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Enabling Great Minds
and Strong Characters

Welcome Students and Parents!

A warm welcome to students entering grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 at ISR International School on the Rhine! And an equally warm welcome to parents of our future upper school scholars! These are exciting years as you proceed through a challenging curriculum on your chosen Path to University!

We as teachers, counselors and administrators are here to advise you on this path. We’ll help you select the courses you are interested in and qualify for in order to best prepare you for acceptance at the university of your choice and the career you may wish to pursue.

Starting in grade 8, we hold regular Paths to University meetings with students and parents, as well as individual meetings, to keep you informed of all of the details as you proceed along this exciting path. Here is an overview of what students will prepare for in each grade on their Path to University:

Grade 8

At ISR, the Path to University starts in grade 8 with a kick-off advising session during which students reflect on their interests, their skills and their goals and how their profile might translate into a career path. Grade 8 is also the beginning of regular Path-to-University presentations that are offered for students and parents through grade 11.

Grade 9

In grade 9 students are counselled on their course selection for grade 10 and beyond. The course selection for grade 10 may in some cases already have an impact on future plans and the choice of university courses. In individual student meetings together with the AQC of upper secondary school/IB coordinator and the UCC office, we develop a general long-term perspective that includes a possible IB course selection.

As the scores of grade 9 are included on transcripts that are sent with the university application, the development of good study habits is essential. Gradually, students need to adopt a proactive approach and assume responsibility for their own learning.

Students should now explore various interests inside and outside of school. The SABIS Student Life Organization® offers a wide variety of opportunities to try out leadership positions, to work in a team and to demonstrate initiative and creativity. Getting involved and being active are key qualities at this stage. Students are also encouraged to gain first experience in the world of careers and professions. The UCC office gives customized support for this endeavour. See Internships-and summer programs.

Grade 10

In October of grade 10, students typically take the PSAT. In the course of the year they will also prepare to take the IGCSE exams and, if applicable, the DELE (Spanish Language diploma) or DELF (French Language Diploma). These three exams are middle school qualifications that serve as extra assets when applying to the universities.

We help students refine their career goals by taking interest surveys and personality tests. These are scheduled individually and upon request in the UCC office. We continue to give support to gain work experience. In addition to demonstrating strong academic skills students are also well advised to hone their non-academic skills to develop an interesting well-rounded profile for university applications.

In individual course selection meetings with Ms. McGee, we give careful guidance to matching academic performance with career goals and to defining post-graduation plans.

Grade 11

Weekly UCC sessions cover a wide range of topics from an introduction to the library resources at ISR to the guided research of careers to the university application systems in the most popular countries. Sessions in the computer lab provide opportunities to practise the research of careers, universities and course using specific websites.

At the end of grade 11, students generate their personal list of universities they wish to apply to, including entry requirements, deadlines and required documents. An essential part of the UCC in grade 11 is the writing of an application essay that serves to promote a student’s strengths and motivations to study a certain course as well as giving an idea of the applicant’s personality. US applicants are required to prepare for and sit SAT and/or ACT exams.

Grade 12

University application plans are, by nature, individual. In grade 12, the UCC support consists therefore mainly of one-on-one meetings in which we discuss the overall application strategy. The student’s university list functions as a roadmap to determine which applications and which documents need to be sent to which university by which deadline. While the students have the overall responsibility for the application process, UCC staff monitor the process and make sure students are on track.

Students are given assistance in putting all necessary documents together i. e. application forms, transcripts, essays, teacher recommendations, counsellor references, standardized test scores, etc.  Depending on the university course, students may need to start preparing for career-specific tests (medical tests, law test, TSA etc.) or put together a portfolio.

For students who are invited for interviews, we offer mock interviews. We track all responses from universities and offer advice if there are “surprises” in the final exam results and if conditions of offers cannot be met.
German students seeking to gain the “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” for application to German university are guided in their recognition process with the Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle.  See also “German University Qualification” for criteria for the recognition of the IB as “Allgemeine Hochschulreife”.

A culminating event is the annual Alumni Reception at which we receive valuable feedback for our work. We are proud to hear how well our alumni feel ISR has prepared them for their post-graduate life.

We have an excellent track record in our graduates’ acceptances at universities around the world. We are particularly proud that those students who qualified and wished to study at German universities in all fields of study, including physics, law, medicine, agricultural science, marketing and economics, were all accepted and could study right after graduation.

They received their “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” and are studying at their chosen universities in this country. As you may see from our extensive university acceptance list, which is most impressive for such a young school, our students also choose international destinations as well – as far away as Japan and the Unites States and as close as Cambridge in the UK, St. Andrews in Scotland and University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

What gives us great confidence in our program and a measure of pride as well are the reports we receive back from our graduates at our annual alumni receptions. ISR graduates praise ISR for

  • Their excellent preparation in mathematics and the sciences
  • Our English program, with students expressing better competence compared to colleagues from other high schools
  • The invaluable experience writing an Extended Essay research paper as outstanding preparation for their university studies
  • The sometimes painful ISR lessons of meeting deadlines or avoiding plagiarism which have served them well at university

The key to working together during these exciting years is good communication on all levels. As your coaches with years of experience teaching bright students, as you are, we encourage students to increase their communication with their teachers, counselors and me. Additionally, we strongly encourage students to communicate with each other in their subject classes and choose academic partners with whom they work well.  We have had wonderful success with peer tutoring programs.

Good communication is the key to working together in a constructive, respectful environment as a team, supporting the success of our students. I like Hillary Clinton’s reference to the African proverb,

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

We are here to help, advise and inform you as parents. Please send us your questions by e-mail (telephoning is difficult during the school day) and we will get back to you with answers or arrange for meetings as requested. We welcome you and assure you that we will do our best in offering your students an excellent education and wonderful university acceptance opportunities.

Thank you and kind regards,

Samantha McGee, Academic Quality Coordinator (AQC)
Emil Cete, IB-Koordinator