Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Tips on Applying to US university

The deadline date for most US Universities has passed and students await the outcomes with some trepidation. Those who have applied for an EARLY DECISION will not have to wait too long but the REGULAR DECISION applicants will have to wait until early summer 2018 before they can plan their university experience for Autumn 2018.
For those students in year 12, it is important that they begin to prepare their applications over the Christmas Vacation.
Research your options:
Find a college/ university that best suits your needs.
Do not try to match yourself to the university but find the institution that best suits you priorities and goals
The best university is the one that meets your academic, financial and personal needs Prepare for the Admissions Tests
These tests [SAT or ACT] are idiosyncratic and need some preparation Finance Your Studies
Studying in the USA can be expensive $60000-00 per year
Students will need to apply for scholarships/ financial aid at the same time as applying for admission.
Consider the requirements for a STUDENT VISA.  The requirements are straightforward but preparation and advice is essential. 

  • Students must be eligible for entry into the USA.
  • They need to have an offer of a place. 
  • They will need to be able to support themselves whilst studying in the USA.
  • They will require a good standard of English [to access study materials/ lectures].
  •  please contact The Independent Education Consultants

If you would like to speak to Phil about how he can help with your US application Email  01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help. For more information visit

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

How to Get The Most From Your Child's School Report

Your child’s school report is much more than a termly record of your child’s classroom input and development, to be filed away in a cupboard. It’s an invaluable tool in helping you and your child to review and set academic and extra-curricular goals.

As part of our study skills work with children, we regularly go through school reports with students, helping them identify areas where they should be congratulated and other areas where they can improve. If it helps, these can be put in to a simple two column chart, so they can quickly identify their strengths and areas for improvement.

Remember, praise comes first for things they’ve done well, goals they’ve met and achievements to be proud of. Then it’s time to look closely at the areas that need improvement and take time to discuss these – your child will probably know which ones need seriously addressing and they may surprise you with their insight.  Ask them to volunteer thoughts as they are far more likely to buy into points they’ve raised themselves. Between you, pick out and agree upon 4 or 5 areas to target as goals for the next report.  

Needless to say, there is a level of sensitivity involved in this exercise, so be conscious of the language and phrases you use – try saying things like:

 “Your English and History look great! But some of the other subjects are disappointing – what’s different about those classes?”

“It’s good to hear you’re speaking out in class, and to see that you’re doing well with homework. Let’s work on revision over the rest of term.”

Your target list then becomes ‘Objectives For Next Term.’   Print these out and display them somewhere your child will see, such as close to their desk or on the fridge. 

As the term continues try not to nag, but do give them a gentle nudge/reminder when appropriate. Ask them how they feel it’s going, but pick your timing – often a casual chat over supper is more effective than a sit-down review!   
Use parents’ evening as an opportunity to discuss if there has been an improvement with their teachers.   This is a good time to review the objectives list with your child – are there any that you both feel have been achieved?  Are there any still going unaddressed?  Remember praise is effective, but don’t overdo it or give it where undeserved.   

At the end of term, review their new report alongside the old one – actively seek out signs of improvement in areas that appear on your goals list. Reward and congratulate.   However, don’t let your child be disheartened if they feel they have achieved a goal but it’s not reflected in their report – assure them you know they were working hard and if appropriate speak to their teacher for further feedback.

When setting your objectives be realistic about improvement.

Here are some sample goals – your child will have his or her own areas to improve on, but these might help with inspiration:

Music Grades:  See if you can pass that grade 3 for Singing.  Speak to your music teacher about trying for grades in Piano.

Reading: You will try to read at least 2 of The Dark Material books by the end of half term. If you run out of books on your kindle, come and ask me to download more for you. At least 30 minutes of reading a day is the minimum!

Unit test revision and highlighting key-facts for subjects like History. Use a highlighter pen to emphasise key-facts and words to remember. We agreed you would spend some extra time revising for unit tests to ensure you get the best results possible.

Grades: We are aiming for 5 B’s and 3A’s and almost all 5’s for effort. You will focus particularly on Sciences, Spanish and RS.

Activities- choir, football, plus you will choose two more clubs, when you know what is available.


This weeks blog was written by Claire Coker and Catherine Stoker, who regularly work with children, helping them develop their study skills.  If your child needs some encouragement with their school work, contact our team to see how we can help. 

Email  01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information visit

Monday, 18 September 2017

When to apply for US University - is Early decision or Early Action right for you?

Our guest blog is written by Phil Garner, expert in making applications to the US. 
Many US Universities offer an option for students to apply EARLY DECISION or EARLY ACTION.
Early decision versus early action 
Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding — students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.
Some 450 colleges have early decision or early action plans, and some have both. Some colleges offer a nonbinding option called single-choice early action, under which applicants may not apply ED or EA to any other college..
If you are considering applying Early Decision then:
  • Apply early (usually in November) to first-choice college.
  • You will receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December).
  • You MUST agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is considered adequate by the family.
  • You can apply to only one college early decision.
  • You may still apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • You MUST withdraw all other applications if accepted by ED.
  • You will need to send a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of  May 1.
If you are going to apply Early Action then:
  • You should apply early.
  • You should receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February).
  • You must consider acceptance offer but you do not have to commit upon receipt.
  • You can still apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • You must give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date.
Who should apply early?
Applying to an ED or EA plan is most appropriate for a student who:
  • Has researched colleges extensively.
  • Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.
  • Has found a college that is a strong match academically, socially and geographically.
  • Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT® scores, GPA and class rank.
  • Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time.
Applying to an ED or EA plan is not appropriate for a student who:
  • Has not thoroughly researched colleges.
  • Is applying early just to avoid stress and paperwork.
  • Is not fully committed to attending the college.
  • Is applying early only because friends are.
  • Needs a strong senior fall semester to bring grades up.
The benefits of applying early
There are benefits for a student who has a definite first-choice college, applying early has many benefits besides possibly increasing the chance of getting in. Applying early lets the student:
  • Reduce stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision.
  • Save the time and expense of submitting multiple applications.
  • Gain more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college.
  • Reassess options and apply elsewhere if not accepted.
The drawbacks of applying early
Pressure to decide: Committing to one college puts pressure on students to make serious decisions before they've explored all their options.
Reduced financial aid opportunities: Students who apply under ED plans receive offers of admission and financial aid simultaneously and so will not be able to compare financial aid offers from other colleges. For students who absolutely need financial aid, applying early may be a risky option.
Time crunch for other applications: Most colleges do not notify ED and EA applicants of admission until December 15. Because of the usual deadlines for applications, this means that if a student is rejected by the ED college, there are only two weeks left to send in other applications. Encourage those of your students who are applying early to prepare other applications as they wait to receive admission decisions from their first-choice college. 
Relaxing: Applicants who learn early that they have been accepted into a college may feel that, their goal accomplished, they have no reason to work hard for the rest of the year. Early-applying students should know that colleges may rescind offers of admission should their expected grades drop.


Are you interested in going to the US for university then contact us and we can arrange for you to speak to Phil and explain how he can help you make a successful application.
Email  01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information visit

Thursday, 31 August 2017


First day at school tips
Add caption
Thanks to Sally Markowska for these great tips for starting a new school:

Have a positive attitude! Yes, joining a new school is a challenge BUT embrace the adventure. Remember the times you have tried something new before and how you survived

·       Remember you will not be the only new pupil: Others will be feeling exactly like you!

·       Before term starts: Have you got details of any pupils already at the school? It is worth contacting them informally to ask any burning questions you may have and/or to meet up. Even exchanging emails/texts would mean you already know someone at the school.

·       Be confident or at least pretend to be! Hold your head high as you walk in those gates for the first time.

·       SMILE at all the people you meet: It has an immediate effect on others and you will feel more positive too.

·       Have some opening ice-breaking questions ready: ‘Hi, what is your name?’ or ‘I am new and have no idea what I am supposed to be doing now. Do you?’

·       Timetable: Does it make sense? Do you understand where to go for each lesson? Do not be afraid to ask someone, even another pupil walking down the corridor- they were in your shoes once!

·       Break and lunchtimes: Be prepared for these. Ask others where they go for break/lunch and ask if you can go along on the first day. Don’t be shy!

·       In the first lessons: Introduce yourself to the people who sit near you, join in the discussions, try to ask and answer questions. You will feel better about yourself if you can but do not despair if it is all too challenging in the first few days!

·       Learn the names of the teachers who are responsible for your well-being: You should know who to turn to if you have a problem or feel unwell.

·       If the first day is difficult: Remind yourself that it is early days and things WILL improve.

·       Be proud of yourself at the end of the day: Congratulate yourself on surviving your first day! This is the beginning of something exciting…


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education. If you'd like to speak to Sally or any of our other expert consultants contact us:
Email  01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information visit

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Affordable University in the USA for British Students

US university apply

Last year over 10,000 students went to study in the USA, the highest number ever. So what is it that’s attracting more and more UK students to study at University in America?

There are many reasons to choose the US for university and these can include, academic excellence, the huge variety of educational institutions, the advanced technology available to its students and the campus experience.

However for many students it is about a straightforward evaluation of the fees and whether the money well spent in the UK when comparing the academic standards, tutor-student ratios, professor contact time, extracurricular activities and world class facilities, which often exceed many UK universities. For others, it is the attraction of many generous scholarships that many well-funded US Colleges/ Universities offer to international students and you do not need to be an outstanding academic or elite athlete to be eligible.

Last year, many British students studied in the USA. These students had adequate funding before they were approved to study in the US. Don't let funding get in your way; student loans and scholarships can help you cover:

· Tuition & Fees

· Books & Supplies

· Food & Groceries

· Room and Board

· Entertainment

· Travel & Transportation

· Clothing & Toiletries

· Saving & Investments

If you find yourself still struggling with a funding gap, it's not too late to get money with an international student loan or a scholarship!
  You may find that your education in the USA is TOTALLY FREE!

If you would like to learn more about how Phil can help you apply to a US university contact Claire at 


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.
Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information visit

Thursday, 3 August 2017

How to Survive A Level Results Day 2017

This blog on How To Survive A level Results Day is by Higher Education Consultant Sally Markowska, an expert in university applications. 
  • Do not go to bed very late the night before Thursday August 17th. This is going to be a long, significant day, whatever your results. You will need to remain calm, cool and collected as you may need to make quick decisions.
  • Ask a parent or mature friend to make themselves available to you either in person or on the phone; whatever way the results go, you will need someone to share tears of joy or pain.
  • Get your UCAS log in details ready the night before- you will need these and you do not want to be scrabbling around for them.
  • It would help to have ready the telephone numbers of the direct lines to the admissions’ departments of your firm and insurance places; if you need to speak to someone at these places, you will have the data ready.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is charged.
  • At 8am UCAS Track will spring to life: your firm choice may confirm your place (it will say UNCONDITIONAL) OR it may not. Do NOT panic if you cannot get online or your universities haven’t posted anything yet. Remember UCAS will not post your exam results but may show if your place at university has been confirmed.
  • If your firm place is confirmed, dance around the kitchen and call Granny. You will receive the AS12 email from UCAS: read it carefully and respond accordingly.
  • If it showing as ‘Conditional’, don’t panic: it may not have been updated OR you have your insurance place OR you will have to get ready to find somewhere else.
  • EAT something: will help your energy levels even if you feel nauseous at the thought of what is to come…
  • Before your results are given to you either in school, online or on the phone, make sure you have your mobile, a pen and paper and a calm, supportive adult (if possible).
  • Once you have your results confirmed, you will know where you stand.
  • YOU HAVE MET YOUR FIRM OFFER: Well done! Feel proud and open the champagne.
  • YOU HAVE MET YOUR INSURANCE OFFER: Well done! You have a place at one of your top two university choices! You will have to tell the Student Loan Company and contact this university to sort out accommodation.
  • YOU HAVE DONE BETTER THAN PREDICTED AND THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO APPLY TO A UNIVERSITY WITH HIGHER GRADE REQUIREMENTS: This is called Adjustment and you do not have to give up your firm place to enter into this stage. Look on the UCAS website for more details.
  • YOU HAVE MISSED BOTH YOUR OFFERS FOR FIRM AND INSURANCE PLACES: This is hard, especially if your friends are shrieking with delight all around you. Try to go somewhere quiet to talk with someone you trust. Your school will have helped many students in this position so listen to their advice. Don't worry, soon with careful thinking and acting, you will have a plan.
  • It is worth calling your insurance university to see if they can still consider you. They may even offer you a different course. Don’t make hasty decisions about this; make time to look at the course content to make sure you would be happy studying this subject.
  • CLEARING: If you have missed both your offers, you will be entered automatically into Clearing. The UCAS website will list all available courses- search by subject and be open to different courses/institutions.
  • You may wish to re-take your A Levels- this is a perfectly respectable course to take. We all make mistakes and, learning from them and moving on is a mature approach to take. You could see it as a year to re-think, re-adjust and perhaps get a part-time job.If you decide to defer your place, you will need to contact your university and ask if they will hold your place for another year. Gap years spent wisely can be an excellent way to gain life experience before you go to study again.
If you would like to get more advice about University choices or clearing you can find out more about how our team can help you here. 


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.
Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information visit