Thinking about university for your kid but not sure where to begin? We’ve got answers to your burning questions and all the tips from the pros right here…
There’s no denying that, as one of the first major independent decisions our kids can make for themselves, the process of selecting a university is one that can make even the most laid back parents very nervous. We don’t know about you, but 101 things run through our minds. “When should I start looking at universities?”, “What do I have to do to get my child into university?” and “What if my child does not have any specific interests?” – these are just a few of the common questions every parent encounters…
During our most recent HoneyKids Talk: How To Choose A University, we discussed the do’s and don’ts of selecting a university for your child, how to make sense of university rankings, as well as alternative options to university that you may want to consider.
Got a burning question and need the answer? Jump to the video section that’s relevant for you!
Speaker introductions – 2.51
When should you start looking at universities? – 4.00
What do I have to do to get my child into the right university? – 6.00
What if my child doesn’t seem to show any interest? – 8.00
Should I transfer my child to a UK / USA boarding school for better chances to enter the right college? – 10.43
How do we understand university rankings? – 12.31
What is the role of parents in the process of deciding on university? – 15.11
What are the other options besides university we should be considering? – 17.57
Final takeaway from panellists – 20.33
Q & A – 20.45
We’re here to lift the weight off your shoulders as we discuss the dos and don’ts of selecting a university for your child. Panelists Tina Forbush, Director of College Counseling at Singapore American School (SAS) and John Liu, Head of University Advising, UWC South East Asia (UWCSEA) Dover are here to answer your questions.
Posted by HoneyKids Asia on Tuesday, November 9, 2021
How to choose a university: TOP INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS
1. Don’t rush this process, especially if you have younger children.
Allow your kids the time to find and dive into the things they love, both academically and in extracurricular activities. And if your child does not identify particular passions yet, don’t worry — we all develop passions over time as we grow and mature.
2. There are colleges and universities out there for every kid.
Every college and university has its own strength, which presents different opportunities to students. Take your time to research and find out about the ones that fits your child’s interests and goals.
3. Start the college research process with self-reflection
Rather than going straight to the names of particular universities, ask your kids to consider questions such as: “How do I like to study? Where in the world do I want to be? How do I most like to spend my time?”
4. Getting into a university should be opportunity for the family to talk together
Parents act as supporters during the university searching and application process. Sit with your kid as they do their research, guide them as to what questions they should be asking and what aspects of the course or university they should be looking at.
5. Think beyond undergraduate and think about long term graduate and career plans
To qualify for professions in certain industries, students may need to continue their studies in graduate school. As such, it’s important for parents and kids to also have a long term plan regarding their tertiary studies, as this can help narrow down the choices.
6. Learning and career is a journey with steps – enjoy each one!
How to choose a university: YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED!
1. Do universities have a preference in terms of the curriculum the kids have followed? Any pros and cons in graduating from a generalised curriculum (ie. IB, French curriculum…) vs a more specialised one (A-levels)?
Universities are used to admitting students from a wide range of curricula. They do not generally have any preference for one particular curriculum over another. It is most important that your child finds a high school curriculum in which they can thrive.
2. How does my child pick a course if she isn’t sure what to study?
Students who aren’t sure what they want to study will benefit from considering colleges in the US. Unlike universities in most other countries, colleges in the US emphasize student exploration across the curriculum for at least a year or two before students have to declare a major. Approximately 50% of undergraduate applicants to US schools apply “undecided,” so it’s a great option for students who don’t yet have a focus. Universities in Canada and the university colleges in the Netherlands may also offer flexibility for students who have not yet identified a precise plan for their course of study.
3. My son’s GPA is not great. What can we do to get him into a university?
This is not unusual! The good news is that there are thousands of colleges out there, most of which do not have selective admissions. So your child will definitely have options. In the US and Canada, you will want to look for colleges with high acceptance rates. And if you’re looking outside of North America, there are university systems that do not look at a student’s high school grades at all! It’s worth noting, though, that universities in the UK and Australia almost always base their admissions solely on test scores.
4. Is it a good idea to let the kid have a sabbatical year before getting into university?
Yes, often students really need a break from academics to have an authentic life experience. Students can take this time to volunteer, work, travel or spend time with family. These experiences often help students find out what university major is right for their next path.
5. How do you help student athletes choose the best programmes for their sport in parallel with their studies?
Allowing the student to select a sport they enjoy is to help them grow beyond athletics. He/she develops leadership skills, empathy, and learns how to be a good team player – all those are important. If your child is thinking about athletics at university you should work closely with their coach to ask about the next step.
6. How to choose a school between the UK and US?
If your child knows exactly what he/she/they want to student then the UK is recommended. If your child is unsure and has many academic interest, the US is best.
A big thank you to our panelists Tina Forbush from SAS and John Liu from UWCSEA…
Tina Forbush, Director of College Counseling at Singapore American School
Tina Forbush is the Director of College Counseling at Singapore American School, where she has enjoyed working with students and families since 2016. Prior to moving to Singapore, she was the Director of College Counseling and taught history at the Park School of Baltimore. She has also worked as a lawyer and taught at the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. When she is not supporting juniors and seniors on their college journeys, Forbush may be found coaching Singapore American School’s Mock Trial Team.
John Liu, Head of University Advising at UWCSEA
Now in his second year at Dover Campus, John brings 19 years of teaching, school leadership and university advising experience to his role as Head of University Advising, leading a team of six full-time university and career advisors who provide a programme of career and university advising support for students across the Dover High School. Born in China, John immigrated to New York City, USA, when he was six years old, and returned to work in Shanghai, China and Hsinchu, Taiwan for 11 years, until relocating to Singapore in August 2020.
John earned his BA in Modern American History from SUNY Stony Brook, and his MA in Secondary Education from CUNY Lehman College. He also has an MA in Educational Leadership and Policy and M ED in Independent School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. John also serves as the Professional Development Chair for China Institute of College Admissions Counselors.
For more helpful tips on parenting and anything school or #mumlife-related, stay tuned on our Instagram for the next HoneyKids Talk!