Universities



University Requirements

What are universities looking for in applicants? Unfortunately, a simple answer to this question does not exist. Universities, even within the same country or region, engage individual admissions policies and goals. It can be said that all universities are looking for students who will be successful in their academic classes and contribute to the campus community in a variety of ways. Many universities worldwide utilise a holistic approach in assessing applicants for admission. This means that recruiters and admissions advisors assess academic achievement, extra or co-curricular engagement, personal qualities and institutional priorities when considering an applicant. The most important of these qualities is academic achievement.

A student’s transcript, grades and level of difficulty of courses chosen is most important in university admission assessments as are the results of standardized tests, e.g. IBDP exam grades, SATs, NBTs and UKCAT.

Among individual universities, varying degrees of importance are placed upon other application components such as essays, teacher and counselor recommendations, evidence of commitment to activities and/or employment, special talents or circumstances and evidence of the student’s interest in the college.

University Choices

Please see below for advice relating to universities by geographical location. Click on the + icon to view more information.

Zambia
The closest you can possibly be to home.
Affordable fees and cost of living.
Qualifications and education gained will set you up for work in Zambia.
Familiarity with environment and resources available.
Boarding options can be limited.
Difficult to change course of study once program has commenced.
Application must be submitted via hard copy (not online).
Limited to taking classes in your designated course of study.
Large class sizes and lack of individual attention.
Low international rankings.
Provides a list of university rankings in Zambia.
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Offers basic information about several universities in Zambia.
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South Africa
South Africa is close by. For those who do not want to be too far from family, this may be a good option.
Affordable fees and general living expenses. Cost of attending university in South Africa tends to be considerably less than in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and some European universities (at least for non-EU citizens).
Familiar culture. Less of a leap from Zambia to South Africa than Zambia to the EU (for example).
Later application deadlines than other regions and subsequently later start for commencing classes. Gives you more time to consider your options and fill out applications.
Sometimes poor communication from administrative services. One has to be assertive.
May have a few months between graduating from ISL and beginning university to fill with something meaningful before classes begin.
Course selection more limited than in some other regions.
Larger class sizes.
Public universities in South Africa are generally divided into 3 types, traditional (offering theoretically oriented degrees), universities of technology (referred to as “Technikons” offering vocational oriented diplomas and/or degrees) and comprehensive universities (which offer a combination of both types of aforementioned qualifications.
A comprehensive booklet published in 2011 by HESA (NiSHE), provides further insight and details unto higher education in South Africa. Download the pdf document at the link below.

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For many university admissions requirements, applicants holding non-South African school-leaving certificates must qualify for a matriculation exemption certificate. Nearly all universities apply on behalf of prospective students to the matriculation board. Please refer to the following link for more information.

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Many universities require prospective students to write the NBT. This is a relatively new standardized test in South Africa. Research specific universities and programs of study in order to ascertain whether or not the NBT is a requirement for admission (or suggested as supplemental). Complete instructions on how to register, prepare and ultimately sit for the test can be found on the NBT website at the link below.

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Deadlines for applications can vary widely. Closing dates for applicants are dependent upon the specific university, faculty (i.e. area of study), resident/international status and term intended to begin studies. One recommendation is clear across the board Apply as early as possible after receiving our final grades in IBDP2 (after final exam scores are released).
If you do not quite meet requirements for study in a particular faculty and/or university, it may be possible to apply for a “Foundation Programme.” Foundation Programmes act as a stepping stone between Secondary and university studies. Inquire with individual universities for details.
Council on Higher Education.
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Higher Education South Africa. HESA is the leadership association representing all 23 public universities in South Africa.
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List of universities in South Africa alphabetized.
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USA
More scholarship money available here than anywhere else in the world.
More opportunities for athletes, those with special talents and those with learning disabilities than anywhere else in the world.
Flexible systems. You can change majors rather easily or apply as “undecided.” You don’t necessarily need to pick your major until the end of your 2nd year of college. You can also transfer schools with relative ease.
Liberal arts education. Produces well-rounded thinkers.
Greatest degree of variety in every sense.
Can be expensive.
May be difficult to stay and secure employment if non-US citizen upon graduation.
Potentially far away from family.
Potential culture shock.
Many specialised and professional courses require a bachelors degree.
SAT registration, College Search Program and links to college websites.
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Common App is a centralized online application for higher education institutions in the USA. Not all universities use this system however, a vast majority do.
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College search site, summer camps and programs search site.
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Reviews, general information and a search facility.
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University search and review site.
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University application website.
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Profiling 400 colleges that emphasize the 4 distinctions of engaging students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.
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A collective organisation for colleges in the US that offer more than your traditional university experience. Programs and courses of study in these colleges take a more "hands-on" experiential education approach to learning. Not your typical classroom experience. Still considered some of the top colleges in the US.
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The International Student Guide to the USA is a free resource for students who are interested in coming to the United States for higher education. Students can find information about universities and colleges, US culture and geography and information about living abroad.
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A guide to community colleges in the US.
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Search site for universities and colleges that offer specific majors.
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United Kingdom
Some scholarship money available.
Many schools rank among the top in the world.
Lots of diversity.
Popular destination for international students.
Typically shorter courses of study than anywhere else.
Can be expensive for non UK citizens.
Some courses are very selective and therefore difficult to gain admission into.
Less flexibility in general than the American and Canadian systems.
The weather is not the best.
Centralized online application for universities in the UK. Also offers a tremendous amount of information regarding the search and application process in general in the UK. Great resource for guidance on writing personal statements, choosing courses, navigating the UK system and interviewing etc.
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General university information.
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For schools in the UK. May offer helpful guidance in terms of IB requirements and/or simply give you lists of schools to investigate with programs you are interested in.
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You can find an alphabetical list and an interactive map of universities and colleges in the UK on the following site.
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The Times Good University Guide describes UK universities and gives rankings for universities by course of study. Requires a subscription.
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The Guardian University guide also describes UK universities and provides rankings.
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Europe
Affordable. Dramatically more inexpensive than the UK.
Great location. Easy access to a myriad of beautiful destinations.
Enhance skills in a language other than English.
A number of universities offer a liberal arts education.
For many EU countries, lack of proficiency in the official national language can severely hinder one’s ability to perform daily tasks and/or become integrated into the local community.
Limited number of courses offered exclusively in English (Netherlands offer the most).
Living expenses can be costly.
Application process can sometimes be daunting. Lack of centralized application systems.
Course requirements can vary from school to school and country to country.
General advice relating to entry to universities in Europe.
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A guide to university rankings in Europe.
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The website of the European University Association.
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The Complete University Guide to studying in Europe.
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Website of the EU Business School with campuses in Europe.
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An overview and comparison of university fees in Europe.
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A guide to universities in Europe.
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A guide to studying at university in Europe.
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A guide to university programmes specifically offered in English in Europe.
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A guide to studying at universities and colleges located in Europe.
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A guide to the best global universities.
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To enrol in a study programme at an institution of higher education via Studielink.
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A guide to studying in the Netherlands.
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A guide to Dutch universities.
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A guide to studying and living in the Netherlands.
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A list of top universities in the Netherlands with links to their specific websites.
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A guide to universities in the Netherlands.
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Eunicas. The central European university application support service.
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The American College of Madrid.
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A guide to studying in Spain.
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A list of public and private universities and colleges in Spain by region.
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Association of American programs in Spain.
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Website outlining information related to Italian higher education for international students.
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The Complete University Guide to studying in Italy.
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A guide to the best universities in Italy for international students.
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A guide to the top universities in Italy.
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A guide to studying in Italy.
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A Guide to studying in Denmark.
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The Complete University Guide to studying in Denmark.
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German Academic Exchange Service.
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A Guide to studying in Germany.
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8 best universities in Germany for international students.
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InterNations website with useful information related to universities in Germany from expats.
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Canada
Easier to gain residence and/or a work permit once you have completed your studies than many (if not most) other western countries.
Often more affordable than attending university in the USA.
Many schools offer “co-op” programs for credit (internships and work experience).
Very friendly towards international students, expats and immigrants.
Flexible liberal arts education similar to universities in the USA.
A very cold climate and long winters.
Not as much scholarship money as in the USA.
Not as diversified as schools in the USA.
Some courses of study are very competitive in terms of entry requirements and acceptance rates.
Centralized online application for universities in Canada, specifically Ontario.
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General information relating to universities in Canada.
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The website of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. A guide to information relating to facilities, services and academic programs offered by AUCC member universities as well as links, expert information, stats and more in-depth information.
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Maclean’s magazine published in Canada with 1 issue focused on university ranking, profiles and financial information.
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Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture relaying information about colleges and universities in Nova Scotia.
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Information on how a Canadian education can make a difference. Information related to ESL, CAEL Assessment and TOEFL scores, as well as how to get a student visa and find the right program for you.
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Online applications for British Columbian universities.
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Information and links to information relating to all Canadian universities and information about financial aid and scholarships.
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Canadian Bureau for International Education with information on studying in Canada and scholarships.
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Provides information on studying in Canada.
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Australia
Possible to obtain a work permit to supplement income and gain valuable experience while studying.
4th happiest country in the world.
Home to 5 out of the 30 best cities in the world to be a student.
3rd most popular destination for international students.
2 year post-study work arrangements available.
Most Bachelor’s degrees take 3 years to complete, while a Bachelor’s with Honours takes approximately 4 years.
Cost of living can be high.
No shortage of poisonous creatures.
A long way from anywhere (except New Zealand).
A guide to the top universities in Australia.
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Useful information into the search, application and enrollment process for international students applying for entrance to Australian universities.
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Government sponsored site offering useful information with regards to studying in Australia.
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A group of universities that collectively shape and discuss higher education in Australia. Offers in depth profiles of individual universities.
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