How University & Careers Counsellors upskill to shape futures

Gaining valuable insights for post-secondary pathways

Lucien Giordano, Group Director of International Outreach and Alumni Engagement at EiM reflects on EiM's University and Careers Counsellors’ recent initiatives in gaining valuable insights for post-secondary pathways to help shape students’ futures – including participation in the Council of International Schools (CIS) Global Forum and a UK visit to connect with universities and alumni from our family of schools. 

At Education in Motion, the student is always our top priority. Our counsellors from across our family of schools help students discover their best fit post-secondary aspirations and forge the pathway necessary to achieve that goal – seeking the most up-to-date understanding of higher education globally and collaborating with teachers and families to provide exceptional expertise to students at our schools. As part of this approach, EiM places a strong emphasis on actively engaging with and learning from universities. This is a unique value proposition of being part of our family of schools. Our teams represent each other to universities and make a great effort to acquire and share knowledge in the professional landscape. This is all in support of our students’ post-secondary aspirations, ensuring that universities to which our students aspire to understand what makes our schools and student special. Over two weeks last November, EiM counsellors, school leaders and headquarter staff attended a major global conference on international post-secondary pathways, met Dulwich College International alumni to learn from their study and work experiences, and travelled to universities to represent our schools and bring back critical knowledge to support student applications.

The Council of International Schools (CIS) Global Forum

Gavin, Lucien, Jo, Paul representing our schools at the CIS Forum High Schools Fair

This is an annual conference that takes place in Europe and brings together up to 800 professionals from universities and high schools who work on international student transitions. From the Ivy Leagues to Oxbridge to the premier art schools in the world, the global leaders in international admissions and high school University and Careers Counselling (UCC) professionals come together to share learnings and network. 

This year’s Forum took place in Dublin. Paul Sweet, Director of University and Careers Counseling for Dulwich College Seoul, was one of a few members of the Forum’s organising committee. Paul is in his second of three years of service to Council of International Schools (CIS), which helps keep universities around the world aware of how our counsellors are global leaders. Gavin Hornbuckle, Director of University and Careers Counseling for Dulwich College Beijing, who has been involved with CIS for over a decade as a presenter and volunteer, helped register conference attendees and welcomed newcomers to the conference as a part of the “First Timers” session.

Also in attendance were, Jo Mattingley, Acting Head of UCC at Dulwich College (Singapore) and Lucien Giordano, EiM Group Director of International Outreach and Alumni Engagement.

In reflection on the forum, Paul noted:

“This year’s CIS Global Forum brought together colleagues from around the world to connect, share, collaborate, and learn with each other. I was grateful that members of our network participated in the conference because it underscored the strength and unity of our community. Both the formal sessions and informal opportunities to interact with university representatives and other UCC counsellors allowed us to highlight the successes of our students and schools while also ensuring we are aware of current trends and are following best practices.”

Alumni Engagement

International Old Alleynians and staff from 6 Dulwich College International schools, EiM and Dulwich College

In the week following the Forum, Lucien Giordano, Gavin Hornbuckle and Mel Ellis, Head of Senior School at Dulwich College (Singapore), spent a week in the UK meeting alumni and visiting universities.

The week began with an event at Dulwich College in London, where we welcomed 35 alumni from six Dulwich College International schools. The alumni came together to learn more about the growth of the Worldwise Alumni Network’s regional chapter strategies and to connect with old and new friends. During the event, our team was able to learn more about the experiences our Dulwich College International alumni, known as International Old Alleynians (IOAs), have had at university and into their careers.

We learned that an IOA from Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong is completing a PhD in UCL and working to eradicate malaria in Africa. An IOA from Dulwich College Seoul is working as a data scientist, focusing on how food scarcity problems can be mitigated by tracking expiration dates. An IOA from Dulwich College Beijing is finishing a PGCE in secondary education at UCL and applying for jobs in the UK private education sector. 

Mel Ellis and DCSG IOAs attending Cambridge reconnect

Two days later, our team traveled to Cambridge to meet five IOAs enrolled in courses at the University of Cambridge including Engineering and Music. The alumni reinforced that Cambridge does an incredible job of selecting students who share similar mindsets. Regardless of the academic interest, Cambridge students are intensely devoted and passionate about their studies. You could see this so clearly from the alumni we met. 

IOAs at University of Cambridge took Mel, Gavin and Lucien on a visit to the Engineering Department

Our alumni are truly incredible and ready to bring their experiences and lessons learned to our students.

Finally, Gavin and Lucien were able to meet Felix R, Dulwich College (Singapore)’20, an enthusiastic IOA at Durham University who shared that Dulwich College International gave him a true sense of family and purpose, especially to pursue a pathway that can support global sustainability goals. While he hasn’t quite found the same sense of family belonging he had at Dulwich College (Singapore), the Durham faculty and student community have inspired him to pursue a PhD.

University Outreach

As the alumni meetings transpired, the team spent time in universities across the UK, making sure that our schools are understood, working on partnership opportunities, and acquiring information to bring back to our schools.

The week included visits to the following universities:

From the incredible career outcomes of art and design graduate at UAL to insights on the Cambridge interview process to an incredible summer program for students interested in medicine at Newcastle, the time at the universities was incredibly valuable.

Gavin Hornbuckle left the UK with the following takeaways that he thinks all EiM students and families should keep in mind:

“There are an incredible variety of quality UK universities, and not all of them are in London. While in the UK, I visited Imperial College London and learned about their approach to STEM education, as well as their new course in Economics, Finance and Data Science. At Kings College London, I experienced the vibe of the Strand Campus and connected with admissions officers. A highlight of the trip was touring the University of Cambridge and meeting with our alumni to hear about their experiences. Melanie, Lucien and I also felt the creative energy of The University of the Arts London, and then ventured up north to Newcastle and Durham. The Universities of Newcastle and Durham both have excellent programs that any student would do well to consider. While the student life is different than what you would find in London, the friendliness of the people and a smaller city atmosphere will allow you to get to know a different part of the country while taking advantage of all that top-flight universities have to offer.”

“These journeys exemplify our global leadership in university outreach, underscored by the dedicated time and unparalleled resources invested by our school leaders.”

Gavin, Mel and Lucien held meetings to discuss collaborations with University of Arts London at the Central St. Martin’s campus in London

Gavin and Lucien met with the University of Newcastle international student team

In an overview of the trip, Mel Ellis, noted the following about how important it is to make these connections and have school leaders and counsellors learn directly from universities

“I have learnt more about the world of higher education in this short trip than I ever would have learnt through remote meetings or through reading. The conversations with admissions teams and school liaison/recruitment teams were enriching and enlightening, and as a result I feel much more able to engage in informed conversations about pathways and choices with students and families. It is essential to learn these things in situ to gain a real understanding of a place. At UAL we met their team in the student café at Central St. Martins. This placed us at the heart of the building immediately, and we were able to see ‘a day in the life’ of students through this. As we engaged on our tour, we saw first-hand the informal interactions and support provided through the tutor/student relationship, and we were able to feel the atmosphere of learning, creation and purpose in the building. Engaging in a visit such as this, particularly with UCC experts such as Lucien and Gavin, was an invaluable experience.

With more outreach trips to come to the US, Korea, and Australia, and with our counsellors continuing to lead the way in global professional communities, we look forward to sharing more valuable insights with our schools and students in the near future, and use the expertise knowledge our counsellors have acquired to further support our students’ best fit post-secondary aspirations.