The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
University Day at TASIS

TASIS Director of University and College Counseling Johanna Fishbein and College Counselors Conor Fritz and Kirk Mitchell were honored to host admissions representatives from New York University, London School of Economics, University of St Andrews, and University of Leiden for a “University Day” on May 30 that consisted of a variety of informative programming—including an assembly, a moderated panel, breakout workshops, a session led by young TASIS alumni, and a parent meeting—designed primarily for grade 11 students as they prepare to enter the most important stage of the college admissions process.

University Panel

At the assembly, which was held in the Palestra for all students in grades 9–11, the admissions representatives were asked to briefly describe going to university in their country, with the United States, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands all represented. They also discussed what it takes to be successful in the college admissions process—emphasizing the importance of students being themselves—and strongly encouraged students to do enough research to make sure they find the right “fit” for their future. 

University Panel

Later in the afternoon, 11th-grade students gathered in the Palmer Center to watch a moderated panel in which the admissions representatives focused on five key questions:

  • What is one “behind-the-curtain” fact or tip for applying to your university or universities in your country? 
  • How do you choose between applicants who are the same on paper (same grades, school, etc.)?
  • What are myths about studying at your university? 
  • What is the link between university degrees and careers? 
  • How important is standardized testing if a university is “test optional?” 
University day

The 11th graders then had a chance to delve more deeply into areas of interest by choosing from the following 45-minute breakout workshop sessions:

  • How to write a strong Personal Statement for UK applications (led by the London School of Economics representative)
  • How to best present yourself to US universities and how to enhance your applications with supplemental essays (led by the New York University representative)
  • How to best present yourself to European universities and how to craft a strong Letter of Motivation (led by the University of Leiden representative)
  • How to choose your UK university courses (led by the University of St Andrews representative)

Following a short break for ice cream, the students were able to attend a second workshop, with the TASIS college counselors also moving to new sessions in an effort to enhance their own knowledge of these important topics.

University Panel

Soon after, Ella Abisi ’21, Filippo Cipolini ’19, Jacopo McConnell ’18, and Jorge Otala ’12 generously led a “Words of Wisdom” alumni panel, which was attended by all 11th-grade students in the Palestra. The successful young alumni emphasized the importance of keeping an open mind when considering universities and encouraged students to apply to a variety of universities, even a few that are presumably out of reach. They also stressed the importance of gaining work experience prior to university and learning how to effectively tell one’s personal story as part of the admissions process. In addition, the panel members touched upon how TASIS prepared them to be international citizens of the world, discussed the need to have structure and stay organized, and noted the importance of choosing the right circles in which to socialize. 

University Panel

The day ended with a parent-only meeting in which the admissions representatives offered expert advice on a number of topics, including the importance of research in the university application process, the criteria they seek in applicants, and the link between careers and courses. The university representatives encouraged all parents to listen to their children and empower them to make their own choices as they plan for university and life after TASIS. 


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