student must acknowledge and accept what makes them unique, what they need both inside and outside the classroom, and what resources are available to them in their school and community. While academic development and success is at the core of the high school and university experience, it alone is sufficient for neither a successful university application nor becoming a successful, well-rounded adult.
Students who explore additional activities such as academic clubs, sports, extracurriculars, volunteering, and even after-school jobs and internships are able to grow and mature in areas outside of, yet related to, their academic subjects. Those students who are able to make the most out of their activities outside of the classroom will have a decided edge over students who maintain a one-dimensional focus on academics.
Set Goals Early & Follow Through
‘Grit’ has become a buzzword in both business and academics recently, and for good reason. Students who show an ability to set a goal and stick to it are more likely to succeed in school and in life. While this doesn’t mean students must go in 100% on every decision they make as a freshman in high school simply because “I said I would so I have to,” students who show that they finish what they start and who are able to develop the skills necessary for setting and completing goals will look back on their time in high school as a time of growth (and will have plenty of stories of overcoming obstacles for their university application).
Look at Challenges as Opportunities
By the time many students get to high school, they have already decided “I’m good a Subject A, and really bad at Subject B,” and spend the entirety of their entire high school years avoiding ‘Subject B’ like the plague. While it may seem counterintuitive, sticking with only the subjects and activities that you are already good at (even if you get top marks on everything) isn’t always the best way to set yourself up for success in the university application process.
Students who take on subjects or extracurricular activities they might not be as strong in have a unique opportunity to grow and learn new skills, show grit and determination, and possibly find out that they didn’t really hate ‘Subject B’ after all. And the best part is, by trying something that you were ‘bad’ at, even if you don’t succeed, universities won’t see that you failed, they will see that you tried.
Learn From Your Mistakes to Make Better Decisions
High school is a time of learning about yourself, of growing, and of finding your place in the world. It’s about trying new things and learning what you are good at and being able to fail without the world coming to an end. But it is also a time for learning that decisions have consequences and that you must live with the outcome of your mistakes.
While no one expects a high school student to be perfect, universities do want to see that students learn from their mistakes, look for ways to fix their errors, and make better choices moving forward.