College Application Guide 2018-19 - Singapore American School

College Application Guide 2018-19 - Singapore American School
Contents                                               Introduction
                                                       At Singapore American School, each student and family has a different level of
Introduction                                       1   familiarity with colleges and how the college application process works. Some
                                                       begin junior year with long lists of schools, while others have only vague notions
                                                       about what they might want to study or where they might want to go. Some
Timeline                                           2   of our students are extremely ambitious; others see college as a nebulous
                                                       concept and are not yet sure what might come next. We also work with
                                                       students who are planning to take gap years or who will spend their first two
Researching Colleges and Universities              3   years after graduation in Singapore’s mandatory National Service (NS). The role
                                                       of a college counselor is to guide all SAS students, with their many different
                                                       needs, perspectives, and interests, through a process that helps them to find
Building Your List                                 5   schools at which they will be successful.

                                                       The SAS college counselors view a student’s engagement in the college
Admissions Test (SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, Etc.)    5   admissions cycle as an educational experience. Students need to learn to ask
                                                       questions, to research, to analyze their research material and then synthesize it,
                                                       and to reflect on their inputs. They practice speaking, writing, and organizational
Applying To Schools                                7   skills. Most students will craft essays and take tests. So while the college process
                                                       is not a formal class at SAS, it provides a learning experience for each student.
                                                       And it is the college counselor’s job to help guide and support each SAS
Applying To Colleges Outside the US                    student through this journey.

   Australia                                       8   Ultimately, the college research and application experience should be about
                                                       process as well as outcomes. The best outcome for each student will be both
   Canada                                          9   pedagogical and practical. And the college counselors will offer a positive
                                                       process so that all students and families will conclude their SAS experience
                                                       feeling supported and having “best fit” outcomes: colleges to which students
   Japan                                          10   are admissible, at which they will be happy and successful, and from which
                                                       they will graduate.
   Singapore                                      11

   South Korea                                    11
                                                       Applications Outside of the US
                                                       Please note that, because most students at SAS apply to university in the US,
   UK                                             12   this planning guide is focused on the US application process. If you are thinking
                                                       about applying to universities in Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, South
Singapore National Service                        13   Korea or the UK, please see the section on “Applying to Colleges Outside
                                                       the US.” If you are thinking about applying to non-US universities in countries
                                                       beyond this list, please talk to your college counselor. Also, if you know that
Gap Year                                          14
                                                       you will be enrolling in Singapore’s National Service, please see the section
                                                       on “National Service” for more information and talk to your college counselor.
After You Apply                                   15

Glossary of Terms                                 16

College Application Policies                      17

•                                                        •
    Timeline                                                   Register for any additional standardized tests
                                                               you would like to take in the fall of senior year.
                                                                                                                        For US universities, you have until May 1 to
                                                                                                                        make your final decision (except in the case
                                                                                                                                                                           Match and other search options. If you are unsure
                                                                                                                                                                           how to access Family Connection, see your
                                                           •   Explore admissions websites for the                      of an ED acceptance). You must pay the             counselor.
    In order to ensure a thoughtful application process,       schools you are considering and check their              enrollment deposit by May 1 to hold your
    the college counseling office recommends                   requirements.                                            enrollment.                                        The college counseling department’s extensive
    students follow this general timeline. This plan       •   Create application accounts (such as the             •   If you are placed on a waitlist, see your          website is full of information about the college
    may vary with students’ unique college plans,              Common Application, UCAS, school-specific                counselor to review your options.                  application process. Spend time browsing pages
    so make sure you discuss your personal timeline            applications, etc.) and begin working on your        •   Once you’ve made your decision, notify other       and links. It contains nearly everything you could
    with your college counselor.                               applications.                                            schools you will not be enrolling.                 possibly want to know about selecting and
                                                           •   If you are using the Common Application,             •   Keep your grades up. Your acceptance is            applying to college.
    Second Semester, Junior Year                               match your Common Application and Family
                                                               Connection accounts.
                                                                                                                        contingent upon the successful completion
                                                                                                                        of your senior year. If your grades drop, your     Facebook is another way in which you can keep
    •    Attend individual meeting with your college       •   If you will be applying to Oxford, Cambridge,            acceptance could be withdrawn.                     up with news about SAS college counseling and
         counselor.                                            or medical/dental/veterinary programs in             •   If you are applying to colleges in Australia,      college admission. It is a private group, so you will
    •    Attend family meeting with your college               the UK, submit your UCAS applications and                Japan, or South Korea, you will likely be          need to go to Facebook, search for “SAS College
         counselor once individual meeting has                 supplements by October 15.                               completing your applications for those             Counseling” and request to join.
         occurred.                                         •   Draft college essays.                                •   schools during this time period.
                                                           •   By mid-September you should notify your              •   If you will be entering Singapore’s NS, attend
    •    Update your resume on Family Connection
                                                               counselor if you will be applying to an Early            the SAS NS luncheon.                               Reference Materials
         (under the “About Me” tab).
    •    Develop a testing plan and register for               Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), or other           •   If you will be attending college in the US and
                                                               colleges with October 1—November 15                      are not a US passport holder, attend the SAS       The SAS high school library has an up-to-date
         standardized tests (SAT, ACT, TOEFL, etc.).                                                                                                                       collection of independent college handbooks.
    •    We recommend that every junior take the ACT           deadlines.                                               Visa workshop.
                                                           •   Submit Document Request Forms (DRFs)                                                                        You will also find some of the more popular
         or SAT at least once in the second semester of                                                                                                                    references on the bookshelves in the back of the
         junior year.                                          to the college counseling secretary by the
                                                               appropriate deadlines (roughly one month
                                                                                                                    Researching Colleges                                   college counseling center—feel free to come sit
    •    Secure at least one junior year teacher
         from a core academic area for a letter of             before the college application deadline).            and Universities                                       on our couches and browse!

         recommendation. Many colleges will require        •   Check Family Connection or the counseling
                                                               website for the list of college representatives      Deciding where to apply is a highly individual         One of the best independent guides is the
         two letters.                                                                                                                                                      Fiske Guide to Colleges, which is easy to read,
    •    After a teacher has verbally agreed to a letter       that will be visiting campus, and meet with          decision. Your choices will be influenced by where
                                                               those representatives when they are here.            you want to study, what you want to study, and         interesting, and accurate. Fiske is one of the
         of recommendation, fill out the appropriate                                                                                                                       few resources to utilize feedback from current
        “Teacher Rec Survey” on Family Connection          •   Keep your college counselor up-to-date on            your high school grades earned so far. It will
                                                               your college plans.                                  also be influenced by personal factors including       students and faculty members. Additional useful
         and have it approved by your counselor.                                                                                                                           print resources include Colleges that Change
    •    Keep a running list of colleges on “Colleges      •   Consult financial aid requirements and               everything from location to class size, from
                                                               deadlines for each school to which you are           available activities to cost of attending, and it’s    Lives, College Admission: From Application to
         I’m Thinking About” on Family Connection.                                                                                                                         Acceptance, the Heap Guides (UK), and the Good
    •    Attend the essay writing workshop.                    considering applying. These deadlines may            completely normal to change your mind about
                                                               differ from college application deadlines.           your priorities several times during this decision-    University Guide (UK).
    •    Attend the SAS College Admissions Seminar in
         April.                                                                                                     making process! For almost every student, there
                                                           December, January, and February:                         are dozens of institutions where you would be          Regarding rankings: each year, the US News
    •    Meet with college admissions representatives                                                                                                                      & World Report, and several other publications
         who visit SAS in the spring.                      • Complete applications for December 1 (UCAS)            happy and successful. This guide is one resource
                                                              and January (most US and Canada schools)              among many for you to utilize in the college           rate colleges. Each publication uses a different
                                                              deadlines.                                            search process.                                        methodology to create its list, and each
    Summer                                                 • If you have been accepted Early Action (EA)                                                                   methodology is highly subjective. Some draw
                                                                                                                                                                           in large part from third-party websites like
                                                              or Early Decision (ED), please let your college
    •   Visit campuses (if possible), research schools        counselor know. If you have been accepted ED,         Web Resources                                          College Prowler or, and
        of interest, and brainstorm responses to essay        you must immediately cancel any applications                                                                 some poll professors, administrators, and high
        prompts.                                              you have out to other schools.                        All SAS students and parents have access to Family     school counselors about their opinions regarding
    •   Complete the “Counselor Recommendation”            • If your application has been deferred by a             Connection (FC), a college and career information      other institutions. Using this information and
        questionnaire on Family Connection.                   college, please talk with your college counselor      website. FC allows students to take a personality      something called the Common Data Set (data
                                                              about next steps.                                     test called “Do What You Are,” complete a career       provided by most US colleges and universities),
                                                           • Mid-year transcripts will be automatically             interest inventory, look at specific careers, and so   publishers rank colleges.
    Senior Year                                               sent to all US and Canadian colleges in late          much more.
                                                              December.                                                                                                    Directly comparing a school such as UC Berkeley
    First semester:                                                                                                 Students can create a list of prospective colleges     (with 29,000 students) to Tufts (with 6,000 students)
    • Meet with your college counselor.                    March and April:                                         based on a variety of factors, look at graphs          is problematic. Yet, that is exactly what these
    • Update your list of colleges, including level of     • As you receive each decision, please notify            (called “scattergrams”) to predict their chances of    rating guides attempt to do. And few guides
        interest, in Family Connection.                      your college counselor.                                admission, and follow the progress of submitted        (let alone rankings) take student feedback into
                                                                                                                    applications. Family Connection also has College       account. Just because a for-profit publishing

2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3
company has assigned a rank to a school does not
    mean that the ranking is in any way reliable. If you
                                                           Campus Visits                                            Lastly, it is worth thinking about scholarships.
                                                                                                                    While merit-based scholarships are available at
                                                                                                                                                                            In building your list, Family Connection is
                                                                                                                                                                            invaluable in two ways. First, it allows you to
    do use a ranking list, please use it only a guide,     If at all possible, try to visit college campuses.       some institutions and private scholarships also         maintain a list of schools as extensive as you
    not as a reliable reference.                           This is an excellent way to help narrow your             exist, applying for scholarships is sometimes           choose in the section “Colleges I’m Thinking
                                                           college choices. You may find a rural campus more        an additional process over and above applying           About.” This is a quick way to keep track of
                                                                                                                    for the school. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But         colleges you’ve researched or considered.
    Admission Office Representatives                       appealing than an urban setting, or learn that you
                                                                                                                    it’s important to budget for the time it takes          Additionally, FC has useful data on each college
                                                           prefer small schools to larger ones. It is great to
                                                           have an opportunity to assess both what you like         to accomplish that process. So making sure to           that will help you assess whether your admission
    Each year SAS hosts over 250 college                                                                            consider cost of an institution while building your     to that school will be “Likely,” “Possible,”
    representatives, who come to our school to             about colleges generally, and then what you like
                                                           about particular colleges specifically.                  list will ensure that you’re not surprised by any       or a “Reach.”
    meet with students and members of the college                                                                   deadlines or expectations.
    counseling team. Take advantage of these visits.                                                                                                                        Simply, a “likely” school is a college for which
    Even if you’re not particularly interested in a        Any time you visit a college, if you are able, take
                                                           a formal tour. Other aspects of a visit may include      If cost is a factor, make sure to address this with     you are an extremely strong candidate. Using
    school, the more information gathered about                                                                     your college counselor.                                 the scattergrams, you will be able to find “likely”
    different types of schools, the easier it will be to   sitting in on information sessions with admissions
                                                           staff, sitting in on classes, an admissions interview,                                                           schools if you see that your grades and test
    make a thoughtful college list. These meetings
    also provide a chance for you to demonstrate           a meal on campus, or even an overnight.
                                                           Each school will have different offerings and
                                                                                                                    Building Your List                                      scores are on the high end of what the college
                                                                                                                                                                            accepts. A “possible” school is one that generally
    interest in the college, which can be a factor in                                                                                                                       accepts students with profiles similar to yours.
    some colleges’ decision-making processes.              different policies. Check their websites for more        There are likely tens, maybe even hundreds of
                                                           information. Whatever you do when you visit,                                                                     The scattergram will show your scores firmly in
                                                                                                                    colleges at which each SAS student would be             the accept range. “Reach” schools are colleges
    Even though admissions representatives are here        make sure the admissions office knows that               happy. So while you may hear students talking
                                                           you’re there!                                                                                                    that normally accept students with GPAs and test
    to “sell” their schools and recruit good students,                                                              about their “first choice” colleges, it is rare         scores higher than yours. On the scattergram,
    talking with them provides the opportunity to learn                                                             that there is only one single, best college for a       there will be few to no accepted students at that
    about a college and to interact with a member of
    the admissions staff. If you decide to apply, the
                                                           Considering Cost                                         particular individual. You should be working to
                                                                                                                    build a list that includes a number of colleges,
                                                                                                                                                                            school that have a similar profile.
    chance to talk one-to-one might make a lasting         For each of our families, cost of attendance at          any of which you’d be happy to attend if admitted.      When you enter your senior year, you will need to
    impression, which the admissions representative        colleges plays a different role. If cost will play a                                                             finalize your list. SAS has a 10 application limit (see
    might remember during the selection process.           factor in your college choices, there are several        If you’re not sure what major might interest you,       the policy at the end of this guide). If your list has
    You will also have a contact name if you have          things to keep in mind when conducting your              that’s not a problem. The majority of students          more than 10 applications, your counselor will work
    a question about your application.                     search. First, make sure that you understand             who begin college in the US do not declare a            with you to reduce it to 10 or fewer. It is important
                                                           how your financial need status will be viewed at         major. There is latitude to try different courses       that the list is well-researched and balanced. Every
    Uncertain what to ask when the college                 different colleges. US universities typically have       in the first year or two and choose a major later.      student should have two or more “likely” schools.
    representatives come to visit? Here are                different funds available to citizens versus non-        Many students apply as “undecided,” waiting             Beyond that, there should be an appropriate mix
    some ideas:                                            citizens. Additionally, public institutions in the US    until sophomore year to declare a major. Except         of “likely,” “possible,” and “reach” schools for
    • Oftentimes, general questions like “Tell me          have different costs for state residents. If you are     for a few select majors—such as engineering and         your academic profile and preparedness.
       about your college” may elicit general answers      a citizen questioning whether you have residency         nursing—most students take a variety of courses
       that are too vague to be useful. A good way to                                                               during this time.
       get specific answers to is to be specific about
                                                           in your “home” state, please review the state
                                                           guidelines, as they vary greatly.
                                                                                                                                                                            Admission Tests (SAT, ACT,
       yourself. For example, you might say: “I’m
        planning to study technical theater, and I also
                                                                                                                    You should consider whether any particular skills
                                                                                                                    or interests—such as visual arts, athletics, theater,
                                                                                                                                                                            Subject Tests, etc.)
                                                           Second, for US universities, all institutions are
       hope to play soccer in college. Can you tell me     required to include something called the Net             music, dance, or scientific research—might be
                                                                                                                                                                            Nothing seems to cause more confusion, stress,
       about theater and athletics at your school?”        Price Calculator on their website that estimates         a part of your college search. If you know that
                                                                                                                                                                            and anxiety in high school students than the SAT
    • If you don’t know what you want to study or          what a family may pay according to various criteria.     certain areas matter to you, please share these
                                                                                                                                                                            and ACT. But how important is your score? If a
       get involved with at college, what else are         This is always an estimate because many more             with your college counselor.
                                                                                                                                                                            college requires them, then they are significant.
       you interested in knowing? Other specific           factors determine financial assistance than what is                                                              However, your grades are far more important.
       questions can yield interesting information,        considered on the calculator. Additionally, read the     It is important to consider your chances of
                                                                                                                                                                            And there are many US colleges that do not
        such as: “Tell me about the political/social       fine print: some calculators apply to all students,      admissibility in creating your list. US universities
                                                                                                                                                                            require test scores at all (see
       climate of campus,” “What is residence life like    and most are only for US students.                       think the best predictor of college success is high
                                                                                                                                                                            for a complete list).
       at your school?,” or “How do students usually                                                                school performance. Therefore, grades earned
        spend their time on and off campus?”               Third, the US is the most expensive country for          and high school courses taken and the rigor of
                                                                                                                                                                            At colleges that do require test scores, many
    • Ask about scholarships or financial aid. It may      college tuition. If cost is a factor, it may be worth    these courses are the most important factors
                                                                                                                                                                            applicants will have roughly the same grades,
        be difficult to get in-depth answers in a short    considering other countries as well. Some less           considered. Standardized test scores, if the
                                                                                                                                                                            positive recommendations, and equally well-
       lunchtime visit, but this is a good time to start   expensive countries include Australia, Canada,           college requires them (you may find a list
                                                                                                                                                                            written essays. In these cases, the ACT or SAT
       a conversation.                                     Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK (where                of those that do not at,
                                                                                                                                                                            may break the tie as college admissions officers
    • Ask for a direct email address for an                a bachelor’s degree typically only takes three           are also an important consideration.
                                                                                                                                                                            consider the ACT or SAT as a measure of
       admissions counselor. Be sure to pick up            years to earn).                                                                                                  predicted ability. The more selective the university,
       a business card.

4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     5
the more important the scores seem to become.
    So how important is your score? Scores are
                                                            While you may wish to enroll in a test preparation
                                                            course, we recommend that you limit your time
                                                                                                                    especially if scheduling the TOEFL proves difficult.
                                                                                                                    In Singapore the IELTS is offered more often.
    probably more important than admissions officers        in such a program. Grades are by far the most           Test sites include the British Council and IDP.           The application platforms you will use will vary
    say, but less important than you think.                 important factor in college admissions, so                                                                        with each college you apply to. It is likely that
                                                            we do not recommend students take lengthy
                                                            coaching courses that distract from school work         AP Examinations                                           at least one college will require you to use the
    To SAT or ACT...that is the question                    and extracurricular activities. Keep in mind that
                                                                                                                                                                              Common Application. This is an application that
                                                                                                                    If you are enrolled in an AP class, you will likely sit   you can use to apply to more than one school.
                                                            research has shown that 20 quality hours of prep                                                                  If the college gives you a choice of platforms,
    The SAT and ACT are used equally by US colleges.        will result in the same improvement as a lengthy        for an AP exam at the end of that class. You may
    Many—but not all—will want to see either the                                                                    also choose to take an AP exam if you are taking          you can be assured that they do not prefer one
                                                            preparation course.                                                                                               over the other—but if the Common Application
    SAT or ACT. A college will never require both.                                                                  certain AT (Advanced Topic) courses. AP exams
    Most students will perform similarly on both tests,                                                             are always tied to coursework in a particular class.      is an option, you must apply using the Common
    although a few students prefer one or the other.        Subject Tests                                           AP exams are content-specific and take place on           Application. Other types of applications
    In general, if you are happy with your PSAT score,                                                              one assigned school day in May each year.                 include the Coalition Application, the Universal
    then you should prepare and take the SAT in             Subject tests are one-hour tests administered                                                                     Application, and school-specific applications.
    December or March of your junior year. If you feel      by the College Board that cover specific content        Most UK universities require at least three AP            Sometimes colleges will offer you the opportunity
    your PSAT score is not a good indicator of your         areas (e.g., Literature, Physics, French). The vast     exam results for acceptance. US schools may               to bypass certain requirements by applying using
    ability, then we would recommend that you take a        majority of US Colleges do not require Subject          take AP exam scores into consideration, but no            their specific application. You’ll want to check with
    diagnostic ACT and compare your scores.                 Tests. The exception is Engineering programs,           US schools require AP scores as a part of the             your college counselor to make sure this makes
                                                            which may require Math and Physics. Please talk         admissions process.                                       sense for you.
    Please note that the ACT will be moving from            with your college counselor about whether you
    paper testing to a computer-based format (CBT)
    in August 2018. SAS will no longer be an ACT test
                                                            should sign up to take Subject Tests.                   You may list your junior year AP scores on your
                                                                                                                    application, but don’t spend money asking AP
    center as of that date. We will remain an SAT           Subject Tests are designed to be at a similar           to send an official score, since these reports are        Essay topics for colleges will typically be released
    test center.                                            level as Advanced Placement (AP) exams, so we           automatically sent to the registrar’s office once you     in the spring or summer before your senior year,
                                                            recommend you take your Subject Tests in May            matriculate rather than to the admissions office.         and may change year-to-year. While specific
    Once you have decided which test you will take,         or June of the year in which you complete the           AP exams completed in the senior year are not             directions vary from college to college, all will
    you can find instructions on how to register on         relevant course. You can always retake the test in      available until July, long after admission decisions      ask some variation of: “tell us about yourself.”
    Family Connection.                                      October or November the following year, if you          are made.                                                 No matter the prompt, the purpose of the essay
                                                            wish to raise your score.                                                                                         is for the admissions officer to learn more about
    When to take the test
                                                            TOEFL and IELTS
                                                                                                                    Applying to Schools                                       you. The person reading your essay should be
                                                                                                                                                                              able to draw some conclusions about how you
    As the tests primarily measure your reading                                                                                                                               think and process information, your ethics and/
                                                                                                                    In the US, colleges and universities each set their
    comprehension and math skills, the further into         If English is not your native language, or you are                                                                or value system, your sense of humor, and/or your
                                                                                                                    own criteria for determining who gets admitted—
    high school you are, the better you may do on the       from a country where English is not your official                                                                 intellectual curiosity. This is very different writing
                                                                                                                    and how. Each one designs its own application,
    test. We, therefore, encourage students to take         language, you may need to take the TOEFL (or                                                                      than the five paragraph expository essay you may
                                                                                                                    asks different questions, has a variety of deadlines,
    the test for the first time in December or March of     IELTS, see below). The TOEFL is designed to test                                                                  be used to. SAS offers essay writing workshops
                                                                                                                    and sets its own policies. This can become
    their junior year, so they have the option of taking    your English language skills. Since SAS students                                                                  in the spring of junior year, and your college
                                                                                                                    rather complicated as you attempt to keep
    the test again later in the spring or early in senior   listen, read, write and speak in English every day                                                                counselor can help you brainstorm potential essay
                                                                                                                    rack of what each school wants. Even schools
    year. If you are considering applying early action      at school, they usually perform well. Talk to your                                                                topics and give you feedback along the way.
                                                                                                                    accepting the “Common Application” usually
    or early decision, you should complete all testing      college counselor to see if taking the TOEFL            ask for individualized supplements specific to
    before October of senior year; for regular decision     makes sense for you. If you need to take this test,                                                               Many schools will require one large essay and
                                                                                                                    their college.
    applications, you can take retake the SAT as late as    take it during the spring of junior year, or early                                                                smaller, supplemental essays. Make sure you
    December of your senior year.                           summer before senior year, in order to have time                                                                  check the requirements so you are aware of
                                                                                                                    Completing college applications may seem
                                                            to retake it in the fall of senior year if necessary.                                                             the expectations, as they will vary from college
                                                                                                                    daunting, so you will want to be sure that you give
                                                            Your TOEFL score is valid for only two years, so                                                                  to college.
    Preparing for the SAT or ACT                            don’t take it too early. Be aware that if you plan to
                                                                                                                    yourself plenty of time to fill them out thoughtfully.
                                                                                                                    Admissions requirements and deadlines will vary
    Like you would for any test, you should prepare
                                                            apply to the UK, you must take the IELTS instead
                                                            of the TOEFL.
                                                                                                                    from school to school, so you need to check               Additional Information
                                                                                                                    carefully to ensure you have completed all the
    for the SAT or ACT. You can prepare using books
                                                                                                                    necessary requirements. Your college counselor is         On the Common Application and often on other
    or free websites (such as Khan Academy for the          The International English Language Testing              available to answer any questions that you might          applications, there is an optional section asking
    SAT). Please do not start test preparation more         System (IELTS) is a UK English language test that       have at any point in the process.                         if there is any additional information you wish to
    than eight to 10 weeks before the test itself; there    has gained some currency with North American
    is no data to show that earlier preparation leads                                                                                                                         add. If, after looking at the entire application,
                                                            admissions offices. As such, students are at liberty                                                              there is something that you have not been
    to higher results.                                      to take the IELTS instead of the TOEFL if they wish,                                                              able to include that is integral to a college’s

6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7
understanding of you as an applicant, this is the      It is best to ask teachers you have had in your         study. Most courses of study in Australia are three     When to Apply
    place to write about it. This section is entirely      junior year, because they have taught you recently      years long. Because Australia is in the southern
    optional, and best utilized to discuss exceptional     and can speak about you in an academic capacity.        hemisphere, the school year begins in February.         For international students, Australian universities
    circumstances (e.g., learning differences,             Letters should come from a core subject teacher         Most courses at most universities also have a mid-      admit students on a rolling basis, so you may
    prolonged illness, poor grades that are unlike         and/or a teacher in the discipline you plan to          year intake in late June or early July.                 apply at any time within a year of your planned
    anything else on your transcript, your Catalyst        pursue in college. It’s not necessary to choose                                                                 enrollment date. We generally recommend that
    project, etc.). Speak to your college counselor if     teachers in courses where you earned As. In             If you want information about studying in               you apply five or six months before you plan to
    you are wondering what might be appropriate for        fact, if you received a lower grade in a particular     Australia or have questions about the application       start. This means that students who want to start
    this section.                                          course, you may want to have this explained by          process, you might want to contact International        at the beginning of the Australian school year,
                                                           the recommender. You should plan on asking              Development Program (IDP) Education Australia,          which is in February, usually apply in September
                                                           your teachers for a letter of recommendation in         an organization established by Australian               following senior year. If you want to start university
    Extracurricular Activities                             second semester junior year to give them plenty of      universities and the government. IDP Education,         in Australia mid-year, in late June or July, you will
                                                           advance notice.                               , offers a range of        usually apply in January or February.
    Colleges will give you the opportunity to report                                                               services, from providing information about courses
    your extracurricular activities and interests.         After asking the teacher for a recommendation,          of study to assisting with visa applications.           If you are planning to enroll at the start of
    Concentrate on your important activities and list      a student must respond to the “Teacher Rec”                                                                     Australia’s school year, in February, it is worth
    them in the order of what is most meaningful           survey found under the “About Me” tab in Family         Application Considerations                              thinking about how you will use your time in the
    to you. Under the “About Me” tab in Family             Connection. Choose the appropriate subject                                                                      eight months between graduation and the start of
    Connection is a section called “Resume” that           area questionnaire and fill it out completely. This     Most Australian universities only consider your SAT     school. This is a great opportunity to have a gap
    allows you to track your extracurricular activities,   information helps a teacher to recall specifics         or ACT scores in making an admissions decision.         year experience.
    work experience, and other out of school activities.   about you, so please fill it out thoughtfully. Once     A few Australian universities have programs that
    Keeping this document up to date can really            you have finished the form, contact your college        require two AP scores, and a couple may also ask        Australian passport holders applying for a
    assist you with completing this section of your        counselor.                                              to review your high school transcript. You can look     February start should apply when the application
    applications.                                                                                                  at each university’s website to see if you meet their   portals open, usually in September.
                                                           Letters of recommendation are kept on file in the       standardized testing criteria for entry.
    Sending your Official Test Scores                      counseling office for five years. If you decide to                                                              Residential halls (or “colleges” in Australia)
                                                           transfer to another college, your recommendation        If your qualifications are not sufficient to gain       generally offer places on a first come, first serve
    When you take an SAT, ACT, Subject Test, TOEFL,        letter can be sent. Although a copy will be in the      admission, you may enroll in a six- to twelve-month     basis, and have a seperate application system.
    or IELTS, you are the person who receives and          college counseling office, it remains confidential,     foundation year program at a school. Success in         Therefore, you should submit this application
    “owns” the scores. Colleges will require you to        and you will not be allowed to read any                 this program will usually earn you entry into           as early as possible. While it may seem strange,
    send them your scores directly and officially from     recommendations.                                        that university.                                        you may need to apply to the residential college
    the testing agency (e.g., College Board, ACT).                                                                                                                         before you actually submit your university
                                                                                                                   Australian universities do not require letters of       application. Be sure to contact each residential
                                                           Additional Recommendations                              recommendation or personal essays for admission,        college directly to find out more details.
    Counselor Recommendation                               or Materials                                            though if you are applying to live in on-campus
                                                                                                                   housing, you may need to submit supporting
    Many applications require a counselor                  If you think that you might benefit from submitting     written materials from one or more character
    recommendation. This is the letter that will provide   one (and no more than one) supplemental                 references.
                                                                                                                                                                           There are almost 100 universities in Canada.
    information about your academic performance,           recommendation, an art portfolio, or any
                                                                                                                                                                           In Canada, the term “college” generally refers
    extracurricular activities, and your character and     other supporting materials, you should have a           How to Apply
                                                                                                                                                                           to a two-year program or trade school, whereas
    values. In Family Connection you must complete         conversation with your college counselor. Please
                                                                                                                                                                           “university” refers to a four-year institution.
    the “Counselor Rec” survey. This survey is a set       do not send extra materials without consulting          There is no one centralized application system
                                                                                                                                                                           In Canada, while you may be asked to apply
    of questions you must answer that will help your       your college counselor; colleges admissions             in Australia.
                                                                                                                                                                           to a particular field of study in the application
    inform your counselor’s letter of recommendation.      representatives may become frustrated with files        • Non-Australian Passport Holders—You will
                                                                                                                                                                           process, you generally have the the ability to
                                                           that have too much extra material.                          need to follow the application directions on
                                                                                                                                                                           change your intended major within the first
                                                                                                                       each individual university’s website. Links to
    Teacher Recommendations                                                                                                                                                two years of a program.
                                                           Applying to colleges                                        websites for all of the Australian universities
                                                                                                                       may be found on the Universities Australia
    Choosing whom to ask to write a recommendation
    is important and one of the things you will
                                                           outside The US                                              website,
                                                                                                                                                                           Application Considerations

    discuss with your college counselor. Teacher                                                                                                                           Most Canadian universities are mainly concerned
                                                                                                                   • Australian Passport Holders—If you hold an
    recommendation letters focus on academics;             Australia                                                   Australian passport, you must apply through
                                                                                                                                                                           with a student’s academic results. They will
    teachers address what they have seen in class and                                                                                                                      primarily look at your results in core academic
                                                                                                                       the tertiary admissions centre in each state.
    in your coursework. Most SAS students applying         There are nearly 40 universities in Australia.                                                                  areas (especially English, Math, Science, and
                                                                                                                       You can find links to each state’s admissions
    to US schools will request two teacher letters of      When you apply, you must know what you want                                                                     Social Studies) in the last two years of high school.
                                                                                                                       centre here:
    recommendation.                                        to study; your courses will all focus on that area of       guide/interstate.tisc.

8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   9
Only a handful of Canadian universities require       offer programs entirely in English. The English-        graduate), and that intakes for English-speaking       attention to start dates to make sure that you are
     standardized test scores (SAT/ACT and/or              speaking programs are generally very small              programs will be in September. You will need to        applying for the intake period that you want). You
     Subject Tests). Other Canadian universities may       and highly competitive.                                 check the admissions deadlines of each university      are most likely to applying at some point between
     consider standardized test scores, but high school                                                            individually. Some SAS students begin applying to      December and February of senior year.
     academic grades will still be the most important      For a comprehensive guide to studying in Japan,         schools in Japan as early as January of senior year,
     factor in their decision-making process.              please visit            but most applications will be due in the spring or     South Korea
                                                                                                                   early summer.
     Some Canadian universities are moving to a more       Application Considerations                                                                                     South Korea has a wide range of universities,
     holistic review process for some programs. For a                                                              Since our office will need to handle a great deal of   most of which offer their programs only in Korean.
     few universities and programs, students may be        Japanese schools read applications holistically, just   paperwork for the Japanese schools, and since we       Currently, there are four private international
     asked to write one or more short essays and/or        as US schools do, though Japanese schools place         must put everything physically in the mail, we ask     universities and one public university that offer
     provide a list of extracurricular activities.         a much greater emphasis on SAT and ACT scores.          that you give our office at least a month’s notice     all of their degree-granting courses in English.
                                                           The primary drivers in the Japanese application         before you apply.
     How to Apply                                          process are SAT or ACT scores (the SAT may be                                                                  There are three different application tracks for

     The application process for Canadian universities
                                                           preferred over the ACT in some places) and your
                                                           GPA. Every student will be required to submit
                                                                                                                   Singapore                                              Korean nationals:
                                                                                                                                                                          • Domestic—students who have never left
     is very straightforward. For most universities, it    a high school transcript. Students will also be         There are many university options in Singapore.           South Korea or who have studied outside of
     is simply a matter of completing the individual       asked to write an essay, usually about your fit with    All courses are taught in English. The traditional        South Korea for less than three years.
     university’s application and then sending in the      a particular school and intended major, and to          public universities are extremely competitive, and     • Overseas: “3 Years”—students who have
     high school transcript. Ontario universities have     submit recommendations. It is also possible that        you must know what you intend to study when               studied outside of South Korea for more than
     an online application form, OUAC, that allows         you will be invited to sit for an interview with a      you apply. There are government quotas on the             three years, but fewer than 12.
     students to apply to multiple universities and        panel of professors.                                    number of non-Singaporeans who are permitted           • Overseas: “12 Years”—students who have
     programs in that province using one application                                                               to attend these institutions. Other options here in       studied outside of South Korea for all twelve
     form. Other Canadian universities all have their      SAS students who are Japanese citizens are              Singapore are the five public polytechnics, several       years of school.
     own application forms that can be accessed on         usually classified as kikokushijo, or “returning        foreign universities, art and design schools, and
     their websites.                                       students.” For most programs at most of the             partnership institutions such as Yale-NUS.             In general, it is easiest to apply as a 12-Year
                                                           Japanese universities, these students must                                                                     student, because the Korean government places
     When to Apply                                         travel to Japan to take centralized university          Most degree-granting programs in Singapore take        a quota on acceptance rates for Domestic and
                                                           examinations scheduled during the months of             three years to complete. Students may instead          3-Year students.
     Canadian universities tend to have later              October, November, or December. You will need           pursue two- or three-year diploma courses, which
     deadlines than some US colleges and universities.     to read each school’s application to see whether        do not end in a degree but which will likely be        You may apply as an international student if you do
     The deadlines vary between early January until        that school will consider you a returning student       pathways to undergraduate degrees in Singapore         not hold a Korean passport and you do not have
     the end of March. A few of the most selective         in the application process.                             and elsewhere.                                         Korean parentage.
     universities have earlier deadlines; make sure
     to check deadlines on each school’s website           Programs that are taught entirely in English            Application Considerations                             Application Considerations
     and talk with your college counselor if you have      generally do not require that you take any
     questions about this.                                 Japanese language exams. You may be asked to            Public universities in Singapore want to see very      Many schools in South Korea are moving toward
                                                           take the TOEFL, an English language test, even if       high test scores. They will require SATs or ACTs       a holistic review process, meaning that they
     Many Canadian universities operate on a rolling       you are a native English speaker.                       and may also ask for Subject Test scores. They         will review test scores, high school transcripts,
     basis. This means that the sooner you apply,                                                                  will expect to see a good number of high AP            a list of extracurricular activities, recognized
     the sooner you could hear back from them.             How to Apply                                            scores as well. Application requirements at            accomplishments, awards, and letters of
     So students should consider applying to Canadian                                                              other Singapore schools will vary widely from          recommendation as part of the admissions
     universities earlier than their posted deadlines.     There is no one centralized application system in       school to school.                                      process. You will probably also be asked to
     We encourage all students applying to Canadian        Japan. Most Japanese universities still operate                                                                write several essays.
     universities to have all of their applications        on a paper-based application system, and it is          How to Apply
     completed prior to winter break.                      important to read the detailed directions on each                                                              Standardized test scores are by far the most
                                                           university’s application website carefully as you       There is no one centralized application system in      important determining factor in Korean
                                                           complete your paperwork.
     Japan                                                                                                         Singapore. You will need to check each school’s        universities’ admissions decisions. SAT and/or
                                                                                                                   individual website and follow the instructions         ACT scores are a must. Korean universities do
                                                           When to Apply                                           there on how to apply.                                 not require AP exam scores, but they like to see
     Most universities in Japan are liberal arts based,
     meaning that students usually spend their first                                                                                                                      high test scores in general, so it helps to have
                                                           The universities in Japan do not have one single        When to Apply                                          strong AP and/or Subject Test scores. Your GPA
     two years pursuing a broad range of courses and
                                                           admissions deadline or intake date; some schools                                                               will also play a significant role.
     then spend the final two years studying courses
                                                           have multiple admissions rounds. Very generally,        Each school in Singapore has its own application
     related to their major. Japan has both private
                                                           you can expect that intakes for Japanese-speaking       deadlines. Make sure to check the websites             If you are applying to a Korean-speaking program,
     and public universities. Most universities in Japan
                                                           programs will be in April (nearly a year after you      carefully for these deadlines (and pay careful         you may be required to sit for the TOPIK, a Korean
     teach all of their courses in Japanese, but some

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                              11
language test. International students applying to       about your major, be aware that in order to apply     How to Apply                                            Most students headed for NS will apply to just
     English-speaking programs may be asked to sit for       to the UK, you will have to make a decision about                                                             one or two schools in their senior year and then,
     an English-language test (IELTS or TOEFL).              what you will study. Note that transferring to a      Most UK universities use a nationwide system            if necessary, will apply to the bulk of their colleges
                                                             different subject will usually entail starting your   called the UCAS for their applications. UCAS is an      during the second year of NS. You do have the
     How to Apply                                            degree over from the beginning.                       online portal where you can search for programs         option of applying during your first year of NS
                                                                                                                   and also apply to universities. UCAS only allows        (or in the fall just before you enter), but very few
     Each university in South Korea has its own              Most degree programs in the UK take three years       students to apply to a maximum of five programs,        young men apply at this time.
     application process. Korean schools require an          to complete; the notable exception to this is         or courses, so students must select carefully. We
     enormous amount of paperwork—even if you are            Scotland, where many students take four years to      will send all students interested in UK schools         You will want to have conversations with your
     using an online application system. Each university     finish their degrees.                                 an extensive document on how to complete the            parents and your college counselor before you
     will provide a list of documents they will need for                                                           UCAS at the beginning of senior year.                   decide whether to apply to college during your
     the course you are applying in their application        Application Considerations                                                                                    senior year or to wait until after graduation (or
     guide. The process is complicated, and you must                                                               Check to see whether the UK universities to which       some combination thereof).
     follow directions carefully. SAS will only send         The primary factor that UK universities use in        you may be interested in applying use the UCAS. If
     required documents directly to the universities.        making admissions decisions will be your AP exam      they do not, you will need to follow each individual    Applying during senior year will keep you in
                                                             scores. Most UK universities are looking for three    school’s application requirements, which can be         step with your classmates and will—if you are
     You usually do not need to get any documents            AP scores in areas related to your intended area of   found on their websites.                                accepted—provide you with more immediate
     stamped at the embassy as part of the admissions        study. Only University College London and London                                                              gratification. Waiting to apply to college after
     process. You will, however, need to have                School of Economics require—and Cambridge             When to Apply                                           enlistment in NS will give you all of grade 12 to
     documents stamped at the embassy when you               University recommends—that applicants sit for five                                                            focus on getting great grades, increasing your
     plan to matriculate.                                    AP exams related to their intended field of study.    The UCAS has a deadline of January 15, but most         SAT/ACT, AP and Subject Test scores, and giving
                                                             You can go to each university’s website, look up      international students apply earlier than this,         more thought to career and college pathways.
     When to Apply                                           the program in which you are interested, and see      because slots in UK programs are generally given        US colleges also may have a preference for
                                                             whether you have qualifying AP scores. Fortunately,   out on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified    young men who apply during NS, because they
     The timeline of applications in South Korea varies      UK universities are very transparent in their         applicants. We ask that all seniors applying            are often more mature and thoughtful applicants.
     from school to school and from year to year.            requirements, so the results are more predictable     to university in the UK let our office know by          If you choose to apply to colleges in your
     Please check deadlines carefully. In general, if you    than the US.                                          completing Document Request Forms (DRFs) no             senior year, we ask that you review the SAS
     are applying to a university for entry into the first                                                         later than December 1. Please note that, unless         10-Application policy. That policy should factor
     semester (which will usually start in March), you       Some UK schools may also consider SAT, ACT,           you have submitted DRFs by that December 1              into your decision of how many schools you
     will apply sometime in June or July. Some students      and/or Subject Test scores. A few UK universities     deadline, you may not start a UCAS application          decide to apply to.
     (usually 12-Year students) may choose to apply for      may request and review your high school               over winter break and ask that your college
     a spring semester intake; this semester will usually    transcript.                                           counselor have the school materials completed           Please note that, if you apply to college in your
     start in August or September.                                                                                 by January 15.                                          senior year and are accepted, you will have to ask
                                                             Students without qualifying test scores can often                                                             the school for a two-year deferral. All universities
     Most students may apply to Korean universities
     in two separate rounds. This means that if you are
                                                             apply to a one-year foundation course in order
                                                             to qualify later for entry to a degree program at     Singapore National Service                              in Singapore permit two-year deferrals, and
                                                                                                                                                                           most US colleges do as well. UK and Canadian
     not admitted to a university in the first round, you    a UK university.                                                                                              universities, on the other hand, rarely allow two-
     may be eligible to apply in the second round.                                                                 If you are a male Singaporean citizen or Permanent      year deferrals, so you should plan to apply to
                                                             Universities in the UK will ask you to write a        Resident, you must complete National Service (NS)       universities in those countries only as your time
     Since our office will need to handle a great deal of    personal statement about your interest in and         before beginning university. Regardless of whether      in NS is drawing to a close.
     paperwork for the Korean schools, and since we          commitment to your intended course of study.          you plan to apply to a few universities during your
     must put everything physically in the mail, we ask      This may involve writing about relevant high          senior year and defer your start date, or if you plan   If you are applying in your senior year, please
     that you give our office at least a month’s notice      school courses you have taken, internships            to wait and apply to college while in NS, you must      make sure before you apply that the institution(s)
     before you apply.                                       or other work experiences, material you have          request your recommendations and complete               to which you are submitting an application will
                                                             watched or read, and/or pursuits you have             standardized testing while in high school.              allow you to request a two-year deferral should
     UK                                                      engaged in outside of the classroom. Your college                                                             you decide to attend. When you make an
                                                             counselor will also write you a reference letter
                                                             based on your demonstrated engagement with
                                                                                                                   When to Apply                                           enrollment deposit, you will again need to confirm
                                                                                                                                                                           with that university that you are requesting that
     The UK is home to over 125 different universities.
     Universities in the UK usually ask that students        your field of interest.                               Young men in NS have the option of an extended          your space to be held for two years. You should
     choose, apply to, and then focus on a single area                                                             college application timeline. You might submit          only hold a space at a university for two years if
     of study (though you may also have the chance to        Some courses of study may require you to              applications:                                           you are confident you will ultimately matriculate
     combine two areas of study, such as French and          take specialized admissions tests as part of the      • In your senior year; or                               to that institution.
     History or Business and International Relations).       application process (e.g., the LNAT for law or        • In your second year of NS; or
     If you are someone who is certain of the subject        the BMAT for medicine). Some universities may         • In both senior year and while you are in NS.          If you choose to pursue college applications
     you want to study in college, a UK university could     also require that you take the IELTS, an English                                                              after the time of high school graduation, the SAS
     be a good choice for you. If you are undecided          language test. You may contact The British Council                                                            college counselors will continue to assist you and
                                                             about registering for these tests.
12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  13
your family with any questions that might arise.
     You will finalize your college list, write your essays,
                                                                   NS, but this can pose problems based on the
                                                                   scheduling demands of being in the field and      After you Apply                                         holes in the incoming class, which are filled from
                                                                                                                                                                             the waitlist. Even so, the waitlist is usually a long
     and complete and submit your applications                     the possibility that you may start to lose math                                                           shot. Only choose to remain on a waitlist if you
     during NS. We will be here to meet with you and               and other academic skills when you are in NS).    Once you apply, we suggest that you check               really plan to attend should you be admitted later.
     to help with the submission of transcripts, and                                                                 your status with each college, making sure they
     teacher/counselor recommendations, and other              Recommendations:                                      have received and processed everything. Please          If you are interested in remaining on a college’s
     supporting materials.                                     • Complete a Common Application (or a UCAS            allow colleges a couple of weeks to update your         waitlist, please contact your college counselor.
                                                                  application for the UK) in order to familiarize    information since they are processing documents         Final notification may not come until well into
                                                                  yourself with the types of essays and other        simultaneously for thousands of applicants.             the summer so, for safety sake, it’s important not
     Timeline: Junior Year                                        information that will be required of you at the                                                            to assume you will be accepted off the waitlist.
                                                                  time of application.                               Once the college has reviewed your application,         Accept an offer of admission from another school.
     Requirements:                                             • Attend luncheon for NS-bound juniors and            they will notify you about their decision. Students
     • Meet individually with your college counselor,             seniors with NS alumni hosted at SAS.              applying to colleges with “rolling admissions”
        first individually and then with your family, to                                                             usually receive notification six to eight weeks         May 1 Reply Date
        discuss your college application plan, process                                                               from the time they have a complete application.
        and timeline.
     • Ensure that all enlistment requirements/
                                                               GAP YEAR                                              Students applying early decision or early action        Once you have your acceptance letters, you must
                                                                                                                                                                             decide where to go. The US candidate reply date
                                                                                                                     will typically hear by mid-December. Students
        tasks associated with National Service are             Are you ready to begin college immediately            applying regular decision will typically hear no        is May 1. If you don’t tell a school by then that
        completed in a timely manner.                          after high school? If you are not sure about          later than April 1.                                     you’re coming in the fall, they can, and often do,
     • Attend all sessions mandated for the junior             going to college, doing something different for                                                               withdraw your acceptance. You are not obligated
        class (e.g., essay writing workshop).                  a year gives you time to think things over. Even      Most students receive one of two decisions from         to wait until May 1 if you make your choice sooner.
     • If you are planning to apply to college in senior       if you are certain that college is in your future,    their colleges: acceptances or denials. But a           Notify all other schools that accepted you of your
        year, complete all tasks assigned to juniors           a gap year can be a wonderful way to explore new      few students may find themselves deferred or            decision not to attend. An email is a great (and
        (e.g., securing teacher recommendations;               experiences or new parts of the world. For most       waitlisted.                                             simple) way to do this.
        taking SAT/ACT at least once).                         students, there is little downside to a productive
                                                               gap year. This may involve working a full-time job,
     Recommendations:                                          volunteering for an organization, or traveling.
     • Attend the NS session at the College                    A gap year may allow you to become more
        Admissions Seminar hosted in the spring by                                                                   Students who apply early decision or early action
                                                               independent, gain real world experience,
        the college counseling department.                                                                           are sometimes deferred, which means the college
                                                               and often times, focus on what you want
     • If you are not applying to college in senior                                                                  will wait until the regular decision cycle to decide
                                                               to achieve in college.
        year, secure at least one teacher letter of                                                                  whether or not to accept you. Deferrals can be due
        recommendation.                                                                                              to the need to see your first semester grades from
                                                               If you plan to take a year off, we still recommend
     • Develop a standardized testing plan with your                                                                 senior year, or because the admissions office is
                                                               that you take part in the bulk of the application
        counselor.                                                                                                   unsure of the strength of the rest of the applicants.
                                                               process during your senior year. Take the required
     • Attend luncheon for NS-bound juniors and                                                                      If you are deferred, you should talk with your
                                                               tests, request recommendations, and explore
        seniors with NS alumni hosted at SAS.                                                                        college counselor about how to proceed.
                                                               college choices while you are a senior here at SAS.
     • Register to attend an Open House visit to the           If you apply and are admitted, at most colleges
        Basic Military Training Centre to familiarize                                                                A deferral is not necessarily a bad thing. Some
                                                               you can then defer the starting date for a year.
        yourself with what the basic training phase of                                                               students who are deferred are admitted later.
                                                               Almost all colleges will allow deferment if you
        NS will be like.                                                                                             If you are deferred from a school to which you
                                                               write a letter of explanation and give them proper
                                                                                                                     applied early decision, you are released from any
                                                               notice (usually by May 1). The only stipulation is
                                                                                                                     binding commitment. You can apply, be admitted,
                                                               that you cannot attend another college during
     Timeline: Senior Year                                     your year off.
                                                                                                                     and choose to go to any college that accepts you.

     •  Meet with your college counselor at the start                                                                Waitlist
        of the year to either (1) begin finalizing your
        college list and working on essays, or (2) if you                                                            You may find that, when you receive admissions
        are not applying to college as a senior, confirm                                                             decisions in March, you have been put on a
        a timeline that will suit your specific needs.                                                               “waitlist.” All colleges admit more students than
     • Ensure that all enlistment requirements/tasks                                                                 they have room for in a freshman class because
        associated with National Service enlistment are                                                              they realize not all students they admit will choose
        completed in a timely manner.                                                                                to enroll. Guessing the “yield” is a difficult task—
     • Complete your standardized testing by                                                                         especially as more students apply to more schools
        graduation (in rare cases, students may plan                                                                 each year. If a school underestimates the number
        to take some type of test while completing                                                                   of accepted candidates who enroll, there will be

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