Opening doors: the pathway to university, studying abroad and beyond

May 25, 2021 | 21:24
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Every step on your child’s learning journey helps to shape their aspirations for what they might do in future. Each subject they explore, each expedition they go on to visit new cultures and communities - feeds into their ever expanding view of the world and their place in it.
opening doors the pathway to university studying abroad and beyond
Opening doors: the pathway to university, studying abroad and beyond

We are often asked when the ‘right time’ is for conversations at-home or in school to be had around making decisions for the future. Rather than recommend a specific time in which these decisions need to be made, we suggest instead that all of our parents keep in mind the key milestones in the secondary school calendar and how decisions at each of these stages help to open up potential future pathways and opportunities.

Year 9 to 11, identifying students interests and keeping options broad

At the end of year 9, our students can elect to study particular subjects for their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). The aim in year 9 is not to decide right away what they would like to study at university, but instead to focus on where their strengths and interests lie across a mix of different subject types. By choosing subjects your child enjoys and can excel in, and keeping them broad and varied, it sets them up with a great foundation for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) later in year 12 and 13.

Year 11 is when students make their most significant subject decisions as they look ahead to the IBDP. This is also when students receive their most substantial university guidance from BIS HCMC’s specialist University Guidance team. Importantly, when choosing subjects we guide all of our year 11 students to think about and understand the importance of gaining a transferable, interdisciplinary skill set.

The professional world is forever changing and traditional pathways to a career which exist now, may not exist in the future. It is the school’s responsibility to prepare them for this and to help them build a robust, competitive skill set which will prepare them for success in a diverse and changing jobs market.

Year 12 and Year 13, Entering the IBDP journey

At sixth form (a British term for the final two years of secondary school education), BIS HCMC offers the IBDP. We favour the IBDP for its worldwide prestige, the international pathways it opens up for our students and for the fact it is known for preparing students far better for university study than any other programme.

The curriculum is specifically designed so that its core elements reflect the way university students study their degree. Through tasks like the extended essay, students develop skills like independent research and thinking creatively so that they shape their own opinions.

Our teachers also contribute tremendously to each students’ academic journey. It is essential that the school is able to foster a learning environment where experienced and skilled staff are encouraged to develop new ways of approaching knowledge and learning, which then in turn, trickles down to the benefit of our students. Being at the forefront of teaching & learning enables our students to not simply repeat and memorise answers, but thoroughly understand what the answers mean, why it is important and how their learning fits within both a local and a global context.

At BIS HCMC, we guide our students to think about their pathway not in terms of destinations, but as a direction. Instead of pushing a student to aim for a placement at a particular university, we encourage them to think about what values and interests underpin their subject interests.

Our students may then identify that they are passionate about making a contribution to a specific field such as healthcare or agriculture. We then help them to identify what skill sets and subjects in the IBDP they would need to pursue that direction and achieve their goals.

Many 16-18 year olds have a limited idea of what careers exist because they simply haven’t been exposed to them yet, so it is important that we help them to explore their options.

Our BIS HCMC specialist University Guidance team holds sessions in order to help students think about different career pathways and possibilities, understand university systems, and gain a better understanding of which careers different university courses can lead to.

We also provide a wealth of online resources, webinars, careers workshops, and career showcases in which students can explore various jobs through the experiences of people who work in the field.

Find out more

We guide our students at BIS HCMC towards a pathway which equips them for the world of work and pursuing their career ambitions. To find out more about a secondary school education with us and the curricula we teach visit our website:

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