Blog 🍎 School 31st January 2022

How BridgeU Optimises Every Stage of University Applications in 2022

Profile image of James Leach
James Leach

James is senior content marketing manager at BridgeU. He writes and directs content for BridgeU's university partners and our community of international schools

The need for in-depth, personalised guidance is perhaps greater than ever. In 2022, students tired of travel restrictions are especially keen to travel abroad for university; not just as an opportunity to explore the world, but also to maximise their chances of academic and professional success.

And with good reason: our increasingly globalised world means that studying abroad is one of the best ways students can develop the skills needed to thrive in today’s world of work.

But the past few years have also had a massive impact on higher education. The diversification of degree formats and the advent of entirely new subjects can make it all a little overwhelming… not just for your students, but for you! How can you possibly provide individualised guidance that covers a wide range of countries, subjects and academic approaches?

Here’s a secret. It doesn’t have to be so hard.

BridgeU provides one simple platform that streamlines the whole university guidance process, from self-exploration to research to application. And before you start worrying about budget requests, the entire BridgeU platform is completely free for schools like yours.

To see how BridgeU individualises and maximises each stage of the university application journey, read on.

Stage 1: University Research

Before students even think about university applications, they have to settle on where they want to apply. Figuring that out can be a long and difficult process.

Luckily, BridgeU helps students understand their skills and strengths, reflect on their achievements, and develop the self-awareness they need to start informed university research.

Encouraging students to explore their strengths and skills

BridgeU helps students set a strong foundation for their university research by guiding them through structured self-exploration. Our questions cover everything from personal preferences and learning styles to academic abilities and long-term ambitions.

While some students might be very in touch with their strengths, weaknesses, goals and preferences, others need more help, and our interactive platform is the perfect way to give it. Students can access BridgeU from anywhere, anytime. Plus, who doesn’t love a good multiple choice quiz?

Ensure students record and analyse their achievements

BridgeU’s Strategy Advisor encourages students to keep records of their achievements and experiences over the years, guiding them through analysis of the skills and qualities each one demonstrates.

When it comes time to writing an application essay, students have a good sense of how to choose which extracurriculars to write about in their application essays, and how to write about them compellingly.

Help students explore global universities

BridgeU’s matching tools, university exploration pages and virtual events make it easy for students to uncover their best-fit courses at universities around the globe, and learn in-depth about application processes, scholarships and more.

As we mentioned, today’s students have the incredible opportunity to study at universities far beyond their country of residence. But these limitless possibilities can be daunting.

When the whole world is their oyster, where do students begin their research? How can they simply and meaningfully compare courses without trawling through thousands of websites?

With BridgeU, of course! Students can research and compare courses with ease, and reflect on the countries that would suit them best.

“I have students who were only going to apply in the MENA region now applying for Medicine at more international universities, and this is because of BridgeU.”

University guidance counsellor: Raffles World Academy, Dubai

In addition to personalised assessments and matching tools, students also have the option to explore other university options to get a taste of what else is out there.

That way, you can support every student without needing an encyclopaedic knowledge of global universities!

We also host lots of themed virtual events throughout the year, exclusively for BridgeU students. During these, students have the opportunity to talk to universities and current students, and get the inside scoop on everything from application essays to accommodation to future career pathways.

Provide students with personalised feeds of information and resources

When students log into BridgeU, they’ll be presented with their own personalised content feeds, all in line with their specific goals.

That’s an incredibly powerful feature of the platform: designed to save students plenty of time (and, let’s be honest, hassle), this feature allows them to easily stay up to date with the latest information and advice… which means they’ll have more time to focus on their graded assignments!

“I have a heavy teaching timetable… I would not have managed [both teaching and counselling] if BridgeU was not there. For students, this is the best guidance counselling experience they’ve ever had.”

Michael Francis: Assistant Director of Sixth Form, British International School Cairo

Students can even save the articles they find most helpful to refer back to later, which makes it easy to stay on track! You can find out more about students’ content feeds here.

Provide students with tailor-made university shortlists

One of the most popular BridgeU functions (amongst counsellors and students alike) is its ability to categorise students’ university options into ‘Reach’, ‘Safety’ and ‘Match’.

These columns make it easy for students to ensure they’ve got variety in their applications and maximise their chances of enrolling on a course that’s right for them.

This feature also means counsellors can have honest conversations with students and parents, with clear and objective information at their core.

“Students really liked seeing their matches. It was an important reality check seeing universities in the reach column, but then it was nice to see it instantly made them make more realistic choices without me having to crush their dreams!” 

Ana Flores: Uruguayan American School

Gather information on students’ interests

BridgeU makes it easy for you to collect real-time information on students’ interests, so that you can tailor your guidance strategy and find the most relevant resources possible.

Do particular countries keep coming up? Are there specific subjects that your students are drawn to? Your analytics dashboard on BridgeU displays all of this information, so you can plan your guidance to suit their needs.

For example, if lots of students are interested in business, you might organise presentations on related career pathways, have staff from leading business departments visit the school, or connect students with buddies currently studying business degrees!

And if most of your students want to apply to, say, the USA or the UK, you’ll know which deadlines you need to track and what kind of application essay guidance they’ll need.

Get a direct line with universities

A final crucial element of the university research stage is staying up-to-date with universities. After all, they’re the ultimate authority on what admissions officers look for and what courses really entail.

And, as we just covered, the information BridgeU provides on your students’ goals lets you tailor events even more closely to their needs and interests.

Better yet, universities can contact you directly on the platform to arrange visits through University Connect. You can choose which events you share with your students, and monitor their attendance there!

Stage 2: Application Preparation

Once students are sure of where they want to apply, it’s time for them to start creating, collecting and collating all the different materials they’ll need to send.

This poses challenges for both you and your students. There are the big, subjective ones like writing powerful application essays according to each country’s and university’s criteria. And there are the more logistical, organisational demands of getting the right documentation together ahead of myriad deadlines.

Here’s how we’ll help.

Provide students with tools to craft application essays

The platform’s built-in essay editing tools (complete with annotated sample essays) simplify the writing process for both your students and you.

“There are far fewer drafts of statements all over the place because we can say to students ‘Put it on BridgeU and we’ll look at it there.’ Staff don’t get frustrated about which draft they’re working on.”

Ian McClary: Head of Sixth Form, Bryanston School

Examples are country-specific, including separate guidance for Common App-style personal essays and UCAS personal statements.

Streamline reference and recommendation writing

We know it’s not just students who work hard on applications… it’s you and your colleagues, too!

That’s where the documents section comes in, which you can use to access:

  • Guidance on how to write references and recommendations
  • Document tracking and editing
  • The ability for counsellors to assign references to teachers
  • The ability for students to request recommendations directly from teachers
  • Overview for students and counsellors of when references and recommendations have been completed
  • The ability to send recommendations directly to universities from the platform
Reference writing in BridgeU

And if you want a fuller picture of how BridgeU makes these processes both simpler and more effective, check out this step-by-step guide.

Stay on top of the application process

As a counsellor on BridgeU, you’ll be able to see where students are up to on each stage of their journey.

You can assign any tasks you see fit, like completing personality assessments or submitting statement drafts, and track your students’ progress.

Once documents are ready and submitted, you can offer feedback or suggest changes – without depending on students to check their emails or keep hold of hard copies!

Stage 3: Post-Application

Data analysis isn’t something that everyone is excited about. So we want to make it easier for you to gather and analyse key information. As well as giving you an instant overview of your students’ personal preferences while they’re applying, BridgeU also lets you step back and review high-level trends when application season is over.

“Insights allow schools to gain a detailed overview of application trends at the click of a button. The ability to investigate data that previously would have been inaccessible or time-consuming to create is incredibly powerful.” 

Lesley Sharples: Head of University & Post School Guidance, Mill Hill School, UK

Without you ever having to touch a spreadsheet or conduct a survey, you’ll have on-demand access to insightful metrics on your students’ outcomes.

That way, you can prove the value of your programme to school leaders, parents and younger students who are just starting their application journey.

Kickstart your most powerful year in guidance

Ready to streamline your guidance process?

Then it’s time to create your free BridgeU account. By individualising the information and guidance your students get, and with tools to track, edit and feedback on their applications, you can supercharge your strategy.

Plus it’s free, quick and easy – you can get your whole school set up hassle-free in a few simple steps.

To get started with your free account, click here.

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