We asked Mr. Lawson the following questions:
What are your goals in helping students?
We want to give students and parents as much information, resources, guidance and support regarding post-secondary decision making. We realize that every student will have different aspirations, goals and passions and, as such, we want to find the “best fit” for life after Mulgrave.
In what grade do you begin to meet with students?
With the addition of Cathy Holder as our new Careers and University Counsellor we are aiming to hold career sessions in the Middle School (G7-9) this year. In the Senior School (G10-12) we sit down with each student (and parents, in many instances) for a personalized one-one-one meeting to discuss course selections and university planning (G10); general post-secondary guidance and support in G11; and then in G12 very specific discussions based on the universities to which the student has applied.
Where are the most popular places to apply?
Each graduating class is different and thus some universities are more popular in some years but not in others. Over the course of our nine graduating classes, UBC has been the most popular university not only for applications, but also for final placement. Outside of BC, Queen’s has been the most popular (for applications, admissions and final placement) followed closely behind by the University of Toronto, Western, McGill and Dalhousie University.
In the US the most popular and successful universities for applying, in no particular order, have been New York University (the most popular), University of Southern California, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, Skidmore, Whitman College, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, Duke, Stanford, Princeton and Cornell. In the UK the most popular and successful universities have been St Andrews, University of Edinburgh, Durham, UCL, King’s, London School of Economics, Imperial, Warwick and Bristol.
What advice would you give parents or students in younger grades about how to prepare for the university guidance process?
The best advice to students is to follow their passions and interests. In addition, visit as many university campuses over the next few year to get a “feel” for the institutions. Numerous G11/12 students have said that a visit to a campus was the final and key factor in deciding whether or not to apply to the specific school. Finally, research different universities and colleges. This includes attending the many university presentations, fairs and information sessions held at Mulgrave and other venues (see the University Planning site). Read through the document “Planning for the Future” on the website. This document provides great websites and practical advice for students and parents. Always keep an open mind about post-secondary selection and allow the student to express openly his or her views on this matter.
A wide variety of schools from around the world visit Mulgrave throughout the course of the school year. Be sure to check out the University News and Events page for upcoming events.
Ms. Holder has also amassed a range of University Resources that provide tools and strategies for students to consider.
Both Luke Lawson or Cathy Holder are available to meet with students and their families should you wish to set up an appointment.