Applying for top universities: What GIIS does to support secondary students

Melissa Maria
Jun 7, 2024
Learning, School

Getting into top universities, including Oxbridge or Ivy-league universities, requires a solid learning foundation and preparation for college admissions. Gaining a sense of direction early and making strides to meet goals from a young age can help give students the greatest chance of realising their dreams. 

At GIIS, our secondary school students receive dedicated career counselling support, guiding them through the various stages of the admissions process. The student performances are analysed and tailored guidance is provided whether it is shortlisting of universities or assisting with their college applications. 

Over the years, GIIS graduates have been accepted in leading global universities – including University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College, University College London, UCLA, Brown, UC Berkeley, NUS, and NTU. In the last five years alone, over 250 of our graduates have been placed in top 20 universities of the world, as per QS World Rankings.


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Tools and resources for our students

At GIIS, the tools we provide to students for these purposes include career profiling information, personality assessment, one-on-one counselling and more.

GIIS’ career counselling for secondary grades takes many forms. When your child joins the student body at GIIS, they too will have access to these resources.

GIIS counsellors help students understand their career goals, ensuring students enter their chosen fields with an understanding of the prospects within that field, prepared to meet the academic requirements for their field once they're at university. 

In the lower secondary grades, GIIS students engage in self-exploration to determine which careers are most likely to suit their personalities. This is when students learn more about themselves, their interests and what subjects come most naturally to them. In higher grades, students focus more on honing their interviewing and presentation skills, making decisions that will help them get into the college or university of their choice.

One-to-one counselling

For Grade 11-12 students, we also provide one-to-one counselling as they write their personal statements, craft a resume, write essays and fill out applications to get into the university of their choice. In addition, students are coached on their interviewing skills to ensure they're ready for interviews when trying to get placement into the university (and even the job) of their choice.

Also read: Strategies to secure admission to prestigious universities like Oxford

Webinars & information sessions

To give students the resources they need, we conduct webinars with experts in various fields. At GIIS, these experts include people who are both internal and external. Also, our Leadership Lecture Series with top leaders – former Indian president, international dignitaries, renowned sports champions, accomplished singers – to name a few, have benefitted our students to get first-hand experience over the years. GIIS’ strong alumni connection is another opportunity for current students to leverage their experience. 

Students get to explore various interest areas at GIIS that helps them to make informed decisions about career choices


GIIS has created many podcasts where experts and members of the GIIS community are interviewed, which can help students stay informed about their future careers. These are available on the school website and easy-to-use audio streaming platform.

Education fairs

Our education fairs give students a hands-on environment where they can connect with various colleges, network with administrative professionals at those colleges, and learn about the programmes that would most benefit them as they move forward with their careers. For a student who has already determined what their future career will be, education fairs are an important next step toward getting into the college or university of their choice.

Counselling tools

Starting in Grade 9, GIIS uses a career profiling tool which evaluates student work styles and the natural way they approach different situations to assess the best careers for them. In grades 11 and 12, a college counselling tool is used to help students as they embark on their journey to get into college. 

Through the app, counsellors can send messages to the students, assign tasks, schedule meetings and suggest colleges that would be appropriate for the student. They can also use the app to send transcripts to universities. The platform uses a school match algorithm to tell students if a college is suitable for them and their future careers. In addition, it  enables students to chat with counsellors and request recommendation letters.

Alumni connections

GIIS alumni have a strong presence in top universities across the world, and on various occasions they happily engage with their juniors in school – sharing tips and insights on university life experience. Few examples of alumni who have previously addressed GIIS students include those from Brown University, Harvard University, UC Berkeley and more.

We leverage this asset by connecting our students to them in universities. Whenever appropriate, we bring alumni to our campus or connect with alumni through podcasts and webinars to tap into their knowledge and share it with the students who need it most.

When we connect students to alumni at universities, those alumni can act as a "buddy" to guide them as they apply to and attend their new university. This helps students develop the motivation and confidence they need to succeed in college.

At GIIS, our ultimate goal is to help students identify their interest areas and skills and help them decide which careers will be most fulfilling, rewarding and successful for them. We're here to help your child get into the university of their dreams. We want them to move forward, into the future, with confidence.

If you are keen to know more about GIIS, please don’t hesitate to contact our admissions team.

Melissa Maria

GIIS Singapore SMART Campus principal, Ms Melissa Maria’s journey as an educator started when she was only 16 and continued in the field after she completed her Master’s degree in History and Bachelor’s degree in Education. For over 25 years now, she has been at the forefront of introducing new ideas and methodologies to education. She is also the City Coordinator for Singapore, selected by the CBSE Board for Grade 10 and 12 exams, 2021, managing two other international schools besides GIIS. With numerous achievements sprinkled across her distinguished career, Ms. Maria has been recognised for her efforts as a Mindef volunteer by the Singapore government.

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