The first step involves a conversation with the student and parent(s) in order to get a good understanding of student's education, interests and plans, if any. This could be a face-to-face meeting, a video call (such as Skype), or a phone call. The purpose of this discussion is three-fold: (1) to listen to the parents/student’s needs, concerns and ambitions and (2) to explain the process to the student in detail, highlighting major milestones, requirements, and important dates and (3) address any questions or concerns. Prior to the meeting/call, we ask if the student is comfortable having the conversation in English. If not, we will include a counselor or a translator who speaks the student’s native language. Sometimes this enables the students to express themselves comfortably and freely without language barriers.
Academic & Non Academic History
Research & Evaluation
We ask the students to provide us with a brief summary of both their academic and non-academic school history, including interests, activities, community work, etc. We also ask students to provide us with copies of their grade reports, test scores, and other relevant material. Once we have collected the necessary material, we conduct our own research and evaluation. This will give us a strong indication of where students stand today and what is needed to get them to where they want to be. Special attention is given to a student’s English language proficiency.
The assessment process allows students to learn about themselves, understand their individual strengths and become familiar with their learning style. The assessment, which could include multiple tools, indicates the personality type of the student. Once the assessment results are integrated, we can help the student create a link between interests, learning, success and a rewarding career.
Understanding your strengths
Understanding your learning style
Tailoring a plan
Sending your applications
Once data gathering, research, and assessment are complete, we start tailoring a plan that best meets the goals of the student. This includes creating a timeline which clearly indicates all the steps and milestones that need to be completed to enhance the college application, with emphasis on both academic and non-academic work (such as community service, or portfolio creation, etc.). The planning process includes a clear understanding of various deadlines that need to be met and adhered to.
Prepping is an integral part of the application process. The goal is to create a plan to help students improve their grades, their test scores and their English language proficiency if needed. Different students are likely to have different needs, so each prepping program will be individually tailored. The earlier a student is introduced to our counseling services, the more effective the prepping is. Some students start as early as 9th grade (three to four years before graduation).
Improve your grades
Improve your test scores
Improve your English
There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting a list of colleges. In addition to clearly understanding the college admission requirements, a student should examine multiple factors to ensure the colleges in consideration are a good fit.
In addition to academics, one should consider other attributes that could impact the college student’s experience, such as: Tuition, cost of living, location, size, town, type of campus, weather conditions, housing facilities (on or off campus), transportation and travel, student-to-faculty ratio, type and size of classes (lectures vs. discussion), cultural enrichment programs and activities, student diversity, school athletics, sororities and fraternities, liberal or conservative campus environment, religious affiliation or non-denominational, private vs. public, scholarships available to international students, and facilities/programs for students with special needs, among others.
CCIS will strive to send students to campuses where there is tolerance and acceptance of other cultures, norms and beliefs, and will make best effort to avoid places where students could be harassed, bullied,or discriminated against.
Once critical factors are recognized along with a student’s academic profile, a list of colleges is jointly put together. This list is divisible into the traditional 3 tiers: Reach, Match and Safety.
A well-derived application will carefully balance a selection of schools that contain reaches, matches, and safeties and are also a good “fit” for the student.
It is common for students applying to US universities to consider early action/early decision as part of the application strategy. This of course will be discussed when strategizing the admissions process and pros/cons will be covered.
Academic background and scores of the students accepted by these colleges are on average higher than those of the applying student. The student is less likely to get accepted but does stand a chance.
Academic background and scores of students accepted by theses colleges are in line with the applying student. The student’s profile fits the acceptance criteria of the schools. The student is likely to get accepted by colleges on this list.
Academic background and scores of the students accepted by these colleges are on average less than those of the student. The likelihood of getting accepted at a safety is school is usually very high.
Graduate & Post Graduate Study
When applying to Graduate schools, several of the steps charted are similar to those followed when applying to undergraduate programs. However with graduate programs emphasis is placed on the major of study. Although the general reputation of the university is significant, it is of secondary importance when compared to the strength of the program under consideration. In some cases, most notably with Ph.D. applicants in the UK, the student should first investigate the academic work being conducted by different scholars in the student’s filed of interest. Once these scholars/professors are identified, the student should narrow the list to determine which professor’s research are mostly in sink with their own research interest.
The student should subsequently contact the professor directly to inquire whether the professor would be interesting in acting as the their research supervisor. If the professor agrees to do so, then the student would apply to the university where the professor is teaching and researching.
After discussing the academic interest with the student, and after evaluating their undergraduate profile, we will use our vast database and network of specialists to suitable recommendations for graduate study and research. Our assessment tools could help the student in narrowing down their option to match their field of interest and prospective career.
Specialized Programs & Professional Degrees
Specialized programs are programs such as Medicine, Law, Music, Visual and Performing Arts, etc. Planning for these programs vary widely and require a different type of preparation. CCIS network includes counselors with expert knowledge in these specialized fields.
When helping place students at boarding schools, we work on the premise that the student will transition into college. We work mostly with schools where a high percentage of their students are accepted at top universities. There are many advantages to attending boarding schools, most common is academic rigor, teaching students independence and responsibility at an earlier stage, improve confidence and self-esteem, outstanding teachers, athletic programs, great facilities (art centers, library, media centers, etc.), detailed attention to students’ development, extracurricular activities and small classes with high level of student/teacher interaction.
In addition to location and size, boarding schools are mostly non-sectarian, but some are affiliated with a certain religious order. Some cater to a specific gender (boys or girls-only schools) while others specialize in providing education to students with different learning levels (such as students with ADHD). Some schools are fine arts-focused, while others could be STEM focused (Science, Technology, Engineering and math), but the majority are balanced across all disciplines of education.
CCIS counselors work closely with families to select a list of boarding schools that are a good “fit”, and are best likely to meet the needs of the student. Similar to our college counseling program, we work with boarding schools located in the US, Canada and the UK.
Once all the pervious steps are completed, “constructing” the application is next. This involves putting together all the required information, including grades, test scores, recommendations, resume and other credentials (if applicable), and of course the essays.
At CCSI we have consultants who specialize in college essay reviews and guidance. They work closely with the student to make sure he/she fully understands the expectations of a college and what the college is looking for in an essay. Much time is spent on essay coaching, brainstorming exercises, and refining the essays. Once all the application elements are complete, the application is submitted.
Academic & Non Academic History
Some colleges will require student interviews. These interviews are usually conducted in person or over the phone, or via Skype. Training and prepping for interviews will be provided by our consultants. A mock interview(s) is administered to the student by one of our specialist.