Prestigious universities on the mainland opened their doors to Hong Kong students, but some said it was not easy to cross the thresholds set by the universities. Before Tuesday, all universities authorized by the Ministry of Education will finish their enrollment and release the admission list online.
The ministry authorized 63 mainland universities in November to recruit Hong Kong students without taking the Joint Entrance Examination for Universities, which had previously been required for students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. Over the weekend, five authorized universities held their own admission exams on the campus of the University of Hong Kong. Other universities also conducted exams in Hong Kong and Shenzhen over the last few days.
Mainland universities set the thresholds for their own entrance exams. Students who took the entrance exam for Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, were divided into groups of five or six. The candidates were asked questions such as: “Why is a college education important since both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates quit university but still became successful in the world?” and “Give examples to illustrate that progress in technology degenerates human beings’ abilities”.
The Hong Kong students handled the tricky topics well and impressed the interviewers, especially with their great sense of social responsibility and strong awareness of citizenship, according to Wu Xiaofeng, director of Sun Yat-sen University’s admissions office. “We mainly observe how well the students express their ideas, communicate and cooperate with their teammates, and we prefer those with decent manners and a wide range of knowledge,” Wu said.
He also said Hong Kong students are active in social services during high school and naturally show their concern and support for disadvantaged groups. “It proves the success of Hong Kong high schools’ education about values, which is worthwhile for mainland schools to learn.” Wu said his university plans to recruit 35 Hong Kong high school graduates among the 2,439 applicants using the specially designed examination.
Students who fail to enroll in an ideal university during this round of exams still have the opportunity to take the Joint Entrance Examination for Universities and enroll in a mainland university, but they will have to compete with candidates from Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese high school graduates.
“The competition among Hong Kong high school graduates to enter a local university is really fierce. It really helps to give more opportunities to Hong Kong students to enter a university on the mainland,” said Chan Wan, 22, a Hong Kong student who is in her senior year at Jinan University in Guangzhou. Chan emphasized that she was not trying to escape the competition when she chose to attend a mainland university.
“Hong Kong has had close economic ties with the mainland since Hong Kong’s reunification with China, so my parents advised me to go to a university on the mainland to learn Mandarin and local cultures,” Chan said. Chan said her Mandarin skills and knowledge about cultures on the mainland will be a great help when she returns to Hong Kong to work.
According to a written statement that the admissions office of Peking University released, most Hong Kong students traditionally tend to choose majors such as economics, law, management and international politics. But in recent years, the new trend is that students are majoring in history, physics and chemistry, which reflects their “growing emphasis on long-term personal development”.
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang announced the joint recruitment during a visit to Hong Kong in August to relieve admission pressure in Hong Kong. This year, Hong Kong will have 108,300 high school graduates, according to the Ministry of Education’s website.