Ranked No. 1 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2017, 2018 and 2019, Oxford University is the university where on average, more than 20,000 student applicants aspire and compete for approximately the 3,250 places each year.
And we say Yes! Our SSIS student, Andrew BULLA, is the one of those few who won an offer to this prestigious university.
We are glad to have this opportunity to chat with Andrew and his mother about his way to Oxford.
SSIS: We are so proud of the fact that you’ve been accepted by The University of Oxford. All of us know that there are limited offers every year, so what’s your feeling when you first received the news? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share about college application?
Andrew: I was quite happy and a bit surprised at that time because other interviewers had told me that they had been rejected by Oxford and the admission criteria was not clear enough.
As for advice, do make sure to identify what you are interested in as early as possible and then work hard towards your dream.
SSIS: The application consists of a Personal Statement (PS), tests and interviews. How did you prepare for these parts?
Andrew: I started to prepare for the PS as soon as I made the decision to apply for the universities in UK. I attended the summer camps of the universities that I preferred from G10 and read co-curriculum essays in Material Science, my subject of interest. The summer after G11 is especially important during which time I completed my PS and read the books recommended by Oxford University. Thereafter, the counsellors helped me to revise my writings right after the school began for G12 and I managed to submit the application by 15 Oct 2018.
For the preparation of the Physics aptitude test that is required for the Material Science major, I decided to do past papers by myself instead of attending tutorial classes. Eventually, I passed the test successfully.
Finally, for the hardest part of interview, SSIS arranged a mock one for me. I really appreciate what our counselors have done. I decided to fly to UK to attend the actual interview, as I believe I will have a higher pass rate instead of an online interview. The other reason is, I could also personally experience the local environment and then decide whether Oxford suits me.
SSIS: How will you use the IBDP scholarship prize you received?
Andrew: I’ve already saved it in the bank for my future expenses in UK.
SSIS: We’ve interviewed many top students, almost everyone would say that the IBDP is very difficult. I am quite curious how difficult is it to you?
Andrew: Just consider it as a common programme and work hard as usual. The crucial factor in my point of view is the time management. Because there will be more and more Internal Assessment (IA) and essays towards the end of the programme. It is quite a big challenge to accomplish these tasks within a stipulated period. Moreover, it’s not easy to remember all that you’ve learnt in the former year, so I suggest constant revision.
SSIS: What’s your plan for the coming summer vacation? A graduation trip?
Andrew: The summer vacation is a little far from me. There will definitely be a graduation trip though no details so far. What I am sure is I will treat myself well in this summer to compensate for the two-years of hard work.
Inteview with Andrew’s Mum
SSIS: Congratulations! Andrew is the first ever SSIS student accepted by Oxford! Many parents hope for you to share your tips about your son’s education and growth. Could you share with us your experience and education method?
First of all, I think it’s with the help and guidance of SSIS and its great teachers that Andrew could attain those achievements and progress. Andrew didn’t attend any class, nor did he seek help from agencies during the application for Oxford. It all depended on his own effort and the great support and help from the school counsellors. I really appreciate all the teachers in SSIS!
I do not have the tips to share since I think every child is unique. I don’t set a high expectation for Andrew. What I really expect for him is that he can grow up as a kind and genuine person and can live independently on his own. His father and I will always support him no matter what major and university he would choose. The only requirement we have is that he should be responsible for his choice and always finish the things he started.
There is a quote we want to share: “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds. So that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
Composed and committed without the sound and the fury. Work hard for your dream and never stop striving for excellence. That’s what Andrew has shown us and what SSIS has educated the students as well.
This article is dedicated to all the G12 students who are working hard for their dreams. Graduation is the beginning of life’s journey. May all of you keep moving forward as always.