I am a Grade 4 parent. Will keeping my child at LIS lead to access to higher education?

Absolutely! Both the IGCSE and IB exams can lead to study and career pathways. The IB is recognised as a stand-alone university admission qualification in the UK, the US, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and many, many other countries. The IB can also be converted into a study permission (Hochschulzulassung) in Germany thanks to an agreement between the Kultusministerkonferenz and the International Baccalaureate Organisation. The latest version of the agreement can be found on the Study and Careers page of the LIS website.

How important are IGCSE choices for access to higher education?

Perhaps less important for higher education than some people think. Here the IB choices are relevant. However, Dutch universities of applied science accept IGCSEs as valid admissions qualifications and the IGCSEs can also be converted into a German Realschulabschluss if the right criteria have been met. The IGCSE course selection at LIS ensures that students have the correct subjects to gain a Realschulabschluss (provided they attain a C or better in the core subjects. The criteria for choosing elective subjects should be your child’s strength and interests. After all, studying something they enjoy will always ensure a more productive learning experience.

As a parent, I know so little about study and career options. How can I learn more to support my child?

There is lots of useful information on the study and careers page on the LIS website. That information is accessible and available for all parents, not just parents of senior students. If you are a parent of a senior student, you will be invited to parent information evenings, briefing sessions conducted by the Arbeitsagentur, university fairs and visits and many other such information sessions. All parents are welcome and invited to make appointments with me to discuss their questions and concerns, whether general or specific to their child. Wenn Sie Bedenken haben, dass Ihre Englischkenntnisse für ein Beratungsgespräch nicht ausreichen dann können wir das Gespräch auch gerne auf Deutsch führen.

I am sceptical about gap years. Are they really worthwhile?

The short answer is: yes!

There is still a fair amount of misunderstanding about gap years, and different countries have different cultural approaches to this concept. The UK, for example, understands and values gap years so much that students can apply to study in their final year of school but defer the start of their degree by a year to enable a gap year, which has a confirmed study place at the end of it. Done well, a gap year can help a student develop valuable life skills (living alone, handling money, cooking, shopping and washing clothes etc.), give the student time to get additional experience and qualifications that may be useful or essential for their studies or career paths, allow students to work and earn money, or give them some time to catch their breath after 12 years of education before they head into another four to six years of the same.

It is important for students to treat gap years in the same way they would treat the start of their studies or a training. They should have a goal (why do they want to take a gap year and what outcome are they hoping for?) and a plan/timeline of what is needed to achieve this goal. In short: a gap year needs to be planned and prepared for as rigorously as applying for a training programme or university degree.

Every year, around a third of LIS seniors opt for some kind of gap year after Grade 12 and I assist them in the planning in the same way as if they were preparing to go to university. My overall experience of LIS students taking gap years has been that they were productive and helpful.

Can my child and I access university admissions and careers support at LIS once my child has graduated?

You and they have access to our service for the first 12 months after graduation. After that, it is discretionary. It is important to note that priority will always be given to current LIS students and their parents. That means that you and your child might not always get access to me as quickly as you wish. What I tend to do is to invite fresh graduates to the briefings with the current Grade 12 students so that I can help and support everybody at once.

For more information on Careers and University Admissions Suuport at LIS see the following:

Beyond LIS Team/University Admissions & Applications

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