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Applying for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge

By ITS Education Asia

Oxford University

ITS was recently invited to give a presentation to more than fifty high-flying HKDSE students from top Hong Kong schools, who are interested in applying for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge or for Medical degrees at UK universities, as well as a number of careers and guidance masters from their schools. The event was organised by the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters (www.hkacmgm.org/), with assistance from the British Council (www.britishcouncil.org/) and the Education Bureau (www.edb.gov.hk/). After opening addresses by Flora Yau of HKACMGM and Sophia Chan-Combrink of the British Council, the ITS team presented its advice. ITS has a long track record of giving students helpful advice on writing personal statements for their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (‘UCAS’) applications; we have helped hundreds of students to gain places at their preferred universities since 2006. As recognised experts in the area, we were delighted to have the opportunity to be able to help some of Hong Kong’s very best students.

Sue Smith, Director of Exam Services, gave a presentation on the process of applying to UK universities via UCAS. Sue gave detailed guidance on the on-line UCAS application process and reminded students and counsellors of the key deadlines. Danny Harrington, co-owner of ITS, spoke about the critically important issue of personal statement writing. All UCAS applications must include a personal statement of no more than whichever is fewer of 4,000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines. Danny explained that this statement, which is sent to all five of the universities for which the student has applied, should focus on demonstrating the student’s intellectual curiosity and their reasons for wanting to study a particular subject at university level. Matt Wisbey, Director of Studies, finished the presentation by giving the counsellors advice on how they should help students with their personal statement writing and what they consider when preparing references.

Once the main presentations were completed, the group split into three for breakout sessions: Danny worked with those students interested in Oxford and Cambridge; Sue ran a workshop for students interested in medical degrees; while Matt gave advice to the careers and guidance masters in attendance. All those who attended seemed to find the seminar very useful and we at ITS are delighted to have been able to assist the students and counsellors in this way. Flora Yau commented that “The workshop was indeed an impressive one as the top students in Hong Kong gained the most up-to-date information of UCAS and also the valuable advice on how to write inspiring personal statement to gain better chance to get into the universities”. We at ITS are, of course, always delighted to help students to navigate the complexity of the UCAS application process. If we can help you or your child, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

To book a personal statement writing lesson with Sue, Danny, Matt, or one of our other expert tutors, please email us at [email protected]. Please note that applications for entry to Oxford, Cambridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science in 2012 must be submitted to UCAS by 15 October 2011; applications for all other universities and courses must be submitted by 15 January 2012.

Matt Wisbey

Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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