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Top university successful applicants

The international baccalaureate is one of the most globally recognised high school diplomas by universities from all around the world. Top IB students with improved IB results and top marks in the IB exam papers can expect to have a fairly good chance to be accepted by top universities.

The most popular university destinations for IB students in Hong Kong include the USA, the UK, Canada and Hong Kong. Each of these locations have its one intricacies and things that students need to beware of.

For Hong Kong universities, academic results is the factor that universities consider most. Secondly, students are also required to write a personal statement and conduct interviews for certain universities. The minimum IB requirement for most HK universities is 32. However, it is important that this is only a minimum requirement. For more competitive majors, such as finance and accounting, IB students should aim for at least 37 points in the IB. Then, for more elite majors, such as global business and law, a score of 40-42 would be required. Lastly, the most competitive major would be medicine, where a score of 42 or above would normally be required. For HK universities, you would need to minimum requirements above to have a chance of being admitted as schools are very demanding academically.

For UK universities, students apply through the UCAS system. It is a use-friendly centralised system that allows students to apply to all UK universities. Students can apply to 5 universities with 1 personal statement. The UK is somewhat to similar to HK, in that schools look primarily at student’s academic results. This means that if you don't meet the school’s minimum academic requirement, you wont really have a realistic chance to be admitted. However, the personal statement is also very important, especially for the more prestigious universities, such as LSE, Oxford, Cambridge or UCL. The reason for this is because these schools attract a lot of top students to apply, which means that you will face a lot of competition even if you grades meet the requirement. The admissions officers will literally see tens or hundreds of applicants with the same grade as you, and will need to select only a handful of students to be admitted. Thus, this is the reason why the personal statement and your personal experiences are very important. In your personal statement, you need to express why you are the most ideal candidate for the university. Firstly, you need to explain why you have a passion for your subject. Secondly, you need to convince the officer that your past experiences will help you to succeed in the university that you are applying for. You should not only start to prepare for your university application in your final year. In fact, you should prepare at least 1 year in advance, by joining extra-curricular activities that will help you in your application.

For US universities, the application process is much more complicated than the UK and HK. Schools generally take on a more holistic approach in selecting students, with less focus on students’ academic results. Each university have a long series of 5-10 long essay questions that students need to answer. These questions are designed to understand an applicant more. They are often open-ended questions designed to uncover personality. Moreover, each university have their own set of questions, which is why the workload of applying to US universities is much higher compared to Hong Kong and UK universities. Another important thing to note is that US universities also like to consider other public examination scores, such as the SAT and the ACT. This is why IB students who apply to US universities will generally have to take the SAT and ACT as well.

Lastly, Canadian universities are also quite popular amongst IB students in Hong Kong. Canada is similar to the US, in that there is not a centralised system for university application. Each university has its own application procedures and requirements. This is again why it requires more effort to apply to Canadian universities.

Regardless of where you are applying to, be sure to have a competitive IB grade and to be involved in more extra-curricular activities.

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