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September 29, 2010

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Tips to create a successful college application

WHAT are the essential conditions for success in a college application? "There are a few essentials that really help," says Shanghai Community International School Pudong College Counselor, Dr Luis Murillo. "First, all applicants to university admission must have an honest understanding of themselves - strengths and shortcomings.

"Students should have the maturity to assess who they are, neither falling prey to delusions of grandeur nor underestimating their true worth. Somewhere in the middle between these two extremes, candidates will see the special talents and experiences that, with modesty, they will want to highlight in their college personal statements," Murillo says.

At Shanghai Community International School there is a college counselor on each campus to ensure the success of students in the application process and to offer them the guidance they need to make a decision that is most beneficial for them.

SCIS students take the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in Grade 11 and 12 and have previously been accepted by universities around the world.

The SCIS mission is to provide them with opportunities to pursue personal and academic excellence within school and beyond, and the role of college counselors is essential in providing them with the support to achieve their goals.

Murillo mentions another key strength: "Students coming from schools like Shanghai Community International School have challenged themselves with the rigors of an externally assessed academic curriculum. Whatever their scores, students should value this rigor and not be shy to mention it in their applications.

"The second thing to take an honest look at is what are we looking for in a university. Status? Prestige? Social advancement? Perhaps, more idealistically, it is a broadening of the mind, an expanded sensitivity," Murillo says.

"Loren Pope, in 'Colleges That Change Lives' details a number of schools committed to excellent, highly personalized teaching. These are places where professors have been selected for the quality of their teaching rather than solely on the volume of their research.

"SCIS has had success in placing students in a wide variety of universities and colleges from engineering powerhouses to small liberal arts programs, thus the college counselors are well versed in the options available," Murillo adds.

The college-admission process can be confusing, stressful and expensive. It is important for students to be aware of all the options that they have available to them and considering they are expatriate children based in Shanghai, it is also important that the school can bring these options to them.

Shanghai Community International School makes this possible by providing them with ample information about universities and colleges, by having university representatives visit their campuses, by using early planning strategies, by monitoring grades and standardized tests, and by carefully scouring financial aid programs.

They also help prepare students for their first year in college, and with parents, faculty, and college counselors as their guides, the students should find the application process to be both exciting and empowering.


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