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It is hard to believe it is almost half term with the end of the year rapidly approaching. This is our busiest time in terms of university visits and submitting applications, and Year 13 students have been working particularly hard at finalizing their essays and filling out applications.

DC's First University Fair

DC's first University Fair was a huge success and we have received very positive feedback from both students and university representatives.

‘This was an excellent event considering I had no idea where I wanted to go for further education. Talking to the university representatives made me feel a lot more confident about my future. ‘ Paras Bindra, Year 13.

‘I just wanted to take a moment here to say thank you for the excellent university fair yesterday at Discovery College. I know it was the school's first, and I want to tell you that it was perfectly executed, from the pre-arrival communication to the warm welcome from ambassadors and the great enthusiasm with which many students and parents approached the fair.’ Charlie Weston, Creighton University, USA.

‘I think that the university fair really broadened my views about what universities I want to attend. It allowed me to consider more possibilities for my future.’ -- Charlotte Hodgson, Year 12.

This will definitely become an annual event and we would welcome any feedback and suggestions from students or parents about the fair for next year.

Site Visits to HKU and HKUST

On Tuesday 30 September, the HEO organized a group of 25 Year 12 and 13 students to tour the campuses of HKUST and HKU, meet with the admissions officers and professors, and talk with current students.

It was very informative and gave students a unique insight into studying at these top universities. Highlights included meeting one of our alum, Galen Law-kun at HKUST, and listening to a fascinating lecture on Engineering at HKUST. Even for non-science majors, this was an enlightening and eye-opening introduction to the field of Engineering.

‘I really enjoyed the trip and have had a better understanding on university applications and lifestyle.’ -- Zena Chan, Y12.

‘We met many students there who gave an account of what student life was like and we were able to try the food there and have a tour of campus. ‘ -- Kathy Lau, Y12.

We are planning further site visits throughout the year to CUHK, City University, SCAD and Poly U. Please make sure you take the initiative to join these trips as they are tailor designed for DC students, and provide a very different experience from an Open Day Event when thousands of secondary school students attend.

Use Ding!

This really is the ‘HE Bible’ as far as Year 12 and Year 13 are concerned and we actively encourage you to use it on a regular basis. From keeping up to date on which universities are visiting DC and Hong Kong, to looking at sample admissions essays and registering for the SAT, the HEO section on Ding offers students extensive resources to guide them through the whole process from start to finish.

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With the Oxbridge and US Early Decision deadlines now having passed, the next impending deadlines are for the University of California on Friday 31 October and UCAS on Friday 7 November 2014.

As you may be aware, the deadlines set by the HEO are earlier than the official deadlines set by the universities and there are specific reasons for this. Firstly the counsellors do a lot of work in preparing supporting documentation for the applications - this includes gathering transcripts, writing and co-ordinating references, checking predicted grades and assisting with admissions essays. Therefore the deadlines are set in order to ensure that applications can be efficiently checked, amended if necessary and submitted in a timely and efficiently manner. Secondly, the earlier applications are submitted, the more competitive they will be - this is the advice we received directly from admissions officers.

Please click HERE to remind yourself of impending and important deadlines.

YEAR 12 STUDENTS - What Should They Be Doing Now?

1. The first thing they should be doing is simple - research, research, research. Even if students have a firm list of universities they are intending to apply to, it is important they keep an open mind and remain flexible. There are thousands of options available, many of which are overlooked simply because students are unaware of them. We have spent our last HE session introducing students to some important search engines which will raise their awareness of the wealth of options available.

2. Search for a passion. This is important for all universities but is particularly relevant to the US. Whether it is a particular sport or playing an instrument or following a cause - students are encouraged to find something they love doing and that they can engage in. However make sure it is genuine, sustained and consistent. Universities do not want to see a ‘laundry list’ of endless activities which show little commitment and personal development.


Year 11 students have been re-introduced to Naviance and Family Connections and are in the process of completing personality questionnaires and exploring careers online.

Please make sure you take the time to go through the profiles with your child, the results can be enlightening and are a very useful tool for students to researching different options and pathways.

Calendar of Visits

Please click HERE.

The Importance of COMMUNITY SERVICE in Your University Application

Students tend to underestimate the importance of CAS especially as regards their university applications.

Giving back to the community and being genuinely passionate about a particular cause carries enormous weight, not only in terms of personal growth but also in terms of university readiness and success. Community contribution is becoming increasingly important in college admissions and is a factor that all universities pay particular attention to.

Please see the following articles for further detail:

At DC, there is great emphasis on the importance of community service and the benefits it brings to students on all fronts. Please see the following link for more information:

Community Engagement


Performing Arts

There can be a lot of arguments and concerns about why a student shouldn’t study a performing arts degree. From practicality to the economy, it can be very discouraging for them to hear the many reasons not to study a field they feel passionate about.

However there are many positive outcomes a degree in the performing arts can bring - and it is not all centred around becoming a famous movie star or rock musician.

Look at the following links for some practical information from the experts that will hopefully put minds of parents of passionate performing artists more at ease.

Looking Beyond the Ivy League

Choosing the right university has never been more important or more complex. There are so many myths and misconceptions about applying to institutions it can be quite overwhelming for everyone, especially students.

The link to the article below echoes much of the advice we give to students and parents and advises students ‘Go somewhere where you can do you. That’s what really matters’. This is exactly our philosophy at the HEO. Look beyond the name and find somewhere that is right for YOU.

Have a wonderful half term everyone and a restful and productive week. Look forward to seeing you after the break.

Kind regards,

Susie Blomfield & Amanda Yan

Useful Resources


US – College Board –

Petersons College Search -

Common Application -

US News –

Canada –

Australia –

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