2. Do not be swayed by rankings and league tables
Every university claims to be top for something. Being “number 1” for anything does not make the university right for you. Global rankings tend to favour large research heavy traditional institutions.
Does the fact that a particular institution has a world-renowned research faculty in one discipline mean that it is right for you? Think about what is important for you. What criteria matters to you? Be honest with yourself – at Beau Soleil it is what you do that counts and acting honestly and with integrity is key to such right actions. However, often students say, “But I need to go somewhere where my parents can be proud of me... my mum needs to be able to brag about where I am to her friends.” This may be true. However, most parents also want their children to be happy and to do their best. To be happy and do your best might involve being at Harvard, but probably not.
The universities that parents have heard of are not always the right ones for you. At Beau Soleil we see a large part of College Counselling to be about working with parents so that they understand where the best place for their son or daughter to study might be. Success for us means students completing the degrees they leave Beau Soleil to do, becoming happy and confident people whose learning helps them flourish. In the US there are over 3,500 universities. It is our job to help you find the one that is right for you.
3. Put yourself first
You are the student who will spend three or four years of your life learning at the university you attend. What is it that you want from your education and experience? What will help you to be the person you want to be? You are not your friend or your parent, or your uncle, who despite their best intentions, are not the people who will be living the day to day experience.
This is a decision that will fundamentally change your life and it is important that you do what is right for you.
At Beau Soleil we realise that it can be difficult to put yourself first when there are so many people influencing your decision. We talk about kindness a lot in the school and “being kind” can be thought to mean doing that which keeps other people happy. However, this is a decision that will fundamentally change your life and it is important that you do what is right for you.
4. Do the Research
The choice of universities in the US is enormous. Institutions are extraordinarily different. You need to use lots of different search tools to find where is right for you.
At Beau Soleil we have access to some of the best search tools that start with the skills and abilities of you, the student. Join the university presentation meetings, talk to the representatives, speak to students. We want your university experience to build on what you already do well and this research will take time. Discuss your ideas with your teachers, they can give you an honest assessment of your abilities and these discussions will help you choose the best teachers to write your recommendation letters.
5. Do it yourself
The best applications are those that shout of your personality and abilities and that you have sweated blood and tears over – that come from your heart. For you to feel the satisfaction of going to the university that is right for you, you need to write the application.
Applying to university is a time consuming and sometimes stressful experience so there is a temptation to pay someone else to do it for you. Whilst there are some good agencies who might be able to help, no one can write as authentically about yourself as you. At Beau Soleil, we will support you with independent advice based on what is best for you to ensure that your application to the right university for you is successful.