University Bound believes that higher education should provide students the opportunity to explore, grow, and thrive. It was founded by people who have contended with a university admissions system that is complex, and even overwhelming, and who decided to combine their experience and expertise to help others navigate the process. Choosing the right school is a lifetime decision and investment. And the process should be positive, not painful! Let us help your student apply with knowledge and confidence to have good choices and admissions success.
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A new survey of U.S. high-school juniors found that 8% said they hadn't begun their university searches. Among those who have, 68% said they were “actively” building their college list. 47% of students surveyed said the pandemic changed how they feel about going to college. Among them, 53% said it feels riskier, 38% said it feels more important than ever, 5% are considering a gap year, and 5% are questioning whether college is a good investment. 55% of students researching schools virtually reported preferring online research, and only 14% preferred virtual events and information sessions.
Calling all juniors (and even sophomores) — are you researching universities and starting to build your list? Make sure you’re paying as much attention to financial "fit” as you are to good academic matches. If a school’s not affordable, it’s a bad choice. There are outstanding high-value schools out there that won't break your budget, and we have tools to help you research and plan.
THE CAMPUS VISIT
As pandemic restrictions ease, students may have the possibility of visiting universities in-person. But a useful visit involves more planning than you think. If you’re an international student, try and slow down the pace, take an official tour, look at the school's international profile, and find out about student support services. Here's some guidance, and the UB4U library has additional resources to help.
Our services are available by the hour or in customized packages to address the needs of every family. To discuss the possibilities, 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 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.
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 the Czech Republic and the founder of University Bound. She launched the consultancy after helping her own children and friends navigate the university admissions process and discovering the knowledge gap facing students applying to U.S. schools from abroad. So many lessons learned! She has over 20 years of experience in international media and strategic communications, including as Director for Public Affairs 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, Ann Arbor, and will receive her certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from the University of California, Irvine, in 2021.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
”I want to thank University Bound for helping my family survive this. We found applying extremely stressful, and were relieved to be able to shift the burden to people who had the background and experience to oversee the process.” - Lattimore family
“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
“I really benefited from your help with the list and planning. Your guidance was clear and it helped organise the admissions process for me and avoid mistakes.” - Kwan
“It takes a village. Thank you.” - Cynthia