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Impact of International Schooling on University Admissions: A Closer Look at the Advantages and Opportunities

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Aug 01, 2023

Many parents in Malaysia would find themselves living with uncertainty as their children approach one of the most crucial crossroads in their lives - the year they begin formal schooling. Parents have a natural desire to see their children excel academically, as it enhances their chances of gaining admission to prestigious universities and lays a solid foundation for future careers.

Hence, choosing the right school for your child's formative years is crucial and to be taken seriously, particularly for primary and secondary education. Over the years, international schools have emerged as a popular preference for many. The reason behind this trend is parents' belief that international schools can significantly enhance their child's chances of securing a spot in a reputable university. 

But the question remains: Does attending an international school increase the odds of getting into a top university? To answer this question, let's look at what universities consider when making an admissions decision and how these factors relate to attending an international school. 

Academic Performance at International Schools 

Depending on the chosen programme, students need to demonstrate proficiency in specific subjects through learning and testing. The grading systems at international schools are highly adaptable for universities that welcome students from around the world. This seamless transition facilitates a smoother educational journey for international students.

The best international schools put a lot of effort into helping students excel in academics and compete globally. They do this by recruiting highly qualified and skilled teachers. These schools also provide the required facilities to support learning including libraries and laboratories. Their smaller classroom sizes also ensure students get personalised attention and feedback from teachers to enhance their learning experience.

International school students excel in university applications with their English immersion.

Language Proficiency Advantage

The English language is commonly used at universities in Western countries. Hence, many institutions will require their international applicants to demonstrate their language proficiency. If a student's secondary-level education doesn't meet the required language standards, they might need to take additional English proficiency tests.

The advantage of international schools is that they implement widely recognised educational programmes such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and GCSE that are conducted in English. Students who successfully pass these exams are exempt from having to take additional English proficiency tests. Having been immersed in an English-speaking environment for many years enables international school graduates to better grasp and engage in the university application process. Their communication skills are also likely to be superior, giving them a stronger foundation for success in higher education.

These academic programmes at international schools also train students to express themselves clearly and write fluently. These skills will come in handy, enabling the applicants to write excellent application essays and be eloquent in oral interviews. They will have no problems in comprehending the questions posed and will surely build the confidence of the interviewer. Effective communication is a key factor in making a favourable impression during the admissions process. 

Knowledge and Commitment to a Subject

University admissions boards place significant importance on a student's passion and commitment to their chosen course. They seek to understand what motivated the student to pursue that subject and how they have demonstrated their dedication to it. For example, in the case of arts-related courses, universities may inquire about the student's performance in relevant subjects and the extracurricular activities they have participated in to enhance their skills. 

Subsequently, this opens the door to exploring their extracurricular involvements and volunteering work. Universities may also express interest in the competitions students have participated in and other academic achievements that align with their chosen career trajectory. Demonstrating genuine interest and a proactive approach in chosen fields can greatly strengthen a student's application and increase the chances of being accepted into the programme.

Among the greatest strengths of international schools is that they prioritise providing abundant opportunities for students to pursue their desired career paths. They offer a wide array of facilities such as state-of-the-art laboratories, well-equipped music rooms, expansive playing fields and extensive libraries. Beyond that, these schools establish diverse sports clubs, conduct leadership and mentorship initiatives as well as educational excursions, all to wholeheartedly support students in discovering their individual strengths and nurturing their talents.

One standout advantage of international schools lies in the breadth of subjects they offer, which exceeds the scope of local curricula. This broader spectrum of educational options empowers students to explore and pursue more distinctive and specialised courses that might not be accessible to their counterparts studying under a standard local curriculum. This unique aspect of international schools enriches the learning journey and better prepares students for their future endeavours, setting them apart in their pursuit of knowledge and personal growth.

International schools offer a wider range of subjects and leverage technology to expose students to the latest trends.

Embracing Diversity

While multicultural exposure isn’t heavily assessed, it can help with gaining admissions. International schools foster interactions and relationships among students from diverse backgrounds, promoting discernment, independence and maturity. These valuable traits make these students highly desirable additions to universities.

Such students are more likely to adapt easily to a changing environment and open to new interactions. Their confidence often shines when being interviewed and the quality of their personal statements will justify why they should be selected. 

This exposure prompts international school students to display greater ambition and open-mindedness when exploring global universities. It also helps that many universities value a diverse student body and actively seek foreign students to enrich the multicultural atmosphere on their campuses.

To recap, the school you choose can significantly impact the chances of securing a spot at a reputable university and an important step in shaping your child’s desired career path.  

International schools provide several advantages that are in access to its academic support, multicultural exposure and diverse co-curricular activities, all of which nurture well-rounded and attractive candidates for university admission.