A pair of BASIS International Schools college counsellors attended an international admissions conference in Bangkok, Thailand in September, and brought back valuable insight, information, resources, and contacts from what is considered a vital event in the international education world.
Amanda Yu, who is a college counsellor at BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour, and Dan Schneider, a BASIS International School Guangzhou college counsellor, represented BASIS International Schools, as well as their own campuses and students, at the CIS-EARCOS Institute on International Admission and Guidance, on September 21 and 22, 2018. The 4th annual version of the event was at the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok, and was hosted by two large organizations in the field of international education—EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools, and CIS, the Council of International Schools.
Yu and Schneider were able to learn about trends in their field and best practices, and spent time networking with admissions officers and college counselors from around the world. There were more than 188 colleges and universities and 128 international high schools represented at the conference this year, which included sessions led by both counselors and admissions officers, a school fair, as well as a college fair. In order to get the most out of the event for BASIS International Schools, Yu and Schneider teamed up in their efforts to participate in events covering different topics during each session.
Some of these topics included:
- Breaking the Code on Academic Entry Criteria
- Australian University Admissions
- Using Data and Technology in the College Process
- Negotiating Ethical Dilemmas
- Interactive Strategies/Activities to Engage Students in College and Career Counseling
- Hong Kong University Admissions
- How to Support TCKs in their Transition to College Culture
We asked Amanda Yu for her impressions of the event, and she wrote the following account:
The conference, and the importance of connecting with other counsellors:
Global networking and professional development are some of the most exciting elements of college counseling in a BASIS International School. While stateside counselors attend events with their local chapters as well as ASCA and NACAC conferences, in the international circle there are all of those groups and much more. International schools around the world have prompted the creation of an International School Counselor Association (ISCA), whose guidelines and standards are mostly borrowed from ASCA. Instead of the NACAC we have the International ACAC, and instead of state organizations we have regional ones, as small as a WeChat group for all counselors in one city, and as large as a network for the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Attend the CIS-EARCOS conference just once, and although you may not realize it, the connections you make with college representatives and other international school counselors will begin a ripple effect. I have run into familiar faces in airplanes and airports, on the streets of Hong Kong, and even stateside when I am visiting family. Over the past four years in China, I have attended professional development in Bangkok (three times), London (twice), Montreal, Prague, Hong Kong (countless times), and Brussels coming up in the spring. The sense of connectedness you feel as an international counselor is difficult to describe. Participating in global professional development grants incredible opportunities to learn and be inspired by the experiences of others in your role around the world. At conference sessions, we identify and engage in current issues, share resources and best practices, and most of all we engage in our work together. Every voice matters and no one is alone in this vast, supportive community.
What our work at the conference will mean to our campuses, and our network:
As BASIS International School counsellors, we seek to open more doors for our students and help them expand their views of themselves as well as their possible futures. Facilitating college visits to our school campus this year is one of the ways I hope to reach this goal, so that students have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of different college programs, campuses, and settings. Faculty career and college fairs are another way to get younger students excited and open-minded about college while also helping to build our BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour school community.
During this founding year at BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour, I am thrilled to be building a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program together with my counseling colleague, Melissa Kennedy. With Melissa’s emphasis on social-emotional learning and mine on college preparedness, our goal is to help develop and deliver the vertically aligned BASIS Curriculum infused with both areas — so that all students in our school can be as prepared as possible to be successful in college and beyond. Our early-game strategy is simple: understand and learn about our student population as much as possible through regular time in the classroom, visibility and availability on campus, and collection and analysis of student wellness data.
In an extraordinary way, being an international school counsellor also changes one’s perspective. The challenges make every day unique, and the rewards of working with and learning from BASIS International School students are boundless.
Amanda Yu is a College Counsellor at BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour.