26 Feb, 2016
10 : 00
Esther Ng, our Year 13 student following the IB Diploma Programme, has achieved what most of us can only dream of--the offer of placement at Cambridge University for the upcoming academic year. Since Year 12, Esther has been carefully mentored by our University Guidance Office (UGO) team on the pathway to realising her academic goals.
Esther has been with YCIS Hong Kong since Kindergarten. A through-train school with an international curriculum, YCIS has helped Esther prepare for the next stage of her life-- studying overseas. When asked why she didn’t choose to study at one of the Hong Kong universities she replied that she wanted to “get some exposure outside Hong Kong”. A life-changing, three-week “World Challenge” trip to Nepal in the summer after graduating from her IGCSE course played a pivotal role in her decision to leave Hong Kong.
When Esther joined our IB Diploma Programme, she was assigned a personal UGO Counsellor, Mr Strong. They would meet weekly depending on Esther’s needs. Having made the decision to target UK universities, Esther and Mr Strong spent time evaluating universities that offered the best courses in her interested areas. Esther knew from an early stage that she wanted to study Education and History, but she could only find two UK universities that offered the joint honours degree programme--Cambridge and Durham. Esther put in applications for Birmingham, York and UCL too, but decided to focus on Cambridge and Durham.
Esther’s first challenge in the application was to prepare her 4,000 character Personal Statement required by most universities. She found editing it down difficult as she had "so many experiences to talk about!". With the support of Mr Strong, Esther spent many hours perfecting her Statement. Mr Strong’s advice and support proved invaluable, enabling Esther to articulate her intellectual potential and clearly demonstrate what makes her stand out from other applicants.
A couple of months after submitting her application to Cambridge in October 2015, Esther received an invitation to a first interview via Skype. Mr Strong then introduced her to a highly experienced education professor. They met regularly to discuss trending topics and the diverse opinions of thought leaders in the field to prepare the questions that might be asked in the interview. In addition, she read many important reference books, listened to related podcasts and watched documentaries.
The first interview went well but she felt extremely nervous in the second interview and was worried that she wouldn’t get in. However Esther was pleasantly surprised and relieved when she received an offer from Cambridge within the month.
When asked what tips she might give other students tackling the difficult decision of which universities to study at, Esther recommended taking a trip there if possible “to look around their campuses and get a taste of the local environment”. Esther also believes that students should not be put off applying for a top university where students might be fighting for a 1-in-5 chance to get a place. “After all, why shouldn’t you be the one?” she stated emphatically.
A recent report conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that IB Diploma Programme students are 57% more likely to get accepted into one of the UK’s top 20 universities than their A Level counterparts. IB students should now have even more reason to feel confident to apply to the most sought after tertiary institutions. If you’d like to learn more about the YCIS Hong Kong’s IB Diploma Programme, why not come to our next Secondary Information Session or arrange a Private Tour.