At a Glance
“The decisions students have made as a result of looking into BridgeU have made them more empowered.”
“The arena of university guidance has changed very rapidly” says Gavin Fuller, School Counselor at Utahloy International School Zengcheng. Fuller has worked in university and careers guidance for the last fifteen years, and when he joined UISZ two years ago, he found that the school had a completely manual system for managing the university guidance process – “and it wasn’t really being used.”
UISZ is a boarding school in Southern China, with about 200 students from K-12, all of whom study the IB. Each year, 18 or so students graduate and head off to university, with most going to the US and the UK, while a handful opt for Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. When Fuller joined the school, he found that students often used agents to help them with their university applications. He found it odd, he says, “that students would be going to an agent, when you’ve got an international school with experts from all around the world.” But in-house experience was only going so far; which is when Fuller began to look at BridgeU.
The BridgeU platform was “much more expansive” than the other options UISZ considered, but ultimately, it was the support and attitude of BridgeU that was the decider. “What clinched it for me was, if I need some help, can I get somebody to help me? Yes, absolutely! Does the organisation listen to the requests we are putting through? Yes, absolutely!” Getting set up on BridgeU was “very straightforward” says Fuller, “and it saved a lot of time.”
The impartial advice provided by BridgeU was also attractive to UISZ. “Nothing else is as comprehensive, up-to-date, and unbiased,” he says. “It’s all based on real data, so there’s no hidden agenda. You want impartial, brilliant university advice, and that’s what you get from BridgeU.”
“You want impartial, brilliant university advice, and that’s what you get from BridgeU”
Building trust with parents
Fuller has found BridgeU to be helpful in building more trust in the school system among students and parents. Often, he says, students are used to agents making extravagant promises, and he’s pushed them to see that they can reach those achievements on their own. “It comes back to the intrinsic motivation which students should have. They are the ones that are going abroad and going to the universities,” he says.
By enabling students to do their own research, and keep all of their information about universities and careers in one place, BridgeU is helping UISZ students invest in the process of planning their post-secondary pathways.
The feature students find most useful? “The shortlisting and reach, match, safety tool,” he says, without hesitating. “It’s so powerful, and so easy to use.” He also cites the writing builder, the global shortlisting ability to input any university, and the note-taking tool.
For a school with as international a student body as UISZ, the reference letter tool has also been very helpful. Previously, Fuller says, teachers sometimes found it difficult to write letters for students who had only been at the school for a short period of time. With BridgeU, students’ information is there for easy reference when teachers are writing their reports, and Fuller says this helps the teachers and the students: “If they’re needing a bit more guidance in terms of how to write the letters and what to include, it is a really useful tool for them as well.”
Getting feedback from the students is crucial to Fuller. “For them, going to university is a big deal, and it’s a big investment as well,” he says, particularly for those travelling around the world to study. “In the long term, the proof of the pudding will be that they have gone through the programme here, gone into university, been successful, gone into a career that they are interested in, and,” he says, hopefully, “making sure they pay that back.”
“The platform is so powerful and so easy to use”
Students are using agents less than they were since BridgeU was introduced – and where they’re using both, the fact that BridgeU comes up with similar or better options to their agents is helping change the mindset. Fuller is also using BridgeU to encourage students to be more self-reliant. “I’ve said to them, ‘This is about you. Where do you want to go to university, what do you want to look at?” he says.
BridgeU is helping to change student and parent attitudes, because it provides evidence for the points that teachers make. “We know how students operate,” says Fuller, but now, “we can also use BridgeU to help inform that, and help them make better choices.”
“The beauty of BridgeU is that it’s simple to use, the interface is really easy, and the students don’t get lost in it,” Fuller says. “It’s intuitive for this generation of students. If you’re a school and you’re looking at growth, it’s time to use BridgeU.”
“If you’re a school and you’re looking at growth, it’s time to use BridgeU”
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