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Tuesday 16-Jun-2015
【The Standard:Study in the UK】Acting true to form

Applying to universities in the UK involves a little more than filling in an application form and hoping for the best.

Applicants need to search for courses, be aware of deadlines, and spend time on writing a glowing personal statement which knocks the admissions tutor off his or her feet.

The first article in this mini UCAS series outlined my conviction that doing lots of research, putting questions to university and UCAS representatives and attending UCAS conventions early are all key components to finding the right course and attending the university which suits a student's needs and expectations.

I will now shift the focus to the ins and outs of filling in the UCAS application form, writing an impressive personal statement and building a positive relationship with referees.

Filling in the UCAS application

The first step is to register on the UCAS website in order to enter personal details, create a username, as well as set up a password and security information.

For international students, there are six sections to complete:

1) Personal details;

2) Choices: there's no preference order, and choices are hidden, meaning that universities cannot view students' other choices;

3) Education: current and pending qualifications;

4) Employment: full- or part-time;

5) Personal statement; and

6) Reference.

I cannot overemphasize the usefulness of the "nominated access" function.

Essentially, one or two nominated people - a teacher, adviser or parent - can contact UCAS on an applicant's behalf to discuss the application if the applicant is not in a position to do so.

These names can be entered at the bottom of the personal details section.

A convincing personal statement

The most important part of the application process is the personal statement.

From my experience dealing with concerned students who want to write a convincing personal statement, it is vital to approach it as if it is an essay.

Applicants should first put words or small phrases - relating to reasons why they are excited about the courses they wish to study - on to paper.

These reasons can be developed into headings, and these headings can be supported by bullet points which list supporting evidence to support their optimism for the courses.

Headings and the supporting bullet points make paragraphs, and paragraphs make the final product.

Supporting evidence includes work experience, extracurricular activities and relevant soft skills - for example, evidence of leadership.

Structure is key.

The first part of the statement should be somewhat catchy, full of enthusiasm and excitement, and an understanding of what the course entails.

The main body of the statement details the evidence to support your interest in the course (in other words supporting evidence).

The closing paragraph should contain a clear and concise statement which states why the course is right for you - and why you are well-suited to study the course.

The drafting and redrafting process should then come into effect.

Check, check and check again.

Plagiarism should also be discouraged as UCAS has some very nifty systems to detect it.

Trustworthy teachers, advisers and friends can also be called upon to check and give feedback on personal statements.

One area in which Hong Kong students may slip up when writing their personal statements is the need to stress English language ability.

Universities need to know why you can successfully complete a course that is taught in English.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with informing admissions tutors of past studies which have been examined or taught in English or of any other extracurricular activities where English has featured.

Getting a referee on your side

Referees have to predict your grades in your current level of study.

This assists universities to see if candidates are expected to satisfy the entry requirements for the course.

A further key point surrounds the need for applicants to foster a positive relationship with their referees.

This means asking for advice, being courteous and punctual for meetings.

Referees would like to see reliability displayed in real life.


Samuel Chan is the managing director of Britannia Study Link

Source: Student Standard
Tuesday, 6 June 2015

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Education Experts

With an entrepreneurial spirit spreading across online, print and broadcast media, Samuel is an award-winning educational consultant and celebrated columnist.

As a leader in the field of education, he was honoured with the British Council’s Study UK Alumni Award and his most prestigious achievement to date includes the founding of Hong Kong’s premier educational brands - Britannia StudyLink, Anglo Belgravia and Ascent Prep.

In addition to streamlining the UK independent school application process for Hong Kong families and spearheading the first official UKiset-accredited educational centre in Hong Kong, Samuel has led his company, Britannia, to becoming one of Asia’s leading brands with diverse clients and distinguished institutions ranging from Radley College to HSBC Bank and Hong Kong Telecom.


Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.


MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

#School Analysis
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The ratio of teachers and students in Bromsgrove School is 1:8, which is lower than the average among uk boarding schools. In addition, according to my school visit experience, Bromsgrove has the best facilities, that it is undoubtedly one of the best three campuses in the UK. Besides, Bromsgrove spares no expense to provide students comfortable environment, it even invests on the nearby hotel and transfers it into dormitories. As a result, students can possess the “5-star enjoyment” on campus. To conclude, Bromsgrove is definitely a prospective and globalised uk boarding school.
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