Career guidance is more important now than ever before. Many international schools in Singapore offer career and university guidance for students, helping them throughout the whole process, from organising university fairs and work experience opportunities to choosing courses and submitting university applications. Here, we learn how teens can benefit from the offerings at two international schools in Singapore – plus, we get some tips from guidance experts.
How do the schools help?
Tanglin Trust School
At Tanglin, students have access to personalised one-to-one guidance with a dedicated counsellor to help them decide the course and higher education establishment that best fits them. This includes understanding different countries’ application systems, too. From as early as Year 7, students are given opportunities to explore the world of work and meet professionals from different industries. In Year 10, they undertake one week of work experience, and they can also take psychometric and aptitude tests to help identify their skill sets and interests. Besides regularly hosting university representatives and speakers from all around the world, the school offers a UK Universities Tour in the summer for Year 12 students.
Hear from a student
“The supportive and encouraging university counsellors and teachers at Tanglin have helped me navigate the US and UK application process. The counsellors’ warm smiles and advice were instrumental in both assuring me of my choices, but more importantly, assisting me in reaching my dream university.”
– Kriti, Year 13
Canadian International School
At CIS, the school’s university advisors organise career exploration activities for students in Grades 7 to 9 and work closely with the IB Diploma Programme Coordinator to help students in Grade 10 select courses based on requirements for their future university studies. When students reach Grade 11, advisors have individual meetings with them and their parents; they also plan workshops about the university application process when they begin Grade 12. Advisors will work with students on university applications, ensuring that they meet deadlines and choose universities that fit their personal and long-term goals.
Hear from a student
“CIS has helped me make informed decisions regarding my university and career choices through active guidance from the university counsellors. They gave me the opportunity to explore universities in Singapore and also internationally. Their guidance caters to every individual’s needs, preferences and potential. Moreover, they do so ahead of time to avoid last-minute panic before deadlines. They have made the terrifying process of choosing and applying to universities more comfortable, smooth and exciting.”
– Heli Sanghvi, Grade 12
Zoe Williams, Head of Careers and University Guidance at Tanglin Trust School
#1 “Research is crucial. Requirements are constantly evolving and what may have been the advice two years ago could be outdated now. Don’t rely on other people’s memories of what they had to do; go to the source and find out directly from the universities or counsellors.”
#2 “Be introspective about what you want from university and create a priorities list. For example, consider class size, student satisfaction rates and sports facilities. Be careful of rankings as they all have different motivators, and universities fare differently depending on the criteria the publication uses.
#3 “Always be course-led and look at the options beyond your first year of study. Think about how you will be assessed at university and what the units of study will look like as you begin to specialise in your major. Also, think about the opportunities that the university has for internships and study-abroad programmes.”
Career Guidance Team at Canadian International School
#1 “Keep the lines of communication open – don’t force the discussion or create unnecessary pressure. Ask your child when they want to talk about their preferences and thoughts about attending university. Listen non-judgmentally and probe for more information if needed. Consider setting a time if they’re not open to spontaneous discussions. You can also share your own experiences.”
#2 “Ask your child what their school is teaching them about the university application process. What have school university advisors been talking about and what is being planned? Schedule a meeting with your child and the school university advisor to understand the steps involved and how you can help. You can also discuss results from your child’s career assessments.”
#3 “Be an advocate for your child. If they’re unsure about what they want to do after graduating, ask the school university advisor for a consultation and create an action plan. Come prepared with questions and get the advisor to emphasise your child’s responsibilities in the process. Provide help where it seems practical, such as looking for interesting videos about universities and finding out about financial aid.”
Written in collaboration with:
Canadian International School
Tanjong Katong Campus: 371 Tanjong Katong Road
Lakeside Campus: 7 Jurong West Street 41