Learning 22 Mar 2021

Preparing for the future: 7 practical tips from alumni and parents for Grade 7/8s

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

CIS alumni and parents shared insights with Grade 7 and 8 students about university and career paths. Speakers included the High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore, a Talent Acquisition Director, and CIS alumni from Berklee College of Music and the University of Toronto

Students found the virtual sessions to be informative and interesting. “The most memorable part of the alumni presentation was learning about what led these alumni to choose their [university] major and learning the tips that they had for us going forward with IB,” said Grade 8 student Lavanya. “It was very helpful and allowed me to gain a better understanding of the college experience and how to prepare for it.”

Thomas, another student who attended the sessions, said: “I really enjoyed the parent sessions because they all have unique experiences and gave very original and good advice on a variety of things you need to work in that field or just any job in general.”

So what were the top seven takeaways? 

Tip 1: Balance passion and strategy
When choosing the right IB courses, start by identifying the subjects that interest you. These can be in the form of areas that you know you will enjoy as well as areas that you want to explore. Keep experimenting during secondary school so that you can discover the right blend of what you are interested in and what you will require for university. 

Tip 2: “Passion outdrives talent”
Keep developing your passions in secondary school and try to find a good university match that can turn those passions into a viable career. 

Tip 3: Nurture your “approaches to learning skills”
IB ATL skills (approaches to learning) such as time management, critical thinking skills and research skills can help students develop a successful life in university.

Tip 4: Service and Action can open new doors of opportunity
CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) or Service and Action doesn’t just help shape students as responsible global citizens; it also allows you to explore possible career options through different opportunities. For example, a student who volunteers in an animal shelter may become interested in veterinary medicine, while another volunteering in a home for the elderly may develop an interest in gerontology. 

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to try new things
Be comfortable with taking risks because that is how you can discover new things about yourself. It also helps you to develop and strengthen your current skills. For example, one alumni shared how his Personal Project (P2 project) on the relationship between physics and baseball influenced his eventual decision to pursue the sciences in university. 

Tip 7: Strike a healthy balance between academics and extracurricular activities
Balance is key when it comes to juggling your studies and extracurricular activities. One alumni encouraged students to never hesitate in seeking someone to talk to when experiencing challenges. 

Tip 8: Take up a part-time job while waiting to enter university
One alumni, who is currently doing National Service, recommended that students work part-time while they are waiting to enter university so they can continue developing their life skills and cultivate new ones. 

CIS students and parents: keep a lookout for future career advisory sessions for more practical tips and support. A big thank you also goes out to everyone (university advisors, CIS alumni and parents as well as leads and students from grades 7 and 8) who participated in the sessions.