David Hawkins MA (Oxford), PGCE
I work as an independent college counselor, specialising in supporting students making university applications to the USA, UK, Canada and Europe, though I also work with students applying to other countries as well. My specialism is supporting students attending UK boarding schools who wish to retain a ‘top up’ service of an independent university specialist to enable them to access world class universities in other countries, when their school may not be able to support them to do so.
Prior to doing this work I was the Head of College Counseling at the International School of Brussels (one of the largest in Europe), and before that I was the Head of Careers (and a History teacher) at Taunton School.
My own background is as an historian; I studied History at the University of Oxford and then did teacher training at the University of Bristol before working at Taunton School teaching History, coaching rugby & cricket and undertaking boarding duties. As a qualified teacher, the schools I work with are happy for me to be supporting their students in my current role, which allows me to meet with students who retain my services at their school instead of having to arrange meetings 'off site'. I firmly believe that an independent counselor should not work 'in the shadows' but alongside the school-based advisers so that the student gets the best possible outcome to their entire university application process.
It is for this reason I hold memberships of the International Association for College Admissions Counseling and the Council of International Schools. I have served on committees for both organisations and am one of a select few independent university consultants which the Council of International Schools promotes to families and schools (details here: http://www.cois.org/page.cfm?p=3416 ).
People interested in my services often want to know where students I work with have got in, as they themselves are looking at applying to some of the world's 'best' universities. To me, it is important to work out which universities are the 'best' for each student, and I take great pride not only in students getting in to universities but in them succeeding once they get there. That being said, I am pleased to have worked with students who have gained places at the top-ranked universities in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe, including this year students getting places at the Ivies as well as Berkeley, U Chicago, Georgetown and USC in the US, Oxbridge and Russell Groups in the UK and the top Canadian and European institutions.
I work in partnership with Syzygy Global Education, based in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. This means that I have colleagues to give a second opinion on application materials, as well as people in the appropriate time zones and locations to connect with university admissions teams on an applicant's behalf.