Strategies to secure admission to prestigious universities like Oxford

Shubhdarshani Mitra
Apr 12, 2024
Learning, School

The journey towards pursuing higher education from a dream university can be both exciting and daunting, for students and parents. With aspirations of securing admissions to prestigious universities like Oxford, students may find the path challenging, at times. However, with a strong educational background and passion to learn beyond the classroom, commitment to excellence, supported by right strategies, career guidance on university applications – dreams can be conquered.

GIIS 2024 cohort receive offers from leading global universities

Over the years, our results and university placements have reflected academic prowess, holistic growth and preparedness of our students for the rigours of university.

In 2024, GIIS students received offers from prestigious global universities. A total of 121 students have received confirmed, and conditional offers from top 50 universities worldwide (as per QS World University Rankings 2024) across the UK, US, and Canada till date.

Since countries such as Singapore release their offer letters to potential candidates after the final exam results have been announced, only UK, US and Canadian universities have been included in this article.

In the UK, where it’s a standard part of the application process for students to receive conditional offers (until final exam scores are released), four (4) IB Diploma Programme students from GIIS SMART Campus (2024 cohort) have received conditional offers from the University of Oxford. Fourteen (14) students have received conditional offers from Imperial College London and 15 from the University College London. The other UK universities from where our students have received conditional offers include University of Edinburgh (14) and University of Manchester (38).

In the US, some of the universities from which our students have received offers include University of California, Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Northwestern University, University of South California, Purdue University and the University of California, San Diego, and Boston University. In Canada, University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia have provided 7 and 6 conditional offers to GIIS students respectively.

Enhance your performance: Strategies for improvement

In this blog, we'll explore some actionable tips to help you navigate through this journey. Here are a few strategies, which we believe can help you enhance your chances:

● Focus on gaining breadth and depth of knowledge: Breadth of learning encompasses the span of knowledge within a subject area, while depth of learning pertains to the thoroughness with which particular topics are studied. As students progress in their studies, both breadth and depth of learning should expand within any given subject area. 

Moreover, consistency in academic performance, along with a rigorous curriculum, showcases your readiness for the academic challenges in university. UK universities prioritise specialised knowledge in a specific subject or discipline, aiming to attract exceptional talent and dedication. Emphasis is placed on academic accomplishments and super-curricular activities, which are extracurricular activities directly related to the chosen subject.

Also read: Exploring distinctions between UK Personal Statements and US College Essays

● Craft compelling Personal Statement and References: Crafting a compelling personal statement is your chance to stand out among your competitors, and showcase your unique strengths, passions and aspirations. Tailor your statement to reflect your genuine enthusiasm for your chosen field of study and your suitability for the academic rigours of university life. Additionally, strong letters of recommendation from your teachers or mentors can significantly bolster your application.

● Prepare for admission tests and interviews: Many prestigious universities, including Oxford, require applicants to sit for admission tests and participate in interviews as part of the selection process. Familiarise yourself with the format and content of these assessments, and dedicate ample time to preparation. Practise mock interviews and seek feedback to articulate your thoughts effectively.

● Seek guidance: Navigating the complexities of the admissions process can be overwhelming, but you're not alone. Seek guidance from your teachers, school counsellors, and alumni who can offer valuable insights and support. Additionally, online resources, workshops, and university outreach programmes can provide further assistance in understanding the requirements and expectations of top-tier institutions.

In 2023, among GIIS students pursuing the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum, some of the top countries where our students were placed are the UK, US and Singapore, apart from India, Australia and Canada.

Career counselling support at GIIS

GIIS provides a dedicated career counselling department to assist our students with career counselling and university applications. This includes providing assistance in crafting personal statements, facilitating mock interviews, and helping them to understand the importance of adhering to deadlines.

The school conducts university fairs, enabling students and parents to gather information about various universities, face-to-face interaction with university representatives, networking and application guidance.

GIIS counsellors engage students in discussions about their educational paths and suggest suitable universities based on their interests and academic achievements. As such, there are informational webinars, podcasts, as well to support students in this journey.

Typically, a bucket list of universities is identified for the students based on their individual areas of interest and assistance is provided for the application procedure.

In addition to arranging visits and information sessions with overseas and Singapore universities, GIIS students also have the opportunity to connect with alumni who support students in their pursuit of higher education. We offer a range of tools to aid students in this journey, including career profiling information, personality assessments, and one-on-one counselling sessions.

Embrace the process, stay determined

Guidance is crucial for secondary school students aiming for success in university and beyond. Admission to top universities, including Oxbridge and Ivy League institutions, demands a strong educational foundation along with guidance on career counselling and university applications in later years of schooling. 

Establishing a sense of direction early on can significantly enhance students' chances of realising their aspirations. That's why GIIS offers comprehensive support to secondary students through its education and career guidance services. GIIS graduates have successfully attended top global universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, UCLA, NUS and more.

Securing admission to prestigious universities like Oxford requires dedication, perseverance, and a strategic approach. Remember, the journey towards higher education is not just about gaining admission to a prestigious institution but also about personal growth, discovery, and realising your full potential. Embrace the process, stay determined, and believe in your ability to achieve your dreams.

If you are keen to know more about secondary education at GIIS, please don’t hesitate to contact the admissions counsellors.

With inputs from Ms. Seema Kaushik, Career Counsellor, GIIS Singapore

Shubhdarshani Mitra

Shubhdarshani has over 10 years of experience in content creation, curation and editing. She has worked for Indian newspapers, school magazines and international news websites where she worked closely with the leadership on the execution and communication of the content strategy. Aside from work, she’s a passionate B&W photographer and storyteller.

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