University Guidance


Higher Education Preparation Timeline 

Pre-High School: 

Do your best in school.  If you are having difficulty - seek out help from a teacher, tutor, counselor or mentor. 

Become involved in school or community based extracurricular activities that enable you to explore your interests, meet new people and learn new things.    

Every Year of Secondary School: 

Take challenging classes in core academic subjects. 

Take electives that align with your potential career and/or college major. 

Investigate the modern language requirements of the schools and programs in which you are interested.  Many colleges require a minimum of 2 years or demonstrated proficiency in a modern language.      

Stay involved in school or community based extracurricular activities that interest you or enable you to explore career interests and your passions.  Consider volunteering.  Remember - it is the quality not just the quantity of your activities that matters. 

Keep a record of your activities and honors/awards.  This will be helpful when you develop an activities resume your senior year. 

Engagement with your peers and teachers counts! 

This time line is generally appropriate for students whose plans are to apply to competitive colleges and universities in the northern hemisphere.  The more competitive the institution where you plan on making your application, the earlier you need to start working on a strategy.   

If you are returning to a national system, you will need to check with the appropriate government body regarding your application process. 

If you are jumping from one hemisphere to another or moving from a northern hemisphere schedule to a southern hemisphere schedule, you will need to look very hard at how graduation dates and various deadlines match up.  Schools in Australia are increasingly allowing students who graduate in June to being school in the second, southern hemisphere, semester.  But, parts of this timeline then get stretched or compressed based upon when you plan on matriculating. 

MYP 4:   

Meet with your school counselor/MYP coordinator to review graduation requirements and the various resources available in the counseling office.  Discuss with him/her course weight and what classes would be best for you to select for next year.  This step will become increasingly important as XLIS moves towards accreditation.  

Work diligently in your classes.  Your high school cumulative grade point average and class rank begin to accrue now.    Don’t wait! If you aren’t doing well in a class, get help.  Universities don’t see a “1” in art and a “6” in math as meaning you think math is more important than art, frequently they see it as meaning you are inconsistent. 

If you would like to do interest inventories or career assessments, they are available through our school's subscription to Bridge U. Bridge U is available from any computer that has access to the internet. If you would like assistance with this, please see your school counselor for more details.      

MYP 5: 

Make an appointment with your school counselor to discuss your interests, strengths, colleges, careers, and college requirements. 

Explore the web sites listed on the counselor's recommended links.     

Explore Bridge U with its available interest and career inventories, college search features and occupation information. 

DP 1: 


Create a Big List.  Identify potential universities/colleges, based on: 

Geographical location 

Proposed field of study (major) 

Finances (Tuition Fees + cost of living) 


Standardized Tests:

         Start date (fall or spring semester? Is there a choice? Are you going to take a gap year?)

         Available financial aid (scholarships, grants etc.) 

         Other program specific requirements 

         Personal preference  

         Identify admission policy (rolling, open, early decision, regular decision etc.) 


Investigate university testing requirements.  Some universities will require that in addition to your IB scores, that you submit SAT Logic, SAT Subject and TOEFL/IELTS scores. 

Research colleges that interest you.  See your counselor for resources in conducting your research. 

Create a Short List, those schools on which you are going to focus your application process (probably no more than 10 or 15). 

Schedule college visits.  Visiting a college or university makes a huge difference.  It is time consuming and can be expensive but will prevent you from applying to a University where you aren’t a good fit. 

You may need to talk to leaving teachers about providing reference letters before they leave or decide to contact them in the fall. 

DP 2: 


Make college visits. 

Narrow down the list of colleges that you are interested in attending.  Think about how much time you are going to spend on the EE and fall coursework.  You need to strike a balance such that you can compete your applications and your school work. 

Access the college applications for admission on the college website.  Research information about financial aid, admission requirements and deadlines.   

Decide whether you are going to apply under a college’s early decision or early action program.  Be sure to learn about the program deadlines and requirements. 

Request/download application package or create user account at universities/colleges of interest. 


Meet with your school counselor (if you haven’t) to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements. 

If you have not done so already or if you desire another chance to improve your score, register for and take exams such as the SAT Logic, SAT Subject or TOEFL/IELTS (if the schools you are looking at require them).   

Develop an activities resume.  Submit this to your school counselor. 

Apply to the colleges you have chosen.  Prepare your applications carefully, follow directions closely, and pay close attention to deadlines.   

Well before your application deadlines, ask your teachers or counselor to write your letter of recommendations.   

Research scholarships.  

Complete any scholarship applications with early deadlines. 


Review your college acceptances and compare financial aid packages. 

When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit.  Many schools require this notification and deposit by May 1st. 

Notify other colleges where you were accepted that you have chosen to attend elsewhere.  This is helpful for students who may have been "wait-listed" at that school. 

Receive the I-20 form, (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status) 

Universities will have a specialist on staff to help you with the visa process, but you really need to pay attention to fees, how those fees can be paid and deadlines. 

Apply for student visa (F-1 or J-1) 

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee 

Fulfill any potential admission conditions, such as: 

     Submit certified translated transcripts, if applicable.  You will need to inform the IB Coordinator as to where you want your final IB transcript sent.  Many universities will not allow you to enroll without this document. 

     Submit proof of health insurance, if applicable.  Check with your university admissions office.  Many universities will have their own insurance plans that are reasonably priced.  You will generally not be issued a visa without proof of health insurance. 

     Submit school report or mid-year school report.  This should really be at the top of the list.  Many, but not all universities, will want a copy of your first semester grades submitted sometime in January or February. 

     Submit test scores, if applicable.  You might choose to take the TOEFL one more time.  Universities that require minimal proof of language proficiency may want you to sit a language acquisition course until you demonstrate proficiency.  Taking the TOEFL or IELTS one          more time before school starts might save you a semester spent paying for classes where you earn no credit. 



General information about Universities (the US) 


Essays and personal statements 




Universities by region 


Career Resources 


Sports Eligibility 

Many colleges and universities encourage students to participate in intramural sports competitions.  These activities generally involve students who are in the same university and though they may have many different levels of competitiveness, they are just for fun.  If you are an athlete and expect to compete at the highest levels, you might consider intercollegiate athletics.  The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is the body in the US that governs this highest level of college sports.  The process of establishing eligibility if you wish to compete at this level beings in your DP 1 year and is an exacting process.  If you were going to play sports at this level, particularly if you might be interested in a sports scholarship, you would need to talk to your counselor early in your secondary school tenure. 


College Acceptance

University Acceptances  

Queens University 

Ateneo de Manila University 

Melbourne University 

University of California, Santa Barbara  

University of California, Davis 

University of Washington 

Pennsylvania State University  

University of Massachusetts, Amherst 

University of Kentucky 

University of Oregon 

State University of New York 

SungKyunKwan University 

University of Ohio 

University of Houston