Welcome to ISR Upper School!

A warm welcome to students entering Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 at ISR! 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 the details as you proceed. Here is an overview of what students will prepare for in each grade in Upper School on their Paths to University.

In Grade 9 students are counseled on their course selection for Grade 10 and beyond. The course selection for Grade 10 may in some cases already have had an impact on future plans and the choice of university courses. In individual student meetings together with the Academic Head of grade 9/IB coordinator and the UCC team, 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 ISR Student Leadership Council offers a wide variety of opportunities to try out leadership positions, work in a team, and demonstrate initiative and creativity. Getting involved and being active are key qualities at this stage. Students are also encouraged to gain first experiences in the world of careers and professions. The UCC team gives customized support for this endeavor.

In October of Grade 10, students typically take the PSAT. In the course of the year, they 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 team. 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, we give careful guidance to matching academic performance with career goals and to defining post-graduation plans.

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 practice the research of careers, universities, and courses 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 give an idea of the applicant’s personality. USA applicants are required to prepare for and sit SAT and/or ACT exams.

By nature, university application plans are individual. Therefore, in Grade 12, the UCC support consists 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. Whilst 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, for example, 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 the conditions of offers cannot be met.

German students seeking to gain the “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” for application to German universities 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 right after graduation from ISR.

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 relatively young school, our students also decide on international destinations as well.

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 us 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 of writing the IB Extended Essay research paper as an outstanding preparation for their university studies
  • The sometimes painful ISR lessons of meeting deadlines or avoiding plagiarism which has served them well at university

The key to working together during these exciting years is good communication on all levels, and we encourage students to increase their communication with their teachers and counselors as well as coordinators. Additionally, we strongly encourage students to communicate with each other in their subject classes and pick 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, and supporting the success of our students. As the African proverb states,

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

We are here to help, advise and inform you. Please send us your questions by email (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 stunning university acceptance opportunities.

ISR International School on the Rhine

International High School near Düsseldorf

ISR – The International School on the Rhine is one of several private schools in Germany. International schools in Germany often offer an IB Curriculum, and so does ISR. In fact, our International Baccalaureate Program has a résumé of scores well above average compared to other international schools in Germany and other international schools in Düsseldorf.

Please contact us for a personal visit if you would like to know more about ISR, the international school Neuss. If you are looking for international teaching jobs in Germany please visit our careers page for further information. Maybe your next career is at a high school in Germany!