Applying to the US – How to Use your Summer Holidays!

More advice from

Use your summer vacations for more interesting adventures than lying on the beach with your cousins, especially the summers after 2nde and 1ere. It is better to pursue one or two activities in depth than a lot of activities superficially. Do not be cynical about volunteering. You will be amazed by how much it brings you.

Think long and hard about how you spend your time outside of the classroom. Babysitting? Cooking? Toying with cars? Watching movies? See if you have less obvious activities and use them in your application to give a fair representation of who you really are.

Pembroke College, Cambridge – Visit to Geneva, Thursday 22nd March

Pupil from Florimont have received a personal invitation from Dr Caroline Burt, Admissions Tutor at Pembroke College, Cambridge, to attend a presentation by Cambridge University at the LGB campus of the International School of Geneva.

Time is 5pm, Thursday 22nd March.

Please let Mr Lally know at if you plan to attend.

PSSS – SAT style practice test, March 3rd, International School

For 2nde and 1ere students who wish to practise for the SAT: we have at least 1 student who is going to take the test at the International School (La Grande Bossiere), March 3rd, 0800.  Charge is $75 and you take the cash with you.  See PSAT information at – PSSS is basically the same thing.

Let me know if you wish to take it and I will ask.  Deadline for requests – 8th February.


Researching Universities – What It Looks Like In Practice in 1ère and Earlier

Here are 3 examples of current Florimont students, in 1ère, researching their courses.

Yesterday I was talking to one particular student who is interested in Sports Journalism. ( Obviously, one very important thing he needs to do is to get doing some sports journalism if he hasn’t already done so – and if he hasn’t yet done so, one wonders why he is thinking of this course…).  He has looked at the website and, under Course Search, typed « journalism ».  There are several institutions offering this course.

His moyenne is about 12.  This is about a 30 on the IB.  (For grade correspondences, see (link))  The course he’s particularly interested in require IB 30, so we can assume he’s ok.  A good idea would be to look for an institution which demands more (e.g. IB 35) and that could be his « reach » application.  The IB30 could be his insurance offer. (where he goes if he doesn’t get his firm, 1st preference, offer.).

He saw on the « entry requirements » that an IELTS at grade 7 was required for entry to this course.  (A quick search of Wikipedia revealed that the scale is out of 9, and that a 7 was a « competent user »).  He searched the Florimont blog (what you are reading now) for « IELTS » and found a list of test dates, plus a contact person at Bern whose email address I gave him.  He is going to sort out practice and a test date.

All that remained for this student at this point in time was to find a shortlist of other universities offering journalism, check their open day dates, create a list of open day visits, see Mme Chassot and his parents to confirm that these visits would be possible to do (book flights etc etc), and continue to work hard to gain the best results he can.  It may be that he may achieve a place at a « better », more prestigious institution if his 2nd trimestre and 3rd trimestre moyenne improves – or that (let’s say) his English may not be good enough to achieve the IELTS grade 7 required, which might lead to lots of different scenarios and possibilities.

This student is taking his future seriously, talking to me, his teachers and his parents well in advance of the application deadlines (December, for him).  Not everything is sorted out yet, but it’s this kind of research, exploration and discussion which should lead to a serious application which will lead to a successful course of study.

Another student told me that he knew he liked the sciences but had no particular course in mind.  I read out some course titles (Physics, Marketing…).  He was interested in everything.  That is not a good sign, at least for study in the UK.  It is good that he is motivated, and interested, but UK universities are looking for students who know in particular what they want to study.  This student may be advised to consider the US or Canada for a less specialised, liberal arts style education…or possibly think more deeply about what he really wants to do.

A 3rd student told me she knew she wanted to study design in the US.  I told her to stay in touch.  Even if she uses an independent counsellor, such a person will need to work with me (as the Florimont contact person), as teacher letters and references will be needed, not to speak of school counsellor letters, school profiles and the like.

So the message is – stay in touch.  Communicate.  Talk to your parents.  Do your research.  Above all – take your future seriously!

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