Practices and Procedures

Honesty, trust and open / accurate communication are key to productive relationships among UGC counselors, students and their families. Working together to find good university matches and applying for admission is difficult work. Tertiary institutions look for integrity and honesty in information as they review student applications. Accordingly, and in keeping with the Academy’s core values of The Eight Virtues + One, all students are expected to honor the following principles when working with the University Guidance Center.

The number of applications students submit to colleges and universities is based on their needs, circumstances and family preferences. Students apply to universities that are Reach, Match and Safety choices. The individual student’s predicted grades, test scores and personal strengths and needs are all considered. A general recommendation is for between 5 and15 university applications per student. Applications to the following systems count as one (1) application: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the University of California, the Ontario University Application Center. Students are expected to share their list with their UGC Counselor for review prior to submitting an application.

Students are encouraged to think widely and apply to universities globally, according to student and family preferences. Institutions should be selected based on student credentials, interest in a course, university and costs.

An Early Decision (ED) application in the US is a legal commitment to go to that university if given an offer. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students do not both apply ED in the USA and to Oxbridge. The UGC team encourages Early Action (EA) applications to the United States with the balance of applications being Regular Decision (RD). If possible, non-US applications should be submitted by November for an earlier response.

The UGC team sets internal deadlines for applications with the expectation that students meet these dates. This allows their UGC counselor to conduct application reviews and checking prior to external application submissions. All university-related applications must be submitted two school weeks prior to external deadlines. These applications can be for but not limited to scholarships, financial aids, accommodation/residence, etc.

The UGC team will send electronic transcripts to universities for ISF student applications. To ensure the integrity of the official Academy transcript, only unofficial paper transcripts are given directly to students and their parents.

The use of external educational agents creates a difficult dynamic with the student, parents and the UGC counselors. Applications that have been manipulated in any way by educational agents are summarily rejected by some universities in the US (e.g. Cornell and Northeastern). No reason is given to the student for the rejection. Families who choose to use agents may jeopardize their student’s place in tertiary education. Institutions have also advised that the involvement of an agent in an admissions application may damage the reputation of the Academy and impact the prospects of other ISF students. If a family chooses to use an agent, we ask for transparency. Where a family chooses to use an agent, any additional assistance from the UGC will be at the discretion of the UGC team and the Head of School.

Confirmation deposits should not be made to multiple schools without prior consultation with the UGC team. Students should work closely with their UGC counselor to decide where they are depositing. Multiple offers across countries must be considered with great care and monitored closely with the assistance of the UGC counselors.

It is an expectation that all Seniors participate in the process of researching possible universities to attend with the UGC team, and apply for admission during their senior year. The Academy supports UGC applications in the final years of Senior School with a clear expectation that all students will complete their applications prior to graduation. Universities have different policies about how they handle a proposed gap year, but a request for a deferral is generally well received by universities who often make accommodations for a delay in matriculation.