Students have until Saturday to make their final choices. This last-minute decision can be the key to whether or not they receive a desirable offer.
Oliver Wong Lee-shing, 20, is a first-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Marketing student at City University (CityU). He says interest and ability are the two factors in making the right choice.
Before getting his results last year, Wong went to a seminar for A-level students hosted by Alex Tham Koy-siong. Tham is a teaching fellow from the department of marketing at CityU. Wong gained insight into choosing the right degree - and planning the rest of his life.
Wong initially put Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as his first choice.
'I considered HKUST one of the top three institutions in Hong Kong, alongside the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University. I thought, why not go for it if my academic results are good enough?' he says.
Tham reminded him that the most important thing in university education is getting the most opportunities to learn, not getting into a famous school.
'Given my results, I could have got into HKUST, but I might be lagging behind a little as the majority of the other students have better results than me. It will be tough for me to compete for good placements or other learning opportunities,' Wong says.
He cites a classic example. A primary student who was the number one student at his school transferred to a famous secondary school. He was a capable student, but the intense competition from other students wore him out and he began to lose confidence in himself.
'It affected his prospects even though he entered a prestigious school,' Wong says.
University life is the golden period for a student to gain as much exposure and learn as much as possible, Wong says.
'Tham taught me to put myself in the position where I can gain the most exposure and opportunities to strengthen my resum? He said employers value a person's ability and personality, not the name of their school.'
Wong adds that students should be very careful when making choices in Band A - the three top choices in Jupas.
'I would choose a major I am very interested in but had results that are a little lower than the entrance requirements. The two other choices would be subjects I'm interested in and can fulfil the requirements. Interest as the most important criteria in choosing a major, but students also need to be realistic.'
Some students just want to get into a prestigious university and do not care about what major they end up studying. This is a disaster, according to Wong. 'It's natural for people to do better in things they are interested in. If you choose a major that you're not interested in, your results are going to be poor,' he says.
'It's a waste of time spending three years learning something that you have no passion for. In the end, you might not have improved or learned anything at all.'
For students with less desirable results, opting for an associate degree is a better choice than repeating, Wong advises. The associate degree is gaining more recognition, and there's always the opportunity to continue university later.