Delivering university guidance during an ever – changing climate

It is business as usual for the university team here in Tianjin. Keeping pupils and parents informed about the rapidly changing circumstances that confront us has been key in the ongoing delivery and information flow between all parties. We recognise that support during these times is even more vital than usual; pupils in all year groups can continue to get the help they need to prepare for their future university applications, regardless of the current circumstances. Parents across the globe will understandably be anxious about the impact on university admissions of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences for public examinations. Below we answer several questions to help pupils and parents.

 

1

Q: I am not clear about how the university admissions process will work now that the A Level examinations have been cancelled.

Having been in contact with various universities, we are reassured that they will take these exceptional circumstances into consideration when assessing applications. Universities have been overwhelmingly supportive in dealing with our enquiries on behalf of our pupils. They have shown themselves to be open to learning more about the situation in our school and the impact that this is having on pupil progress towards their A Level examination. Most universities have clear procedures in place to make sure that extenuating circumstances, such as those our graduates face this year, are taken into consideration.

Graduating pupils continue to receive offers from many universities – even over the last few days, our pupils have received offers from, among others, Imperial College, King’s College London and Glasgow university. The university team here at school remains onsite can support them by contacting their first-choice universities in person to explain the current situation here in China. All universities have updated their websites and of course our university guidance team is available to help with any questions you may have.

2019 University Fair

 

2

Q: My child is in Year 12. How will universities deal with his / her application next year if there are no AS examinations?

We hold regular briefings for all pupils in Year 12, during which both pupils and their parents are guided through the application timelines and have had the opportunity to ask questions of the specialist team here at Wellington. In addition, there is a Year 12 Team on our Microsoft platform which is there to help our pupils navigate their way through the processes for different countries across the world. The university guidance team keeps them updated by posting articles on a daily basis. All Year 12 pupils have been in contact with their tutors who are on hand to give them the advice that they need. Finally, all pupils are currently in the process of uploading their first draft of the personal statement/college essay onto BridgeU, allowing them time to get ahead of the application process and ensuring a stress-free period of preparation for the final submission.

 

At Wellington, we use BridgeU as our central online platform for researching courses and universities.  Pupils use BridgeU from year 9 upwards to help them to build up a profile over the years before they apply to university. BridgeU is designed to be simple to use and it offers an end-to-end platform covering a full range of needs, from personalised course recommendations to enabling teacher collaboration and submitting global applications. BridgeU can be accessed by all involved in the process – including parents.

 

3

Q: My child is in Year 11. Will the situation with IGCSE examination cancellations damage his / her chances of applying to his / her dream school?

We have recently held an online parent briefing for all parents and pupils in Year 11, offering reassurance that we will do everything possible to make sure that their children will not be disadvantaged because of the current situation. The measures outlined by the UK examination boards in March 2020 indicate that no examination candidate will be disadvantaged during this unprecedented period. In addition to the teaching staff, who can offer specialist advice on specific subjects, the university team is available for help at any time and we can give individual guidance whenever needed.

 

4

Q: How can I find out more about universities now that no university representatives can visit?

The university guidance team posts regularly on Microsoft teams whenever we get updates from universities. Universities are increasingly making webinars available for pupils to attend so that they are kept up-to-date with everything they are doing.

University Guidance Team

5

Q: How can we keep informed of any changes?

It is vital that communication channels are as open as possible over this period and it has been great to see pupils and parents engaging so positively in the application process. We offer regular weekly meetings, delivered through our online learning platform for pupils in Years 11-13 and their parents. Through these meeting slots, pupils and parents have the opportunity to ask questions and to have concerns addressed. We are, of course, happy to answer questions at any other time too. During one of our recent meetings, for example, we discussed the university applications processes for individual countries; how to best prepare for applications to the UK, Canada, USA; and provided guidance on how to put together a portfolio for application to art school. These are popular information sessions and allows the university team to update our community on the latest changes and updates for the universities around the world.

 

6

Q: How can the school further support my child who is keen to apply to Oxbridge next year?

The accelerated programme for our scholars has continued to stretch and challenge our pupils in Year 12 and continued to operate throughout the online learning period, with pupils receiving weekly support from teachers and mentors. We have had some very positive feedback from these sessions due to the dedicated team of teachers who are involved in this programme. Practice interviews for our graduating pupils have also continued uninterrupted online. Pupils have a weekly scheduled session with a designated teacher during which they explore areas outside of the A Level curriculum. Pupils are provided with a wealth of reading material and resources to help them to explore their chosen area of study in more depth.

 

7

Q: My child is in Year 9, but I am still interested in learning more about the university application process. Can you advise me?

Our younger pupils are never left out, as we start the university process early with support from our select tutors through our weekly tutorial programme.  All pupils in Years 9-13 have access to BridgeU our online platform which assists pupils to make smarter, more informed decisions about their university applications. Pupils schedule timeslots with their tutors to discuss their options for the future and this extra time really makes a difference when building and preparing for their submissions. Parents can also get involved – please contact the university guidance team via email to book an appointment (jayne.sabio@wellingtoncollege.cn)

 

8

Q: How do I get the best out of the Application process?

Building a robust academic portfolio of excellence is an important factor in creating an overall university portfolio. The university guidance team are working tirelessly to make sure that we continue to provide opportunities for pupils aiming for the world’s top universities. In the past year alone, Wellingtonians have added value to their portfolios by taking part in some of the most prestigious events across the globe – and this year is no exception, with participation already high for the  2020 ASDAN Physics Olympiad and the USAP and USAD (United States Academy Decathlon) competitions. Unfortunately, the face-to-face competitions of late have not been able to run, but pupils have had online lessons and the competitions have been taking place online over the past couple of weeks.

 

Finally, preparing for University can often seem to be a daunting task especially in these uncertain times but with good solid preparation, ongoing guidance from a team of highly knowledgeable teachers, pupils will achieve their ultimate goal through admission to their university of choice.

 

If you are a thinking of studying in a University abroad but don’t know the best route or university to choose, Wellington College in Tianjin can offer a range of meetings online to answer those questions. Please contact us on the information below.

Email: admissions.tianjin@wellingtoncollege.cn

ADMISSIONS HOTLINE

(+86) 187-2248-7836 (English)

(+86) 136-4200-4609 (中文)

(+86) 187-2253-0823 (한국부)