Creating a University & Careers Guidance Programme (Part 3)

In the third post in this series about my experiences setting up the guidance department at my school I describe which agencies you need to ensure that your school is registered with to support students applying to the UK, US and Canada as well as some information on the Athletic Scholarship system in the US.

Putting the school on the map pt 2: Essential Registrations

The other side of putting the school on the map when setting up the guidance department is to ensure that the school is registered with the various international agencies through which students apply and take tests. In the case of the UK this is UCAS for applications and the Admissions Testing Service for certain specific tests needed for certain tests in the UK. Registration for the latter is not essential as there may be an open centre near your school.

Register with UCAS as an application centre is essential if you have students applying to the UK. You should register as soon as you can and take advantage of all the free training that they offer. They also hold a International Advisers conference in June each year. I haven’t attended it yet but have heard excellent feedback about it and will be attending this academic year.

Be aware that applicants to UK may need to sit additional testing if applying to Oxbridge or for Med/Vet Sci courses etc. All the information is on the UCAS site but you may wish to have your school registered as a test centre for some of these tests.

For applications to the US and Canada and a few other universities students may need to take the SAT or ACT. While you don’t need to register for your school to deliver these tests you can of course at the relevant site. Again however students can take the tests at registered open centres nearby.

What your school will need is a CEEB (College Entrance Exam Board) Code. These are controlled by the college board and schools outside the US can apply for a code by emailing: international@collegeboard.org.

Students will need to give the CEEB code of your school on the CommonApp and on any standardised tests that they make take. In this way you will ensure that any results of these tests will be sent to you as the high school counselor.

For US applications you may also wish to register your school with the CommonApp. It is not immediately obvious as to how you do this but you can do it by registering as a school counselor on the website.

There are many other resources out there that are useful to sign up to but these are the ones that I have come across this year as the essential agencies to ensure that your school is registered with, on top of making sure that your details are in the database of as many admissions officers at as many universities as possible.

Not necessarily “essential” for college applications but certainly very useful to you as a college counselor would be registration of your school with CIS; their forum on Higher Education is very very valuable. In addition I would strongly recommend registering with IACAC. It only costs $50 and you get access to their facebook group (a life line) as well as the Annual conference. I haven’t yet attended but have been assured that it is another excellent resource.

Athletic Scholarships in the US

Finally I had the issue in this first year that one of my students had decided that he wanted to apply for scholarships in the US to play basketball. This area of applying for atheletic scholarships is a whole other minefield but the IACAC Webinar Wednesday and the CIS forum both provided materials that helped me navigate this process. To be clear this student is still in school and so I am not charting a path to success here, merely documenting what it was that I learned about the process of apply for atheletic scholarships in the US during the last academic year, hopefully most of it is correct and I am more than willing to be corrected if it is not, thats how I learn.

There are three federations which support college level sport in the US: The NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Different universities and colleges in the US will belong to one of these federations. From what I have worked out this year from my office in a school in Switzerland, it seems to me that the NCAA is premier association, while the NAIA is almost like a second “division” although the NCAA has three divisions, so the NAIA comes below this, while the NJCAA supports sports in two-year US colleges.

Before a student can apply for an athletic scholarship they have to register with one of these bodies. These bodies assess each athletes eligibility for a sport scholarship. If you have a student who is playing a sport  at a high level and is interested in this route then their work for university has to start earlier than most. As a college counselor you probably don’t have the expertise to assess the students sporting ability so its best that starting in G9 or 10 they start speaking to their coach about their suitability for University level sports. They should certainly get themselves on to a summer sports camp at a university in the US where they can be assessed but where they will also be able to get advice from coaches about which federation and which division they should be looking at. Another way to help is to have students go on to the team pages of particular colleges and look at the profiles of the team members that should give you and them a good idea of about what it takes to get into that college’s team in terms of physicality and skill.

Once the student-athlete knows what federation and division they should be aiming for based on advice from coaches they need to register with the divisions eligbility centre. It is the eligibility centre that will give the yes or no for a student to obtain a scholarship not the university.

Students need to begin this process in G9 or G10 and they need to get familiar with the rules as each federation has very specific rules on what qualifies and what doesn’t for athletic scholarships in each sport.

Students should also build a CV that details their academic and their sporting acheievements, film their practices and games and build a profile on Instagram and Youtube or any other social media platform where the coaches they write too once they are eligible can get an idea of the students level.

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