Over the last three years, ACG University Placement Adviser Guy Mills has visited and developed relationships with some of the world’s top universities – from University of California Berkeley and London School of Economics, to Imperial College, London and the University of Sydney.
In the ever-changing world of tertiary information this, he says, is the key to ensuring he can provide students and parents with the most relevant and up-to-date advice.
“I started doing this role for ACG Senior College in 2016 and discovered a passion for helping students make the best choice,” he says. “By visiting and talking with staff and students at these universities I gain first-hand insight into what’s on offer, and the type of student who will flourish there. My role is to ensure all our students make an informed choice, and that universities know and respect ACG graduates.”
With two Masters degrees, including a librarian’s degree specialising in research, he’s well qualified for the new role, which sees him advising all ACG Schools on what domestic and international universities offer.
He says an overwhelming majority of ACG students aim to attend university and their questions need to be addressed – from where to find the degree they want, to when and how to go about enrolling. Parents add their own queries – about costs, or how to help their child succeed, for example.
“I do nothing but research universities and their degrees and then pass the information on to our students and their parents. There are so many aspects to investigate, like subject choice in Years 11 and 12; helping students and parents discover different degrees that suit the student’s strengths; how and when to apply to overseas universities; what makes an overseas university worth the effort and money; accommodation; new degrees; and the student support available.”
As well as in-depth research, helping students navigate university information portals and organising visits from NZ and international universities, Mr Mills keeps an eye on domestic and international trends, like the increasing number of Kiwi students seeking a degree from an overseas university. He says while the top Australian and Asia Pacific universities are desirable, the US and UK are seen as dream destinations, but applications require significant preparation.
“All overseas universities are competitive to get into. It takes top marks and a lot of work outside the classroom. After speaking with many overseas admissions advisers, you realise there are common aspects to successful applications, but no guarantees. Acceptance requires early preparation, investigation, focus, and a willingness to go outside one’s comfort zone.”
And when it comes to applying, information is key.
“I really want all our students to make the best decision they can when it comes to life after ACG. I realise not every student will want to attend university, but the decision should be as informed as possible. The basic message is pursue what you love, take your time, and broaden your studies. It’s things like this I will be talking to students and parents about.”
Mr Mills will be hosting parents’ evenings and accommodation and scholarship workshops in the first two terms of 2019 – keep an eye out for dates. If you would like to discuss subjects or university possibilities, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time.