3 Overview of the Counseling Process at BIPH

Mr. Iain McClinton


Presentation Materials

Applying to colleges and universities abroad can will be overwhelming at times. A lack of preparation can will make your final year of high school unnecessarily stressful. Over the coming weeks, we will guide and prepare you for senior year and the college/university application process.

3.1 The Basics

There are common elements that are part and parcel of almost ALL applications to colleges and universities abroad:

  1. You as a number
    • GPA
    • AP exam scores
    • SAT exam scores
    • ToEFL exam scores
  2. You as a person
    • Essays– a picture of your achievements, challenges, growth, and self-reflection
  3. You, from the viewpoint of others
    • Teacher recommendations
    • Counselor recommendations
    • Peer recommendations
    • External recommendations
  4. You beyond the classroom
    • Extracurriculars
    • Activities
    • Clubs
    • Awards
    • Interests
    • Commitments
  5. You, in relation to the colleges to which you are applying
    • Supplemental essays
    • Why “X” college
    • Why “X” course

A broad awareness of these common elements will help you focus and polish your applications.

3.2 The Exceptions

There are exceptions beyond the common elements in any application. Some specialised courses at University require a little bit more from you than the standard application process.

  1. All applications to Oxford or Cambridge involve “extra” university specific tasks, tests, interviews, etc.
  2. Applications for direct entry to Medicine, Veterinary medicine (non-US) involve specific tests, interviews, etc.
  3. Applications for direct entry to Architecture and the creative industries may have specific portfolio requirements
  4. Merit scholarships/nominations may involve alternative deadlines and supplemental essays.
  5. Other niche courses worldwide may have specific requirements depending on the college/university/course.

We will, over the coming weeks, elaborate on all of these areas. However, the application is about YOU, and you ALL have individual needs. Therefore it is vital that you proactively approach us and identify what you personally feel you need more information about.

3.3 General Advice

3.3.1 Truths

There are many myths and misconceptions about the college application process. However, firstly, let’s look at a few general truths that ALWAYS lead to stronger applications and better outcomes.

  1. A strong application NEVER happens at the last moment! Self-reflection, decisions making based on thorough research and supported by strong evidence, essays that carry your unique “voice”; All of these elements take time!
  2. Quality is always better than quantity: More recommendations, more activities, exaggerated competencies, etc. are NEVER an adequate substitute for a genuine, thoughtful, and measured approach to your future.
  3. Admissions officers read many, many generic applications. Trying to predict what an admissions officer wants to hear, rather than saying what you want to say, is NEVER a successful tactic.
  4. If you don’t communicate well with your college counselor, they cannot provide you with the best guidance because they can not know what you haven’t told them! The more your counselor and your teachers know you as a person, the stronger and more personalized their recommendations will be.

3.3.2 Myths

There are many myths and misconceptions about the college application process. Let’s look at a few of the more toxic varieties of the species.

  1. “The application process begins when I start my senior year.”
  2. Colleges only accept a certain number of students from each high school.
  3. Admission committees can’t tell if the applicant wrote the essays themselves.
  4. Rankings are everything!
  5. I just need to fill in some personal details and write my Common App essay.
  6. Each BIPH counselor specializes in different countries……….and if it isn’t the USA, you shouldn’t trust us.
  7. Agents will increase your chances of getting into university and simplify the process for you.
  8. The more selective, the better the college.
  9. My teacher told me…………so it must be true: I read it in a forum………….so it must be true.
  10. Students with perfect scores get in wherever they want.

3.3.3 Mechanics

There are simple processes and protocols (mechanics) involved in applying to college.

  1. BIPH uses CIALFO; an AI driven e-platform that brings together colleges & students, software & data to streamline the college counseling and application process. You ALL have accounts and initial profiles on CIALFO.
  2. You will ALL request teacher recommenders (2) from prior to the end of your junior year.
  3. All seniors will have College Counseling Class in 12th grade
  4. All official documentation; academic transcripts, school profile, recommendations, etc. will be transmitted electronically to colleges via CIALFO/PARCHMENT/EMAIL by your individual college counselor.

Students should ALWAYS create college application accounts using their school email address. This email address is used as the primary identifier for the CIALFO database.

3.4 The Coming Weeks

Here is a list of topics we will be covering in the weeks to come.

Date Topic Presenter
5-16 Cialfo and Systems Ms. Jaime
5-17 Senior Year Mr. McClinton
5-18 Activity Lists Ms. Cameron
5-19 Targets and School Lists Mr. Westbay
5-22 Demonstrated Interest and College Research Ms. Jaime
5-23 Brainstorming Mr. Westbay
5-24 Plot, Character, and Scene Dr. Nelson
5-25 Supplemental Essays Ms. Cameron
5-26 Show, Don’t Tell Dr. Nelson
5-29 The Hook Mr. McClinton

These topics form the basis of virtually ALL applications. Beyond that, we will continue in more detail with specifics and extensions of all of these plus many other topics.

3.5 Prioritizing the Future

Most seniors apply to a variety of educational systems whether in one specific country or around the world. We encourage you to learn about the systems you are applying to and NOT to limit yourself.

  • Liberal arts and sciences
  • Specialized area of study (non-licensed degree)
  • Career-oriented major (licensed professional degree)
  • Practical v. Theoretical
  • Public v. Private

In order to make good decisions about the future, you need to understand what is available to you, what your options are, and how to achieve your goals.

Only you can achieve those goals!

By staying focused over the next few weeks, you will gain valuable insights into the college application process and discover how to activate your own future successes.

We are all excited to be working with you!