My name is Gillian Carroll, I am the Senior Student Counsellor at Avenor. I am ably assisted by Louisa Dăscălescu – History Teacher, Luminița Susanu – Student Programmes Manager and Examination Officer and Boyana Dragomir – Student Support Coordinator. Together we are the careers counselling team here at Avenor and all our work lies in a student-centred framework.  Louisa and myself are both teachers who know the education system really well and have been helping students access universities for many years. Luminița and Boyana are support staff and our job would be impossible without their professionalism, organisational skills and wonderful personalities. 

It can be argued that the main focus of school education is to get pupils into the best universities with the best possible grades. Whilst this is a good focus, I would argue that Avenor goes much deeper than this. We want our students to be self-assured, ambitious and ‘future ready’ and this means that our focus is far more on each individual student; getting to know them really well and getting them know and be honest about themselves, developing bespoke pathways to increase their potential and confidence.  From this student-centred approach, we know students will get to the top universities and that they will have the best possible grades.

With the background information provided, I will now tell you what we do in High School.  Week by week, we work closely with the LOTC team from grades 9-12. The programme in LOTC is designed to focus on the Avenor learner profile and lies at the heart of what we stand for.  Students develop their community involvement and awareness, their confidence and willingness to become independent learners in projects beyond the core curriculum. There is also a strong focus on careers and profile matching so that students learn about and develop their strengths and talents.  Beyond LOTC, we publicise externally organised events like university fairs and summer schools. The primary work of the career’s team depends on the time of year.

Currently (October) our focus is on grade 12. We are interviewing all students regularly and monitoring their progress as they apply to universities. We are there for support, we are there for data like transcripts and predicted grades, we are there to write references, we are there to help with the application process. We are there to speak to parents if they have concerns. We are there for the students; guiding with the writing of personal statements and motivational letters and making sure they get access to the best possible support. For many students, this may involve access to an outside agency which specialises in university applications to certain countries. We aim to work with those agencies to make sure the support is coordinated and professional.

After the January mock examinations, most of the grade 12s will have completed their university applications so our focus turns to grade 11.  We start with helping them to write CVs and to objectively see their skills and talents and to collect evidence of the same. We assist, where needed in guiding them to choose relevant Internships.  Here I must add that the Internships provided at Avenor are ‘second to none’, they are impressive and definitely strike the right note with university application panels. 

The fruit of our labours is now four cohorts of Avenor graduates all finding places at universities of their choice on courses that match their talents and interests. As the school grows in size, we will continue to provide the same level of care for each individual student. Our team will undoubtedly grow also.

Whilst our focus is on grade 11 and 12, we are available for any student or parent in the school who wishes to talk with us. Please feel free to contact us at any time and we are happy to speak with you. If you want to know about university applications, gap years, possible alternatives to university, internships, anything at all related to careers, please get in touch, we will be delighted to hear from you.