Sent on the last Thursday of each month, the Counseling Newsletter provides extra guidance and information to assist you during the university application process. Please read each issue carefully. The newsletter is also shared with your parents and teachers, and it can be used to help create more dialogue about your future.
In this issue will have a look at what you should have done by now, and also what else is coming up in the university application process. We illustrated some very important steps you need to take when you have completed any of your university applications. Please save this newsletter link, so that you can review it easily when you have completed an application. Continue working on your applications and college essays/personal statements. Remember the US ED/EA internal application deadline is only three weeks away, and the UK/US regular application deadline is only 1 month, 4 weeks and 2 days away. Please do contact your counselor with any questions or concerns.
Kind regards, The High School Counselors
What You Should Have Done by Now
Finalised the Short-List of 6-10 universities.
Added the universities to “Colleges I am applying to” on Naviance.
Decided if each university is a Reach, Fit, or Star school based on the entry requirements and your personal profile (IB Course choices, IB Scores, SAT/ACT Scores)
Completed the Check-In meeting with your counselor to discuss your final Short-List
Testing and Essays:
Registered for SAT (Reasoning) and SAT Subject tests if needed for your applications (see list of test dates below). Remember that November is the only test date where you can do language tests with listening
ACT (October and/or December)
SAT (October and/or December)
SAT Subject Tests (October, November and/or December)
Completed, if relevant for you, the TOEFL/IELTS at a test center in Seoul (or elsewhere).
Started working (and preferably completed) your first drafts of the required college essays and personal statement
You should have completed (or updated) the Junior Interview Survey. We will be writing your counselor recommendation letters very soon and most of the content is based on the information given by you in this survey. We will also be using the stories shared by your parents through the Parent Brag Sheet.
You should have signed up for or completed the UKCAT and/or BMAT tests (if you are applying to Medical school in the UK)
Applying to Oxford and/or Cambridge? Make sure you have registered for the appropriate test (SFS is a test center for some of these and your counselor can give you more information).
Applying to Law in the UK? Do they require the LNAT?
If you attended another school in Grade 9-11, make sure you have provided SFS with a full academic transcript from the previous school. If you transferred, check with your counselor!
If you are applying through the Common App then you should have confirmed these universities on your short list on Naviance. There should be no Question Mark next to your common app universities (see illustration below on how to do this).
Joined some of the 9 Senior Workshops we gave you in September on various country systems. The last one, The Coalition App, takes place today. The presentations can be viewed/downloaded on the Grade 12 Counseling Page.
What's coming up?
For North America
Continue working on the Common Application and the supplements (if relevant).
Continue working on your college essays—share your drafts with a critical friend, teacher, or counselor
Students who are applying early to the US through Early Action or Early Decision should be working hard on their applications and essays. The SFS Internal EA/ED deadline is October 18. Some universities even have an October 15 deadline, and you must finish the application for these universities by October 1. These universities are Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, University of South Carolina.
For the UK
Continue working on your UCAS application.
Continue working on your Personal Statement—share your drafts with a critical friend, teacher, or counselor
Students who are applying to Oxbridge courses, and/or medicine related courses in the UK (including dentistry and veterinary medicine) should be almost done with their UCAS application and Personal Statement. The SFS Internal Deadline is October 1.
Beginning on October 3, the HS Counselors will have individual predicted grades meetings with students that are applying to the UK to have a look at their predicted grades and how they relate to the course specific requirements. Universities in the UK will base their conditional offers mainly on the predicted grades. They also look at the personal statement and school reference, but it is highly unlikely that they give an offer to a student if the predicted grades don't meet the minimum requirement. UK universities don't request, and will not have access to, your Grade 9-12 transcript. It is safe to say that predicted grades are very important for students applying to universities in the UK.
Students applying to the US will get their predicted grades from their teachers after October 1. The HS Counselors will not have individual Predicted Grades Meetings with students applying to the US if not requested by students themselves. The predicted grades will be sent with the EA/ED applications in October, and with regular applications as part of the midyear report which is sent to universities in early February. Predicted grades can change (up or down) as teachers collect more numerical data until November 19. Teachers will change the predicted grade on PowerSchool and send the student’s counselor an email if they decide to change any predicted grades.
Please remember that predicted grades are much less important for students applying to the US as the universities use a holistic evaluation approach where they look at the student's grade 9-12 courses and grades, SAT or ACT scores, recommendation letters from teachers and counselors as well as the student's own essay(s). US universities use predicted grades in various ways and they really play a much less important role compared to the UK. Some universities say that they don't consider them at all. Others say that they look at them but that they don't give them any weight in the review process. Some universities say that they do add weight to predicted grades as it shows the direction the student is taking in the senior year. These universities use the predicted grades as a form of check point between last semester junior grades and first semester senior grades which are sent to universities in early February. Predicted grades are "open" at SFS which means that students know what predicted grade they get in each subject. Students are of course welcome to have discussions about the predicted grades with their teachers as they would about grades in general. Begging, bargaining, or pressurizing is not acceptable though and will be reported to the administration.
I have sent my application, now what?
You need to send you counselor an email every time you have completed, sent, and paid for one of your applications. This is so that we can prepare and send your supporting documents to the university.
Dear Mr./Mrs. Counselor,
I have sent my application to the University of xxxx. I have marked it as submitted on my short list on Naviance, and I have attached the Essay Verification Form to this email.
Make sure you fill out the information on top of the form (your name, university’s name, type of essay(s), etc.)
Include all essays that you sent with your university application (Common App Essay and Supplements go on the same form)
Read the statement at the bottom of the form and add your electronic signature (here is a guide on how to add your signature on a Mac electronically)
Attach the form to the email to your counselor
Update the university on your short list on Naviance (as illustrated below) confirming that your application has been submitted (completed, sent, and paid for online)
First go to your short list (Colleges I'm applying to" and click "Edit" next to the relevant university as illustrated below.
Tick the box stating that you have submitted your application.
Make sure you choose either "Via Common App" or Directly to the institution"
Mark the application type as either "Regular Decision" Early Action" or Early Decision"
Hit the "Save college application" button
Counselors submitting your Supporting Documents
November 5 is the first day students may request that the counselors send their supporting documents to universities (except Early Applications).
Please note that we will do this only after you have completed, sent, and paid for your online application.
As soon as we have sent the documents (within 5 work days), we will respond to your e-mail, confirming that it has been sent.
A few schools do not yet accept online submission, so these will be sent by courier. You will receive an e-mail informing you of the date and time that your package was sent by courier along with all of the information you will need to track this package.
What are the supporting documents again?
Two Teacher Recommendation Letters
Counselor Recommendation Letter
Academic Transcript (s) Grade 9-11 (Grade 12 first semester grades will be sent in beginning of February)
Predicted Grades Form
IGCSE Certificate (if relevant)
Mid-Semester Grades (if relevant)
SFS Academic Profile
Sometimes students and parents believe that universities use quotas to determine admissions. For example: "we will only take three students from SFS in Korea this year to make sure our environment is really diverse". This is simply not true! Universities evaluate applications individually. If they like you and think you are a good fit for their school (and they have a vacant bed for you to sleep in) then they will admit you. It doesn't matter how many students they take from one institution. If they like two, they take two. If they like ten then they take ten.
The next issue of the newsletter will be posted on Thursday 25 October.