Mark Bullock, College Guidance

Mark Bullock, College Guidance

The American School of Puerto Vallarta makes every effort to help students build on their successes as they move on to colleges and universities around the world. Taking into consideration the uniqueness of each student, the College Guidance counselor assists students and parents in identifying and applying to colleges. Location, college major, and cost are examples of significant factors that determine the best “match” for each student. ASPV helps students identify colleges where students can be both happy, successful, and achieve their goals.

ASPV students and parents are encouraged to contact our College Guidance counselor, Mr. Mark Bullock (mbullock@aspv.edu.mx), with any questions or for an appointment.

Family Connection

Family Connection is an online database for students, parents, and counselors to research careers, majors, colleges and to manage the college application process. This tool is used throughout the guidance seminars in the 10th and 11th grades for student’s self-exploration and career/college research. Seniors and the College Guidance office utilize Family Connection to organize and facilitate students’ application progress. Parents are encouraged to sign up for and utilize Family Connection as well. Please see Mr. Bullock for your username and password.

Career Exploration

The Vocational Guidance Seminar is a semester long course in which 10th graders explore careers and related college majors. A variety of internet tools are used in this endeavor with the hope that students will have a clearer idea of the direction they would like their life to take. Identifying one’s college major is particularly important depending on the country in which students wish to attend college or university. In Mexico and the UK, for example, student benefit by having a clear vocational direction when applying to college, whereas in the US or Canada, students have the flexibility of waiting to declare their vocational (major) path. ASPV’s goal is to assist students in their self-exploration and identifying compatible careers and college majors.

College Guidance

The College Guidance Seminar is a year long course in which 11th graders explore colleges and universities which would be appropriate matches for their personalities and goals. A variety of internet tools are used to gather information in an effort to identify schools that are a good “fit” for them. Students will gain an understanding of college admission requirements and be able to determine if they meet those criteria. Related topics will include the different types of college applications, financial aid, scholarships. By the conclusion of the course, students should have a list of 6-10 colleges or universities which are a “match” for them and to which they could potentially apply.

College Applications

The first semester of the senior year is devoted to meetings with individual students and their parents to determine the specific colleges to which they will be applying. Students are responsible for the various components of their applications, deadlines and keeping the College Guidance office apprised of their application progress. Monitoring the application process of each student and facilitating the submission of documents which accompany a student’s application is the focus of the College Guidance office.

College Admission Testing

The American School of Puerto Vallarta is an official test center for both the SAT and TOEFL. The SAT or the ACT (administered in Guadalajara) are required as a part of the application to many colleges and universities around the world. Students must register for the test and pay the test fees on their established account on Collegeboard.com. When ASPV students register for the test they will enter their current high school code (ASPVs code is 870900) and the code for the test center at which they want to test (ASPV test center code is 69227). ASPV typically administers the SAT in October, November, December, May and June. Students wishing to take a December or January SAT will need to go to Guadalajara or another testing center.

ASPV is also an official testing site for the internet-based TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language. You may need to take this test if English is not the primary language in your home and you want to attend a university in an English-speaking country. Students must register for the test and pay the test fees via the internet. You can establish an account and register for the TOEFL here. For more information about the test, go to the TOEFL Home Site.

Financial Aid

One of the most important aspects of planning for a university career is developing a budget well in advance. Many schools in the U.S. and in other countries as well, provide scholarships and financial assistance for students, but the country of citizenship usually affects the amount of aid available. (There are some schools in the U.S. that guarantee to meet financial need of foreign students, and there are some schools in other countries that offer full scholarships to select students.) The amount of aid available at U.S. universities is summarized in Myroad.com and is available at each school’s website. The Council of International Schools provides similar financial aid information for their member universities throughout the world.

Most US scholarship money is available directly through the universities. Students can search for additional scholarships at Fastweb.com, but be ready to do a lot of extra work!

U.S. citizens apply to colleges and universities for need-based financial aid through FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Although the application cannot be submitted to universities until January 1 of the last year of high school, the student and family can begin the process a couple of months before by applying for a pin and filling out worksheets available on the website. The pin is necessary to submit the application electronically, and both the student and the parent(s) need a pin. Some federal money is also available for U.S. citizens to use at Canadian universities.

Most schools require additional documentation of financial need, usually including income tax records (from the U.S., Mexico, or another country) and statements of assets. Many American schools require US citizens to complete the College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid profile online. Some schools also require Mexicans and Canadians to complete this form. It is generally available in October of the senior year, and there is a listing of which schools require the form on the website.

Most U.S. schools require citizens of other countries to complete other forms, which are generally available on the school’s website. Two of the forms used most frequently are available at the bottom of the page: “The CSS International Financial Aid Application” and “the College Board International Student Certification of Finances”.

International Student Financial Aid Application here.

Student Visas

You will need a student visa to study in a foreign country. You will apply for your visa after you have received a letter of acceptance of a university. You can apply for a US student visa at the US Consulate in Guadalajara. Information on the procedure to obtain an F-1 Student Visa is available here. You can apply for a Canadian visa through the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City. Information on the procedure to obtain a Study Permit is available here.