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Be Prepared for University at SCIS

May, 2018
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After a successful Canadian College Fair held at Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), Hongqiao Campus last November, a larger scale university fair was held on 13 March to offer students and families more options worldwide.

0j7a7764“SCIS-Hongqiao Campus hosts university fairs every year, but this is the first time we have hosted one of this magnitude – 95 universities from 16 countries is a major feat. Our student body is diverse, with students hailing from over 60 nationalities. There is not one single country that appeals to all students. It is my job as the college counselor to invite the top schools from the most popular country destinations. My job is all about providing opportunities to students that they did not know existed,” said Emily C. Blalock, Upper School Counselor & College Counselor, SCIS Hongqiao Campus.

At the SCIS Hongqiao University Fair, many of the world’s top ranked universities were in attendance. The countries represented included Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Canada, China and Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Australia,

This year, several of the international school counselors in Shanghai formed a co-operative and arranged the fairs over a three-day period. They coordinated times, locations and even transporting the reps from fair to fair. This allowed the schools to maximize the allure of attending a Shanghai fair. 

All the SCIS students in Grades 9-11 were expected to attend the fair. Grade 9 and Grade 10 participated in a scavenger hunt to encourage them to network with representatives and ask important questions. Grade 11s were expected to shake hands, introduce themselves and “discover, listen, learn, explore” university options.

emily-blalock-copy-e68bb7e8b49d“Self-discovery is important to young people and I encourage them to understand their strengths and weaknesses before ever trying to connect them with universities and careers. In Grade 11 we start intensive advisory lessons, where we meet each week to dive into university majors, careers and best-fit schools. By the end of G11, students have written their personal statements, selected teachers for their recommendations, planned for appropriate entrance exams, and have a finalized list of 10 universities,” said Blalock.

Her advice for High School students is: Rankings should never be your only consideration for a university. Universities are so much more than rankings. They will be a student’s complete life (study and personal) for the next 3-5 years. They need to be happy and feel supported. 

“My slogan is: Get in where you fit in. What I mean is, select a university that matches your passion, integrity, interests, personality, career aspirations and academic rigor. The top-ranked universities aren’t a good fit for every student, although they are a useful tool for creating the initial university list.” She explained.

Following the university fair, Blalock has been working on two new projects for the students. The first is a job-shadow pilot program with Grade 10s. This year SCIS is selecting top students and pairing them with Shanghai industry leaders. During this experience, students will gain an inside perspective on a chosen career, gather experience and put their classroom knowledge within the real-world context. Eventually, this will be a mandatory experience for all students, but will be starting small this year. The other project is the SCIS Career Day on 24 April. Some 20 industry leaders are invited to come and share their passion and innovation within their fields including fashion designers, architects, physicists, chemical engineers, advertising directors and so much more. Both projects can help students to put their passion and strengths within the context of university majors and help them to visualize a career path.

Congratulations to Emily Blalock and the SCIS Class of 2018, as some good news on college acceptance has already come in for a number of locations including: Parsons New School of Design, UCLA, UC- Davis, NYU, Northeastern, Boston University, Purdue University, HKUST, HKU, Waseda University, Keio University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University College London, Imperial College London, Kings College London, University of Toronto, and University of British Columbia,.


My University Fair, My Choice 

“This is the first time for me to attend a university fair. I really enjoyed it because there are a lot of colleges, so that we can just wander around. I didn’t know there would be so many and was kind of shocked. I talked with some universities and colleges from America and Europe.

img_1360I have already started to consider what I am going to do in the future. For the moment, I am looking at politics, which I think is interesting. This is a good start. We are doing IB MYP now and it is a bit challenging. However, I think I will do DP in the future.”

- Elin Halen, Grade 9, Shanghai Community International School


“Before I came to attend this university fair, I thought it was boring, because I was not interested in universities yet. But I felt differently now. It is very interesting to see the choice I will have in the future, and it is interesting to see the differences and their requirements are.

I looked at mostly American and European universities because that is where I want to go. I am not sure what I might pursue as my career in the future. I like sports and also feel that maybe I would like to become a teacher. I will definitely attend more university fairs in the future!”

- Carol Li, Grade 9, Shanghai Community International School


“This is my fourth year at SCIS, and as an 11th Grader, I have been to another college fair before. But today the variety is great, and I am glad I came.

I want to study either in the UK or Australia. And sports are my passion. I am most interested in individual sports like track and field, and swimming. But I also like football and many others. I wish that my future life and career is strongly linked to sports.

img_1255diego-pittaluga-scis-grade-11At the fair I found many places from the UK that I liked. They offer multiple sports scholarships. And they have courses like sports science, which I am fond of. After talking with them, I feel more certain about what I want to do, because they gave me a lot of advice of what I can do, and what steps to take. I feel it is a very friendly environment at SCIS when it comes to college applications.

I think my international school experience is helpful. As an international school student, the experience has helped me develop, see lots of points of view, and made me learn a lot about the world.. It has expanded my mind and made me much more open to new perspectives. I will definitely check out more university fairs.”  

- Diego Pittaluga, Grade 11, Shanghai Community International School


img_1259anna-thelin-and-her-mother-therese-thelin-scis-grade-10“I have been with SCIS for three years. It is the first time I have attended a university fair. It’s very good, because there are a variety of colleges from different parts of the world and the fair brings insight to the different cultures of these universities. I don’t have any target school yet – I just want to look at the regions I want to study in, like Europe.

I want to study business in the future, not in Sweden nor in Shanghai, but in another country. And I want to travel and work internationally.”

- Anna Thelin, Grade 10, Shanghai Community International School


BY XING YANGJIAN, LittleStar Magazine


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