College Counseling

College Counseling at HCAS centers on preparing students for success in a well-chosen college that matches their academic and social needs.  This begins with strong study skills that are reflected in courses that challenge them.  Students reflect on their values to find a school that reinforces that.  Integrity matters. 


Our students choose colleges from all around the world, so a family's geographic desires are included in making a balanced list of 8-10 schools.  This list should include those that are a reach to get in, those that are likely for acceptance, and those schools whose average accepted GPA and standardized test scores would make a student's acceptance a pretty safe bet, called a "safe school."  


A robust and courageous conversation is required for students and parents to align their college choices away from the top 75 schools in the U.S.  There are over 2,700 undergraduate, degree-granting institutions in the U.S. and the majority are earnestly seeking international students.  With the exploding number of secondary college-prep high schools around the world, the applicants to Tier 1's and Ivy Leagues will only increase.  The College Counselor's job is to broaden the choices of schools that "fit." 


Colleges are looking for candidates whose applications will spike from the rest.  This could be exceptional talent in sports, music, or the arts.  It could be long-lasting community service that leaves an impact that benefits others or written and verbal fluency in multiple languages.  Most importantly, the element of outstanding character cannot be overstated.  Holistic evaluation involves viewing much more than grades.  Colleges require evaluation of a student's concern for others and contribution to his or her school;  HCAS encourages this well-roundedness in our 7 C's.  


COVID has altered the landscape of the college application process.  Nearly half of U.S. schools are now "test-flexible," which means that an application can be considered complete without the standardized test scores for the SAT or ACT.  If a score will help an application, then it should be included.  If the student was denied a chance to take a test or to improve a score, then s/he will NOT be penalized.  English proficiency tests are still required for most international students though.  Also, a percentage of accepted students have chosen to defer matriculation during the pandemic, so the number of available slots for this year is even lower.


Students' chances of admittance are increased in some schools who demonstrate interest in a college before applying.  We encourage students to take part in virtual panels and tours - reaching out to make a personal connection to admission officers. 


The College Counselor assists students with crafting and editing their personal statements and supplements as well.  This often requires multiple drafts to put their best qualities in their best words - often in their non-native language. 


Parents and students can make appointments with the College Counselor at any time.  Conversations-with-the-Counselor are held each term for parents to learn about best and current practices in the college application process.

See a full list of College Counseling duties below: 


General College Counseling

Parents who do not speak English should not be discouraged to contact us as we offer this service in Mandarin as well as English.

It is always a big decision when it comes to choosing a university, and we understand both parents and the students’ angst, so we encourage parents and students to make an appointment with the college counselor to talk about your plans for the future. 


We look forward to working with all of you.


On and Off Campus


Of course limited by COVID-19, HCAS offers volunteer opportunities that are encouraged, but not required. 

Teacher Assistant Programs offer service hours that, if worked full-time, can be transferred into a single credit. 

Volunteerism is a great way to show colleges that students care not just about grades, but about the wellbeing of their community. 


College Visit Coordination

On hold due to COVID-19


Prior to COVID-19, HCAS coordinated college visits for Juniors and Seniors who are choosing where to spend their next four monumental years. 

Many colleges are transitioning to virtual college visits to assist students in the search for their dream schools, despite the current circumstances. 


Course Selection

In and out of high school


HCAS College Counselors will assist students in selecting the necessary courses that ensure they have fulfilled all graduation requirements. 

Additionally, Counselors will assist students in choosing which courses to take during their first year at university. This is to help scholars off to a strong start by fulfilling their general education requirements as well as taking classes that interest them.  

Exam Day

AP Exam Coordination



HCAS offers 10 AP classes that can be transferred into college credits for select schools. This is pending the student pass the exam, which is always held in the first two weeks of May. Each exam is $125 USD for international students. Mock AP exams are not offered schoolwide, but instead fall under the jurisdiction of each specific AP teacher.  

SAT Administration



As a response to parental requests stating their desire for increased SAT preparation, HCAS now offers 8 mock SAT exams this year. These tests will be free and will be graded and returned to students within one week. 

PSAT Administration


The "P" in PSAT stands for preliminary. This means that SAT preparation is offered for students in grades 8, 9, and 10. Students transition to the legitimate SAT in grades 11 and 12. 

As of now, HCAS offers no mock PSAT as the PSAT itself is a mock SAT to better prepare students.

School Profile

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Adult Students

Students should have an emerging 

list of reach, likely, and safety schools by:

End of

Grade 11

University Building

College should fit you:

Academically, Socially, Geographically, and Financially

Important Information Regarding Financial Aid:

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Need-Based Aid

Merit-Based Aid

Need-based scholarships are awarded to those who demonstrate financial need. 

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to recognize outstanding academic performance, talents, and leadership abilities. 

School Application
International students must apply for U.S. financial aid via: 


Students interested in schools in the United Kingdom should know that HCAS recently became a UCAS Centre! 

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College Entrance Exams




Scholastic Assessment Test

This is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test created and administered by the College Board. 


The SAT measures high school students' readiness for college. It also provides colleges with a singular common data point that is used to compare all applicants.

Length: 3 hours (+50 minutes if taking it with the Essay)

Sections: Math, Reading, Writing, Essay

Cost: $52 USD for international students. $68 USD for international students who take it with the Essay

Highest Possible Score: 1600

Average Score: 1060

American College Testing

This is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by ACT, Inc.

The SAT measures high school students' readiness for college. It also provides colleges with a singular common data point that is used to compare all applicants.

Length: 2 hours, 55 minutes (+40 minutes if taking it with the Writing)

Sections: Math, English, Science, Reading, Writing is optional

Cost: $150 USD for international students. $166.50 USD for international students who take it with the Writing

Highest Possible Score: 36

Average Score: 21

Test of English as a Foreign Language

This is a standardized test that measures one's mastery of the English language. Not all universities require this exam for entrance, but it is helpful for international students to prove they are fluent in English. 

The question formats of this exam are: multiple choice, sentence insertion, and “reading-to-learn.”

Length: 3.5 hours, including check in

Sections: Reading, Listing, Speaking, Writing

Cost: $210 USD

Highest Possible Score: 120

Average Score: 82