The Phuket News spoke to British International School Phuket University Counsellor Dale Ford, who together with his colleague Jacqui Brelsford help to make it a success. We spoke to Dale about the ins and outs of applying to universities around the world and how best to prepare for this daunting step.
So, 36 universities attended the event? It must take a lot of work to organise. How has the event developed over recent years and what made this year’s special or interesting?
This is the third year that BISP has hosted large university fairs. These fairs were held in both October and November to dovetail with other international university events in the region. While BISP University Counsellor Jacqui Brelsford coordinates it, the fair couldn’t happen without help from several members of the BISP community.
In addition to allowing students to speak one-on-one with admission officers, several presentations were offered about such topics as what it is like to study hospitality, engineering, business, or art and media, along with university options that exist in different countries.
The fact you have other schools attending the event seem to suggest it’s the best of its kind on the island. Are there plans to expand and grow the event to include even more of Phuket’s schools and more universities?
We are happy to welcome students and university counsellors from neighbouring international schools. Universities are more likely to come to Phuket if they can reach a larger audience of students in one location rather than going to individual schools. Currently our fairs are limited to students from international schools.
We anticipate even larger numbers of admission officers will be coming in future years as universities learn more about the quality students in Phuket. The BISP university counsellors continue to strengthen relationships with admission officers and encourage more to come during the fairs or individual visits.
What are the main things you hope students get out of this event?
We want students to focus on universities that provide a best fit for their interests, abilities, and circumstances. Learning about university and course options around the world helps students make informed decisions when they select, apply and then choose which university to attend.
Over the past four years BISP graduates have enrolled in over 100 universities in 19 different countries so it’s important that we welcome universities from around the world to our campus.
What role does the event play in your process of guiding students as to which academic paths to pursue?
The process of university counselling at BISP begins well before Year 13. By focusing on academic success, personal growth and exploration beginning in Year 10, students will be more successful in selecting and being admitted to universities.
For some universities, especially in the UK, it can be important that students take a specific combination of IB subjects and earn particular scores related to what they want to study. These events can help younger students make appropriate subject choices.
In the US, however, it’s more important that students earn good internal marks. In the US, IB exam results are less important than a four-year record of strong performance in class beginning in Year 10. Knowing that internal marks “matter” is important.
Ultimately all universities want the same thing – they are looking for students who will thrive both academically and socially on their campuses. The best predictor of future academic success is past success in secondary school.
Does it help the BISP Faculty stay up to date on trends in university enrollments and new courses they offer? How?
Jacqui Brelsford and myself are both new the BISP this year, but we are both well connected to the world of university admission. Conversations occur each time an admission representative comes to campus.
In addition, as BISP university counsellors, we attend and speak at international conferences with a goal of deepening the relationships between universities and BISP along with learning about universities and courses that would provide a great fit for our students.
Jacqui was an international student when she was in secondary school, which gives her a first-hand understanding about many of the issues faced by international students. Personally, I have over 25 years of counselling experience and was honoured to receive the International Association for College Admission Counseling’s Lifetime Achievement award in July this year.
For more information about BISP University Counselling, visit www.bisphuket.ac.th/university