University Consultancy Services Overview
University selection: The selection of a shortlist of universities will be undertaken with the student and family. We will conduct extensive discussion with the family on the college selection process and suggest a range of suitable universities for further research.
University relationships: As members of the International Association for College Admission Counseling, the Council of International Schools and the Council of British International Schools, we have long experience of developing communication channels with universities and we have excellent personal relations with admissions teams in the US, Canada, UK, Asia and Europe. We advise on the best ways of communicating with universities, advocate on behalf of the Student where appropriate, and advise on how best to connect with institutions.
Application procedure: We will guide the student, the family and, if necessary, the student’s school, through the entire process of applying to universities. We will oversee and manage the application process to all selected universities. This includes guidance and review of the student’s application and application essays, coordination with schools for document submission, and oversight of the overall timeline and ongoing strategy.
Testing: We will advise and create the strategy for all testing requirements: SAT / ACT for the USA, subject-specific tests for the UK, and all other testing requirements. We do not provide test or tutoring tuition and the cost of these programmes is not included, though we maintain strong relationships with a variety of providers.
University visits: We will assist with organising visits to as many universities as required, including introductions to admissions teams and creation of overall schedules of visits.
Impartial and professional advice: Though we cannot and will not guarantee acceptance to any university, we will provide you with open, honest and impartial advice on the options available to you.
US University Applications
Applications to the United States are extraordinarily complex, much more so than the application systems students are typically used to (for more information, see our articles on US applications) or get in touch.
Through a three-stage process, David Hawkins helps students to make the strongest possible applications:
Exploration: with such a large number of universities to choose between and huge variation between even the most highly selective institutions, working out what type of university experience a student aspires to is crucial to the success of future applications. David works closely with the student and family to examine a range of criteria in order to prepare a shortlist of ‘best fit’ universities.
Preparation: once a shortlist has been agreed, there is work to do in order to get ready for applications opening. SAT / ACT test preparation is a key part of this, and David works closely with a select group of partner companies to ensure each student receives the best preparation. Alongside this, David can prepare itineraries for college visits to the USA, connect students with colleges for Skype interviews as well as to prepare ‘demonstrated interest’ strategies.
Application: if the preparation is done correctly, the process of applications should run smoothly. The most time-intensive aspect will be the essays, which David can support students with through regular sessions and detailed feedback on each draft. In addition, David will give guidance on completion of the Common Application and other application portals, as well as supporting a student’s school with references and supporting documents if necessary.
Canadian University Applications
Canadian applications present a strong alternative to US applications, with a more streamlined system that can be managed well with careful preparation and consideration.
Canadian university programmes operate in a method distinct to those in the UK and the US, and understanding how subject prerequisites, typical requirements and specialist programs interact is key to ensuring a stress-free application process.
With detailed knowledge of the application systems for either direct applications (McGill, UBC and others), Ontario applications (to both universities and colleges) and post-application protocol, David can support students through all stages of making applications to Canadian universities.
Once applications are submitted, David will ensure that all post-application requirements are met and will work with students and their schools to ensure that all key requirements and deadlines are met.
UK & European Applications
Having worked at schools in both the UK and Europe, David has considerable expertise in all aspects of these applications.
With a heavily grades-based system, UK university processes can sometimes be confusing for international applicants, and David can demystify this process for you. From creating a college shortlist though a wise use of data and rankings, through to preparation of a strong personal statement and on to the completion of the UCAS application, David supports students (and schools) through all aspects of the process.
Students are increasingly also looking at English-language degrees across continental Europe, with the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Ireland growing in popularity each year, each with different application requirements.
David has experience and connections across the European university comumunity, from the private universities that make up the European Universities Consortium to public options in the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, and many more.
With detailed understanding of the differences between the style of education, selection and assessment across the main European destinations, David can guide you through all aspects of the process.
When working with a family, we do our best to ensure positive outcomes through open, ethical and knowledgeable advising. Our work takes place in a number of ways: in person, via calls through the telephone or video conferencing, via email and, increasingly, via WhatsApp messages and groups.
Our work starts with the creation of a university list and application strategy and involves all facets of the applicant journey. These three case studies explain how we enable students to take ownership of their processes so that they can meet with success.
From London to YALE
We worked with a student with stellar A*/A grades at A Level and GCSE, who had been turned down on all of his US applications while at school. On contacting us to ask for help, he soon realised that he had not understood the complexities needed to apply to the most-competitive US universities. His application essays had not focused on the right topics, he had not used his extra-curricular activities as an additional ‘hook’ in his applications, nor had he connected effectively with the universities in advance of his applications.
With mentoring and feedback, from his reapplication he was able to secure a spot in Yale’s class of 2022.
From boarding school to Madrid
An international student attending an English boarding school, this student aspired to a future as a journalist in her own country and was disappointed by the courses she found available to her in the UK. She also wished to pick up a further language as part of her studies, but to study a degree in English.
Working with us, she was able to draw up a shortlist of universities in Italy, France and Spain which matched her interests and study profile and was assisted in writing successful applications, eventually choosing to pursue her studies at University CEU San Pablo in Madrid.
A student and her family had always dreamt of university in California, but found herself attending a school in the UK which had limited experience with US applications and could not advise on the nuances of the various options to study in California.
With the need to achieve some scholarship funding a key part of this process and the student having a busy schedule of commitments at school, introductions were made at two universities in California which gave positive feedback. After applying to the University of San Francisco in the early round the student will join their class of 2023 this August.