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August 11, 2023

Preparing for College: A Roadmap for High School Students

For expatriate students residing in Singapore, navigating the college admissions process can be daunting. While international school students do often have an edge when it comes to college admissions, acceptance is not, by any means, a simple matter. 

Even as early as middle school, students and parents need to prepare to ensure a smooth transition to college. When a child enters high school, they will need to devote increasingly more time toward ensuring that they could enter their college or university of choice. Let’s explore what young expatriate students and their parents can do to prepare for the challenges of higher learning.

Build a Strong and Specific Academic Foundation

While it isn’t everything, academic performance is an important factor in the college admissions process. This is especially true if a student wants to pursue a field that has especially high technical demands. Even in cases where students don’t know what it is exactly they want to take up in college, a sufficiently high GPA and good standardized test scores are still necessary for maximizing their opportunities when they finish high school.

As it offers multiple pathways to learning, the Stamford American International School (SAIS) is an exceptional choice for young students that want challenging courses that align with their interests and abilities. Notably, each SAIS high school student graduates with a US-accredited High School Diploma derived from a choice between Advanced Placement International Diploma (AP) courses, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), or a combination of both. Students may also choose a Business and Technical Education Council (BTEC) Diploma, giving them an additional path to pursue their long-term interests, especially if they’re planning to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom.

Engage in Meaningful Extracurricular Activities

While a student’s GPA will be the main factor that decides whether they can enter the college they prefer, their involvement in extracurricular activities can make a serious impression on college admissions officers. When faced with two candidates that have equally impressive academic performances, college admissions boards will often prefer the one with more extracurricular involvement, as this may indicate a better-rounded individual.

Among international schools in Singapore, Stamford American International School offers a compelling mix of extracurricular activities that are unavailable in many other educational environments, ensuring all students are able to engage in something they’re passionate about. Whether it’s joining special interest clubs, engaging in team sports, or pursuing community service, encouraging students to participate in these activities can signal a commitment to self-development that should resonate with most admissions boards.

Choose a School That Helps Students Navigate College Admissions

Different colleges have varying admissions requirements. Additionally, many high school students feel confused about which decisions are best for helping them enter their college of choice. Choosing an international high school in Singapore with a college counseling program will help students make better-optimized choices for entering the colleges they want to get into. 

SAIS has a well-developed Academic and College Counseling Department, expressly organized to help students strategize how best to take on the GPA, standardized test, recommendation letter, and essay requirements of different colleges. More importantly, the department helps students to take these challenges early on, ensuring meaningful learning and doing away with the need for last-minute cramming.

Enroll in a High School That Has Existing Relationships with Major Institutions

When a high school has established relationships with colleges and universities, it means that representatives from those institutions visit the school, hold information sessions, or participate in college fairs specifically for its students. This direct interaction offers students valuable insights into admissions requirements, special programs, and the campus cultures of those institutions of higher learning, allowing them to make better-informed decisions about their choices.

Importantly, high schools with direct connections to colleges and universities often have a good track record of sending successful applicants to these institutions. Admissions officers at those colleges are likely to already be familiar with the school’s reputation as well as the quality of its students. This familiarity can work in the favor of students, as their applications may receive additional consideration due to the positive relationship between their school and their colleges of choice.

With its strong relationships with different institutions all over the world, SAIS is listed as one of the best international schools and a prime example of an institution that offers such advantages to its students. Through its Academic and College Counseling Department, the school regularly hosts representatives from many of the world’s most distinguished institutions, SAIS students enjoy an inside track to getting admitted to a wide selection of colleges and universities.

Develop Strong Soft Skills

Schools with a proven track record of helping students excel in soft skills such as writing, foreign languages, cultural sensitivity, and presentation will help children create personal statements and college essays that positively impact their admissions. More importantly, schools that teach these skills well are preparing students not just for college but the future that lies beyond it.

With automation now changing the professional landscape in profound and unexpected ways, individuals that develop good soft skills will be able to thrive in a job market that increasingly values human connections. With its strong emphasis on soft skills, Stamford American International School is well-positioned to help students manage the dynamic challenges of the future.

Charting a Successful Course to College and Beyond

Preparing for college is a journey that requires careful planning and support. By following this roadmap, expatriate high school students and their parents should be better able to navigate the often-confusing college admissions process with confidence. With early preparation, students will be well placed to not only succeed in college but wherever else their lives will take them.

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