Are you University Bound?
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 constantly changing. And for international students, the challenges are multiplied. Choosing the right school is a lifetime opportunity and investment. Let us help your student apply with knowledge and confidence to achieve good choices and admissions success.
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20 January 2024
U.S. Schools Set to Revisit Standardized Testing
Four years after a majority of US universities and colleges responded to the coronavirus pandemic by suspending standardized testing, a new reckoning is expected. Numerous schools plan to promulgate new, long-term policies this spring, before the beginning of the next application cycle. According to the publication Inside Higher Education, for the 2024 application cycle only 4 percent of institutions listed on the Common App required standardized test scores. Looking ahead, 92% of officials at schools that made the switch during the pandemic said they would support continuing that policy indefinitely.
Ireland Is New Go-To Destination for EU Students
Facing post-Brexit fee hikes in the UK and increasing competition among international students in the Netherlands, EU students are increasingly looking at Ireland as a prime destination for higher ed. University Bound students applying to Ireland have gone from zero to seven in the last year, with course interests ranging from medicine, to psychology, to business, to film. The universities are many and the CAO application platform allows for 10 choices. The CAO process is not for the faint-hearted, as the point system makes no concession to IB students (except for HL Maths) and the admissions cycle runs late. But the rewards are many.
UCAS and UK Unis Make Some Changes, While Others Are TBD
The UCAS application process to UK universities saw two changes this year: the school reference was replaced by a set of questions and streamlined, and the equal consideration deadline for applications was shifted to January 31, later than ever. Eagerly awaited changes to the personal statement are still under review and not planned for release before the 2026 cycle. The University of Cambridge has announced a new partnership with Imperial College to administer several entry exams, and will adopt the UCAT instead of the BMAT for entry into medicine. The University of Oxford has dropped its entry exam provider after testing irregularities last year.
Our services are available by the hour or in customised packages to address the needs of
every student. An initial consultation is free.
Senior Year Checklist
Starting in spring, junior year, organisation is everything. This package provides essential support to help the student stay on track and ahead of deadline throughout the application process. It starts with an assessment and checklist, and is followed by a schedule of consultations to produce a to-do list and timeline and provide guidance in the areas the student needs help most. These may include research, developing the university list, application strategy, preparing for entry requirements, providing supporting materials and essays, and reviewing applications.
The University List
University admissions are 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 and demands self-appraisal, reflection and research. It also requires strategy, since admissions dynamics 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, selecting evidence, and writing effectively are key. And every writer needs a coach.
Expert Advice. Admissions Success.
University Bound offers advising and support to help families and students navigate a university landscape that is constantly shifting. Our approach is individualized, student-centered and ethical. Our aim is to increase knowledge, manage risk, and reduce stress. We are alert to the latest developments in higher education and equipped with insight and expertise to help students maximize their choices and gain admission to a ''right fit'' school.
Who We Are
Joanna Levison is an American expat living in Prague. She launched University Bound to help international students navigate an increasingly complex and global university application process in the U.K., U.S., Europe, and elsewhere, and has advised hundreds of successful students. She has over 20 years of experience in international relations, human rights advocacy, and strategic communications. She has managed mentoring programs for journalists in coordination with the Czech Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Prague, and worked at the US State Department in Washington, D.C. She has a Masters Degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies.
University Bound offers individualized one-to-one consulting. We help students reflect on the fundamental ''why'' of university and arrive at a personal understanding of ''fit." We provide comprehensive research and strategic guidance to produce an effective school list. We offer planning for every step of the application process, expert feedback on personal statements and essays, and insight into financial aid. We assess admissions offers and we celebrate results. We normally work by the hour to address every student need.