Case Study 2nd June 2023

British International School of Cairo

At a glance

Using BridgeU to manage numerous & competing responsibilities

Michael Francis moved from a role as Head of Maths at an international school in Rio de Janeiro, to take up a new position as Assistant Head of Sixth Form at the British International School of Cairo (BISC). BISC is a school offering the IB curriculum, as well a BTEC Business qualification for students wishing to take a vocational pathway into the world of work. Some of the destinations that students apply to include the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. 

Michael was appointed at BISC as they were looking to implement a university guidance platform to support their students in their applications. 

Whilst still at his previous school, Michael conducted trials using BridgeU with students and asked for feedback on their experiences. Using this feedback, Michael chose to introduce BridgeU at BISC because it was interactive, easy-to-navigate and allowed him to administer the university guidance process from a centralised platform. 

Michael had no previous experience of university guidance counseling, or administering university admissions. As a Mathematics teacher and Head of Department, his previous responsibilities had been limited to writing recommendation letters and references for students applying to university. He comments on how useful BridgeU has been in helping him learn a new aspect of his job: “I knew nothing and had to learn from scratch. Knowing I had this platform has made my life easier.” 

Michael credits BridgeU with giving him confidence in a new and busy role where he had to juggle guidance counseling responsibilities with teaching – “I have a heavy teaching timetable, so was able to manage both teaching and counseling. I would not have been able to manage it if BridgeU was not there.” 

As he began to integrate BridgeU into his guidance curriculum, Michael was able to take advantage of valuable training and resources from the Customer Success Team. He was also able to visit the BridgeU office in London to meet the team and receive some extra face-to-face training. 

Michael remembers that, as he was learning his way round BridgeU, the CS team were “always present, always helpful”. He notes that “the support was instant, and questions were answered with a video, with a link…if I couldn’t find something Chris, my Customer Success Manager, could help me in two seconds.” 

“I have a full teaching timetable, and using BridgeU I was able to manage both teaching and counseling. Knowing I had this platform made my life easier.”

Michael Francis, Assistant Director of Sixth Form, BISC

Students submitting higher quality applications

For students at BISC, BridgeU has broadened the university search process, with Michael noting that they are exploring a wider range of destinations through the platform, rather than a manual Internet search which gives a narrower range of options.

Michael notes that, previously, students at BISC were dropping out or transferring to new universities when it became apparent they were unhappy on their chosen course.  He believes that, in the long term, having access to BridgeU’s wide range of global university and course options will mean that students will have a better understanding of why they are choosing the universities and courses that they apply to.

Michael limits the number of applications that students can submit through BridgeU to eight – so while students are applying to fewer universities, their research and their knowledge of universities’ entry requirements is more in-depth, leading to higher quality applications.

Students have also been able to take advantage of the extra resources and lesson plans that come with the platform. For example, resources on how to write a UCAS Personal Statement for UK universities have ensured that even first drafts of a Personal Statement are of a much higher quality. 

Reflecting back on the students’ first year with BridgeU, Michael explains that “for students, this is the best guidance counseling experience they have ever had, and BridgeU has helped with that.” 

“For students, this is the best guidance counseling experience they’ve ever had, and BridgeU has helped with that.”

Michael Francis, Assistant Head of Sixth Form, BISC

Greater visibility over the whole university application process

BridgeU has given Michael greater visibility of both students and staff when administering university applications. 

The reference writing process for UK universities was streamlined, as BridgeU allows Michael to easily gather teachers’ comments and reports on individual students and collate them into the single UCAS reference sent on behalf of the school.  He notes that: “Some of the references I had to write took me ten minutes because I didn’t have to search for individual references. I can collate the whole reference and send it to UCAS.”

Likewise, BridgeU made the process of uploading and sending documents in support of students’ applications much easier. For example, Michael arrived at BISC with little experience of how to submit documents to US universities via the Common App; however he was able to easily send relevant school reports and transcripts using the BridgeU Document Sending tool. 

Having a platform to oversee the university application process means that deadlines for final submission are easily met, with Michael noting that – “thanks to BridgeU, most applications were done by December, because all the information is centralised, clear and relevant.” 

BridgeU also allows Michael to easily gather data on students’ application preferences to inform his guidance programme throughout the year. He explains how, for example,  he was able to quickly and easily create a spreadsheet of students who were applying to King’s College London, so he could easily liaise them in advance of a KCL representative visiting the school. 

“Thanks to BridgeU, most applications were done by December, because all the information was centralised, clear and relevant.”

Michael Francis, British International School of Cairo

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