Hong Kong Polytechnic University offers a work-based learning experience
Hong Kong Polytechnic University admissions connect - Known for its international outlook, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University ranks among the top 50 in the lists of the world’s youngest universities according to major rankings like QS and THE. PolyU is one of largest universities in Hong Kong in terms of students and has 17,000 students pursuing over 85 undergraduate programmes. In an interview with Careers360, Mr. Eric Lo, Associate Director, International Affairs Office of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, talks about how the university is working on a work-based learning experience to give students the opportunity to connect classroom theory with practical workplace applications.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. What is the strength of the international student community in the university? What about Indian students?
A. PolyU is one of largest universities in Hong Kong in terms of student population. Currently, we have close to 17,000 students pursuing full-time undergraduate degrees. We provide a good environment for new international students to get together by offering them to stay in the same residence halls for studies. Not only can they interact with other international students as a part of their student life, there will also be local students staying in the complex, to ensure a comprehensive cultural exchange. Apart from our International Student Association, students from some countries have set up their own national student associations too. We are sure that with the expansion of number of Indian students in the future, an Indian student association will be formed.
Q. What is unique about your university in terms of academic culture and overall student experience?
A. PolyU offers a comprehensive curriculum at undergraduate level. One of our distinguished features is “Work-Integrated Education (WIE)”, which is a work-based learning experience to give students the opportunity to connect classroom theory with practical workplace applications through on-the-job work placements. As a part of curriculum requirement, WIE is mandatory for all full-time undergraduate students. PolyU has a lot of connections in industries for students to fulfil WIE requirements, such as internship opportunities, sandwich programmes offered in some major courses and community service learning.
Q. What are some of the popular programmes among students? What about Indian students?
A. 85 full-time undergraduate programmes from 8 faculties and schools are offered in PolyU, namely Faculty of Applied Science & Textiles, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Business, Faculty of Construction & Environment, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, School of Design and School of Hotel & Tourism Management. They are all popular so I cannot distinguish the best among them. Instead, a few programmes that are of Indian students’ interest would be accountancy, finance, management, marketing, computing and information technology. Our hotel and tourism management programme gives students hands-on experience in the industry since PolyU operates Hotel ICON, our own 5-star hotel. Given the rapid growth of hotel industry in India, it should be of students’ interest very much.
Q. What are the admission criteria for international graduate students?
We admit international students pursuing various high school qualifications, such as IB, GCE A-levels, SAT/AP, AISSCE, ISC and other Standard XII exams from national boards. For Indian qualifications, an average of 75% in five subjects meets our minimum entrance requirement. Aside, students will also have to fulfil English language requirements by achieving certain grades / points in TOEFL, IELTS, IGCSE / IGCSE / GCEOL English or IB English. Please refer to our admissions website for further details.
Q: Do you consider the social media presence of a student while considering him/her for admission?
A. PolyU considers each student’s profile as a whole person, which means we do not only consider their academic performance, but also non-academic achievements. Social media presence is one of the achievements and we will definitely take that into consideration for admission decisions.
Q. How important is work experience in your selection process?
A. We understand that high school students may not have work experiences before entering university, so it is not compulsory for application but would be a nice to have. As what I mentioned previously, we offer WIE to equip students as a competitive graduate with work-based experience.
Q. When do applications open?
A. For undergraduate studies, application for a year of entry usually begins in September the year before. For 2017/18 entry, online application will open in September 2016. There will be 3 rounds of deadlines, namely early round (by mid-November 2016), main round (by mid-January 2017) and extended round (by mid-March 2017). PolyU normally requires students to submit applications before their final exam result is out. We do not have a cut-off score for admissions as we consider students’ both academic performance and non-academic achievements before issuing an offer, which can be conditional or firm. A point to note is that PolyU only accepts fall entry, with first semester beginning in early September every year.
Q. Does your school offer financial aid to international students? Please elaborate.
A. PolyU offers Entry Scholarships to award students with excellent academic results. While scholarships are renewable up to 4 years, the awards will be HKD60,000 per annum (half tuition waiver), HKD120,000 (full tuition waiver) or HKD160,000 (full scholarship). Specific Schools or departments offer top-up scholarships to outstanding students too.
Upon admission to PolyU, there will be plenty of scholarships and sponsorships available for undergraduate students to apply, so as to support their study, student exchange and other enrichment activities.
Q. Many foreign students are worried about leaving the country because they do not know whether they will be able to find work to pay off their student debts. Do you guide your students in finding internships and jobs?
A. According to the recent arrangement by the government, international students with suitable student visa are able to work on-campus for no more than 20 hours per week. When it’s during summer term or internship employment under WIE, students are able to work full-time. Apart from offering WIE experience, our Office of Careers and Placement Services has established close connections to the industry, as well as organises career fairs and workshops for students’ career planning and development.
Hong Kong has a high employment rate from year to year. 95% of our graduates either get a job or pursue further studies from the recent graduate employment survey. With the Government’s policy to attract skilful immigrants to stay in Hong Kong, it is possible for them to get permanent residency after staying here for 7 years. For most graduates with foreign citizenships (including India), the Government will issue a 1-year visa for them to stay in Hong Kong unconditionally upon graduation. Considering our undergraduate programmes usually last for 4 years, graduates will only have to get working visa for 2 years in order to become a permanent resident.
Q: Do you have any plans of establishing a branch of your university in India? Please share your reasons.
A.Quality assurance is always what PolyU is working on, to achieve academic excellence and foster the quality culture of our community. In order to provide a multicultural environment and to connect students with different stakeholders such as companies in the industry, it is the best for students to come and study on our campus. While we do not have plans to set up branches overseas at this time, we are eager to link up with high schools and other parties in India, to admit and give students a rewarding experience for their university studies in Hong Kong.
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