30 Apr, 2020
10 : 00
Earlier this month, Jonathan Mellen, YCIS Beijing's University Guidance Officer, sat down with three students from our graduating class to chat with them about their experiences with eLearning and their thoughts on graduating Secondary School in the time of COVID-19.
Sydney Lee, Amy Yin and Hyunju Ju have all received exceptional university offers and will be attending the prestigious Columbia University in New York, the University of Edinburgh, one of Scotland's ancient universities, and the top-ranked Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) respectively.
Amy, who has been at YCIS Beijing the longest out of her two classmates, began her journey as a Scorpion in 2007 as a K4 learner, whilst Sydney joined her in Year 8. Hyunju, on the other hand, became their classmate in Year 10, with 2020 being the last of her 4-year schooling career.
Reflecting on the Application Process
The university application process was grueling for all three students and took several application submissions before they could decide on their final choices. Sydney applied to seven institutions, Hyunju to three and Amy to a whopping list of 13 universities. As a result, this process offered them opportunities to learn and challenges for the students. For Hyunju the limit to how much she could write on her personal statement was a hindrance "I needed to carefully choose some activities that would reflect on me the best" she said.
Amy who applied to both American and British universities found some of the entry exams to be the most challenging part. The exams were "unexpectedly hard because I was practicing using the past few years' papers, so I did not expect the level of difficulty in the paper that I had to take." said the soon to be Computer Science undergraduate student.
All students took the SAT assessment, designed for college admissions in the US, prepared personal statements and had recommendation letters provided to submit with their applications.
With the above challenges also came lessons, nevertheless. Amy advises that her successors decide early on what major they would like to pursue because that way they "can direct more efforts towards that particular major" something she found to be helpful. Her views were echoed by Hyunju who said this will help you "search for curriculums taught in different universities, which is one of the ways you can use to choose where to go". Sydney, on the contrary, believes that what matters is not choosing your major earlier, but knowing which direction one would like to follow can be help to be better prepared.
The Effects of eLearning
The spread of COVID-19 brought numerous changes to their academic life which included the method of teaching and learning. Online learning was introduced and saw many of our students, teachers and parents step up to the plate. Some senior students found it to be workable, although classes such as Science and Biology require a level of hands-on work. Overall, the transition to online learning provided the senior class with more time to focus on self-study and to complete assignments.
Another substantial change due to the virus was the cancellation of IB Exams, which was met with ambivalence from the students. This meant the preparations they had been making would not be tested as originally planned. "I felt disappointed because how could our IB scores be accurate if we do not take exams?" wondered Sydney, but Amy felt relief after finding out the exams would not be taking place, possibly the reaction of many other students around the world.
“We have had a great list of acceptances despite our small cohort” according to Mr Mellen.
The final list of university acceptances will follow once IB results are out, and they will be coming from China, Japan and Korea.
Below are the universities our students have been accepted in;
Although the spread of COVID-19 has meant cancellations of many important events in our graduating students' lives, we are all looking forward to having some of them back on campus on Monday as schools reopen for Year 13s around Beijing.