Are you university bound? We are.
And we believe that higher education should provide students the opportunity to explore, grow, and thrive. Our company was founded by people who have contended first-hand with a university admissions system that is complicated and changing. And as the system becomes increasing global, it has also become more complex. Choosing the right school is a lifetime opportunity and investment. And the process should be positive, not painful! We can help your student apply with knowledge and confidence to have good choices and admissions success.
Click here to learn about our services.
Our services are available by the hour or in customized packages to address the needs of every family. An initial consultation is free.
THE APPLICATION PACKAGE
Does the application process seem unwieldy and confusing? Beginning in junior year, this package provides tailored advising to help the student navigate the elements and apply competitively to a list of “right fit” schools. Individualized consultations, typically 12-15, will guide the student in defining educational and personal goals, aligning extra-curricular activities and recommendations, researching schools, building an effective university list, developing an application strategy, applying, and assessing admissions outcomes. It includes development and review of a personal statement and supplementary essays for a student’s first-choice school, and regular check-ins and communication.
SENIOR YEAR CHECKLIST
Starting in August of senior year, organization is everything. This package provides essential support and oversight to help the student stay on track and ahead of deadline throughout the application process. It starts with a checklist and assessment, and is followed by 4-6 consultations to produce a to-do list and timeline and provide guidance in the areas the student needs help most. These may include finalizing the university list and application strategy, preparing supporting materials, reviewing essays, and proof-reading applications.
JUNIOR YEAR PREP
By using junior year wisely, students can get a jump on the application process and reduce the stress ahead. There are priorities to set, extra-curricular interests and recommendations to pursue, schools to research and visit, tests to consider, a summer to plan, and essays to think about before senior year sets in. This package includes 4-6 consultations, planning tools, and research to help the student put junior year to optimal use.
THE UNIVERSITY LIST
University admissions are both competitive and unpredictable, and so having a smart university list is essential to ensuring good outcomes. There is so much more to choosing the right school than the name! Building the list usually starts in the spring of junior year in a process that involves self-appraisal, research, and also strategy, since application requirements change and student priorities shift. An effective list is a hedge against risk, and an important reminder that there are multiple pathways to achieve personal and educational goals.
ESSAY DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW
Whether it's 4,000 characters, 650 words or 50, the essay that is part of every university application challenges the student to write for distinction and impact. Choosing a topic, finding one's voice, and writing effectively are key. And every writer needs an editor.
September 22, 2022
AMSTERDAM UNI PROPOSES LANGUAGE-BASED CAPS
Plans by the University of Amsterdam (UvA) to impose language-specific student number caps on its psychology and political science programs, two of its most popular courses, may put it at risk of discrimination lawsuits. UVA is among the Dutch universities struggling most with international popularity at a time when one in four of all students pursing higher education in the Netherlands is foreign. Dutch universities have long been concerned about rising international demand because of concerns they may be underserving their own citizens.
GERMANY EXPERIMENTS WITH TUITION FEES
Germany has attracted international students for decades because of its commitment to the principle of free education for foreigners. A new ruling allowing the federal state of Bavaria to allow its universities to charge fees to non-EU students has drawn concern that it's not worth the price. Critics contend that tuition fees will deter students who can't afford to pay, resulting in a decrease in foreign enrollments, and that any financial benefit will be offset by the expense of recruiting internationally to chase fees.
UK'S LOWER TARIFF UNIVERSITIES REBOUND
The UK has seen a considerable shift downwards in students achieving top A-level grades due to the regulator Ofqual’s decision to attempt to reverse pandemic grade inflation. Compared to 2021, the lower grades may have led students to apply to a broader range of universities, thereby increasing demand at lower tariff providers. According to UCAS data, this rebalancing follows three years during which higher tariff institutions disproportionately absorbed the rise in 18-year-olds wanting to go to university.
ARE LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES AT RISK?
A new study shows that most students don't understand what it means to study at a Liberal Arts college. This is not great news for hundreds of colleges, mainly in the US but also in the Netherlands, UK and elsewhere, whose curriculum is based on a classical model of broad, interdisciplinary inquiry in traditional arts and science fields. Liberal arts colleges usually offer few or no graduate programs, and may be less career-focused than other schools. The same study showed that 77 percent of students believe education that directly prepares students for a job is the best kind of education for them, which may mean that some Liberal Arts colleges may need to reassess their model and evolve.
THE GAP YEAR GAP
Although a record number of students took gap years during the pandemic, the practice is generally far less common among American students than among their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. Some factors that may dissuade the former may include the structure of loans and financing, the scheduling of standardized tests, labor market biases, and, of course, culture and tradition. The situation is quite different, and the standard trajectories more varied, in Europe.
WHAT WE DO
University Bound, with a focus on the U.S., offers advising and support to help students execute an effective admissions strategy that maximizes choices and results in a “right fit” school. In a university landscape that is competitive and constantly shifting, we are alert to the latest developments and equipped with insight and expertise on best practices. Our approach is individualized and student-centered, and our aim is to increase knowledge, manage risk, and reduce stress - for parents, too!
WHO WE ARE
Joanna Levison is an American expat living in Prague and the founder of University Bound. She launched the consultancy to help address the knowledge gap facing students applying to U.S. universities from abroad. The UCAS application has its own challenges, as does applying to courses in the Netherlands. So many lessons learned! She has over 20 years of experience in international media and strategic communications, including as Communications Director for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She has managed mentoring programs for journalists in coordination with the Czech Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Embassy, and worked in Washington, D.C. in the human rights bureau at the U.S. State Department. She has a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from the University of Michigan, and will receive her certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from the University of California, Irvine, in 2022.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
”We had no idea how to research or apply to universities in so many countries. Thank you for helping us rationalise the process and clarify our choices and priorities. It saved us much stress and provided much reassurance." - Mikhaela
“The individual sessions took some of the fear out of applying. I felt like I had a lot of information and knew what to do, and that helped me and my parents a lot.” -Tomas
“Thank you for so much help with my personal statement. The meetings helped me focus my ideas and organise it and gave me a lot of great feedback. It really helped me feel confident about my application.” - Sung
“It takes a village. Thank you.” - Cynthia