Important Things Students Need to Know to Apply to Universities in Countries Other than North America and Europe

September 30, 2019

Most universities ISB students go to are located in North America and Europe. Therefore, various advice flutters about in ISB when seniors begin applying to these prestigious schools. However, we barely hear information on the Universities outside of North America and Europe – we can only hear about them in some specific University Fairs done in ISB. In this article, I (Lilika Kikuchi in grade 12) am going to give some advice who are seeking entry into universities outside of Europe and North America based on my experiences and the advice made by ISB’s university counselors. 


Teacher Recommendations

The most important thing to say to anyone applying to University is, make sure retain a good relationship with your teachers here at ISB. You are or are going to ask two of those teachers to write the Recommendation Letters about you. The recommendation form is going to be sent to the universities without you input. Therefore, you should contact your teacher well to be able for the teachers to write good things about you! Some of you might think that it is stressing because the teacher’s recommendation cannot be checked by you, however, there is nothing scary about that because teachers do not write bad things about you. The teacher recommendations will be double-checked by your college counselors as well, so many professional eyes will be helping you along the way. Additionally, before a teacher will write a recommendation letter for you, you must answer various questions about yourself so the teachers can “add a bit more color” to your letter. In order for you to have something to write about you, you better communicate and contact well to teachers. That way, teachers could also be able to write a good and positive recommendation about you, which will be a big help in getting you to the university you want. 


The best effort for the school grades

Most universities require your school grades in order to get you in the school. I think the first thing you can do is to work hard on your school academics and get high scores on the exams. As the higher the grade you get, the more chance you would have for getting into the university. When I was in grade 9 and 10, and even now, every private school teacher who is a professional in universities says what I should work on hard now is to focus on your grades in school. Please work hard on this the most because the university looks at your transcript to decide whether they will get you into the universities. 


Take English tests (TOEFL SAT IELTS) in your early grades

The TOEFL, SAT, IELTS tests are required in most universities for noticing the level of the English a student has. According to the Head of the Academic Counselors, Mr. Weiser, “the most important thing is your grades on the transcript. Studying and taking these extra tests (TOEFL etc.) multiple times may be taking away from study in your classes. Also, it takes away time from Extra Curriculum such as activities and clubs.” Some people may think that it is better to start taking these tests early on (even grade 9!) so you can take them 5 or 6 times to get a better score. However,  since Universities see how many times you take the test, you maybe negatively affecting your application. The website at the College Board claims that “taking those tests more than three times would not benefit your scores.” Therefore, counselors recommend you to take SAT around December of your 12th grade; TOEFL & IELTS from June of grade 11 (before you go to your home country and lose your English ability! 🙂


Participate in many clubs which you think are necessary for your future dream

For example, if you want to be a counselor, be in multiple services clubs and know how to communicate with other people. If you are planning to be a TV producer, take media studies class and make various short videos on your own using your independent time. Participate in the club you thought that might be the best interest or related to your future dream! If you are still in grade 9, also try new things through the clubs available in ISB! In that way, you would have more things to say during the oral examination for the university. However, it is “quality and not quantity” that is important here!  So, I recommend you take four to five clubs you enjoy, and only take clubs that you are committed to putting effort into. 



I believe that these four things are the most important things for applying to university or before applying for universities. I am G12 and I am working hard continuously on these four things. If you participate in doing these four steps, I hope they will help you get into the University of your dreams!


Postscript: Check when and which universities are coming from this link below!

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