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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EU STUDENTS FACE STEEP BREXIT FEES
EU students attending UK universities this fall face tuition hikes amounting to two or three times the amount they previously paid in fees. They will be assigned "international" status as a result of the new Brexit fee structure, and will be charged an average of more than £18,500 a year at about a quarter of English universities. Tuition at top research-intensive schools will reach up to £34,000, almost three times the £9,250 fee charged previously to UK and EU undergraduates alike. In addition, starting this year EU students will no longer qualify for UK government loans to help defray tuition costs. EU students have taken note: UCAS, the UK's admissions body, reports a 40% drop in applications from the bloc this year. A separate forecast predicts a decline of about 40,000 EU enrolments by 2024-25.
UK APPLICATIONS AT RECORD HIGH
UCAS, the UK’s university admissions administrator, has reported across-the-board increases in applications and offers of places among high-school graduates, resulting in the highest ever number of students poised to start university courses in the fall. Applications from the UK totalled 311,000, a 10% increase over the 281,000 submissions received last year. UCAS applications overall, including from mature and international students, reached a new high of 682,000 with a record 400,000 women applying. Despite the uncertainties of the pandemic and the rising burden of student debt, demand for courses in the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts rose, with double-digit increases in the fields of nursing, medicine, and dentistry. Even as schools have increased the number of offers, there are reports of greater competition for slots among UK applicants.
STEM STATS FOR WOMEN
An Australian study finds that women with the aptitude, resilience, and self-confidence to pursue STEM degrees are less likely to go on to work in STEM-related fields than men, even after out-performing them at university. Less than 60% of recent female STEM undergraduates were as likely as their male counterparts to have science, technology or engineering jobs – even though they were around five percentage points more likely to complete their degrees by the age of 25. The study also found that high-school students’ interest in maths was a stronger indicator of future STEM study than their academic achievement. Said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Edwards, “You didn’t actually have to be good at maths...Students who thought that maths was useful in the real world were much more likely to go on with it.”
RUSSIA DECLARES BARD COLLEGE 'UNDESIRABLE'
Since 2015, Russia has branded several organizations operating on its territory as “undesirable.” This week the country's prosecutor-general’s office expanded the list to include Bard College, stating that the institution “threatens the constitutional order and security of Russia.” Bard, whose original campus is in New York, has collaborated with St. Petersburg State University since 1999 to operate the liberal arts, Russian-residential Smolny College. As a result of the "undesirable" designation, persons associated with the college may face fines or imprisonment. Critics have decried the decision as an attack on intellectual and academic freedom.
If a college is unaffordable, then it doesn’t belong on your application list. If your family hasn’t spoken about university finances yet, don’t let the summer end before you have. However difficult the discussion, it’s preferable to the heartache of getting accepted to a wished-for school only to discover that you can’t afford to enroll. At the same time, don’t be put off by a school’s sticker price. There are tools to help you determine the real cost of attendance for your student, and there are financial aid resources to help you pay.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE COLLEGE ESSAY
When it comes to writing the college essay, it seems like everyone has advice. But the guidance of admissions officers to ignore formulas and templates and "find your own truth" is advice to take to heart. As is the very good suggestion to start writing now.
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