By Rhonda Leshman, College Counselor & Grades 11/12 Counselor
It is wonderful to again hear about the plans of students and parents to visit university campuses around the world. To assist with your planning, here are some helpful tips:
- Plan early. Planning a college visit itinerary can take a lot of time in order to organize all of the logistics – which colleges to visit on which days, how to get from place to place, booking hotels and transportation, figuring out where to eat, etc. That’s all hard to do at the last minute. Also, many colleges require you to register for college tours and information sessions ahead of time, and spots can fill up quickly. Start planning early to avoid disappointment. Check the websites (under admissions) for helpful information and ask for the 'university rate' at nearby hotels. Get dining recommendations from the admissions staff.
- Be aware of vaccination or testing requirements of the university.
- Use the university website - Google - ‘Undergraduate admissions visits to XXX university’ to find the visit schedule and helpful information to sign-up online. Avoid walking around campuses without a schedule. At the least, ask for a ‘self-guided tour.’
- In Europe, visit programs are often called ‘Open Days’.
- In the US, there are Information sessions and campus tours typically 6 days a week in a 2-hour block to do both activities. Depending on the distance, families may be able to see two campuses a day.
- On the day of the visit, get there early to find parking (directions are often on the website) and the location of the session. Take the time to park close to the admissions office, campuses are huge places.
- Take notes. Take photos. If you are seeing multiple campuses, it is easy to quickly confuse what you heard here. Check out bulletin boards to see what activities, events are happening on campus. Pick-up the school newspaper to read about the news.
- For admitted students - consider asking if you can attend a class. Visit the places that are important to you. If you plan to study science, be sure to see the labs. If athletics is important to you, go see the athletic center. Also, in the US, some colleges arrange overnight visits with host students.
- Dress comfortably. Check the weather each day and dress appropriately. There is no need to dress up. Wear normal clothes, selecting those that present a neat and clean appearance. Heavily ripped jeans, short shorts, and graphics that could be viewed as rude or annoying will probably be noticed (in a negative way). Nice shorts and a t-shirt are fine in summer.
- If you know students who attend the university, reach out to them for information. Student guides are more than willing to answer questions, but keep in mind that they are trained to promote the college. Plan extra time on campus so that you can ask questions of students who are hanging around at a coffee shop, eating in the cafeteria, reading, or playing frisbee. These quick conversations can shed important light on campus life and academics. Ask, ‘if you could change something about your university, what would you want to change?’ As time allows, spend some time walking around independently. You’ll find that you observe different things than you did on a guided tour.
- Tour guides. Remember that your guide is just one person, not a representative of everyone who attends that college. Listen to what they SAY about the college.
- If possible, ask if there is a particular admissions officer/recruitment officer who is responsible for covering Europe (Spain) and see if you can meet that individual to introduce yourself. If so, get their business card and follow-up with an email thank you.
- Regardless of first impressions - get out of the car and check out the university for yourself.
Good questions to ask during a university visit:
Of a student:
- ‘If you could change one thing about the university, what would it be?’
- ‘Did you change your major once you started?’
- ‘What is a typical weekend like for you?’
- ‘Do you get off-campus much?’
Of an admissions officer:
- ‘How would you describe your student body?’
- Does your university expect students to do super curricular activities outside of class? Can you give me some examples?
- Can you tell me about your admissions process and the most important factors?’
- ‘What is the area like around your campus?’
- ‘Can you tell me about the international population and where students are from?’
- "I will be doing the IB Diploma, what are the entry requirements if I want to study XXXXX?'
- ‘What are you looking for in the personal statement?
- 'Is it possible to come to campus for a visit? If so, how do I arrange a campus visit?'
- ‘What makes your university unique or distinctive?’
- ‘Do you recommend that I take the SAT?’ (for US campuses only)
When they go low
The 9th grade Drama students performed the topical play When They Go Low by Natalie Mitchell which was written last year specifically for teenagers and set in a high school, not dissimilar to our own.
The story follows a fierce School Captain campaign between Scott and Louise, nodding to the dirty politics of the Trump/Clinton rallies and reminding an audience of how low people can go in order to win. The boys at the school, spurred on by Scott´s sexist brother Charlie - played impressively by Emily Lomander, who took on several parts - "go really low" by rating the girls on their appearance on a website and ruining their protest march for equality. This influences the girls´ learning on what having to "go high" truly means in order to enrich the lives of everybody, irrespective of gender, in the school community.
The ensemble cast played many different roles seamlessly with Zoe Davis (who also designed the poster), Guillermo Corbero Carreres, Natalie de Wolf Slomka and Mimi Wuebker taking on more prominent roles. Rita Batievsky tried her hand at directing a scene which included important figures such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Madonna and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She did lots of research into these famous people to help develop precise characterisations, and Minju Kim was very organised as the stage manager, as well as acting in the play. The staging configuration with the audience clustered around a thrust (catwalk-style) stage had characters popping up from the seats around them, including them in the action and reiterating that the themes and issues revealed in When They Go Low are real and affect all our lives.
On Saturday, January 19th our HS Girls and HS Boys Basketball teams participated in the Invitational Basketball Tournament hosted by the American School of Barcelona. The participating schools included:
American School of Barcelona- ASB Varsity
American School of Barcelona- ASB JV
Benjamin Franklin International School- BFIS
Rabat American School- RAS
American School of Barcelona- ASB
Benjamin Franklin International School- BFIS
Rabat American School- RAS
Barça Infantil ¨B¨- BARÇA
Our HS Boys Team won both of their matches against The American School of Barcelona and the Rabat American School! The HS Girls Team showed a great sportsmanship and had a great time!
On Friday September 21st, science consultant, Paul Andersen showed the parent community the power of the Next Generation Science Standards. Parents were shown a phenomena, asked questions about how it might work, drew models of their thinking, and then suggested ways to carry out an investigation.
- Kids should be doing more science and at younger ages;
- Don´t kill the wonder of science by explaining how the science works. Show them a phenomena that they have to figure out first and let them investigate how it might work.
- We can support scientific thinking by helping kids ask questions, model their thinking, and plan and carry out investigations.
- Thinking should be framed through the following lenses:Patterns, Cause/Effect, Scale/Proportion/Quantity, Systems, Energy/Matter, Structure/Function, Stability/Change.
The video of this session will be available soon.
We are committed to offering sessions like these throughout the year to support the exciting shifts happening across the school.
On January 2018, our 6th grade Community Service session counted on the presence of a very special guest, María Petit. During her presentation, she explained what life has been like since she lost her vision at the age of 17. María has since then run marathons, trains Tacfit regularly, does yoga (and is getting her certification to become a yoga instructor), works as public relations for a fashion company and travels alone or with friends.
During today’s session, María inspired our 6th graders to overcome obstacles and hard times when feeling different or unable to succeed. She has given them a great example of self-kindness and motivation. I hope that this message can also inspire you and remind you of how very blessed we are.
During the week of November 27-December 1, as part of our health education program and ongoing commitment to prevention and wellness, we have invited prevention specialists from FCD Prevention Works to join our MSHS community. A part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, FCD is a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse prevention education for schools. Since 1976, they have taught over a million students of all ages.
FCD prevention specialists are highly trained professionals who have achieved long-term recovery from alcohol or other drug addictions. This unique perspective enhances the credibility of their message and provides students with role models for happy, healthy, drug-free living. The FCD prevention specialist will present parent workshops to offer support and guidance in helping your children enjoy a drug-free adolescence.
Tuesday November 28th
Thursday, November 30th
The content will be the same for both meetings. All parents are welcome!
Some of the topics to be addressed include:
- Effective ways to communicate with your child about drugs and drug use
- Up-to-date facts about current drug use and trends
- What to say about your own experiences with alcohol and/or drug experimentation
- How to spot early warning signs of trouble and effective ways to respond.
This program presents a perfect opportunity for discussing alcohol and other drug-related issues with your children. Parental involvement is crucial to our efforts to reduce the risks teenagers face. We want our students to hear from both school and home that we are concerned about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by adolescents, and that we are committed to keeping our children safe.
Harbour Space University, Europe's state of the art university for Technology, Entrepreneurship and Design, with headquarters in Barcelona, collaborated with BFIS last Tuesday, in a conference about future professions, future market opportunities and entrepreneurship. Harbour Space University professors and students from all over the world, participated in this conference talking about their experiences and their new projects and startups. They also talked about the ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest which takes place every year with in more than 4,000 universities from both hemispheres.
Welcome to a new school year! We are so excited to see new and returning parents! We have been busy preparing everything to ensure a wonderful experience for your student(s) this year. Our first day of school is normally a big day no matter where you're from. It's usually marked by excitement, energy and a bit of anxiety, especially for the little ones. BFIS welcomed today, September 4th, 690 students from 52 different nationalities. Welcome back students and parents! We are looking forward to a year full of excitement and wonderful learning experiences!