|11 Mar 2020|
What is it like to go head off to university? To move to a foreign country, meet new people, and live away from home for the first time?
For many students, going to university overseas can be a challenge as they transition into a whole new way of life and learning. One might think that it “might be easier” for students attending international schools as they are continually interacting with multinational classmates, being taught by international educators and getting exposed to multicultural and transnational educational experiences that comes as part and parcel of being in an international school. But wherever you are coming from, an advice from a fellow alumni, someone who had a similar experience to yours, will always be welcome.
Every year ISKL students go on to attend leading universities worldwide. This year, the Class of 2020, who are graduating in May have already received offers and early acceptances from more than 65 universities around the world including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Netherlands, and France.
More offers and acceptances are still to come, with additional offers from Asia, Australia and New Zealand due later in the year.
Every year, ISKL’s extensive Alumni family steps up to help out the Seniors by providing down-to-earth advice about their personal university experiences - from guidance in choosing their future subjects, course workloads, settling into university life, and how to make new friends.
The following are recollections by recent ISKL graduates who are currently studying overseas.
Good To Know
Natasha Tan, who studies at the University of Cambridge (Pembroke College) in the United Kingdom, was happy to share her experience of learning at one of the UK's most prestigious universities.
She says, "The quality of teaching here is incredible! It was super intimidating at first, but I've found that there's honestly no better way to learn. The workload here is intense, and it's not for everyone, so in terms of advice, I'd say that you have to enjoy the subject you're applying for, and you have to be willing to put in the work."
Natasha also talks about how the interview process at Cambridge is very academic.
"The interviewers are more interested in hearing your thought process than the right answer, so it is helpful to think out loud," she advises.
Nicole Phung, who is studying law at University College London, commented on the versatility of living in London and the university's law program.
"The location of central London is truly a blessing - everything is super accessible. In public law, we discussed the Magna Carta, and my professor said, 'You can see the document in the British Library after this, it's just across the street.' And because city firms are all around you, your only concern is going to too many career events," she says.
She also encouraged potential law students to be both genuine and passionate about the legal issues they care about.
"Show them you've done your research and that you are keen to learn more," she adds.
On the social aspect of going to university, Aisha Faiz, who studies at Penn State University in the USA, comments on the differences between college and high school.
"College is different. You meet so many different kinds of people with so many different interests. Do join lots of clubs to figure out what you'd be interested in - and it's a great way to make friends who have similar interests as you".
Hirona Morihisa, also studying at Penn State University, says she made the right decision in choosing her university:
"There are many clubs, sports, and events that give me a lot of opportunities to meet people. Don't be scared of jumping into a new place and choose the one you think you are going to fit in best. You will be fine - you are going to enjoy college".
Claire Ng, who studies at the University of California San Diego in the USA, advises incoming first-year students, whether it's to UCSD or anywhere, to put themselves out there.
"Everyone is new and is probably feeling just as nervous as you are. Don't be afraid to go out and introduce yourself to new people, and if you're interested in certain things, join an organization or club! It's an excellent way to make this new huge place seem just a little bit smaller, because ultimately what you put into college, will be what you get out of it."
Liam Casey, who chose Queens University in Canada, cited its fantastic school spirit, concurrent education, and sports program.
"My favorite things about the university are what you would expect - from my love of rugby, to the freedom and control over the direction of your own life, and most of all, it's the people."
Liam also talked about the application process when identifying universities to apply for:
"School status doesn't matter, don't apply to a university because of its 'reputation' or because it is a 'good' university. Apply for the program you want and the place you think you will fit in best".
Where Are They Going?
Many ISKL students will receive multiple early acceptances and will make their final decisions in due course.
Here are some of the institutions our 2020 graduates have received early acceptance and conditional offers so far:
California Institute of Technology (Caltech), New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Arizona, Drexel University, Tulane University, University of Michigan, Imperial College London, Durham University, Lancaster University, University College of London (UCL), University of Warwick, University of Exeter, University of Leeds, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Glasgow, University of Manchester, King's College London, University of Surrey, University of Sussex, University of Nottingham Trent, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management Switzerland, The American University of Paris and The University of Twente.
The ISKL High School academic program has been designed to give students flexibility in choosing the best university in the country of their choice. Students understand and fulfill their academic potential through a challenging curriculum that develops critical thinking, research techniques, problem-solving, and exposure to a variety of perspectives as ISKL’s robust international curriculum develops well-rounded individuals with access to an extensive range of opportunities in the arts, music, sport, and service.
This is ideal preparation for life beyond ISKL, providing students with many tertiary opportunities around the world not just at university but at the workplace too.
As global learners, ISKL students benefit from cultural enrichment opportunities, with opportunities such as the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) competitions where it typifies the benefits of an international school education, by giving students the opportunity to travel and compete with their peers across the region.
Our role at ISKL is to ensure the long-term success of our students so that they become highly successful, spirited, socially responsible global citizens who are ready to take on any challenge the world presents them and, as our Alumni have shown, have a willingness to give back as well.
For more stories of our globe-trotting ISKL Alumni and their stories, check out their student-led Instagram page @ISKLPastAndPresent!
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