Grade 11 College Counselling


Academically speaking, although all years in high school are important, this year is the most important. By the time students are applying in their senior year, the last grades universities often see are their junior year grades. Meaning, students need to be serious about performing well this year. Their classes need to have been carefully selected for this year, and, if full IB, they need to make the necessary adjustments early in their junior year.

Additionally, this year all students will sit the PSAT in the fall as practice for the SAT, which they should take in either March or May of their junior year. Although students don’t need to invest extraordinary amounts of their time preparing for the PSAT, they absolutely should prepare for the SAT. This can be done through a variety of different ways such as purchasing a SAT book and using the free Khan Academy practice tests, hiring a private tutor, taking online classes or using an in person preparatory program.

College and Career


Personal and Extracurricular

Students in their junior year should start to be taking on leadership roles within their activities and sports. Additionally, students should seek outside experience such as volunteering at local charities. Lastly, universities like to see students with real world practical experience. This means that students should be taking advantage of universities summer preparatory programs or making sure they are gaining internship experience. The internship experience is particularly important for students who are looking to study in the UK, especially medicine. It’s absolutely essential that a student applying to medical schools in the UK has multiple work experiences in medical settings.

Summer Programs

Many US and UK universities have summer study programs (example: Duke, UC Boulder, Hult, Harvard), if you’re interested in a particular university we advise researching summer opportunities via their website and the College and Career Class Pages

  • Summer Discovery:
  • Oxbridge Programs:

Late August - December:

  • Do your personal best in your academics throughout the whole year; your cumulative GPA from G9-11 will be what you apply with.
  • Make sure you are tracking and compiling all the information you are finding about universities where you are interested in applying.  Your College and Career Class Page on Powerschool has multiple resources to help you in your research. Additionally, students should start exploring individual website’s of universities and arrange visits (virtual visits) to these universities during breaks from school.
  • Students should begin their SAT preparation for taking the SAT in March or May. You also need to make sure that you are registering early for these tests as spots are limited in Abu Dhabi and testing centers fill up quickly. I recommend sitting the SAT at least twice.
  • Attend university visits and fairs!

January - May:

  • Attend the mandatory Junior College Night
  • Schedule mandatory student, parent and counselor meeting to discuss the college counseling process
  • Continue preparing for March or May administration of SAT
  • Start narrowing down university choices and separate by country
  • Sit the SAT in March or May
  • Request at least one teacher letter of recommendation. Follow the process EXACTLY. We suggest having two teacher letters of recommendation!
  • Before leaving for school: register for any additional SAT testing, send counselor list of schools that you are strongly considering
  • Familiarize yourself with how to apply to different universities and know which applications you will need to fill out this summer/early fall (US: Common Ap vs. Coalition, Canada: Individual university applications vs. OUAC, Holland: Studie link, UK: UCAS)
  • Attend university visits and fairs!

June - Late August:

  • Work on narrowing down university choices and have them shortlisted in Unifrog.  Remember to make sure you have schools in the following categories: reach, comfort and confident. Students should only have 1 or 2 schools in the reach category. Additionally, please know that a reach is not a dream. If you have a 3.0 GPA and you’re looking at Harvard or very competitive schools - that is not a reach, it’s a dream. Most importantly, you ALWAYS need schools you are confident you have the data to assure your acceptance.  Each student is limited to apply to no more than 10 schools (2-5-3).  Each school should be purposefully chosen after thorough research, and should only be on the list if you are serious about attending there if that is the only acceptance you receive.
  • Check applications to see if they are open yet. Common Application typically opens on August 1st, but UCAS is open in July.
  • Make sure you are registering for any necessary tests for your senior year: IELTS/TOEFL (English proficiency tests often required for International students), SAT, SAT subject tests, LNAT (for law in the UK), or BMAT/UKCAT (for medicine in the UK).
  • Work on personal statement and/or Common App Essay
  • If you are applying to an Art school then now is the time to work on your portfolio and research portfolio requirements from various universities


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Counselling for each Grade Level