24 Oct 2019

University Applications and Predicted Grades

Dear Parents, Guardians and Year 12 Students,

University applications and predicted grades

When deciding to make university applications Sha Tin College students are encouraged to be aspirational, yet at the same time have clear goals and therefore make effective, well-researched and hopefully successful applications. To better support our students we have reviewed our current guidelines and we will support up to a maximum of 8 university applications. This is to encourage focussed applications, where students are able to demonstrate a real interest and passion. Applying for a variety of different courses at different universities is never a good idea and suggests a lack of dedication; this is also hugely problematic for a reference writer to endorse different applications with any level of integrity and therefore we strongly advise students against this practice. If students are genuinely not sure which subject they want to study, again we would advise students to consider a joint honours degree, which might allow two dissimilar subjects to be studied or take a gap year to decide.

As the Year 12 students complete their first term of study, we continue to encourage them to attend all the university presentations and workshops held throughout the year. We would also encourage students to follow their passions and interests, yet continue to develop new skills and explore a range of activities, either in or outside school. Being proactive is also a talent that universities value; by creating your own activities (where you see a need) demonstrates originality of thought, concern for others and independence!

Please refer to the table below for clarification regarding the number of university applications. We have an ‘open door policy’ and welcome all students into the HE office to encourage open communication and discussion relating to any matters concerning higher education.

Universities / Online Systems Number of Applications
UCAS 1 course = 1 application
Foundation Courses (UK) 1 university = 1 application
HK universities
1 university = 1 application
US universities 1 university = 1 application
University of California All UC universities are counted individually
Canada 1 university = 1 application
Australia 1 university = 1 application
All other destinations
1 university = 1 application


Finally, I want to add clarity to understanding university predicted grades. Firstly, as you may know, a predicted grade is the grade of qualification that subject teachers believe a student is likely to achieve under positive circumstances. There are two set dates for the Higher Education department to receive predicted grades from subject teachers and these are as follows:

Predicted Grades 1 (PG1).  Grades are released to students at the end of June (Year 12).

Predicted Grades 2 (PG2).  Any updated grades can be re-entered into the system up to and including the 3rd week in September (Year 13).

PG1 is for internal use only and are shown to the students so that these initial predictions can inform their application decisions. Only grades from PG2 are used on the official school transcript and sent to universities. For IB Diploma students, the Extended Essay grade and the TOK presentation grade are used to formulate the predicted 3 core points.

The predicted grades are only one element in the university selection process. Universities weigh a number of factors and there is no single formula for this. Universities do consider predicted grades, historical performance in public examinations, the pupil’s personal statement or college essay, and the school’s academic reference. In some areas such as Medicine, relevant work experience can be very important. In addition, some universities (mainly US and very selective UK universities) require additional test results and/or samples of written work, dependant on the selectivity of the university.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information or clarification regarding this email.

Kind regards,

Mr. David Stott
Head of Careers and Higher Education