Career Counselling

Symbiosis nternational School’s Career Counselling programme offers students a vast array of resources to guide them in career and college planning. We aim to prepare students Students for their college from Grades 8 onwards and this preparation is intensified in Grade 11 and 12. We also guide them in exploring various learning opportunities and experiences that helps them in understanding career pathways and the possibilities.

The students receive personal attention and individual appointments with the career counsellor. We guide our students on research, shortlisting universities, financial aid, college application process and information about higher education admissions around the world. We believe that good communication among all stakeholders the students, parents and career counsellor is imperative in success of this program. We use the Cialfo Career and College Guidance platform to guide our students in researching and finding the best fit universities and sending their applications.

We encourage each student to take a challenging course of study based on their academic interests and strengths to prepare them for their college planning journey and beyond. We arrange regular workshops, college fairs, and visits from universities, that help our students learn about the different programs and courses on offer by the universities, their campuses and eligibility requirements that help them make informed choices for their higher education.

Beginning the Search for the College

With so many college choices available and the wide variety among the institutions that can be found across the world, the college search process can be quite overwhelming.

To start with there are countless books and websites out there to help you navigate searching, applying and deciding on a school. The college search process is an opportunity for you to learn more about colleges, potential careers and yourself. To find your "best fit" college, take the time to learn more about what is important to you. Look at your interests, activities, values and personality. It is a good idea to talk to your school counsellor about what you are looking for. The counsellors will be able to give you the names of several colleges that match you interests. Talk to your parents about what you are looking for in a college. Attend all the University fairs and if possible visit few campuses if possible or else one can do a virtual tour of the campus online. Try to get a feel for the place to determine if it is a welcoming environment—a place where you feel comfortable.

Based on your research, you will probably refine your list of criteria somewhat and your final search list may look very different from your original one. This is but expected as each time you refine it; you will be coming closer to identifying your college options and the schools that can offer what you want, provide you with appropriate intellectual challenges, enrich your life and prepare you for a successful future.

Although some colleges may be similar in some ways, no two colleges are exactly the same. While the differences may appear subtle, they are very important. One good way to start the process is by knowing what college characteristics are important for you. The following list includes some of the important characteristics named by most of the prospective college applicants:

  1. Does this college offer what I want? While that is an important question, it should not be your main concern at this point. “Undecided” is a very popular major among first year college students and choosing a major can usually be postponed until your fourth semester in college
  2. The quality and rigor of academic study at the institution and the kind of activities (co- and extra-curricular, as well as social) offered.
  3. Will I be happy there? You must be convinced that you will enjoy the years you will spend at the college. That is why spending time at the institution’s website, visiting the campus, talking extensively with the school’s admissions officers and current students, etc. are crucial parts of the college search.
  4. Support services like academic advising system, counselling, safety and security support that are available to undergraduates,
  5. Scholarship and financial aid policies and practices of the college/university
  6. How expensive is the college and how many students who attend the college receive financial aid and how much aid do they receive?
  7. Is this college out of reach for me or is it one to which I am likely to or might possibly be admitted?

College Planning Timelines

9th Grade

  • Plan your extracurricular activities and pick the right mix of classes.
  • Make the effort to get involved in school activities and join groups, clubs, or teams that interest you. These activities are fun and make you a well-rounded student.
  • Get off to a good start with your grades because they will impact your grades as they really do count toward college admission and scholarships.
  • Explore your interests and possible careers and discuss your skills and interests with your guidance counsellor.
  • It’s a good idea to begin journaling and write about your activities and interests
  • Keep track of all your achievements and events that you participated in as it will come in handy when you will fill out the college applications and build your resume.
  • Plan to attend a Summer School at a University

10th Grade

  • It’s a good idea to take a PSAT at this stage as this will prepare you for the real test next year and will give you time to work on your weak areas
  • Keep up the participation in various extracurricular and community service activities but make sure you keep a track of your grades too.
  • Update your journal regularly with your achievements and activities
  • This is a good time to begin learning about the college admissions process and about general college entrance requirements
  • Read up on potential careers options according to your interest and learn about the work profile, education, and training necessary for each occupation.
  • Work on your reading and writing skills and read the newspaper every day to learn about current affairs
  • Attend college fairs if possible and collect information on possible choices
  • Plan to attend a Summer School at a University
  • Apply for Summer internships and volunteer at NGOs that are in line with your interests
  • Finalize a course plan for 11th/12th based on your possible career choices
  • Meet with your school counselor to discuss your plan

11th Grade

  • Prepare for standardized tests and find out if the colleges you are interested in require the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests. Register to take the tests you need; you can take them in the winter or early next year. You can take them again in the beginning of your senior year if you’re unhappy with your scores.
  • Plan a calendar for taking your standardized tests and make a separate folder for each college you are planning to apply to so all correspondence is handy for quick reference.
  • Stay on track with your classes and grades. Even if your grades haven’t been that good so far, it’s never too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.
  • Attend college fairs and try to get as much information about the college options for your potential career choice.
  • Narrow down your choices and make a list of colleges that interest you
  • Update your brag sheet with all your activities and achievements so far and share with your Counselor
  • Have a discussion with your parents/ guardians about the colleges you are interested in. They will learn about what you want to pursue and offer any concerns or suggestions that they might have.
  • Meet with your Counselor regularly to keep them updated of your progress in shortlisting colleges and possible career choices
  • Apply for Summer internships and volunteer at NGOs that are in line with your interests

12th Grade

  • Get in touch with your teachers and guidance counsellor for writing your recommendation letters. Consider whom you want to ask now and let them know so they will have enough time to prepare. Letters of recommendation from a coach, activity leader, or adult who knows you well outside of school are also valuable.
  • This is the time to start working on your college application essays. Compose rough drafts of the essays and have a teacher/counsellor read and discuss them with you so you can see what to work on. Write and rewrite till you are satisfied that it reflects your thinking well and brings out your unique personality traits.
  • Visit university fairs with your parents and visit campuses if possible and finalize your college list
  • It’s important to stay focused on getting good grades in your classes and keep your commitment to extracurricular activities.
  • Finalize portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talent if required for admission.
  • Register for and take the ACT, SAT, or SAT Subject Tests as necessary. Be sure you have requested (either by mail or online) that your test scores be sent to the colleges of your choice.
  • Finish the application forms for the colleges you are interested in. Make sure you and your school’s guidance office have sent all necessary materials, including test scores, recommendations, transcripts, and application essays and keep track of the deadlines.

Building your Profile

Universities look for more than just good grades. They are looking for students who have holistic and well-rounded personalities. Along with academic achievements a student needs to focus on extra-curricular activities to build their profile. You can be a sports enthusiast, a music aficionado, have entrepreneurial skills, or can get involved in community projects. One can also develop leadership skills by organizing various events, cultural festivals, tech competitions in the school or the community. Working together as part of a group for the success of such events by organizing, sponsoring managing time and resources offers you a unique opportunity to develop leadership, collaborative, communication skills which are the essential 21st-century skills required in the world today.

Leading and participating in community projects is very important as well. Volunteering your time to support a cause will give you an opportunity to grow as a person and change your perspective towards life. Online courses in a field similar to your area of interest will help you get a feel for the subject area you want to pursue. Along with developing your knowledge base in that particular area of study, it also conveys your dedication and interest in pursuing studies in that particular subject at the university.

Similarly, a summer internship provides an opportunity for career exploration and the development of various skills. It familiarises you with the requirements in an actual work environment and helps you determine whether you have chosen the right career path for yourself. An internship helps you develop interpersonal, communication, and time management skills and gives you a greater understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

The universities look for consistency and commitment so it is important to narrow down the activities that you are interested in and ensure regular participation throughout your school years.

Study Destinations


The United States has the world's largest international student population, with over 800,000 students choosing to broaden their education and life experience in the country. The U.S. is well-known for its state-of-the-art educational institutions, highly acclaimed degrees, and international work exposure of 15 months in most reputable institutions. It also boasts an extremely professional yet favorable environment conducive to the overall growth of international students. Students find the U.S. attractive due to the excellent teaching facilities, practical knowledge, and flexibility in the programs. Although many courses are rigorously structured and need to meet specific requirements, students can usually complete course options that fulfill these needs. Undergraduate art courses include language and mathematics courses, but students have a variety of options to meet these requirements and are free to choose courses that best suit their interests. If a student's goal is to study for a master's degree, they can adjust their studies according to specific academic requirements. After completing an undergraduate program in the U.S., international students have the option to use OPT (Optional Practical Training) to gain practical experience related to their course of study. The application portals for U.S. universities include Common App, Coalition, University College Application, UC Application, Apply Texas, and direct applications to universities.


Universities in the UK offer a wide range of options for subjects and specializations at the undergraduate level. All undergraduate admissions in the UK are processed through the online system UCAS. Each undergraduate course is assigned a UCAS code, facilitating the identification of colleges offering specific subjects. For certain subjects, colleges may exclusively consider students who have completed A-level examinations or the IB Diploma. Most British universities accept Grade 12 certificates from various boards such as CBSE, ISC, and some state boards. Additionally, it is generally necessary to take an English Language proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL as a visa requirement. Undergraduate degrees typically have a duration of three years, although some institutions offer specialized four-year programs for students whose high school qualifications do not meet university requirements. In such cases, some universities may mandate completion of a "foundation year" before enrolling in the full degree program. Professional courses like medicine, dentistry, and architecture may require up to seven years to complete. Scottish university degree programs differ from those in the rest of the UK, offering a four-year study period with a more flexible education system. They allow students to explore a range of subjects before specializing and provide the opportunity to study additional subjects to enhance the depth of education.


India offers a wide variety of disciplines for undergraduate study and has globally recognized private and public universities. India boasts the second biggest higher education system globally, with 980+ universities, 40,000 colleges, and 11,000 stand-alone institutions. It also has the second-largest market for e-learning after the USA. Public universities receive support from the Government of India and state governments, while private universities are mostly supported by various bodies and societies. These universities in India are granted recognition by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Additionally, 16 Professional Councils have been established to control different aspects of accreditation and coordination. The bachelor’s degree typically spans three to four years. Useful link:


Canadian universities operate much like those in the U.S. Applicants are evaluated on their high school academic preparation, as well as SAT and SAT Subject test scores in some cases. IB coursework and diplomas are well-received in Canada. The application deadlines are usually in mid-February, and notifications for admission, waitlisting, or rejection typically arrive in April or May. Undergraduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, physical and applied sciences are available at most universities in Canada. However, professional programs such as medicine, dentistry, law, architecture, engineering, and journalism are not available in all provinces. Degrees conferred by Canadian universities include Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs. The application portals are OUAC, ApplyAlberta, Education Planner BC, and direct application to universities.


Australia, being in the Southern Hemisphere, follows a distinct academic calendar compared to the United States and Europe. Most universities commence their academic year in February or March, observe a semester break in June and/or July, and conclude the academic year in November or December. Application procedures vary across universities, but generally, students complete an application through the university's admission office, either in paper form or online, and submit it along with a copy of their high school transcript. For Australian universities, successful completion of an IB certificate program may suffice for entrance, although specific IB scores are often required for various programs, and the IB Diploma is the most direct route to gaining admission. Australia boasts world-class institutions, campuses, and academics, offering a multicultural and diverse study environment with leading research and teaching facilities. The application portal is UAC, or you can apply directly to universities.

New Zealand

New Zealand has a total of eight universities that offer globally recognized qualifications, all of which are featured in international rankings. The universities provide assured quality education as they are public institutions partly funded by the Government of New Zealand. Tuition and living expenses are affordable compared to many other countries in the world. New Zealand is a safe country with a temperate climate, offering a friendly learning environment and post-study work rights. Similar to Australia, the university year begins in February/March and ends in November or December. New Zealand has a well-developed system in place to take care of international students, monitored by the government. Useful link:


Singapore offers a variety of learning opportunities, evolving into a fast-growing hub of tertiary education. The country boasts an advanced education system and excellent infrastructure, supported by its curriculum to optimize students' learning activities. These factors make Singapore an attractive destination for pursuing higher education. While Singapore does not have a 'common application' system for all universities, the online acceptance platform is common across the three local universities, namely NUS, NTU, and SMU. If you meet the admission requirements and selection criteria of each university, you may be offered a course of study in each of the three local universities. The online common acceptance platform will reflect the place(s) that have been offered to you. For example, if you are offered a place in both NUS and NTU, the online acceptance platform will reflect the two courses.


Hong Kong universities are well-ranked internationally, and the city is rapidly emerging as an international higher education hub, owing to its high-performing universities, world-class research, safety, and attractive lifestyle. Indian Grade 12th certificates, as well as A levels and the IB Diploma, are widely accepted. Tuition fees are much more affordable compared to other high-ranking universities worldwide. A significant factor contributing to Hong Kong's success in attracting international students is the proportion of courses taught in English and the opportunity to familiarize oneself with Mandarin. Useful links:,,


Europe offers high-quality education for students with great potential. The cost of education is affordable, and higher education institutions provide strong support for students. Europe is culturally rich and diverse, and one gains the skills needed for the global economy. Europe boasts more than 900 universities and even more educational institutions, academies, and schools that offer secondary and higher education. European education has always been known for its high level of quality. Universities and colleges primarily offer undergraduate studies in local languages; however, there are many universities that provide English as the medium of instruction.


Switzerland is home to 12 general universities and a number of other universities of applied sciences and research. Swiss universities are generously supported by the government, and fees for nationals are low. At many institutions, fees are the same for foreign students, or there is only a small premium, reflecting the country’s desire to attract overseas students. Of those studying at a university in Switzerland, 21% are international students. Switzerland is rich in cultural diversity and has four national languages — Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Useful links:,,


Universities in the Netherlands are state-funded and are divided into two categories: research universities and universities of applied sciences. There are 14 research universities and 41 universities of applied sciences in the country. The former offer more research-intensive education, while the latter focuses on preparing students for a particular professional field. Six universities in the Netherlands are ranked in the Top 100 of the 2013–14 QS World University Rankings (an increase of two from 2012–13), with the University of Amsterdam being the highest at number 58. There are two different methods for applying to Dutch universities. In some cases, you apply directly to the institution you wish to study at, while in other cases, you need to apply via a centralized application system called "Studielink." Useful links:,


German universities have a quite good network with universities all over the world. As it is becoming a popular destination for international students, German universities and technical colleges try to provide enough university places for international students and also make efforts to support them in many other questions concerning the time abroad. The university websites carry the details of the application procedure to be followed, and UNI-ASSIST is a body that accepts the application, screens it, and forwards it to the member university of your choice. Useful links:,


France offers some of the finest courses in reputed universities and Grandes Écoles. The disciplines are varied and handled by skilled and experienced professors who guide and nurture students towards their desired professional interests. If you attend a university in France, there will be several professors who have achieved Nobel Prizes and other awards in their fields. The French Government, to encourage further studies, provides students with affordable degree programs and scholarship honors to promote education. The tuition fees for undergraduate studies with the medium of instruction in French at a public university are very nominal; however, the fees would be much higher if one chooses the medium of instruction as English. Useful links:,