‘Adopt an aggressive approach to uni application process’

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEIAN students should adopt “an aggressive, career-based approach” to the university application process, said a government scholar.

Sorfina Ghazali, who recently formed a free tutoring service in the United Kingdom with other A-level government scholars, stressed that this approach is necessary in order to keep up with international competition for university places abroad.

“It’s high time that we retire our laid-back approach to our future and take up the mantle of a ‘visionary generation’, starting with our university destination,” she said.

She said their sixth form education is intensively geared towards helping Bruneians compete with international applicants who are often highly motivated and have a long-term plan.

She added this motivation shapes the applicants into career-driven and passionate citizens.

“I would say that it is a fair estimation that most Bruneian sixth form students doing A-levels often complete their A-levels without exploring their motivation or passion,” she said.

Citing a study by Sutton Trust, she pointed out that highly competitive university courses such as medicine are skewed towards applicants who can afford additional tutoring, prompting some institutions to offer a widening access programme for state-school students.

In the Bruneian context, Sorfina claimed students are at a disadvantage as they are “rarely groomed into perfect candidates” to apply for university admissions processes such as the British UCAS.

“University applications in Brunei tend to favour a route whereby completing your A-levels with the best grades you can get is prioritised over the actual application process,” she said.

She noted the majority of students tend to have an “anything goes” attitude which jeopardises not only their future but the sultanate’s.

Through her student-run UCAS Tutors service, Sorfina hopes to prove the only difference between a successful and unsuccessful candidate is the amount of grooming received prior to the university admissions process.

She said it is “not impossible” for Bruneians to enter top universities as evident by the growing number of students from the sultanate furthering their education in institutions such as Imperial College London.

Sorfina reiterated that all students have the potential to be high-achievers if motivated to pursue their dream careers from the start of sixth form.

“It is time to break down the stereotype that you can only apply to a certain university or for a certain course if you come from a certain social or academic background and encourage the youth to be career-driven and ambitious from the moment they begin their O-levels,” she said.

The Brunei Times