Attracting Quality Students

Prof Xiaowei Zang and the CLASS elite students introduced the College to parents and prospec ve students at Informa on Day.

A youth conference was organised with secondary school students to promote awareness about jus ce for girls.

Department-based admission has been implemented in CityU's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) since 2016/17. CLASS has performed very well in undergraduate admissions over the years, and is continuing to strengthen its student recruitment strategies to improve intake quality.

JUPAS admission scores for the 2017 CLASS intake ranked second among all colleges and schools at CityU; over 97 per cent of JUPAS students in the 2017 intake put CLASS in Band A (top three) JUPAS choices. With reference to a broad comparison of relevant arts/humanities and social science programmes offered by local universities, CLASS ranked in the top three in the admission score of “four core subjects and two electives” for the 2017 intake among University Grants Committee (UGC) universities.

“Our society not only needs business and STEM people, but also professionals in various fields in the liberal arts and social sciences. Liberal arts and social sciences help us to understand the world and the human condition better,” said Professor Xiaowei ZANG, Dean of CLASS. “At CLASS, we educate students to question, debate, analyse, evaluate, synthesise, and communicate — skills that are important to any endeavour. CityU is a world-class university and CLASS is one of the leading liberal arts and social sciences colleges in Hong Kong and Asia. We should outreach more proactively to make secondary school students more aware of CLASS programmes and achievements, and what they can learn at CLASS to help them to excel,” said Professor Zang.

Professor WONG Sing-wing Dennis, Associate Dean (Student Life and Learning) of CLASS, leads the College admissions team in charting strategies for undergraduate recruitment. Educational fairs are still a popular way for prospective students to seek information and advice in preparing to apply to university. The CityU Information Day held in mid- October 2017 saw thousands of secondary school students and their parents visit exhibitions, attend talks and join tours organised by CLASS academic units. In an education fair held in early November at the Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre, Professor Wong gave an admissions talk, introducing the distinctive features and special requirements of CLASS majors. At these events, Professor Wong speaks to parents and prospective students and offers them practical advice. “I love to talk to young people and understand what they think. It's hard but important to make the right decision about university education,” he said. “I tell the students to first examine their aspirations and abilities, and obtain updated information about the programmes that attract them, particularly any specific entrance requirements needed. Acquiring professional knowledge and skills is not enough to achieve success in this increasingly globalised world. I will also advise the students to take into consideration the opportunities for global experience and whole-person development offered by an institution.”

Outreach proactively

By invitation from schools or self-selection, admissions tutors and faculty members of CLASS academic units conduct visits and expert talks at secondary schools throughout the year. Some talks feature in more detail specific programmes the students in individual schools want to know more about. The College also sends elite student leaders to join the school talks held at their alma mater, for them to share their university learning experiences to the prospective students. “Many teachers and students are impressed by our school talks, which help them get a clear and comprehensive understanding of our admission requirements, academic programmes, internationalisation activities, scholarship schemes, and graduates' career prospects. We can also answer students' questions face to face,” said Professor Wong.

At CLASS, we educate students to question, debate, analyse, evaluate, synthesise, and communicate - skills that are important to any endeavour - Professor Xiaowei Zang

CLASS endeavours to forge close ties with secondary schools. Last year, the College hosted a luncheon with school principals, careers masters and mistresses, and subject teachers. The College management and faculty members warmly received their guests and introduced the latest developments and achievements in CLASS. During a campus tour organised after the luncheon, participating teachers were highly impressed by the state-of-the-art teaching facilities that academic units visited. The College will continue to foster cooperation with secondary schools and has plans to host another principals' luncheon this year.

In addition, the College admissions team receives delegation from local, mainland and overseas schools, and takes parts in the CityU Solo Information Day and the China Education Expo held in key mainland cities and coordinated by the University.

As part of the College branding initiative, a set of advertorials featuring the undergraduate programmes and success stories of outstanding alumni in CLASS is published during the JUPAS application period. These advertorials present testimonials from employers and graduates on the professionally-oriented and internationally-competitive curriculum offered by CLASS. The advertorials are well-received by secondary schools, and will help motivate more students to choose CLASS programmes. The College is making greater use of social and digital media to provide up-to-date information on CLASS programmes and activities to engage prospective students. The College has also revamped its website and made the contents more mobile-friendly to appeal to visitors.

Concerted effort

CLASS academic units are making a concerted effort to enhance outreach activities to attract high-calibre students. The Department of Chinese and History (CAH) organises a full-day seminar to help secondary school students better prepare for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) in Chinese. Experienced educators are invited to speak about tactics and techniques in taking various papers. CAH also organises workshops and training for secondary school teachers. To attract students with good writing skills, the Department of English stages a writing competition, inviting entries, both poetry and fiction, on a specific theme. Tailor-made for secondary school students by the Department of Linguistics and Translation (LT), the LT Wonderland programme enables them to explore the wonderful domains of translation and linguistics and related career paths through lectures, games and sharing.

To encourage students, as well as the general public, to discuss and reflect on policy and political issues, the Department of Public Policy (POL) organises a series of talks delivered by academic staff members and former government officials. A dozen POL scholars jointly publish a book in Chinese on the challenges facing Hong Kong's governance. The book, entitled《 特區管治的挑戰》, is provided to local schools as a useful reference to teachers in liberal studies. More and more secondary schools have set up their own campus TV channel. Students in the Department of Media and Communication make efforts to coach secondary school students in storytelling in the digital age through learning video production and new media. A youth conference was co-organised by CityU's Department of Asian and International Studies and Plan International Hong Kong, with secondary school students learning how to make presentations and conduct research to promote awareness about justice for girls. Students and alumni of the Department of Applied Social Sciences participated in a radio programme (奮發時刻DSE) to share their university and cross-cultural experiences in order to encourage DSE students to work hard for their dreams and goals.

Undergraduate recruitment activities undertaken by CLASS run from October to July every year.

Different activities are carefully planned and carried out to support the needs of prospective students at different stages of the university application process. Aware that JUPAS (Joint University Programmes Admissions System) students need prompt and practical advice on the reprioritisation of programme choices before the release of the HKDSE results around mid-July, CLASS has for two consecutive years organised an admissions seminar in early July, during which admissions tutors and programme leaders give helpful, personal guidance to students to maximise their chances of success.

“The event is a joint effort of all CLASS academic units. I really want to thank our colleagues for their devotion,” said Professor Wong. “We all hope our young people can pursue a good higher education and thrive. As educators in the liberal arts and social sciences, we strive to inspire our students to be eager for knowledge, open-minded, and to contribute to building a better society for mankind.”