Are You Ready, Seniors? - Dragons News

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Are You Ready, Seniors?

A new school year began, and seniors are ready to pave their paths to the next step in their life, colleges. College application process takes several months and is complicated simply because there are a lot of things that students have to take care of. The Class of 2018 in Korea International School, Jeju (KISJ) began their preparation since August in order to submit their applications in October and November.

KISJ is an international school that is based on the American education curriculum, so it is common to see a majority of the students apply to universities in the United States. However, at the same time, a significant portion of students look for colleges in Asia as well, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. In addition, some students are planning to apply for colleges in Europe. Sophia K. (G12) shared that “The location of the college one plans to apply all depends on each individual’s interest, preferences, and other factors.”

College admission requirements differ by universities. For instance, some schools require students to send certain documents. On the other hand, regardless of where one applies to, students generally follow the same application process when submitting applications.

Photo taken by Diana Hong

The first step of college application is knowing what one wants to study in college, or majors. A lot of students in KISJ take Honors and Advanced Placement courses related to their future majors; this helps colleges to recognize the students’ efforts and passion towards their dream. Since the college is one’s first opportunity in their life to focus on what they want to study, selecting a major is extremely crucial.

After choosing a major, a student has to gather test scores and create a resume. Almost all universities require standardized test scores, especially for international students. Some tests include SAT, ACT, and TOEFL. Most students take these tests during their junior year or early senior year. In addition, a resume is a good summary of a student’s academic performance as well as their strengths because it contains information about extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, leadership activities, and more. Students can evaluate their school activities and discover strengths that could be useful in their application.

Test scores and resume help a student choose which colleges he should apply to. There are several considerations that students have to look for when they choose a college: location, tuition fee, climate, setting, student population, or the quality of education. KISJ recommends students to form a list of maximum of ten universities. The list has to be balanced -- it means that a student needs to add far reach, reach, possible, likely, and safety schools in their list.

Once the students know where they should apply to, they have to get recommendation letters from teachers, take more tests if needed, write Common Application and supplement essays, arrange meetings with counselors, and submit documents to school.

However, students and parents often encounter difficulties because they are not fully aware of what is needed to be completed. Thus, college counselors and grade 12 advisors hold college application preparation sessions by organizing several activities, such as counseling sessions, advisory activities, and one-on-one meetings. The goal is to help students and their parents be informed and prepared when they apply starting October until early next year.

In August and September, seniors had counseling sessions with Grade 12 counselors, Ms. Kunik and Mr. Watter. They learned about the ways to contact their counselors to arrange meetings. One session was about deadlines and submitting application checklist to school counseling office. It was an opportunity for students to get clarifications and detailed information about applying to colleges and communicating with the college counselors. There was also an assembly which students and parents were encouraged to attend. In this meeting, parents were able to be informed about what students need to prepare, what schools are providing for students, and what parents have to take care of for their children’s application process. According to Mr. Watter, a Grade 12 college counselor, large meetings and assemblies are for students to “learn the basics of the college admissions process,” and individual meetings are for students to go over each individual case.

Photo taken by Diana Hong

Grade 12 advisors prepared several activities to help students become more familiar with colleges in general. One of the activities was to design posters about one of the safety schools -- meaning that there is a high possibility of student getting into that school. After creating a poster, students went around and voted for the poster with the best-design. In the end, the advisory that had a student’s poster with the highest point received senior competition points. Mr. Lehmann, one of the G12 advisors, “hoped that this activity would help students get ideas about colleges that they are interested in or might possibly apply to.”

Throughout the month, students had been scheduling meetings with their counselors to talk about their university list and to receive feedback regarding the preparation process. Students who had questions had an opportunity to talk with the counselors privately. These meetings are crucial because communicating with counselors allow students to proceed the application process without major difficulties.

Students, who are about to make one of the most significant decisions in their lives, have mixed thoughts about what they are going to be doing soon. “I still cannot believe that I am a senior,” Yoon H. (G12) said. She added that “I know that it is going to be a challenge, but I want to try my best.” Jinkyung K. (G12) hoped that everyone would bring good results “and graduate with happy smiles.”

The application deadlines for many universities begin from mid-October. Seniors should manage their time well and must make sure that they are gathering all the necessary materials by the deadline. Mr. Watter suggested students to “take care of [their] mental health,” adding that “If your body and mind feel healthy, [students] will be able produce better and more efficient work.” Let’s go, Class of 2018!

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