Dalian American International School helps students make thoughtful choices about their future. Our certified and experienced college counselors give expert guidance and support to our students as they transition from secondary to higher education. Their expertise expands from top 10 liberal art colleges in the U.S., Red Brick Universities in the U.K. to professional art colleges. From writing references and recommendation letters to providing feedback on applications and holding mock interviews, we ensure that every student has the tools to master the college application process and secure a place at their first-choice university.
Oliver Cai, DAIS 2022 graduate, received offers from 7 well-known art universities, and got a total of 202,000 US dollars (about 1.4 million RMB) in scholarships. He plans to study interior design at Pratt Institute of Art (7th in the 2022 QS World Rankings).
Oliver attended DAIS for 4 years and had been in the traditional middle school beforehand. With the support of his parents, he came to DAIS in high school and gained new experience in interpersonal communication and career planning. "The atmosphere of DAIS is more inclusive, the students are more friendly, and the teachers have provided me with a lot of help."
Oliver's love for art sprang from his childhood. His parents were engaged in landscape design and took him to travel since he was a child. Oliver was gradually attracted by hotels of different styles all over the world. He loved to observe the decoration of hotels, and was curious about the knowledge of space. In the 9th grade, through communication with his art teacher, he confirmed his interests.
"The art teacher tapped my interest, by communicating with the teacher I confirmed that my passion was architecture and interior design, which made it easier for me to determine the major in the ninth grade and further narrow the scope of the target colleges, and also boosted my motivation."
From Grade 8 onwards, we individually meet with each student helping them pick their courses for the upcoming school year but also work with them to develop a plan based on their interests and academic needs.
With the support of the school's teachers, Oliver further explored the field of architecture and design by participating in summer schools and extracurricular programs. He took part in the UAL winter program in grade 10 and SIC-Arc design program in grade 11. These experiences helped him acquire skills in the professional field before attending college. "You can't forget your interests, and you must keep improving your expertise. Participate in more projects, summer and winter courses. This enhances your background and expands your professional knowledge. For example, I studied software architecture modeling in summer school".
We have regular workshops with students where we discuss how they can develop deep interests and look at possible careers, how to maximize their summer opportunities, and how to develop good study habits based on evidence-based research.
Oliver's counselor was Ms. Carrie Sun. Art students' college applications focus on portfolios and essays. "The university needs to understand why I applied for this major, why I chose this university, what shaped my character, not just what I have accomplished. Ms. Carrie gave me a lot of help during this period, including essay guidance, the topic of the portfolio, etc. She reviewed my portfolio from the audience perspective."
Oliver's portfolio is a comic book "Who I Am" that shows the story of self-discovery and awakening. It describes how he transformed and grew through pain and darkness. This is the story of his self-rebirth. With the help of his classmates and teachers, he found himself and a new life.
Our comprehensive Counseling Dept. has a strong wellness focus. It means we help students deal with a number of non-academic problems they may be facing such as anxiety, stress, or simply just being a teenager.
Speaking of future plans, Oliver is willing to open his own architectural company, "to be like the masters", with the goal of providing interior design for world-renowned hotels.
“Zhaxilamu once said in "Mumbling": " Everything appeared in life can only be experienced instead of being owned by people." During this year, we have experienced ups and downs. Oliver's talent, tenacity, perseverance, and past traumas have turned into magical power, making him a phoenix from nirvana. I am honored to witness and accompany him through all his accomplishments, and I am certain he will carry on with his inner tenacity through his future journey.”
Ms. Carrie Sun
Finally, Oliver wants to say thank you to the teachers and students who helped him along the way. Congratulations to Oliver for his successful graduation from DAIS/DHS, and we wish him all the best in the future!