Tick tock ... the deadline for the 2018 Joint University Programmes Admissions System (Jupas) is fast approaching! We know it can be extremely daunting to have to decide which 20 programmes you’d like to apply to, especially when you haven’t even sat your exams yet, so here’s a bit of advice on how to get started.
First things first: Research
You’ll need to do some extensive research to narrow the hundreds of programmes down to 20 choices (as if having to study for your exams isn’t enough).
Ng Po-shing, the director of Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre, says choosing a programme should depend on two factors: what you know about the programme and what you know about yourself.
Besides reading up on each programme, you must remember to also factor your own interests, ability and goals into your decision.
“Many students focus on looking at information on the programmes and don’t spend enough time asking themselves if it is the right programme for them,” says Ng. He gives medicine as an example: “It’s a great and popular programme, the admission requirements are high, and doctors are well paid, but ask yourself: do you have the patience to be a doctor?”
Making the most of Band A and B
Your top six choices (A1-A3, B4-B6) are without doubt the most important. Make sure you’re happy with these six choices before you start selecting your other choices, says Ng.
Statistics show that, of the students who were enrolled into a programme of their choice, more than 80 per cent got into one that they placed in Band A while 10 per cent got into a programme that they put down in Band B.
Ng encourages students to plan their preferences well. “Find three programmes you’d equally be happy with and put them in A. The programme in A1 can be very competitive and hard to get into, then you can select a less competitive programme as your second choice (A2). Your third choice (A3) should be the safest of the three and the one that is most likely to give you an offer,” says Ng.
You can adopt the same strategy for B, with your fourth choice (B4) being the riskiest while your sixth choice (B6) should be a safe guarantee.
The decision you make by December 6 isn’t final, reminds Ng. You can still change your choices until May 23 next year, by paying a fee of HK$80.
Over the next six months, after having sat your DSE exams, you would have gained a better idea of the kind of results you can expect to get and would then be able to adjust your choices accordingly.
“For the time being, it doesn’t hurt to prioritise your interests early on. Even if your choices are a bit ambitious, it could push you to study harder for your exams,” says Ng.
Another tip is to check whether the programmes you’re interested in require interviews, and whether you would do them before or after the DSE results are released.
Ng said to “try to place the early interview ones in Band A so you have more of an advantage of being considered.”
What else can I submit?
In addition to the mandatory material you have to hand in with your application, students can also choose to submit additional material that further shows their experience such as proof of doing social service and music certificates. “It offers a foundation for any potential interviews; for example, if you are applying to a programme in social work, experience in social service would show your interest in caring for people,” says Ng.
Will combined DSE results be considered?
All universities will consider the best results in their “combined cert” by default. However, some popular programmes at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University, for example, impose a penalty on applications with combined HKDSE results. Check with individual universities for details just to be safe.