30 Mar 2021

Class of 2020 Sharing – Charmaine Yuen

  1. Your name:

Charmaine Yuen

  1. Your university and major:

University of Oxford, Law (Jurisprudence)

  1. What are the challenges in transitioning from high school to university?

For me, the key challenge in transitioning from high school to university was the difference in how students were expected to study. Students are typically expected to primarily learn by reading materials from a given reading list, which is then supplemented by lectures. Teaching is mainly in the form of a 1 to 1.5 hour tutorial once a week for each module, where either you can ask your tutors about areas you did not understand or your tutors will ask you questions about the topic you studied (or both). On the other hand, in high school, teachers mostly teach you everything you are supposed to know. The jump from essentially being ‘spoon fed’ information to having to self-study most of your course was something I had heard of but did not expect. Furthermore, a thing that exacerbated this difference was that the homework (typically an essay) was due prior to the tutorial as opposed to given after being taught the topic (as in high school), meaning that you could have gotten everything wrong.

  1. What is the greatest experience in your first-year university studies?

The most enjoyable experience so far in my first-year university studies was one of the only two in-person tutorials I got to have. That tutorial was my last tute for the term and also the last term for that module. During the tutorial, my tutor’s dog began bounding around and play-fought with me and my tute partner – it was such a fun moment.

  1. What is the biggest challenge that you have had so far in your year one study?

The biggest challenge that I have had so far is meeting essay deadlines: making sure I read and also understand the required material as well as the essay question, then writing an essay to the best of my abilities takes up much of my time. I sometimes end up staying up late to complete my essays – thankfully, scheduled emails hide when I actually send off my email though.

  1. Tips/advice to the STC high school students on their HE planning/applications?

I think that it would be good to start thinking about what you want to do/study in the future early on so you can more effectively plan for it. For example, IB subject choices can make a direct impact on what courses you can study in university, so it would be good to have some idea in mind of what course you would like to study in university so that could inform your decision when choosing subjects. Besides, delving into your future course or career by joining summer programmes or doing online courses prior to applying to university is also helpful – aside from boosting your personal statement, this can help to offer an insight into the course and help you determine whether you really want to pursue that course. Of course, leaving enough time to do and perfect your personal statement is important.