Blog 🍎 School 2nd October 2023

How to Help Your Students Shortlist Universities to Find Their Best Fit

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Rebecca Hambery Schools Content Writer

Let’s face it – applying to university can be a stressful and overwhelming process for both the student and the counsellor. 

And when it comes to creating a university shortlist, your students might be unsure of where to start. And with an overwhelming number of courses and institutions to explore, creating a university shortlist can be a daunting task.

However, creating a shortlist can make it easier in the long run when students are making the big decision about where they want to study.

In this blog post, we’ll explain why a shortlist is so important for your students, how you can help them, and tips and tricks to use on the BridgeU platform when building a shortlist.

A brief introduction to university shortlists

To help your students with their shortlists, you need to understand what a university shortlist is and why it’s important your students take the time to carefully curate one.

Why build a shortlist?

A university shortlist is a curated list of higher education institutions that a student is considering for higher education. It’s an important aspect of the university application process and usually reflects the student’s academic aspirations, career goals, and personal preferences. 

Shortlists can also serve as a roadmap for counsellors as they help guide students in finding their best-fit university. So when you’re creating a shortlist with your students, it’s important to take different factors into account, especially if your student wants to study abroad.

Students might need to look at academic fit, location, campus culture, and future career opportunities to ensure that their choices align with their individual needs and aspirations.

For example, if you had a student in the UK who wanted to study abroad in Japan, they would need to take the distance from home and their new surroundings into consideration as seriously as whether they meet all the admissions requirements. 

The benefits of a tailored shortlist

At the moment, your students probably have a lot going on with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, or just finding time to spend with their friends and family. 

And when your students have a long list of universities they’re interested in, it can be time-consuming for them to narrow down their shortlist.  

Plus, for a counsellor, it can be a daunting task to navigate your students through their higher education decisions. That’s where an organised university shortlist can serve as a valuable tool in simplifying this process for everyone involved.

More specifically, a well-planned university shortlist can help you to:

  • Gain a clearer understanding of which universities are right for them.
  • Have a more informed and honest discussion with your students and their parents about the next steps after they’ve left school.
  • Set more manageable goals for your students as they begin the university application process.
  • Stay on top of important deadlines as your students begin to write and submit their applications.

As we’ll explore in the remainder of this blog post, building a shortlist can be beneficial to you and your students in a number of ways.

Preparing to create a shortlist with your students

Before your students dive into the exciting journey of building a university shortlist, you’ll need to spend time with them to find out more about their higher education preferences and goals. Preparation is an important step, as it helps lay the groundwork for your students’ university applications.

Additionally, by covering this with your students early on, you can ensure that their shortlist includes universities that are a perfect fit.

You’ll want to put time aside to meet with each student and discuss their academic strengths and goals. A good way to do this is to look through their predicted grades; this can help you figure out where your students excel academically. 

This will help you set achievable goals for your students and encourage them to pick universities with programmes where they’ll thrive.

Helping students define their shortlist criteria

Creating a shortlist isn’t just about jotting down a few preferences; it’s about understanding your students’ aspirations and needs. Having clear criteria for each shortlist can ensure that the universities students apply to aren’t just options, but meaningful choices.

At BridgeU, our platform allows students to research universities by splitting them up by “Reach,” “Match,” and “Safety”.

  • Reach schools are those where admission is challenging but not impossible. 
  • Match schools are usually where the student’s exam scores closely align with the university’s expectations. 
  • Safety schools are the best fit for the student, and they’re most likely to be accepted here.

BridgeU’s Intelligent Matching feature can help students discover institutions that perfectly align with their criteria. It uses data-driven insights to suggest universities that match not only their academic qualifications but also their personal preferences, making the shortlisting process efficient and effective.

If you’d like more information, don’t worry; we’ll talk more about how BridgeU can help further down!

Read our Case Study on Chengelo School to learn how to use BridgeU’s Reach, Match, and Safety tool to explore different international universities with your students and expand their shortlists.

Looking at personal preferences and campus culture

A lot of the time, when students are creating a shortlist, they only look at how a school can fit them academically and forget to take their personal preferences into consideration.

Personal preferences and campus culture are significant factors for your students to take into account when building their shortlist. These preferences often go beyond just the choice of major or location and focus on the culture of their chosen study destination.

For example, some students might desire a bustling urban campus, while others prefer a calmer rural setting. Some students might enjoy a particular climate, while others might be drawn to cultural hotspots.

Understanding these personal preferences helps you factor in a student’s overall well-being and happiness on their shortlist. Some questions you can ask your students to get them thinking about different destinations are:

  • Do they dream of big city lights or cosy college towns?
  • Are they passionate about a specific major or looking to explore various subjects?
  • Do they envision a vibrant, diverse community or something more close-knit and cosy?

There’s actually a way that BridgeU’s Profile Builder and Intelligent Matching features can help with this too.

They enable students to input their preferences and aspirations to create a profile that reflects their unique personalities and goals. Then, Intelligent Matching takes this data and suggests universities that align perfectly with the student’s criteria.

So to recap, creating a university shortlist isn’t just about academics; it’s about helping your students choose an environment where they can truly flourish.

Finding out more about universities

Researching universities is an essential step in your students’ journey when creating a well-informed shortlist. And as a school counsellor, helping students during this step can be immensely beneficial for them.

With this in mind, BridgeU’s Enhanced University Profiles provide students with comprehensive information about universities, from entrance requirements and application deadlines to campus life, so that they can make informed decisions.

You can also encourage your students to take advantage of other online resources such as university websites, forums, and ranking lists.

University websites offer an authentic glimpse into academic programmes, campus life, and admission requirements. Forums and discussion boards provide a more in-depth look at the real student experience, giving your students a taste of what it would be like to study there.

Top tip: Make sure your students thoroughly research a university before adding it to their shortlist by encouraging them to ask questions like, “Does this university offer my desired major?” “Does the culture here align with my values?” and “What are the post-graduation opportunities?

BridgeU can support your students here…

The BridgeU platform contains all the essential university information your students need, streamlining their research journey. BridgeU provides both students and counsellors with detailed profiles of universities, including the admission requirements, degrees offered, deadlines, and much more. 

Students can research universities and courses under the Explore tab in the Universities section and can filter by popularity, location, and subject. These filters help students thoroughly research their choices so that they can really tailor their shortlist to their interests.

This also means students have access to a comprehensive overview of a wide range of courses and institutions without having to juggle multiple websites and sources.

Use BridgeU’s free Research & Exploration Lesson Plans in the classroom to help get your students thinking about where they would like to study!

Learn more about BridgeU

As you can see, shortlisting is a useful way to help students gather their thoughts and regain control over a process that can, at times, feel scary and intimidating. Shortlisting also provides an opportunity to consolidate and plan when it comes to weighing up different choices.

And don’t forget that university application deadlines are right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to start a shortlist with your students if you haven’t already done so.

You can also book a demo below if you want to find out more about how to use BridgeU to build a shortlist today!

Book a free demo

Learn how BridgeU can help deliver better outcomes for your students and improved results for your school

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