Early Start

This is a similar support package to our very popular ‘Finding Your Future’ but is for students aged 13 upwards and offers up to four years of guidance and counselling.

Its aim is help a student find the right degree subject or subject combination for them to study abroad and then build up their academic strengths, personal skills and (usually) vocational experiences needed for a very successful application to the most appropriate universities.

We start with an initial 1-2 hour private consultation meeting, which is based on a five-page questionnaire, followed by 4-5 similar meetings each year until the end of a student’s penultimate school and cover the following topics:

  • Linking personal interests and hobbies to degree subjects
  • Identifying academic strengths
  • Exploring ideas for careers
  • Advice on choosing GCSE, IB subjects and academic profiles
  • Action planning for skills development
  • Guidance on choosing summer programmes and extra curricular activities to strengthen applications
  • Identifying the potential for Oxford and Cambridge applications
  • Advice and supports for planning visits to UK universities

Parents can contact their personal consultant for specific advice at any time during this period and we can also help parents explore options for selecting state and private schools both in their home country and in the UK.

Finding Your Future

A 1-2 hour private consultation meeting followed by 2-4 additional meetings students in Years 10 to 11 (Years 11-12 in some international schools) and their parents.

We cannot over-emphasise the importance of carefully choosing the right subject to study, and UCAS states that poor course choice is one of the most common reasons for failed applications. Using their vast experience, Simon will help widen students’ horizons by introducing them to new subjects, subject combinations and degree types that they possibly hadn’t previously considered. Based on a detailed 8-page questionnaire completed before the meeting, the consultant will identify activities needed to strengthen an application.

Within five working days of the first meeting, we will send the student and their family a detailed initial action plan which includes a wide range of different courses to explore and sometimes suggestions for extra reading to confirm that they really find a particular discipline interesting. We then usually schedule 2-8 additional meetings as we move into second stage of the planning when we focus on course-specific application strengthening activities and, choosing five appropriate universities.

For art and architecture applications, one of our team will also carry out an initial review of a student’s portfolio and will work with the student on a weekly basis to develop it prior to starting the application.

For potential Oxford and Cambridge applicants along with those for medicine, dentistry and law, Simon will set rigorously set targets for extra reading and completing application-strengthening activities.

By the time the Finding Your Future contract is completed, a student will know what they want to study, where they want to study it and, have completed enough activities to enable them to start writing a place-winning application!

Total Support

This support package will take a student from starting their application to their first semester at university in the UK!

Your consultant will carefully guide the student through each stage of the UCAS application process providing materials for writing their personal statements and reviewing an unlimited number of drafts until they believe it is strong enough for their target universities to submit. They will also help a student’s teachers to write an effective reference which meets UCAS’s current ‘best practice’ guidelines. If the teachers are willing, they will check and review the reference before it is added to the application. If necessary, they will contact universities on a student’s behalf to help resolve any application issues.

After submission, your consultant will be on hand to advise on accepting offers, choosing accommodation and applying for financial support. After they have received their exam results and confirmed their university place, we provide an orientation service to help with the practicalities to travelling to a new country and adapting to a new way of living and learning.

We strongly believe in working with a whole family rather than just individual students: not only do we keep parents fully informed during the application process but we will often solicit their opinions to help us gain the best possible picture of a student’s key strengths.

Medical, Dentistry and Veterinary Applications

This package builds on the very demanding but highly effective ‘Finding Your Future’ action plan for medicine and dentistry which helped six students secure eleven offers from UK medical schools in 2018 and 2019.

Generally, we rarely agree to work applicants who approach us after June of their penultimate year of high school unless they are exceptionally motivated, academically able and have significant voluntary work experience within a caring role.

Medicine is one of the most competitive subjects in the UK with an average of 10 students competing for each place. All applicants will need to take either one or two aptitude tests in the autumn of their final year of school.

The package starts with preparation for the personal statement in early August and is quickly followed by a one-to-one session with a professional counsellor to prepare them for a minimum of 50 hours of interview practice which will take place at weekends between August and February of their final year. The focus is on preparing students for both traditional panel interviews and the more common Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format which nearly always includes a demanding role play exercise with an actor as well as large number of scenario-based questions.

Art, Design and Architecture Applications

This dynamic area includes fine art, fashion, graphic, interior and design as well as architecture and photography. Applications for these subjects are much more complex than they are for other degrees; as well as completing the UCAS application, students will need to produce a specific portfolio of practical visual work for each of their five university choices. Applicants will often be given an additional task to complete after they have applied and attend an interview either in the UK or via Skype. Most of our clients have already worked with our art & design consultant, Gay Crystal, the year before they apply through our Finding Your Future support package.

For new students, Gay will evaluate a student’s existing art work and then give them ideas for creating new pieces that you can use for their applications. She will introduce you to British approaches to using sketchbooks and, very importantly, help you put together a targeted portfolio for each university. Gay will also be the technical advisor for your personal statement, reviewing your artistic terminology and making suggestions for improvements.

For art (but not architecture) applications, it is common for students to apply for ‘foundation’ courses as well as 3-4 year degree programmes. These intensive one-year courses are a necessary next step for most British students towards a BA in fine art or other art-based degree courses. For students who have not attended specialist art high schools or have not taken art as one of their exam subjects, they can be used to increase their chances of being accepted by leading universities, or simply to develop their artistic skills and explore a range of creative subjects before committing to an undergraduate degree in a specific area of art and design. The applications are not made through UCAS, and this package includes full support for applying to up to three foundation courses if the student is also applying for BA programmes, or five if they are only foundation courses.

Music Applications

Our specialist music applications package is designed to offer applicants the best chance of receiving offers for a wide range of degree courses including Music/Music Performance, Musical Theatre, Music Technology and Popular Music. It includes both a normal UCAS submission (for five BA/BMus degree courses) and a UCAS Conservatoire application to an additional six specialist music colleges, including such world-famous institutions as the Royal College of Music, LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Applications to these specialist colleges will require a modified personal statement and, more importantly, an audition in the UK. Naturally, we will help students and their families choose the most appropriate institutions to apply to, taking into account their abilities and aspirations. In 2019 we saw our first client admitted to the Royal Academy of Music for their BA Music (voice) degree.

The specialist support will be delivered by David Shoukry, a University of Oxford music graduate, who is a current ABRSM practical examiner and a former international school music teacher and A Level Music and Music Technology examiner. David will provide six hours of guidance to students in the advanced study of Musicology (history/context of musical development) and in analytical studies, both of which are important areas in Oxford/Cambridge and other university Music degree courses. For Conservatoire applicants he will give feedback on recorded performances of audition pieces and advise on choice of repertoire for each institution.

The package also includes advice and feedback on music references and, after offers have been received, guidance and practical help in applying for financial support and accommodation.

Oxford and Cambridge Applications

If you are one of the best five students in your year group or, have competed in national or international contests, then you stand a chance of being admitted to one of the world’s very best universities. Albion International Study employs former Cambridge and Oxford graduates as subject specialist consultants and has helped exactly 50 students win places at these universities since 2013 including twelve in 2018.

Starting with our Finding Your Future package, we help students choose their courses and colleges, plan application-strengthening activities in their penultimate year of high school including subject-specific reading programmes.This package focuses on the application itself. It starts with a 2-hour meeting which explains, with the help of many successful examples, how to write a personal statement that is strong enough to get a shortlisted for an interview. The student will then work directly one writing their own with very rigorous feedback and guidance from one of our consultants, who is nearly always a Cambridge or Oxford graduate and experienced teacher. We will also work directly with teachers to make them aware of the particular style of reference paragraphs that Oxford and Cambridge admission tutors are looking for when choosing which applicants to interview.

Obviously the application is also for four other universities and our team will offer advice on choosing these.

Nearly all Oxford and Cambridge colleges require additional pre-entry tests and/or assignments: guidance for taking these is included in the package. The package includes at least five hours of interview practice, of which at least three hours will be delivered by subject specialists and/or current Oxbridge students.

Our preparation regime is very demanding but, if you have the academically ability to be one of the ‘brightest and best in the world’, we’ll significantly increase your chances of Oxbridge success.