SIS Futures

News and information from the SIS Careers and H.E. Team

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The Changing Faces of Higher Education

There is no doubt that Higher Education is a valuable and hopefully, wonderful experience. Students get the opportunity to learn independence, expand their minds, and experience things that will make them successful for the rest of their life. However, as was indicated in our December newsletter, the return on investment from traditional Higher Education institutions can sometimes not be as secure as one would hope. This has led to a small but increasingly powerful change in some of the provision being offered around the world in terms of tertiary education.

An example of this is ‘Make School’ which is a ‘test-free, project based learning environment, focused on creating rather than studying, designed to help students transition into the work-place gradually, by developing a rich and real portfolio of work. Curricula evolve year on year and there are no upfront tuition fees’. The curricula focus on Computer Science and Software Engineering, something that naturally will not appeal to everyone. It is however one area of industry where there is a growing demand for creative employees. What is particularly interesting about Make School’s philosophy is that it is in this field where students are being most let down by traditional institutions. They point out that some of the most prestigious institutions have not updated their Computer Science curriculum for many years, which Make School describes as ‘wrong’ because the field moves so fast (

Jeremy Rossman and his co-Founder, HKIS alumnus Ashu Desai, founded this School after dropping out of MIT, frustrated at the out-dated and expensive tuition. They quickly won a place at prestigious start-up accelerator Y-Combinator, since which Make School has gone from strength to strength. They are happy to highlight that they don’t cover some traditional Higher Education curricula that they do see as important, such as literature, philosophy and the more general sciences, but they feel that students are able to self study these with free resources available on the internet. Whilst we don’t entirely agree with this sentiment, and certainly believe the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects, some of which will be new to a student, is one if the most exciting elements of Higher Education at the age of 18; it is an interesting concept to consider what your fees are paying for. The annual Project on Student Debt report from the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) showed that US students graduating as part of the class of 2014 had an average of $28,950 debt. Subsequently it is is interesting that Make School have chosen only to charge students once they have a job – something they are absolutely confident will occur quickly and at an attractive company. Their statistics on the small numbers they have had graduate so far seem to back this up. Make School isn’t cheap, but at least a student would be employed before paying for it, rather than paying a considerable sum up front.

The careers department have always stressed to students that a degree isn’t enough to get a job in this competitive world. Alongside all the academic and personal learning that takes place whilst at university, a student should also prioritise internships and part time jobs, in order to build real world employable skills that potential employers value.

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Year 9 Careers Afternoon

On Friday 6 May we welcomed 32 professionals to offer careers advice to our year 9 students. Over half of the visitors were past South Island School students, which was great for students imagining their next steps, as these SIS Alumni have been on some interesting professional journeys since treading the halls of C, D and S block!

Careers that were represented included the health sciences, the world of entrepreneurship, business and finance, the not for profit sector, legal and creative industries. Students were encouraged to speak to every professional, because, at this stage, being open minded and curious about the world of work is beneficial to students searching for the right vocation. Parents can help continue this exploration by talking about their own decision-making with regards to education and careers, and fostering a sense of open-minded consideration over the next few years. There will be further work done on careers in Year 10, and then the opportunity for work experience during MaD week in Year 11.

If any parent is able to offer our older students work experience opportunities, please get in touch, as these tend to be invaluable for students getting a real understanding about what certain occupations entail.

Life Skills to take to College

A former Stanford dean, Julie Lythcott Haims was recently asked the question “What are the skills every 18 year old needs?” Her answer on (which was not 40 points on the IB) raises some interesting points on being a teenager in 2016 and on how both the school and parents can help or hinder them in preparing for college and adulthood.

Her 8 skills were:

The ability to:

  • talk to strangers
  • find your way around
  • manage assignments, workload and deadlines
  • contribute to running a household
  • handle interpersonal problems
  • cope with ups and downs
  • earn and manage money
  • take risks

For the fuller reasoning and identification of the ‘crutches’ we can provide to hinder the development of such skills, go here

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Unique Institutions – Ravensbourne, London, UK

Claiming alumni such as David Bowie and Stella McCartney and with a spectacular new home next to the O2 Arena, Ravensbourne catches one’s attention.

The Guardian University guide describes it in these terms:

‘Ravensbourne is a world-class digital media and design college. It offers a vocationally focused portfolio of design and communication courses, spanning fashion, television and broadcasting, interactive product design, architecture and environment design, graphic design, animation, moving image, music production for media, and sound design. Ravensbourne is a centre of excellence, industry-accredited and a Skillset Media Academy.’

Ravensbourne itself is keen to emphasise its practical industry focus:

‘We've got a strong track record in getting good jobs for our graduates, because we equip them with the practical skills they need to excel in the workplace. Our current graduate employability rate, provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, is an impressive 97.2% putting us in the UK's top ten.

We have close working relationships with local and national industries, making sure that as a Ravensbourne learner you'll have access to a wealth of work placement opportunities.’

International students benefit from tuition fees that are only a little above UK home fees at 9,000 GBP for Foundation courses and 11,500 for undergraduate courses. You can also apply directly, as well as through UCAS.