Posted On 29.11.2017 | New Offerings

Located on the south shore of Honolulu, less than 2 miles from Waikiki’s famous Kahanamoku Beach, the ARCH x ’Iolani STEM Easter Camp provides the perfect opportunity for a fun-filled family vacation combined with a renowned educational experience.

Focusing on 21st century learning skills in the newly built 40,000 square foot facility at ‘Iolani School, the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership provides a sustainable backdrop for students to study STEM education within the context of Hawaii. 

Program Introduction (students will enroll in 1 of the following tracks):

Track 1 - Sustainable Hawaii
Students will learn about the Hawaiian watershed known as Ahupua’a. Through trips to different parts of the ahupua’a, students will study the science, history and culture behind how the watershed functions and the major challenges faced in this area. They will collect data on water quality and biodiversity and learn how to evaluate the health of the local streams and landscape. 

Track 2 - Digital Hawaii
By learning Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, projects are designed to develop an understanding of the software programs as students gain experience on designing and working with a client. Topics include graphic applications, photo manipulation, typography, page layout, multimedia editing etc. Students will also visit local museum and create their favorite building replica by using laser cutting techniques.

Track 3 - iHawaii
Hawaiians used a celestial navigation called Hokule’a to guide them on long voyages in their canoe. By building and surviving on their own ahupua’a, students will learn about ancient Hawaii, sustainability, as well as video game and app design. Students will also be immersed in a project-based and collaborative learning environment, solving real world problems as they design, build and program a working robot.

Application Details

 Program Dates  April 2-7, 2018 (Mon - Sat)
 Session  8:30am - 2:30pm
 Location  ’Iolani School, 563 Kamoku Street, Honolulu, HI, 96826
 Regular Price  HK$25,000
 Early Bird Price  HK$22,500 (on or before Dec 18)
 Application Deadline  Register before Jan 15, 2018


SIGN UP: | 3568-0406

Tips to Prepare for a Successful Transition from High School to US University: Part I

Posted On 27.07.2017 | Arch Sharing

After having been accepted to a US university or college, you are likely spending much of the summer before your freshman year preparing to enter university or college in the United States. For some, this may mean enjoying time with family and friends; others may be getting ahead with some of their studies or attending a pre-college summer camp. Regardless of what you are doing individually, most of you are probably feeling pretty excited — and also probably a little apprehensive. What will my classes be like?  Will I get along with my roommate? How will I make friends? The transition from high school to college is a huge step and being nervous about this transition is completely normal. Don’t worry, to some degree every high school student experiences pre-college fears.

Orientation is the first place where you can begin to have some of your questions answered and the first step towards making the most of your university experience.

Arrive at your new school and freshman orientation with an open mind.  You are not going to truly learn until you expand beyond what you already know. You may have a preconceived notion of what types of people go to your school. Open your horizons and don’t just seek out people who look like you or think the same. Instead, give each person you meet an opportunity. Learn about where they come from and what interests them. Try to meet people who have had different experiences from your own, join new clubs, or take a class on a subject that you don’t know about.

New students may arrive on campus a week earlier than returning students to participate in a Student Orientation Program. Plan to go to orientation and approach it with a willingness to get a little outside of your comfort zone. These programs are designed to help students acclimate to their new surroundings. Be ready to be asked the same questions over and over. Where are you from?  What is your major? Which dorm are you living in? Everyone is feeling the same sense of nervousness and uses questions like these to try to find a common ground to build upon. As an international student, you may find it helpful to know your American states. For example, if someone you meet tells you they are from Kansas, it is helpful to first know that Kansas is a state, where it is in the United States, and a little about the state. Just a side-note, Kansas is in the Midwest and is known for it’s farmland because the state grows more wheat than any other state in the US.

Orientation leaders usually arrive to campus even earlier than new students and undergo a training program to become student leaders. It is their role to try to facilitate your adjustment to a college student. They are usually very enthusiastic about their school and their duties as student orientation leaders. With a week full of icebreakers and exercises designed to get everyone acquainted with each-other, it seems like their job description contains a mandatory statement about making you feel awkward. Ice breakers can be fun, silly, and always seem a bit awkward, but go with it. You might meet your best friend for life, or at the very least have someone to walk into the cafeteria with for dinner that night!

It might be helpful to prepare some responses to some of the typical ice breaker questions that appear in college orientation, like,  “What is your favorite book? Another favorite is “Alphabet Freeze,” in which students are asked to recite the alphabet in unison, and when the orientation leader yells freeze, every shares something that they are looking forward to at school that starts with the last letter. Also, student orientations may contain a game of sentence completion, in which students are asked to complete sentences in a group setting such as:

Before I came to college, my main interests were...
The way I would describe my family is...
Five years from now I hope to be...

Orientation Sessions:
Arriving after having spent some time getting to know the school during the admissions process, some students feel that they know all they need to know about their school. We recommend that you attend the information sessions. You will be surprised about the breadth and depth of services that most colleges and universities offer to their students. You may think you will not need to know about the health center or that utilizing the career services program is still a long way off, but it is good to know what resources are available to you. Chances are, at some point in 4 years, you will need to know these things.

Take a Tour:
If they are offered, take another tour. Orientation tours are usually a lot more detailed than admission tours, and could include the local area attractions and restaurants. Orientation tour guides can probably tell you which restaurant has the best of your favorite food, the places where students like to hang out and even the dorm with the shortest queue to do your laundry!

Activities Fair:
Most colleges and universities will have some sort of activities fair for new students to introduce them to the clubs and activities that are available on campus. Attend the fair, as it is an opportunity for you to meet students with similar interests, and if an activity or club seems interesting, sign up and keep a look out for an email with specific information regarding that activity. After all, you’ll never know if you’ll like something until you try it.

Call Home:
You are not the only one who is adjusting to a new situation: your family are also getting used to having you away, and are likely very worried about how you are doing. Call home occasionally!

Tips to Prepare for a Successful Transition from High School to US University: Part II

Posted On 27.07.2017 | Arch Sharing

Some students, particularly those who have attended a US boarding school, arrive at a US University prepared for the challenges that lie ahead and may not notice a huge difference between their boarding and college experiences. They have essentially had a pre-college experience at boarding school, where they learned to live independently, manage their time, and achieve academic success. For others, the difference may take some time to get used to.

Difference Between Studying in High School and College

First, let's talk about the course load. At college the work you will receive will be harder and there will be more of it. You will have a shorter timeline to complete the work and many assignments are completed outside of class. The professor may give you multiple readings to reinforce the importance of a topic, or to help you to understand a topic from multiple perspectives. Unlike high school where you got credit for most work that you complete, much of the work in college is not checked by the professor, but instead it should be used as practice to prepare for your exams. Most high school seniors report that they think they will need to study between 3-5 hours for a college exam. With this type of commitment, it will be difficult to distinguish yourself from the pack. The actual time spent to do well on a college exam is reportedly more like 12-15 hours.

Most high school students spend at least 40 hours per week in the classroom and students get a lot of encouragement and hand holding from their teachers. Attendance is taken, and if you are not in class, someone will notice. In many high schools, students have many opportunities to gain points towards their final grades. Teachers may arrange study sessions for students and provide reviews before exams, and may give students extra points for class participation, pop quizzes, and even provide extra credit projects.

In college, you will spend only about 16 hours per week in classes, and have complete ownership of what you do with your time. Memorization no longer is valued or rewarded. The days of regurgitating facts or figures and earning an “A” on an exam or quiz are over. College is more about discussion than memorization, internalizing the information, and applying what you learn. Additionally, for the most part what you study in high school is determined by the school, yet in college once you pass any required core subjects, there are more opportunities to study what you want. At most universities, there a only a few assessments, and maybe only a final paper, so you need to make the most of each evaluation and prepare accordingly. If you do not go to class no one will notice. If you just don’t feel like showing up for that 8 am class, no one will miss you, and there is no one to check on you if you are sick.

In college, you will be living and learning with similarly motivated students who you can collaborate with on a regular basis. To help you grasp the materials, you may find it beneficial to find other students to study with. Be sure to seek out students of a similar ability and motivation level so that you do not become the tutor. Don’t form a study group to meet for the first time the night before an exam. We encourage you to have prior experience with this group to know that the time used in the study group will be helpful to your preparations.

Successful university students develop skills to succeed in the classroom; they follow instructions, think critically, manage their time, take responsibility for their learning, and are committed to being active learners.

In high school, the teacher will remind you of due dates. In college, everything you need to know is found in the syllabus. You are not told what to do explicitly but instead you are expected to figure out what works best for you to meet your responsibilities. The professor may provide additional information via a lecture, but you are expected to be familiar with the material ahead of time. In college, the professor expects the student to be more involved in the learning process. As much as you learn from the professor, he/she is learning from you, the student; it can be seen as a partnership. In high school, your day ended when class let out, but in college when class lets out you must go back to study that day’s material and fill in any missing pieces.

Tips to Prepare for a Successful Transition from High School to US University: Part III

Posted On 27.07.2017 | Arch Sharing

Time Management and Sleep Patterns:

Generally, high schools students can’t wait for college because they think it means freedom. Parents and teachers can’t tell them when to do their homework, they can go to bed when they want, do what they want, and hang out with whomever they want. This increase in choices and responsibilities is what can derail some freshman. College students must have the ability to organize and structure their time to prioritize their responsibilities.

Make the most of your time in college. If you are coming from a highly structured life before college, then you are most likely used to balancing your commitments. Take on your college life like a job. Get up every day and go to work. Set your schedule so that you “work” for a significant amount of time even if you don’t have class. If you are only in class 16 hours a week, this will create a habit of studying regularly and keep you on track and maybe even ahead! Think about having fun only after you have done your work.

In an article published in the June 2017 edition of USA Today College, “This simple sleep habit might be the secret to better sleep”, a Harvard study helps students to see the importance of a regular sleep pattern on grades.

Researchers followed 61 students for 30 days having them keep sleep diaries. Surprisingly, the study found that most students, even those with irregular sleep patterns, were getting about the same total hours of sleep, but it was those student who were keeping a regular sleep schedule who performed the best. The study found that irregular sleep patterns caused a delay in the release of a sleep hormone, melatonin and altered the body’s natural circadian clock. When students stay up late, melatonin is released later in the night, and the circadian clock is delayed, making their bodies feel like they are in a different time zone, a sort of “biological jet lag.” So for a student who has an 8 am class, their body may actually be responding as if it is only 5am!

Get Involved:
You will get the most out of your college experience if you get involved with student life. Clubs and organizations provide opportunities for students to meet new people, explore their passions, and try out new interests and activities. Clubs can also be very good source to build resumes. While the academic major has the most significant influence on an employer's decision to hire one candidate over another, a 2016 Job Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers also reported that leadership roles, participation in extracurricular activities, and a high GPA are key factors in making hiring decisions.

A lot of time and energy was spent getting accepted to the right US college or university, but some students and parents can neglect the preparation required to be successful once you get to college. Most people think that because students have done well and graduated from a prestigious “college preparatory” high school, they will be prepared for the challenges ahead. Success at college is only partially related to academic success. There are other factors that can provide challenges for students. This involves learning skills that take time to develop. It is important that students learn one such skill: to speak up.

Communication skills are key to seeking out professors that can help students solve issues and provide resources. Good communication skills are also helpful in resolving conflicts with roommates and negotiating the multiple paths that are necessary for students to live successfully together. At a university, parents cannot call and speak to a teacher about an issue with their child. It is important that students start to learn the skills necessary to advocate for themselves before they get to university. First, students need to learn when to ask for help, and how to approach their professors. Approaching a college professor or seeking additional resources can be intimidating, but keep in mind that most professors and staff want students to be successful, and are there to help. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students — take advantage of that time. Get to know your academic advisor. This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, and deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you — and should be the individual you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. Don’t be afraid of requesting another adviser if you don’t click with the one first assigned to you.

Keep in mind that the best thing about entering your freshman year of college is that even though you may feel alone, nearly everyone else feels the exact same way!  Best of luck for a successful transition from high school to university.

US Boarding School Visit - Part I: School List and Visit Timeline

Posted On 29.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

Demystifying the US Boarding School Visit: Why, When and How to Find a Fitting School

For many families who are applying to US boarding schools, the application process can be overwhelming and complicated from start to finish.  A convoluted application process and over three hundred schools to choose from make successfully applying to US boarding school quite challenging for most families.  All US boarding schools prepare students for college, but experience tells us that students who enroll in US boarding schools that are a good “fit” for them are not only happy, but also they tend to excel better and eventually gain admission to top US universities. But is one school better than the other, or more suitable for your child’s personality and interests? Trying to figure this out on your own isn’t easy. 

ARCH Education is here to help! Based on visiting average 40 boarding schools each application cycle with our consultation families, our team hopes to demystify one component of the application process - The School Visit.

Are School Visits Required?
First, is the school visit required?  Recognizing the expense and distance that some families face in visiting schools, some schools indicate that the school visit is optional. While technically this is true, it is our professional opinion that not visiting a school makes it difficult for students to be competitive.

Most schools have multiple qualified applicants for each available spot. Admission officers trying to select from two equally qualified candidates where one had visited the school and the other had not, might feel more secure in their decision to choose the student who had visited knowing that he or she had been on campus and in submitting an application had determined that the school is a fit for them. This decision has a much lower risk for an admission office. 

Visiting schools is a two way street. One is the opportunity for the student to complete the interview so that a school can determine if they are a good fit. The other purpose of the visit is for students to determine if the school is a good fit for them. Many schools’ applications will ask students to complete what we call the “Why Essay”.  This essay asks students to articulate in writing why they feel a particular school is a good fit for them and what they would contribute to that school if accepted. Websites are a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with a school and its programs, but there is nothing like actually visiting a school and seeing things in person, meeting faculty and students to give an idea of school culture and fit. For the students that we work with, we consider the school visit a requirement!

The School List and Visit Time Line
One never knows exactly what impacts admission decisions year to year so even the most competitive student should have a balanced list. Too often parents seek us out for advice only after March 10th when their student has had no offers of admission or only waitlist offers. During our meeting with these families we learn that the student only applied to top 10 schools, demonstrating the potential consequences of an unbalanced list. There’s just simply not enough spots at the top 10 schools for all the great international applicants.

Hopefully you have had some professional help and have a list of schools that is balanced based on the region you are applying from, strength of academic record, test scores, and profile. By balanced we mean a few dream/reach schools, some target schools that you would have a good chance of being admitted to, and some schools to which you have a likely chance of being admitted. The boarding school list should be approached like a university list with schools in each of these categories.

Finding a fitting school requires looking beyond the website and the school ranking. Visiting is critical to make sure that you like all of your schools on your list whether they are in the dream/reach school or likely categories. Perhaps after visiting, your dream/reach school isn’t all that you thought and one of your target schools becomes your top choice because you learned that they have a very specialized program that meets your needs.

When is the best time to visit schools?
Most schools allow students only one opportunity to interview, so it is important to consider what is the best time for your child to travel to the US to visit boarding schools. 
Some parents may want to tag on school visits in the summer, perhaps following a student’s time at a summer program in the US. For students who have a broad list and would like to narrow the list down, a pre-visit in the summer can be a good way to familiarize yourself with schools and determine a shortlist. However, keep in mind that during the summer the students are not on campus and for some boarding schools, summer programs may be operating and the demographics of the campus look very different during the summer than they do in the school year. So visiting in the summer is really meant to give you an idea of school location, programs and facilities, very little else. 

Most families will schedule their official tour and interview for the fall or early winter of the year they are applying. For an 8th grade student applying for grade 9, this means that the student will need to plan to visit schools for an official tour and interview in the fall or early winter of their 8th grade year. The optimal time for a student to visit is when the visit is the least disruptive to their academic and extracurricular activities and when they have had sufficient interview preparation. Some schools have school holidays in the fall and students find that this is a good time to visit, providing them with the time off so missed school work is kept to a minimum.  Keep in mind that during the American holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, boarding schools are not available for tours and interviews.

US Boarding School Visit - Part II: Planning & Tour

Posted On 29.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

Once you have a balanced list, determined the schools you want to visit, and the time frame that works best for your child, it’s time to get to planning and preparing for the school visit trip.

(I) Planning:

Step 1: Pre Visit Verification
Due to the massive influx of applications the US schools receive from Asia, some schools will require pre visit validations from students from certain regions before scheduling an on campus appointment for a tour and interview. The purpose of this is to ensure that all students who arrive on campus are at a minimum qualified. Some schools may ask students to send SSAT scores or require an interview with a third party screener BEFORE they will invite a family to visit the campus. Be sure to check the admissions requirements on each school website before calling a school to schedule an appointment.

Step 2: Online Inquiry and Pre-Interview Questionnaire
In order to schedule your school visit you will need to do a few things ahead of time.  First you will need to complete an online inquiry form at each school you intend to visit to make sure that the student is in the database. Some schools require further steps to complete a pre-interview questionnaire. This is a more comprehensive survey than the online inquiry. The pre-interview questionnaire asks questions related to student activities and interests. Spend the time to complete the pre-interview questionnaire as it is sometimes used by admissions to customize a student's visit based on the indicated interests to make the visit as meaningful as possible.  For example, if a student indicates on their pre-interview questionnaire that they are an athlete or interested in robotics, the school will try to match those interests with the tour guide.

Step 3: Scheduling
Having completed all of the requirements prior to scheduling an appointment, you are ready to call or email each admissions office to schedule a specific date and time. We suggest you map out your route ahead of time to determine the general distance and sequence of schools to visit. You should plan about 2 hours at each school to complete the tour, student interview, and parent meeting. We do not recommend that you try to schedule more than 2 schools/day. Keep in mind that Wednesdays are usually half days (students compete in athletic competitions on Wednesday afternoons), so admissions offices only offer morning appointments. The same is true for Saturday - if a school has Saturday classes they will most likely offer Saturday admissions appointments, but they will only be in the morning due to athletic competitions in the afternoons. If a school does not have Saturday classes they do not usually have appointment availability on Saturdays.

Having made it on time to the school for a school visit, many students and their families do not know what to expect. The process can be very stressful unless you and your student are prepared for what to expect.

(II) Tour
The difference in culture and programs carries through to the school tour. Some schools have students and parents tour together, while others provide separate tours. Some schools provide a tour first and others have the student interview before going on a tour. A student who arrives at a school unprepared and expecting the tour to provide him with some key speaking points for his interview is out of luck if that particular school’s policy is to conduct an interview before the tour. Or sometimes, a student tour guide may be suddenly unavailable so in order to best utilize the time, an admission officer might conduct the interview first while the admissions staff is looking for a replacement student tour guide. Prospective students need to be prepared for unexpected change and be able to adjust accordingly.
Generally speaking, the tour is usually about a 45 min “walk” around the campus led by a student tour guide. There is usually some sort of training for tour guides, and at some schools it is considered a prestigious leadership position, but the quality of tour guides varies greatly so we encourage students and parents not to judge a school solely based on their experience, whether positive or negative with one particular tour guide.

Often times, especially during peak times, tours are given with several prospective students and their families together on one tour.  Most tours follow a set route and are not designed to cater to individual requests, but sometimes if you ask the tour guide, they can make an adjustment to show you something important to you that was not necessarily on the pre-prescribed tour route.  If not on the tour, a well-trained tour guide will be able to modify the tour to meet your request or at the very least provide you with instructions on where the building is on campus and invite you to visit it after your interview.

Be aware that some schools ask for feedback from their tour guides about their experiences with you during the tour. Keep in mind that a tour guide is a student so when they are touring you, they are making considerations from a student’s perspective like, “Would I like this person to be on my sports team or live in my dorm?  Would this person be someone who I would like to engage in a conversation with in the classroom or have in a study group?” They are not evaluating you on your SSAT scores or your GPA, they are considering what it would be like to have you as a classmate, teammate, peer, or friend. With this in mind, it is important that students engage with their tour guides.  Ask them things about the school that you would want to know as a fellow student and not something you can find on the website. 

You have a lot invested in making sure that your son or daughter attends a fitting school. Traveling thousands of miles and investing time and money to visit schools shows your support of your child. However, there are times when parents can monopolize the tour and bombard the tour guide with questions making it difficult for their child to interact with the tour guide and vice versa. While it is certainly fine for parents to ask a few questions on the tour, save the majority your questions for your parent meeting with the admissions officer and allow your son or daughter the space to ask their own questions, get to know and make a good impression on the tour guide.

Once your tour is finished and after your tour guide says goodbye, you will return to the admissions office and wait for an admissions officer to retrieve you for the student interview. 

US Boarding School Visit - Part III: Student Interview

Posted On 29.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

Keep in mind that boarding schools are communities and that the admissions office is tasked with building a diverse community. They are looking for a variety of students with different interests, strengths and personalities.

While an application will capture a student's awards, achievements and interests, there is nothing like an in-person interview for an admissions officer to get to know a student and get a feel for how they will fit into a particular school’s community.

Like the college process, each part of the boarding school process in intended to tell the admissions committee about the applicant. Unlike the university process where not all schools require interviews, interviews are a required part of the boarding school application. As you are aware there are several qualified Asian students for each available spot at US boarding schools, so once a student has been deemed academically suitable for a school, the interview becomes one of the most important parts of the application process and a key way for students to distinguish themselves. 

A good interview is a two-way conversation rather than a memorized response to certain typical questions.  For teens, talking about themselves with an adult can be difficult and stressful. Actually talking about yourself in a concise, eloquent manner takes practice. Students can come across as rehearsed and disingenuous, causing an admissions officer to not have full confidence in a particular student. Most interviews last no more than 30 minutes, which is not nearly enough time for students to share everything about themselves and a great deal of time if a student tells everything they have to tell about themselves in the first few minutes of the interview.

Initially, students tend to think that it is quite easy to talk about themselves and their accomplishments and do not prepare adequately for the student interview. While you have had months to prepare the other components of the application such as your essays and short answers, you may find it difficult to prepare, make corrections to, or revise your interview. Students should take their interview seriously and prepare for it like the other components of the application.

When preparing our students for interviews, we do not practice interview questions, but rather we want our students to understand the interview mindset.  You should think about your accomplishments, the challenges you faced, and what you learned from them.  Make sure that you have 3-4 main topics that you intend to cover in the interview.  Also, most boarding school admissions officers want to know why you want to go to boarding school, so you should prepare a meaningful response.

Keep in mind that admissions officers are evaluating your impact on the school community. They are thinking to himself or herself, “How would this student behave if I were coaching them?” “Would I want to have this student at my dining table for family style dinner?”  “How would this student contribute in the classroom, outside of the classroom?”  “Does he or she seem to have an academic passion and desire to try new things?” “How will he or she work and live with others?”

Sometimes interviews go just as planned and students are able to cover all that they want to; other times, like true conversations, students may get talking in depth on a topic that they are interested in or a shared interest with an admissions officer is uncovered and before they know it find that they are engrossed in a conversation and the interview time is up.

As the session starts to wrap up, most interviewers will ask the student if they have any questions. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the school and further delve into which school may be the right fit. 

Most families visit many schools in a span of a week or so. You think you will remember the details of each school, but as time passes the particulars tend of fade. To help with this, we are sharing with you ARCH's My Boarding School Tracker that we provide to our counseling students to record their research as well as to track their visits. Feel free to use this to keep your personal boarding school journey relevant and organized.

What is referred to commonly as the parent interview is not really an interview. It is not meant to be evaluative. Having accompanied parents on hundreds of “parent interviews”, nearly 100% of the time, the admissions officer will start the parent conversation with a statement that goes something like: “This is not an interview, the purpose of our time together is so that you can ask questions.”  One very seasoned admissions officer defined the parent meeting quite well. She said, “The parent meeting is an opportunity for parents to tell me something about their child that I can not gain from reading his/her application.”

US Boarding School Visit - Part IV: Parent Meeting

Posted On 29.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

Most parent meetings last about 20 to 30 minutes and will start with the admissions officer providing a recap of what your son or daughter shared with them during the interview.

During the recap, parents should be listening for the highlights to make sure that their child covered their key aspects of their profile. Keep in mind that admissions officers are usually very complimentary about students at this stage of the process. The admissions officer will usually end their summary of the student interview by asking the parent if they have any questions about the school. So here is where the parent work comes in.

Job #1: Do Your Homework
Asking questions rather than providing information opens the dialogue for the two-way conversation.  Find the programs or offerings at each school that are most important to you and your child and develop some questions related to them.

Job #2: Fill in the Gaps
Some kids tend to be quite modest and find it difficult to talk about all of their accomplishments so they can miss some important details during their interview (this is why preparation training is important). While every parent is proud of their child, most admissions officers are not very receptive to the parent meeting turning into a parent “brag session”. Parents need to balance advocating for their child with being too aggressive in “selling” their child. So if you find that your child has missed something, this presents an opportunity for you to intervene by asking a question. Resist sharing the certificate etc. There are places in the application where those materials can be submitted.

Job #3: Frame Your Questions
Schools are making admissions decisions based on the student’s attributes, not the parents. As you know US boarding schools are highly selective and gaining admission is not an easy feat, so as parents you don’t want to take any chances and make it even more difficult for your child.
Most parents are very interested in a school’s college matriculation. However, we discourage parents asking any specific questions about college matriculation - you can find that on the website. If you have question about the college process that you were not able to get answered on the website, you can frame your question in a different way. For example, you may ask, “In what grade does the college process begin?” This will prompt a response from the admission officer and open the dialogue to learn about a particular school’s process and any unique factors, such as an innovative initiatives like a 4-year college counseling program or leadership opportunities to enhance a student’s college profile.  It is all about how you ask!

Job #4: Foster Partnership
US boarding schools look to parents as partners in the process of educating and caring for their children. This is often made more challenging for international parents due to the distance. US boarding schools are receptive to parents who genuinely express their desire to partner with the school and be visible/ ”present” parents.  Rather than simply stating your desire, use the strategy of asking a question to prompt the conversation on the topic.


While all US boarding schools have excellent academics, athletics, extracurricular offerings, and prepare students for university, each and every school has unique programs and culture that are only ascertainable by setting foot on campus and experiencing them. We hope that this article provides a good understanding of the boarding school visit as well as tips on how to prepare. Please don’t hesitate to contact ARCH Education for additional advice on the boarding school visit or the other components of the US boarding school admission process. Don’t forget to bring along My Boarding School Tracker. Best of luck visiting US boarding schools and finding the best fit school!

The College/University Visit - Part I: The List

Posted On 09.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

No matter if you’re in Grade 9, 10, or 11, it’s never too early to start thinking about college. ARCH is here to help you along the way to your dream school. This article will provide you with information and tips on visiting U.S. Colleges and Universities. This article with address how to develop a school list, tips for making the most of the school visit, as well as how to prepare for a university interview.

Even if you’re in Grade 9 and college feels a long way off, you can still start thinking about where you want to go for university. While some of you may have no idea what you want to study and others may have their sights set on institutions like Harvard or Yale, here are some tips and tricks to tailoring a college list that’s right for you, no matter where you are in the process.

Tip #1: Your College List is not Set in Stone
When you first start thinking about some universities that you may want to apply to, be aware that your interests and passions may change. You might be interested in Physics in Grade 10 and then learn to love Drama in Grade 11. So don’t get too tied down after researching the best engineering, medicine, or law programs in the US.

Tip #2: Do Your Research
Keeping in mind that your passions may change, it’s still important to do your research into what schools appeal to you. You can research schools based on any number of preferences, but some common things to consider are program/major offerings, location, size, and rank. Some more practical things to consider are the cost and financial aid availability, but you should also not forget to consider the campus attitude and atmosphere. At this point in the College List making process, you may have anywhere between 20-30 schools you are interested in. The next step is editing this list down based on how realistic it is that you will be admitted into these schools.

Tip #3: Divide your List into Reach, Target, and Likely Schools
Even if you’re a child piano prodigy or you’ve started your own charity foundation, your college list needs to have a variety of different schools. Of course, your list should include your dream schools, but you need to be realistic about what kinds of schools you have a shot at getting into based on your Grade Point Average (GPA) and Standardized Test Scores (ACT, SAT, SAT II). You can easily search online for these statistics and find the information on various school websites. But, remember, these scores only get you through one door. After that, the schools will consider your extracurricular activities, your essays, your interviews, and your teacher recommendations. So even if you have a perfect GPA and SAT score, you may not get into your dream school. We suggest that your school list has schools in each of the following categories:

  • A “Reach” School is any school that would be difficult or challenging for you to get into based on your academics and profile.
  • A “Target” School is any school that you have a likely chance of getting into based on your academics and profile.
  • A “Likely” School is any school that you are highly likely to get into based on your academics and profile.

But, again, remember that you are never guaranteed admission into any school until you receive an acceptance letter.

The College/University Visit - Part II: The Visit

Posted On 09.05.2017 | Arch Sharing

By the time Spring of Grade 11 rolls around, you should probably have 6-12 schools on your list that you’re seriously considering. Once you have created a list, if possible, you should try to visit the schools in person. 

Visits to universities typically happen during the summer after Grade 11 or during the early autumn of Grade 12. For some students, an earlier college visit (Grade 10) to “browse” and narrow down the type of school can help to streamline the process later on.

While many international students aren’t able to visit universities in the US, if you are able to visit, we highly recommend you do so. For most students, it’s probably best to visit in the summer, when you are not as bogged down by extra curricular activities, tests, and preparing your applications. Not only do visits provide you with a better idea of what the school and its facilities look like, you also have the opportunity to speak with real students, sit in on classes, and even eat in the dining halls! You can also explore the surrounding area of the campus and see if you like city life, suburban life, or rural life.

Additionally, school visits might even impact your application. At many schools, visits are considered by the admissions committee as a sign of your serious interest in that particular school. But be aware that many big schools, especially the Ivy Leagues, get thousands of visitors and it probably won’t help your chances as much. Most schools require that you register for school visits which often are made up of an information session and a campus tour. Registration can be completed online on most institutions’ admissions pages. If asked, be sure to sign in to get “credit” for the on campus visit!

When making the decision to visit schools in the US, consider organizing your visit in either three ways.

Visit Type #1: Just the Favorites
With this strategy, if you have limited time or resources, so you may just want to consider visiting your dream schools or the schools that are at the top of your list. By just focusing on a few of your top schools and spending more time on the campuses, you can get a better feel of what it would be like to go there. Best case scenario: you love it and it’s reinforced as your dream school. Worst case scenario: you don’t like it and don’t need to waste the time or money on the application later! 

Visit Type #2: Choose a Coast or Area
It may be worth it to plot your college list onto a map to see if any of the schools are nearby each other. Many big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston are home to a plethora of universities just waiting to be visited. In this way, you can save money and still see a few different colleges while you’re there! If you have additional time or resources, you could even take a short flight along the East or West coast to visit different universities that are still a bit close by each other. We recommend that you do not visit more than 2 schools per day; you need adequate time to explore the campus!

Visit Type #3: Early Decision/Early Action/ Regular Decision/Likely
If you have the time and resources to visit more schools, but not all of them, you may want to consider visiting the school or schools that you are likely to apply to early (in October or November) first. If you are admitted to a school Early Decision, you must attend, so it is important that you know you like an Early Decision school. If you have additional time, you can visit a couple other top schools on your regular decision list (applications due in December or January), followed by one of your likely schools. In this way, you can ensure that you would be satisfied with attending schools that fall into your Reach, Target, and Likely categories.

Visit Type #4 : All the Schools
If you have time and resources, you may consider visiting many, or all, of the schools on your school list. In this way, you can begin to trim your college list based on these visits. By the end of your visits you may learn that you don’t really like your dream school as much as you had thought, which will actually save you more time and money in the long run.

Once you’ve made it to the physical campus, it’s important that you make the most of your time there. After all, you didn’t travel halfway across the world to just take part in the standard tour of your dream school, did you? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 1 in 5 students transfer from one four-year college to another, so it is important that you do your best to make the right choice the first time. Make the effort to speak with staff and faculty, try and find a student who shares your academic interests and ask them about their major. With enough advance notice, some schools will provide students the opportunity even sit in on a class or spend the night in a dorm with a student! Don’t hesitate to reach out to a faculty member of a class you are particularly interested in and ask if you can attend their class. If you would be interested in US based companies that offer college visit planning and accompaniment trips for students please contact ARCH and we will provide you with a reference.

You may think that you will remember all schools, but if you are planning on visiting several schools, it is best to take notes and perhaps snap some pictures of highlights that you don’t want to forget. We provide our students with ARCH University Research Organizer to help them keep track of their school visits. Spend some time on campus after the official tour and try to speak with students (other than paid tour guides) about their experiences at the school. Explain that you are a prospective student and ask them about what they like best at school and in what areas would they like to see changes and why. Some professors are happy to speak with students about their area of study, so don’t hesitate to reach out to meet faculty and learn more about the academic areas that you may be interested in. If it is offered, sit in on a class or schedule an overnight visit. There is no better way to know what it would be like to be a student than to be a student, even if just for one class or an overnight!

The National Survey of Student Engagement put together the booklet that focuses on what's most important - a school's academics. A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College, Are You Asking the Right Questions on a College Campus Visit?

Here is a list of questions that you may want to ask students and admission officers. Asking these types of questions will help you determine what type of academic experiences and opportunities you could expect.

  • How much time do students spend on homework each week?
  • How much writing and reading are expected?
  • How often do students discuss ideas in class?
  • How often do students make class presentations?
  • How many students work on research projects with faculty?
  • Are faculty members accessible and supportive?
  • What type of honors courses, learning communities, and other distinctive programs are offered?
  • Is a culminating senior year experience required?
  • What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?
  • How many students participate in undergraduate research?
  • Do you have an honors college?
  • What activities are offered to students?
  • What clubs do you have on campus?
  • What are the housing options?
  • What is your four-year graduation rate? Your five-year graduation rate?
  • What percentage of freshmen return for sophomore year?


Subscribe to RSS - US Admissions