University Applications Counseling Office (UACO) Policy

The University Applications Counseling Office (UACO) assists students in their efforts to gain a place at a tertiary educational institution commensurate with their academic aptitudes and career aspirations. Students from all ATHENS COLLEGE (Athens College and Psychico College) secondary education units are entitled to the UACO services.

The UACO offers students guidance as they prepare for university studies, suggesting appropriate university/course choices based on the likelihood of admission and the possible “match” with the applicant in question, in terms of academic and other criteria (urban, rural, geographical location, size, facilities, etc.)

Counselors help students to maximize their chances of being admitted to university/course, through advice on acceptable subject combinations, grade requirements, summer schools or internship choices, personal statement/admission essay drafting, in-house presentations or presentations by University representatives/Admission Officers, conducting admissions tests and mock interviews. Counselors cannot arrange accommodation, travel itineraries and private appointments with institutions for students and their parents.

Students are expected to have full ownership of their applications. As the process entails transferrable life skills (taking initiative, researching options, heeding advice, following guidelines, taking constructive criticism well, adhering to deadlines, respecting one’s peers and counselors, ability to self-reflect, etc.), the Counseling Office considers this process one of high pedagogical value.

Adhering fully to the application deadlines set by the school is a requisite. This allows for the students to work effectively on producing a good quality application and Counselors to allocate their time and effort across the entire applicant cohort fairly. Moreover, as meeting deadlines is a vital transferable skill to successful university studies, Counselors take a student’s ability to do so into account in compiling their reference letter.

The official language of the UACO is English. As such, all communication (oral and written) with applicants is conducted in this medium.

While the UACO endeavours to assist students in their efforts, it does not replace the students’ own research about the specific requirements institutions may set for admission into specific courses (additional supplements or other forms, admission tests, age, financial requirements, portfolios, auditions etc.). The applicants’ own research will help them formulate realistic expectations of their field of study and respond to any additional requirements in a timely manner.

Students are expected to book appointments with their respective Counselor themselves, as the Counselors are able to suggest times when the students are more likely to be granted permission by their teacher to attend. In the event permission is not granted by the teacher, the students should attend class and reschedule. If the permission is not granted well before the appointment date, students are expected to cancel their appointments as soon as possible, so that the slot is freed up for someone else who is able to attend. Students without the signed permission slip from their teachers of that period will not be allowed to attend a Counselor appointment. Parents may attend the appointment scheduled by their son/daughter if they wish.

Applicants’ social media profiles and any other social media content, including email addresses, ought to be in keeping with the expected decorum and social propriety.

Counselors communicate with students via email. Students are expected to open and read their emails and respond and/or act accordingly and in a timely manner.

Universities communicate with the applicant directly, either through a designated portal or email. Students are required to monitor such notifications/decisions and inform their respective Counselor(s) in a timely manner. Students should also check their spam/junk folders for possible emails that may have been directed there.

Counselors are expected to include in their recommendation letter their view on how the student conducted him/herself during the application process, with respect to the above-mentioned transferrable skills and other aspects of character that may affect their university studies. In the same vein, Counselors include in their letter of recommendation information regarding the applicant’s overall conduct, including any extenuating circumstances, physical or learning differences, disciplinary issues, etc.

The Counselors are responsible for compiling the School Recommendation (UK/Europe) or the School Report and Counselor Recommendation (US), using information from the applicants’ teachers, school records, coaches, employers and other sources, so as to create a comprehensive, accurate and realistic profile of the prospective applicant.

Grade transcripts and the Apolytirion grades are issued by the UACO with the sole purpose of them being submitted directly to the Universities in support of the students’ application there and as part of the application process per se.

The UACO does not issue transcripts or the Apolytirion grades in English for other purposes. Transcripts and Apolytirion grades are not issued directly to students or parents.

Official translations of documents mentioned in the previous paragraph or of any other supporting documentation (e.g. school curriculum, past examination papers, etc.) can be obtained from external certified translation services.

Applicants required/expected by universities to upload transcripts on their own on-line form/application do so in the presence of their respective Counselors.

Predicted grades are issued by the relevant school faculty, and whilst they are disseminated orally by the Counselors to the students, the Counseling Office is not in any way involved in the way the school arrives at these.

Students are expected to seek information relative to University admissions by actively and regularly consulting the UACO notice boards, the UACO announcements on the CMS, including the Calendar, the plasma display units in the Benakeio and the IB Building, the IB Bulletin (“University Issues”) and the Lykeion Καλαντάρια.

Students are also expected to seek such information from the source, by attending presentations held at the College by University representatives/admissions officers and the relevant College Fairs organized in Athens annually. University presentations during the school day are for students only; those after the end of classes are open to parents as well.

HAEF alumni who seek assistance for postgraduate applications are referred to the British Council or the Fulbright Foundation.

 

UK/European Specific

The UACO does not submit applications by proxy. As such, Counselors expect the applicants’ full involvement in the process, given that the applicants’ interaction with their respective Counselors is vital in the compilation of the school recommendation/Counselor’s report.

Students from the Geniko Lykeio need to have demonstrated English language skills at the beginning of 12th grade (Γ΄Λυκείου) of at least B2 level competence to be able to apply to an English-speaking University.

For the language level descriptors, please visit: https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/table-1-cefr-3.3-common-reference-levels-global-scale

The Counseling Office liaises with the school authorities and the tertiary education institutions in order to expedite the application process. The Counseling Office does not liaise with third parties, who act as mediators in this process, and does not disclose grade transcripts, school reports, grade predictions and recommendation letters to such entities.

Should such a choice be pursued by a student, grade predictions and letters of recommendation can only be sent directly to the university/ies the students have chosen to apply to, and not an external body that mediates.

All decisions made by Universities are final and ought not to be challenged by Counselors.

Universities have specific course requirements depending on the faculty/country to which the student is applying. It is the applicants’ responsibility to do the necessary research before deciding whether they can apply to a university in UK/Europe.

 

US/Canada Specific

There are five application plans used in the US: Regular Decision (RD), Rolling Admission, Early Action (EA), Early Decision (ED) I or II, and Restrictive/Single Choice Early Action (REA).

May 1 of a student’s Senior year is National Candidates Reply Date (ED plans and recipients of athletic scholarships are earlier)

In addition to school grades, most American colleges/universities require admission tests such SAT/ACT, and proof of English proficiency through TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo tests. There is a considerable number of institutions that do not require admission tests.

Canadian universities have specific course requirements depending on the faculty to which the student is applying. It is the applicants’ responsibility to do the necessary research before deciding whether they can apply to a university in Canada.

                                                                                                                                (Updated June 2020)