Admissions

Pointers on admission interviews for Hong Kong Universities (Part 3)

Here comes the last part of our interview series. We are going to offer you some final reminders of how to best present yourself in the interview.

#1 Asking questions

Usually admission interviews end with the interviewer asking you if you have any questions for them. This is a good chance for you to know more about the program, and to show you know their program very well and are very interested in getting in.

  Ask something that you could have and should have known
Don’t make the mistake of asking something obvious. Eg, the structure of the programme, the prospect it offers…these are information that is easily available in admission talks, open days, and school websites.
Ask ‘extension questions’
So you are very interested in this particular university programme and in particular the exchange opportunities it offers, you can ask more as to how it works  (assuming that the information is not available to you after you have tried looking for it)

#2 Preparing a resume/cv

Even if you are asked to send in your portfolio/resume/cv prior to the interview, always prepare two to three more copies and bring them with you. This is because the administrative staff we receive your resume earlier might not have passed it onto the interviewer and he/she may expect you to have one with you.

#3 Be familiar with your resume/cv

Very often, interviewers will ask you questions based on what you have on your resume. For example, if you put that you have done internship at a certain company for one month, be prepared to be asked what you did there and what you learnt out of it.

[For more specific pointers on resume, read: How to write a good resume?]

#4 Be confident and happy

This is not easy but it is really important. If you are one of those who get nervous easily (like me!), try to tell yourself that you are just going in for a friendly chit-chat, nothing more. So keep down, smile and have fun!

#5 Be polite

Having said that, do remember that you are the student and the interviewer is the teacher/professor. So do show your respect and behave appropriately.

#6 Arrival

Be punctual
Be EARLY!

Always be at least 15 minutes early for an interview. This is because

  • finding the interview room in universities is much more challenging than most of us anticipate
  • arriving early gives you time and calm down, get used to the atmosphere there and make an observation of what’s going on.

It is actually a good idea to check out your interview venue prior to the interview. If you don’t have time, at least check campus maps online to make sure you know where it is.

#7 Attire
Be very careful if your interview invitation specifies what attire you should wear. Is it formal, smart casual, or business casual?

If it does not specify, my advice is, it’s better to turn up in a suit even if all others turn out to be wearing tees and jeans, than to be the only one in jeans in a room of formally dressed people.

With all our pointers passed to you now, good luck and enjoy your coming interviews!

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Pointers on admission interviews for Hong Kong Universities (Part 2)

Dear readers, we have moved our blog over to Defind at http://defind.com.hk/defind-blog. Please follow the link for our newest education information.


So last time we covered how to prepare for self-introduction, an essential part of any interview, what’s next?

Group discussion

From my experience, most of the Hong Kong universities’ admission interviews take the form of a group discussion given the limited time and resources. Here are some tips as to how you can make the best out of it.

#1 It’s a discussion, not a debate
You may be given a heated topic to discuss and someone in the group may have opposing views to yours. While you want to explain your view, keep in mind that showing you know how to communicate is more important than showing why you are right.

  Do it in the manner and attitude as if you are discussing the daily news with a friend.
‘Yes, I do see your point as to why […], but for me, I find […] to be a more important factor’.
  Utilise all your debating skills to attack your group mate.
‘Firstly, I do not agree with you that…; Secondly, your argument contains the logical flaw that…; Thirdly, it is not factually correct that…’

#2 Be a listener

Listen to what your group mates have to say.

More importantly, show that you have listened by referring to his/her points. It would be even better if you can remember his/her name and use it in the referral.

eg. ‘I think that…[…]…. In fact, this is similar to what [group mate’s name] pointed out just now.’

#3 If it is a topic you are not familiar with…

Don’t panic.

A lot of times the interviewers want to know what kind of person you are through observing the way you communicate and how you reason your points. The content may not be that important.

So, if it is a topic you are not important, the most important thing is not to lose confidence. Listen to what the others have to say, and link what you know to the discussion.

#4 If it is a topic you are very familiar with…
Think carefully what it is that you really want the interviewers to know about you. To put it more blatantly, what qualities of you will get you into that particular programme. Find it out and focus on it.

Show that you are good at it.
Say, the topic of discussion is air pollution. You definitely want to throw in terms like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides when explaining how they are bad for our health or how they are produced. This will differentiate you from the others who could only use general terms such as pollutants or gases.
Start spending too much time on the ‘technical issues’
Unless the given topic requires you to be that specific, there is no need to recite everything from your geography or chemistry lessons as to the exact process how those pollutants are formed, especially if you are actually doing an interview for an unrelated subject (eg. law/business) and the interviewer just wants you to discuss how air pollution affects our lives.

#5 Be eager
This is especially important if your group mates are rather shy and reserved. Be energetic and make it a happy discussion for everyone. The interviewer has probably listened to five similar discussions already that day and he/she would be thankful to you for making it a more lively one.

Remember to read part 3 where we would share with you some final general reminders and make sure you are all set for your admission interviews!

Pointers on admission interviews for Hong Kong Universities (Part 1)

When applying for degree programmes offered by universities in Hong Kong under JUPAS, many of them shortlist applicants to attend an interview. If you have any interview invitations, congratulations because it means you are being considered. So, now what?

This post will go over a few things that you may want to keep in mind when preparing for and during your interview.

The Self-introduction Part

Nearly every interview inevitable starts with a self-introduction. If you do well in it, you are half way there, so let’s see how we can have a good start.

#1 Be fully prepared.
Have anything planned out, rehearse what you will talk about, time yourself, practice in front of the mirror…

  be very familiar with your self-introduction
  sound as though you are memorizing and reading from a script during the interview. To avoid that, I find it useful to add pauses between sentences and ideas.

#2 Avoid being generic.

Some of you may want to talk about why you want to study a particular programme as part of your self-introduction. That is totally fine but make sure it is a good reason and not something really obvious.

Eg. if you are applying for law school then you may want to go more in depth than just saying that you want to be a lawyer because you value justice, or else it will sound very hollow.

#3 Make it personal
This DOES NOT mean that you have to say or do something really special that no one else would.

An easy way to make your self-introduction to sound more personal and appealing is to share your experience illustrating your points. Is there any particular events that make you decide you want to study that subject?

#4 Focus on a few points
Think carefully what it is that you really want the interviewers to know about you. To put it more blatantly, what qualities of you will get you into that particular programme. Find it out and focus on it.

go deeper and illustrate your points more fully
quickly cover too many issues with little support.

This brings us to the next tip.

#5 Use examples to support yourself
If you say you are very interested in business, how? What activities have you done that are related to business? Or, is there any particular corporations or recent business news that have caught your attention?

Or, if you say that your hobby is doing community services,
go into one or two particular service you did and what you gained from it
saying “I spend lots of time doing different kinds of community services with different NGOs” (even if it is true)

So, that’s pretty much it. Do read Part 2, which will cover group discussions and some general reminders of how to behave in the interview.

Good luck!

SAT一切須知

SAT Reasoning Test 是報讀美國大學的程序中至為關鍵的一環;這是考生之間作為比較的準則。鑑於它的重要性,我們決定另開一個條目以作介紹。

簡介
SAT 由 College Board所管理。 你需要登入其 official website, 創建一個新帳號,並報名參加考試。切記SAT每年只會舉辦六次。雖然官方的報名期限是於考試舉行前一個月截止的,但事實上報名人數眾多,一般而言名額很快就 會額滿(尤其內地學生也會來香港應試,所以這個問題更需注意)。報名時間比較晚的同學,則有可能要對離自己較遠的試場(如新界等)應該,十分不便;更甚 地,如果報名太遲的話,最壞情況下可能連應考機會也落空。

應考準備機構一覽
坊間許多著名的應考準備機構,如Kaplan, The Edge, Princeton Review 等,皆可在考試準備及手續等事情上助你一臂之力。這些機構提供許多解決困難考題的方法,也有它自己的一系列模擬測驗。參加這些機構所提供的課程,確實有助於提升你的SAT成績;然而,這些機構不是神仙,它們對提升你成績的助力也是有其限度的,如在2400的滿分下,把你的分數從1800提升到2050等。如閣下想要獲得比這些分數更高的成績(詳情請參考我們的 如何比較SAT, HKCEE, HKDSE, GCE, IB 的成績? 比較表),那就要多下苦功了。

關於三大考試範疇的詳細分析:

閱讀
閱讀理解是大部分本地考生最為聞風喪膽的一環。遺憾的,對付這種考題不能抄捷徑,只能踏踏實實打好自己的語言底子。

  1. 首先,嘗試每天閱讀短篇的文章,並以閱讀一次就能明白文章內容為目標。
  2. 嘗試閱讀不同種類的文章,如小說、古典文學、日常時事,或各種報章雜誌。
  3. 為自己計時。如你需要以3分鐘閱讀一份800字的論文,嘗試令其減至2,甚至1分鐘。這是因為在閱讀理解的部分,考生必須以20分鐘閱讀5篇文章,且以其內容回答20或更多條題目。因此,快速且準確的掌握文章要點,是至為關鍵的。
  4. 擴充自己的生字量。你知道越多英文生字,你對文章的了解就越透徹。我們建議,你購買內有SAT生字表的書本(如 Barron’s)。你可以每天一頁的進度,慢慢熟習生字表中所有的生字。當然最後你未必可以全部熟記,但在考試當日許多生字都會出現。即便這些生字沒有出現,你的英語程度也會在熟讀生字表後大大提升,對你百利而無一害。當然,你必須及早開始!

寫作
對許多香港考生而言,這個部分的難度在閱讀部分及數學部分之間。若要獲得高分,文章則需要有相當長度。

  1. 還是需要每天練習,嘗試於25分鐘內寫出一段短篇文章。如認為難度太高,則可以35分鐘為限,努力達至在25分鐘內完成目標。
  2. 寫文時,緊記跟隨標準的 5段寫作法 (即引言、論點一、論點二、論點三、結論,詳情請看我們以後推出的寫文教學篇章)。再次強調,凡事皆需用功;寫得越多,也就寫得越好。

至於寫作部分裡的多重選擇題,大多數憑常識、直覺都能解決。而即便問題不是如此直接,多加練習,也就能更準確地看出題種。考生通常忽略的常見錯誤,如parallelism等,在SAT的應試參考書,及上面論及的應試準備課程中一般都會提及;這也是對應試有莫大助力的。

數學
雖然許多香港考生都認為數學是三大範疇中最簡單的一項,事實上卻不是如此簡單。這是因為,認為考試題目簡單的可能不止你一人;你將會有不少競爭對手。切記,SAT是曲線擬合(亦即俗稱的「拉curve」)的。這個制度進行得嚴謹的時候(亦即當許多考生皆表現優異的時候),做錯一題則可能令你的分數從800跌至780,而再錯一題,則會令你再丟失20分,不容小覷。

  1. 考前一天,切記睡眠充足
  2. 審題謹慎
  3. 即使你提早完成問題,最好重新翻看一次答案,確保無誤。

對有意提升自己英語程度的考生,可參考以下文章: https://hkedu.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/how-can-local-school-students-excel-in-english/

祝你考試順利!

美國大學的申請程序

這是美國大學申請索引的第五部。


我們將會討論各類型的申請程序及注意事項。

申請種類

大部分美國大學均接受 Common App 系統的入學申請,但部分學校要求申請者在官方網站遞交申請,例如 MIT, University of California (UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego etc).

介紹遞交申請的方法後,以下介紹三類申請:

  1. Early Action
    • 截止日期較早(通常約11月1日)
    • 會較早收到入學申請通知 (約12月中)
    • 即使收到入學通知,仍然可以選擇放棄而選擇其他學校
  2. Early Decision
    • 截止日期較早(通常約11月1日)
    • 會較早收到入學申請通知 (約12月中)
    • 收到入學通知後,你不可以再選擇其他學校。
  3. Regular Admissions
    • 所有學校均提供這個選擇
    • 截止日期較遲(通常12月31 / 1月1日)
    • 較遲公佈入學通知(通常約4月1日)

提提你~
EA 和 ED 的分別是 EA 可讓你再自由選擇其他學校,但ED不能;你不可以再向其他院校提出申請。申請EA的學生卻可以仍然申請 Regular Applications,那麼你便可以選擇些更有名或競爭激烈的學府了!

Community College:

這類院校在自己的網站提供入學申請表格,但有些學校透過 CCCApply 招攬學生。

截止日期

不同學校有不同的截止日期,大部分則是11月1日至1月1日。例如 Stanford University 的常規截止日期是1月1日,但 Brown University 的截止日期是1月2日。除此之外,你也要留意時差啊!很多在西岸的院校採用太平洋時區,但東岸的學校則採用東岸的時區。

所以謹記要留意心儀學校的截止日期及時區啊!

個人資料

大學需要很多資料,包括以下(或更多):

  • 中學成績
  • 公開考試成績,例如 AP, SAT/ACT, IB 分數
  • 課外活動
  • 家庭背照
  • 還有其他……

記得先輸入這些資料,因為這些資料不是幾小時就拎得到的啊!

入學申請撰寫的短文

最後就是那些煩人的文章了!在Common App 的系統裏,所有學校要求你寫篇文章。除此之外,大部分院校均需要申請人另外再撰寫一篇額外的文章(稱為supplements). 這類文章通常需要一篇長達2500字的文章及幾道短題答案。

這些文章對你的入學申請結果有極大影響,所以我們將會設立一篇文章特別討論,請繼續密切留意。


完成了基本申請程序後,是時候要閱讀一下老師的推薦信了(coming soon!)!