How to Get Into University

teacher working with student at desk

Most students who attend TAIS are here because they want to go abroad for university. It may seem like a daunting task, but here is a quick guide to help simplify things.

Start Early

  • Start thinking about college in your freshman or sophomore year. How you handle high school will impact what college you get into.
  • Develop and maintain good study skills.
  • Form good relationships with your teachers – they are a great resource for helping you move to the future you want and they care about your success.

Application Process

  • Common App is the online application that most colleges and universities use to accept applications. The TAIS college counselor will help you through the process, but you have to start early and get all of the items in, or it won’t happen.
  • BridgeU: TAIS uses an online program to help students select schools and keep up with their application process. It brings much-needed structure and organization to the process.

What do universities look at?

  1. TOEFL: 80 or higher – with no score below 17 – for most selective schools
  2. IELTS:6.5 or higher
  3. GPA: 3.0 or higher (preferably 3.5+)
  4. Courses taken: Colleges do look to see if your GPA is from easy classes only or if you challenged yourself.
  5. SAT/ACT Score(s): 1460+ for SAT – 22+ for ACT
  6. Extracurricular Portfolio: Keep any coursework that you are proud of, keep a blog/vlog that you can link in your application, track any awards or notable activities that you were a part of, for both in-school and out-of-school work, and keep that all together in a portfolio to use in your junior/senior year when “shopping” for a college.
  7. Teacher Recommendations: More and more universities are depending upon extracurricular activities and teacher recommendations to help them select the best candidates.
  8. Community Service: More and more universities are depending upon, and even award in scholarship money, to students who have higher amounts of community service. It serves them even better if they either planned out the community service or they led the program.
  9. Internship/work experience:  University highly values students who have managed to balance study time with seeking real-world experiences in their free time, either through unpaid internships or work. This can also help to gather more recommendation letters from internship supervisors or from employers.
  10. Student leadership: Universities highly value students who have volunteered their services as student leaders through the Student Association, class leadership, or club officers.
  11. Essays: Most universities require a written essay detailing personal preferences and goals. Improving upon and perfecting an engaging and “natural” written ability is key.
  12. Interviews: Even though quite a few universities no longer require SAT/ACT scores for entrance, nearly all of them still rely heavily upon interviews. Students need to increase their vocabulary and their ease of speech so they do not come across as rehearsed and wooden during these interviews.