CB, CSE admission interviews for 20,000 HKDSE students

Eliza Lee & Christina Wu

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A bold interview process aimed at getting to know prospective students on a more personal basis is underway at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).
Around 20,000 students who took the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) this year were invited to admission interviews organised by the College of Business (CB) and College of Science and Engineering (CSE).
The CB and CSE interviews involve over 340 faculty and staff, and 140 student helpers. They take place between 25 June and 11 July.
Of the 20,000 secondary students invited to the interviews, 12,000 placed CB and 8,000 put CSE in their top six choices for the Joint University Programmes Admission System (JUPAS).  
“We want to see the students’ faces and know more about their communication, interpersonal and analytical skills, details that exam scores cannot reflect,” said Professor Dou Wenyu, Associate Dean (Undergraduate) of CB.
The CB interviews are among the largest conducted by a business school in Hong Kong. “Although it took a lot of effort, it is worth doing as the interviews allow prospective students to meet their future professors, too” he said.
The interviews allow each student the chance to present his- or herself as a unique individual instead of as an application number, a process that differentiated CB from other business schools in Hong Kong, Professor Dou added. “The interviews demonstrate our emphasis on student quality at CityU,” he said.
Professor Shek Chan-hung, Assistant Dean (Student Development) of CSE, is the coordinator of CSE’s admission interviews. He said CSE and the prospective students had an opportunity to get to know each other better during the face-to-face meetings, before the announcement of the JUPAS results.
“Examinations only tell us the students’ academic performance, but we can discover more about the students through the interviews,” Professor Shek said. “Characteristics like communication skills, critical-thinking ability, analytical skills, awareness of contemporary issues and personal aspirations become more apparent during the conversations.”
Professor Shek said the admission interviews would also help CSE set screening criteria if prospective students get very similar results in the HKDSE.
Both CB and CSE introduce interviewees to campus life at CityU, the new 4-year curriculum structure and the mechanism for choosing one’s major at information sessions held before and after the interviews. CB’s interviews consist of individual presentations and group discussion; CSE’s were conducted in the form of group interviews.
“Most students say they find the sessions very useful as they clear up any uncertainties they might have,” Professor Shek said.
To prepare for the mass interviews, CB’s academic staff brainstormed interview topics and reviewed the work flow for the mass interview at a retreat in April. A smart interview support system was developed by CB staff for interview sign-up, applicant registration, attendance marking and scoring.
CSE academic staff prepared nearly 1,000 open-ended questions to use during the interviews.
Professor Shek and Professor Dou both thanked their faculty and staff for their support over the last few months.

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