05 Sep, 2016
10 : 00
With the commencement of the Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s 2016-17 academic year, the school has welcomed a number of new teaching professionals to further enhance the learning experience of students. We spoke with new University Guidance Counselor Susie Wiltshire on her new role and the unique advantages that the school's university guidance services offer.
Where are you from?
I am from England but have spent most of my life in Scotland.
What does your role as University Guidance Counsellor at YCIS Beijing involve?
The role is extremely broad but underpinned by a concern to advise and direct students towards researching and selecting best fit universities to match their academic strengths, social interests, and also to enure that they have opportunities to develop their intercultural sensitivities and curiosity as they embark upon their paths in higher education. The role involves working directly with students and also with stakeholders and other interested parties. This includes teachers and administrative staff, outreach work with universities across the globe, developing a culture of shared learning with other UGCs, and of course, working with parents. The role requires good communication skills and helping students to develop these. For example, helping to students to convey their academic rigour in college applications and imparting a sense of their character and interests; researching, retrieving and delivering up-to-date information about universities, so that students - with the support of their parents - can make fully informed choices about their post-school learning journey. They will also be encouraged to think beyond this in terms of acquiring both broad and nuanced skill sets to enhance their employability options.
What inherent benefits do you think an international school education gives university applicants?
Students who have received an international education often bring different viewpoints and experiences to the classroom. This enriches the learning experience and benefits students and the learning community of which they are part. The readers of university applications recognise this and are particularly enthused by the range of international applications that they receive. Universities are keen to ensure that their student body is diverse and culturally rich. Thus the university today represents a microcosm of increasingly culturally eclectic global communities. A good international school education prepares students to strive and thrive in these environments.
How is the YCIS university guidance programme unique?
Our university guidance programme at YCIS is unique because we work as part of a team which offers student support as soon as the child enters the school and across all year groups. Specifically, the UGC delivers a structured programme to Years 12 and 13 which helps to ensure successful transition to university and other post school options. We have an extensive network of university representatives from across the world who visit the school in order to speak directly with students and parents about what it is like to live and study in a particular place and college. Students are also encouraged to visit universities and attend their information fairs. These are great ways to learn about university life and particular academic programmes. We are also unique in that we are not just one school but part of a foundation with a UGC network that works collaboratively to share information and resources about universities to benefit all of our students.
What are the advantages of starting the programme so early?
The advantages all stem from good preparation. There are many aspects to consider before the student reaches the stage of compiling their final university and programme list. The journey is necessarily a long one. It is obvious therefore that starting the programme early is the most effective way, alongside the school curriculum, to incrementally equip students with the necessary tools and skills to make an informed decision which best fits their developing abilities, aspirations, motivations, and interests. Starting early, we encourage personal, social, and academic growth so that our students are ready to reach high and be all that they can be.
What are you looking forward to most about this year?
I’m looking forward to the end result of sharing in the excitement of students being accepted into their most preferred universities and the aspirational optimism that accompanies this. I sincerely believe that university is the best of times; the biggest hurdle is getting in! I’m here to help students through those worst of times – the application minefield!