Preparing for University in the ‘new normal’

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Preparing for University in the ‘new normal’

On a personal and professional level, we have all had to adjust swiftly to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, and continue to do so as regulations change on almost a weekly basis. In recent weeks, schools, universities and colleges worldwide have pulled out all the stops to ensure seamless online delivery of their learning programmes. And, while schools return gingerly to the classroom with many restrictions and one eye always on Covid-19 updates, universities have, perhaps, to be even more vigilant. Admissions policies, as a result, are being adapted as we write. As policies evolve over the days and weeks ahead, we will strive to keep you up to date with the latest information we have. But, thankfully, one theme is consistently apparent – there’s no need for panic.

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Reassurance for Year 13 IB students

Though Year 13 IB examinations have been cancelled, it is unlikely that this will affect applications to universities generally. Universities worldwide are adopting an holistic approach to overcome the broad spectrum of difficulties that the pandemic has caused students. Although they may not ‘have all the answers yet’, one behaviour is common to every university’s approach, and that is putting the student at the very heart of an inclusive admissions process. It’s a focus made clear by the following examples:

A hobby for every child: “Looking ahead, we are continuing to make preparations to welcome our new students next semester. We are currently considering a number of options, including flexibility with late arrivals, new start dates and some online courses. We hope to be able to give some more specific information soon, but for now we just want to reassure you that we are looking at all the ways we can make your study with us as smooth as possible, given all the challenges we are facing.”

Northeastern University (Boston): “For applicants applying for the 2021-2022 academic year, Northeastern will adopt a test-optional admission policy for all students. Recognizing the challenging situation facing applicants from around the globe, our goal is to allow students the flexibility they need as they complete their junior year and begin to prepare their applications.”

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A new way of visiting University Campuses

For students who are unable to visit university campuses at this time, most universities are offering online tours and information sessions. To find out more, students should check the websites of any universities in which they are interested. Some universities are delivering an impressive programme of online admissions events that include webinars, virtual tours, and virtual open days – in which prospective students can even speak with lecturers. If students have any questions or worries, or simply can’t find the information they need, it is important that they email or call the university.

The University Counselling Office is here for you

During the Coronavirus crisis, we are all in it together. That’s why the University Counselling Office at St George’s International School is very much open for ‘business as usual’; ready to answer your questions, provide guidance through the admissions process, to encourage, and to reassure. It is important to remember that the same is true of university admissions departments. Students are the beating heart of every university across the globe. So, despite working remotely, university admissions departments are open, and their staff are keener than ever to hear from and help students. Do not hesitate to contact them with any questions, or for advice.

Changes to testing in the coming months

SAT / ACT Standardised Testing: The College Board has announced a number of cancellations to test dates over the coming months. The latest updates for SAT testing opportunities for international test centres can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/international

In response to this decision, a number of universities have stated that submitting SAT or ACT scores has been made optional for 2021 applications, and in some cases for the next three years. These universities include:

  • Babson College
  • Boston University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Colgate University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Santa Clara University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • The University of California
  • Vassar College


Please do check individual university websites for updated information.

Exciting updates on offers for our current Year 13 students

We are excited to announce updates to our extensive range of conditional offers from universities including: King’s College London, University of Sussex, University of Southampton, University of Winchester, University of Reading, University of Dundee, University of Leicester, Goldsmiths University of London, St Mary’s University Twickenham, Queen Mary University of London, University of Kent, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, University for the Creative Arts, UCL, University of St Andrews, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool, Royal Holloway University of London, University of Exeter, University of Bath, University of York, University of Warwick, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and Imperial College London.

We are also delighted to update the list of decisions that have already been received by our students which include offers from École hôtelière de Lausanne Switzerland, McGill University Canada, Franklin University Switzerland, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Fontys University of Applied Sciences and Keio University Japan, University of Amsterdam, Skidmore College USA, University of Lausanne (UNIL).

A few examples of the excellent range of subjects for which offers have been received by our 2020 Cohort from above include:

  • Medicine – University of Glasgow, Imperial College London and University of Lausanne
  • Pharmacy – UCL and University of Nottingham
  • Psychology – Kings College London
  • Business and Economics – University of Edinburgh
  • University of Warwick - Politics, Philosophy and Law (PPL)
  • Physics – University of St Andrews
  • Aeronautics and Astronautics - University of Southampton

Students and universities: together undaunted

Throughout this uncertain time, two things have become clear to us at St George’s. First, that our students have extraordinary reserves of calm in a crisis, and an undaunted application to their studies. Second – by their inclusive and proactive approach to admissions during this period, universities have demonstrated that the welfare of their student community is at the very heart of their decisions. As parents, teachers and students, we should be reassured that, despite uncertain times, the higher education community has us in safe hands.

Further questions?
Contact the University Counselling office here