How did Elisa apply to a private school in the UK from a Chinese international school?


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Elisa has come a long way since she first came to us in the autumn of 2019. Her journey, and subsequent transformation, epitomises the power of choosing a school that fits. In her case this was the warm, inspiring and ambitious atmosphere of Downe House, an academic full-boarding girls school in Berkshire.  

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Choose a suitable school for Elisa according to her personality characteristics.

Elisa came to us as a capable girl academically but was shy and lacking in confidence. Her international school background made for technically solid English skills; however, her writing was uninspiring and vocabulary range was narrow. Her lack of strong reading habits also meant her general knowledge was weak and she didn't have her own opinions. We knew Elisa was bright, but she needed a school that could push and challenge her in an environment of compassion and encouragement. We felt Downe House was a perfect fit and, with the support of her premium service team, Elisa made significant progress in English and maths, cleaning up her writing and boosting her vocabulary range through systematic reading targets and regular testing. Her mentor Oliver encouraged Elisa to consider her future ambitions, gave her research projects to expand her general knowledge and helped guide her in how to express herself thoughtfully and articulately in both group and individual interview. With the advantage of in-house tuition, we were able to keep Elisa's English and maths classes efficient and zone in on weak areas quickly.

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Gained several Offers from UK private schools!

Elisa performed well by the time her assessments came around between the summer of 2020 and the spring of 2021 and gained offers from a number of schools, including her target Downe House. In the months that led up to her school entry, we worked on consolidating her reading, continued expanding her opinions on current affairs and discussed what life in boarding school and the wider UK would be like.

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Challenges after entering Downe House.

Elisa entered Downe House in the autumn of 2021 and found the first few weeks challenging in a new environment, away from her family. Having experienced girls go through the same issues countless times before, her housemistress and tutor were extremely supportive and helped to arrange for Elisa to see her mother at weekends for the first half of term. Elisa grew more familiar with the routine of school and pushed herself further out of her comfort zone to make firm friends within her house. Downe House encouraged her to take up new and exciting activities like netball, lacrosse, textiles and woodwork and gave her the opportunity to do sport competitively against other schools regardless of her level. In turn she opened up more, became more socially engaged and started to embrace new opportunities rather than to shy away from them.

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Two terms into her Downe House experience, Elisa’s transformation into a confident young lady was complete and by the summer she was even speaking in a British accent! Her success from her first day at BE all the way to the end of her first year at Downe House was built upon loving support and encouragement to push herself. Now the world is Elisa’s oyster, and we are excited to see where it takes her!

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