Choosing a university is one of the most important - and exciting - decisions your children get to make. Where they choose to attend school will affect their career and overall life success.


And of all the places possible for your children to attend school, making the decision to study in the U.S. is something many Concordia Shanghai graduates choose to undertake.

In fact, taking a historical look at our alumni, around 80% have applied to schools in the U.S. For some, the U.S. represents their “home” country; for others, they choose to study in America since it’s home to some of the top universities globally. 

One advantage of applying to schools in the U.S. is the flexibility provided to your child when it comes to selecting their major. Commonly, the first two years of study is spent pursuing a more general education to explore different areas of interest. 

Before you can delve further into what the post-secondary experience will look like, the first step is understanding how to help your children gain admission to their best-fit university, be that in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. 

How can you as a parent help your children get into an American university - or wherever else they wish to attend? 

Important note: while reading through the words below, keep in mind there is no specific formula to get into an American university - or any school for that matter. In the U.S., there are many competitive universities with very low acceptance rates. 

“The best thing a student can do is to focus on a holistic approach to high school and focus on the areas academics, learning behaviors, and impact through activities,” says Michelle Klar, our high school college counselor.

Making sure the international school you select for your children has a holistic approach to learning is just one of the items you should consider. Our new checklist outlines other factors that help guarantee an education that will best prepare your children for post-secondary and beyond.


Click here to download it free today!

1. Research Your Options to Help Find the Best-Fit University


When it comes to helping your children select their post-secondary school, research is one of the most beneficial steps you can take. Each university or college has something unique to offer.

At Concordia Shanghai, our college counselors urge students (and parents) to begin this first step with an open mind. As you and your family research, your list of possible post-secondary schools will continue to grow. This is a subjective process and our counselors are available to offer support and guidance through the selection, application, and decision making process.

The research stage includes:


  • Writing down initial ideas: this can be schools you and your family know of and are intrigued by, universities parents attended, and facilities located in appealing cities.



  • Admissions office representatives: throughout your high school experience, colleges and universities from all over the world will visit your campus, and the importance of tapping into this resource cannot be emphasized enough. At Concordia Shanghai, we host approximately 400 college and university representatives each year, which makes us the most college-rep-visited international high school in the world.


  • Printed resources: sometimes online resources and spending countless hours searching through the web can be overwhelming, and that’s why we encourage the use of printed materials. Our counselors keep an up-to-date library with the most important and highest quality books on the topic of college and university admissions.


According to our high school college counselor, Patrick Love, when it comes to selecting a school, it’s important to keep in mind what will help your child succeed in life, what will help them thrive. 


“As our students grow, we help them to understand how particular colleges and universities fit their unique skills and interests. That way, when students apply to college, they already have an idea of the skills and interests that they can contribute, and the specific opportunities at each university that will contribute to their continued development and success.”


Our college counselors are here each step of the way to help you and your children through this process. 

Making sure the international school you select for your children has college counseling is just one of the items you should consider. Our new checklist outlines other factors that help guarantee the best education for your children.


Click here to download it free today!

2. Meet the University Requirements


Completing the application for a university, specifically one in America is multifaceted and requires additional testing and documentation. And as an international student, your children will have further requirements they need to meet in order to qualify to study in the U.S.

In order to get into an American university, your children have to complete the following:


  • Proof of secondary completion.


  • Certification of English language proficiency: to demonstrate knowledge, students must take either the Test of English as a Foreign (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


  • Evidence of financial support and the Form I-20: This form is required in order for your children to receive entrance into the U.S. The Form I-20 is provided once a student has gained acceptance into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school from a school official.


Click here to find out more about the requirements to study in the U.S.


In order to get into a university in the U.K., your children have to do the following:


  • Achieve impressive standardized test scores along with high grades in the AP, IB, etc.


  • Discuss preparing for a particular course such as related classes they took, relevant work they did outside or regular course work, and references that can speak to their preparedness.


3. Complete your Application


The application is the first thing a school sees when considering your child, this is their chance to paint themselves in a positive light and have the best chance of receiving admission.

“Aside from academically doing well and taking a rigorous course load, students can set themselves apart by going above and beyond what is expected,” says Klar.

Five tips to keep in mind when completing your application:


1. Illustrating academic prowess: this can be exploring research, internships, or other opportunities outside of regular curriculum work. Within curriculum work, this includes taking rigorous academic courses and earning high marks.


2. Demonstrating leadership skills: take on leadership positions or initiate and facilitate activities that create something new or useful in the school or community.


3. Showing genuine interest: reach out to admission representatives and show a genuine interest in the school by gathering in-depth information about a program or area of importance.


4. Choosing who writes letters of recommendation: this is your child’s chance to be seen in a more objective light. At Concordia Shanghai, students can request recommendation letters from their counselor and two teachers. Some of Concordia Shanghai’s teachers are well known within their respective disciplines and their recommendations may carry significant weight for some universities.


5. Writing the personal statement and/or supplemental essays: if the school asks for these, this is where your child can show their extensive vocabulary and paint a picture in the mind of the reader. Through the essay, colleges and universities get a chance to know the applicant and understand the person behind the grades and test scores.


At Concordia Shanghai, after applications are complete, college counselors will check everything over to ensure it’s been filled out correctly.

“Our goal is to help you use every square inch of your application to communicate your personality and improve your chances of admission. No matter how capable the student, a counselor will always find a way that the application can be improved upon, or a small error to fix,” says our counseling department.

Important note: throughout the entire application process, it’s important to demonstrate integrity. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also because any intentionally communicated dishonesty in the application can result in offers of admission being revoked.

4. Prepare for this New Adventure

You and your child have selected the school with careful, in depth research, they’ve met the requirements, they’ve completed the application and taken all the steps to make it stand out from the pack. Finally, your children received admission to their best-fit university.

The hardest parts of the process are officially behind you, now it’s time to prepare for this new adventure and get excited!

Before you leave, make sure to get your children to thank their teachers and counselors for both their time at school and for the letters of recommendation. After giving their appreciation and saying goodbye to their friends, encourage them to look around their high school and remember the little details; secondary school truly is one of the most amazing times in a child’s life.

International School Admissions Checklist

As a parent, it’s common to want to ensure your children have access to the most challenging, rewarding, and balanced academic experience. It’s natural to want your children to have a school atmosphere that they will be sad to leave once graduation comes around. You want to choose a school that provides academic rigor, personalized learning, encouragement, and support.

Sometimes the list of important aspects in your international school search can seem extensive, so much so that it’s hard to put pen to paper and discover exactly what you should ask while on a tour.

Cue our admissions checklist, a cheat sheet full of questions to ask when looking for an international school if you want your children to go to their best-fit university.