Student feature – students from the Class of 2020 share their experiences of studying at SISHK and the IBDP.

Alex Yu

  • Vice-President, Student Council
  • SISHK Achievement Award recipient
  • ISSFHK Volleyball U20 Boys, Gold award
  • HK Contemporary Art Competitor, Champion
  • Spirit of Hong Kong Award (as President of Youth Leadership Team at Support! International Foundation)
  • Princeton Book Award winner
  • South China Morning Post (SCMP) Student-of-the-Year Award, Community Contributor – 2nd Runner Up

University offer: Yale University (USA)

Q. How long have you been studying at SISHK?
Having joined SISHK in PY1, I have studied here for 14 years.

Q. What advice do you have for students looking to study the IBDP?
I first say your IBDP years at SISHK are going to be an exciting and challenging time, so savour every moment. My advice would be to prioritise your sleep and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! You are not going to succeed 100% of the time, but every failure is a learning experience.

Q. What is the highlight of your IB journey at the school in the last two years?
The highlight of my IB journey at SISHK was when I travelled to Mongolia for a service trip, as part of my CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) experience. We served a group of less fortunate children in Mongolia, which instilled in me a higher level of empathy for others. I never expected Mongolia to be so beautiful, and the people to be so welcoming and kind. My journey totally opened my eyes and I still really miss the good times we had.

Q. What is your studying strategy?
I actually don’t have a fixed studying strategy, and I adapt how I study for each subject I take. I would encourage everybody to find out which techniques work best for your various subjects! For example, I study by reading and taking notes for English and Economics while I practice past paper questions for Maths and Physics.

Q. What are some of the mistakes that you have made that you would not make again?
There were weeks when I would work very late into the night, and end up sleep-deprived. This would create a vicious cycle, as I would be exhausted the next day and sleep during the day, waking up to work during the night time. This is a mistake I hope I will make again. Keeping a fixed sleep schedule and getting enough sleep every single night is extremely important for your health and academic success!

Q. How do the teachers support you during the IB programme?
My teachers were always extremely open to scheduling one on one consultations with me, where I could clarify any doubts and ask questions. The lesson materials they provided were also very comprehensive and clear.

Q. How would you describe the student life and student leadership opportunities in SISHK?
One of the things I appreciate the most about SISHK is the kind and close-knit student community. We have strong bonds with peers, and even have friends from different year levels. I am so grateful for my amazing support system of friends, which made student life vibrant and fun.

Q. How do the IBDP mock exam and its predicted grade help you with university admissions?
When creating our list of universities to apply to, the IBDP mock exams and predicted grades gave us a good idea of what universities can be considered ‘reach’ schools, ‘fit’ schools and ‘safety’ schools. We also apply to most universities around the world with our predicted grades, so this can definitely help your admissions prospects, although it is not the only factor.

Q. Can you share more about your university admissions experience?
I personally focused on applying to the United States. Selective US colleges highly emphasise holistic development and not just academic. So, in my application, I passionately talked about all the projects I have been involved in outside of academics. Applying to US colleges can be very challenging because of the number of essays they require and their expectation for applicants to be interesting and dynamic, not just academically gifted.

Q. What is the one thing that you will miss after leaving SISHK?
I will miss being with my friends everyday. They made me laugh every day and comforted me when I was down. The community I formed here over 14 years is truly special and has shaped me into the person I am today. Thank you to my friends and my teachers for all you have done for me!

Q. What and where are you planning to study after IB?
I am planning to study at Yale University after IB. Although I have not fixed my major, I am looking at studying Economics or Economics and Mathematics.

Q. What is one part of the school that you would like to see preserved and not changed?
The benches on the fourth floor, outside the library, were my favourite place to chat with friends during recess and lunch times! It holds so many special memories for me. I hope it can continue to be the hangout spot for many future generations.

Q. What is your advice for your juniors?
Get ready for great years ahead and be open-minded and receptive. Enjoy every moment of your experience and don’t be too hard on yourself. Work hard and do your best!