“Grades + Character = Basis for success” – ISR enhances its formula for success
Good grades are and will remain a decisive factor to be on a successful path to a desired university. This is reflected by the fact that the ‘numerus clausus’ often decides if prospective students are allowed to study certain subjects.
But the focal point is also shifting here. Germany is starting to incorporate practices that have long since been used in other countries. The so-called Assessment Days test potential students to see if their personality and character fits the university’s ethos. Especially innovative and new courses place more emphasis on obtaining the student’s complete profile.
Even Sam Lundquist, vice dean of Wharton University of Pennsylvania, confirmed this shift during his visit last week at ISR. “Universities are no longer asking just for grades or extracurricular involvement. The universities want get to know the person behind the grades. And it’s not just about “who you are” but “how your life experiences have shaped you.”
Whereas students went through an Assessment Day earlier only after vocational training or university, nowadays it is often used as tool to determine entrance to a university course.
In order to better prepare our students, our UCC – University and Career Counseling Department, starts advising students at the end of 8th grade. They assist students, in agreement with their parents, in their choosing the right courses to gain admission to their university of choice. Through the use of student-friendly and individually specialized modules from assessment centers, students learn about the format of the assessment tests. This includes elements of self-presentation (how do I best market myself), logical reasoning, critical thinking and group work. Students have to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in various situations and in different roles.
“Public Speaking” and “Debating” (Model UN) will continue to be anchored in our curriculum in order to encourage our students to build on the above-mentioned elements. Furthermore, internships and various school projects with leading companies in the region such as UPS, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte or McKinsey will also prepare our students for acceptance to top universities in Germany or worldwide. Our goal is to foster our students’ soft skills in order to prepare them to be well-rounded individuals for their future companies.
Additionally, the UCC Department plans to organize trips to universities to allow students to get a feel for the real campus life. Cooperation with universities, like Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, are very valuable to our students. During a recent visit by the university rector, Dr. Steinbeck, it became clear that such a cooperation would be beneficial to both parties. For instance students have the possibility to listen to lectures in various subjects in order to determine if they wish to enroll in these courses and if the classes meet their expectations. Furthermore, current university students could also speak openly to our students about their experiences regarding the different facets of university life. This would help ISR students to obtain a more realistic view of life as a university student.
Another essential part of the ISR culture that contributes to the character building of our students is SLO the “Student Life Organization®”. This can be thought of as a student- run enterprise. Students gain valuable experiences through different leadership and organizational tasks/ projects and take responsibility for their own “position.” Character building, leadership skills, and social involvement are the main focal points and are continually developed and strengthened.
These possibilities aim to strengthen the overall personality of ISR students and form them into confident, young adults, who are able to choose any course of study they desire. Of course, grades remain important. However, grades solely do not define a person, but rather the personality that has been nurtured and developed over time.
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