HKUST Admission Officers

Psychological traps 6

Psychological Traps (2/2)

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Posted on July 3, 2013 by

The Confirming-Evidence Trap

Psychological traps 5

We may give too much weight to information that supports our existing point of view and too little to conflicting information.  We tend to decide what we want to do before we really find out why we want to do it. So, please check if you are gathering information to help you make a smart JUPAS choice, or just looking for evidence to confirm what you think you want to do.

Psychological traps 6

 

 

Examples of confirming-evidence:

  • When we hear some rumors, we tend to find every bit of supporting details.
  • Some students may fancy about getting into a certain profession without giving thoughts to the practical working environment, to how life would be like in such a profession …
  • You may have the perception that a certain program is not of interest to you.  However, there could be a lot of interesting aspects unknown to you.

The Framing Trap

Your decision is much affected by how you look at your choices or how you frame the question around it.  Right before you make your final JUPAS choices, I am sure that many parties will offer their advice.   Always think about how they framed the problem.

Examples of how you may frame your JUPAS decision:

  • I am going to find a program to best invest the next four years of time.
  • I want to win this JUPAS game.
  • I must not disappoint my [parents/teachers/peers …].
  • I want to get into a degree program, whatever it may be.

Important note: in my point of view, not all of these ways of framing are advisable.

My advice for you:

  • Stay open-minded.  Look at things from different angles.  Be honest to yourself.
  • Gather more information to make a smart choice, even on programs that do not seem to be of interest to you at this point.
  • Think about your goal in life.  In your JUPAS list, only include programs that you will be happy to join.

Psychological traps 8

Click here to read Part I

Betty Law
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

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Psychological Traps (1/2)

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Posted on July 3, 2013 by

Psychological Traps (1/2)

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I have recently attended a training workshop on Managerial Decision Making.  It has been very useful to me.  I am particularly keen to share with the admission-seeking students what I learned about psychological traps in decision making.  Let’s take a look at some of these traps which may affect the important but tough decisions like finalizing the JUPAS choices (or making a decision among non-JUPAS offers from different universities).

 

The Anchoring Trap

In the process of making a decision, the mind gives particularly heavy weight to the first impression or advice from an “authoritative party”.  This is called the ‘anchoring trap’. Here are some examples of the ‘anchoring trap’ and how to avoid them:

Microsoft Word - table01Picture2

Click here for Part II

Betty Law
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

20130625_IAS

Great is the Influence of Environment and Nurture

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Posted on June 24, 2013 by

20130625_IAS

The brand new HKUST Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) building is located at the top of a knoll adjacent to the southern side of the HKUST campus.

HKUST is a research university. The integral part of a research university is ‘the interaction among scientists and scholars to pursue enduring knowledge’. This is precisely the aim of HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).

If you are wondering what has that got to do with you, our (would-be) students, just imagine world leading scientists and researchers engaged in pioneering research; the next great scientific discovery and technology breakthrough in the making… right here on the HKUST Campus. As our students, you will have plenty of opportunities to learn from them, participate in faculty led pioneering research project, and work closely with senior researchers in original scholarly or scientific activities.

‘Great is the influence of environment and nurture’(居移體、養移氣), says Mencius, a philosopher and educationist in ancient China.

When Mencius was small, his mother moved three times to better his education(孟母三遷). Madam Meng and Mencius used to live near the cemetery and Madam Meng did not think the environment good for young Mencius’ development. She decided to move and she had to move three times before finally settling near a school where young Mencius could learn (and play?) with students of the School.

In the best (learning) environment, with the best people (and great minds), will bring out the best in you.

Just an FYI, HKUST is Asia’s No. 1 University for 3 consecutive years (2011-2013, QS Asian University Ranking) and we are World’s No. 1 Young University (Top University under 50 years, QS World University Ranking 2013).

Ciao.

HKUST Institute for Advanced Study website: http://ias.ust.hk/

Zorian Wong
Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office

WISE Summer Camp

文憑試後的WISE Summer

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Posted on May 4, 2013 by

WISE Summer Camp

WISE Summer Camp

同學考完文憑試,相關成績大概心中有數。不管成績好壞,亦要好好利用這漫長暑期,計劃將來。可以放鬆,但卻不宜鬆懈。

我認識一個已入大學的同學,當年會考成績不俗。高考放榜成績有A有B。照想,他應當歡喜若狂才是,不料卻是恰恰相反。原來他預科兩年只顧讀書和預備考試,沒認真研究大學課程五花八門的選擇,沒有認真思考自己的興趣是甚麼,沒有深思熟慮聯招選擇排序。

到高考放榜,最後決擇過程困難,原來不限於成績稍遜的同學。這同學的成績優秀,幾乎什麼課程都必入,但因在選校選科上「未做足功課」,在僅有的一兩天時間內從眾多選擇中定下第一志願,實在是始料不及的一個痛苦決擇。

我們收生,很強調「知情」的選擇,同學未來四年是把寶貴的青春和時間投資,更應謹慎選擇。但這些年,聽過、見過不少和這位同學一樣的情況:沒有掌握充分資訊、沒有思考自己的興趣所在的情況下選科。可幸的是,中六同學現在仍充分有時間「補做功課」,好好利用悠長的暑假,多去不同去院校瞭解大學課程、校園文化等等。

剛考完文憑試主要科目的同學,中四、五同學請留意,科大五月將舉辦五場聯招升學講座,分別由各學院負責收生的副院長主講,讓同學了解各學院收生要求與程序等,歡迎同學、老師、家長參加。下星期五第一場由理學院主講,在將軍澳區舉行。                                                                       詳情與登記:http://join.ust.hk/local/visit/calendar.html

每年暑假,科大專為中六同學舉辦各種類型、幫助同學了解科大的活動。有意入理、工的女同學更可參加我們的WISE 夏令營。WISE Camp的營友由教授和作為「組媽」的師姐帶領下,在科大的課堂學習與理、工、科技領域的新發展,在科大實驗室進行認真但有趣味性的實驗,入住科大學生宿舍,體驗科大校園生活。去年不少營友表示WISE營的學習內容遠超她們印象,有營友說:「之前都唔知工程可以咁有趣添!」(http://wisesummer.ust.hk/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA WISE Campers at UST Coastal Marine Lab

我昨晚參加了一個晚飯聚會,鄰座是Dr John Kwok,他是著名腦科醫生,亦是我校機械工程系的兼任教授。相信一般同學從未想過機械工程學和腦科醫療竟然有關,並有重大貢獻。建議同學真的要投資部分暑假的時間,從不同角度了解各學科及體驗科大學習,這絕對是為自己創造 一個WISE Summer的明智選擇。

科大暑期活動:http://join.ust.hk/local/apply/summer_programs.html

Betty Law
科大本科招生及入學事務處副處長
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

successful-interview

Setting Up for a Successful Interview

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Posted on April 30, 2013 by

successful-interview

Image courtesy of Performia Hungary – HR Blog on
http://blog.performia.hu/2012/archivum/kezdd-a-hetet-humorral-sikeres-allasinterju/

The other day, I had a little chat with Simpson, a college student and friend of mine, the evening before he attended an internship interview. Though of a different context, there are a few things that students preparing for admission interviews can learn from.

This is an interview that Simpson has longed for. Yet, strangely I did not see sparkling eyes and a high level of positive energy in him. He has in his head a great quote “I can accept failure but I cannot accept not trying.” In between the lines, I heard something like “Well, well, I will give it a try though I know I am unlikely to make it.” Doesn’t it sound familiar?

Come on, Simpson. Set yourself up for success (not failure) from the onset. You are invited to impress the interviewers that you are a suitable candidate who has the ability to do well. You have to believe that you are one. Give thoughts to find good reasons to substantiate that you are one.

Please trust me that all interviewers want you to do well in the interview and in the internship (or whatever you are engaging). So, they really want you to be able to demonstrate that you like the organization, you like such an internship opportunity, and you see good prospect for yourself. So, you have to first convince yourself of this. Your voice and your body language will honestly tell people whether or not you are genuinely interested in this internship.

Simpson added, “I will show my confidence, and more precisely hide my nervousness.” Again, why put so much emphasis on the nervousness. [Sigh!] In fact, if one gets well-prepared, one will naturally be confident, and nervousness will no longer be an issue. He went on by saying, “But, I got the phone call this very afternoon only.” Here’s my response: “Yes, I can understand. But all candidates got short notice. Should it be an excuse for not getting adequately prepared?”

My tip for you: Start preparing for an interview early. Don’t wait till you receive an invitation. Regardless of whether or not you will be granted an interview, you should prepare for it – the earlier the better.

Good luck in your upcoming interviews – be it for university admission or job application.

Betty Law
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

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拗柴專家

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Posted on April 10, 2013 by

ID-100106091

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

有同事上週末拗柴(扭傷足踝),一拐一拐回來。作為拗柴專家,我很樂意和她分享我的經驗和心得。我一般會先以西方療法處理,即時用冰敷,再去看跌打。曾在陽明山遠足時拗柴,沒有冰,唯有在便利店買了兩罐冰凍汽水,在街頭即時凍療,好不狼狽。

每次拗柴,身旁人士(家人或朋友)總會問為何會拗柴?或為何經常那麼「論盡」?又或為何不小心點好好走路?

其實此時此刻,當事人(不論年紀大與小)只需要慰問和實際幫忙,而不是檢討事發原因、經過、或者責任。這些「避免再發生同樣事情」的訓話雖出於善意,大可以在事後冷靜下來的時候才慢慢講。

文憑試已開始了,相信同學的處境和拗柴的我差不多。不管已考的科目考得好壞,未考的科目是否準備足夠,此時此刻,同學們需要的正正是支持和鼓勵,需要大量正能量。

年青人可能表面酷酷(cool)的,貌似不需要慰問關心,其實心底總會緊張,或多或少總有壓力。在這考試關鍵時期,家長們請盡情表達關心之情,抱一抱、笑一笑、煲愛心靚湯、預備他們愛吃的餸菜、說鼓勵安慰的話……各適其適自由發揮,重要的是讓他們知道無論成績好壞,總有你的支持。

同學們,加油呀!

Betty Law
科大本科招生及入學事務處副處長
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

Which university or program suits me best...?

Smart questions to ask

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Posted on March 20, 2013 by

Which university or program suits me best...?

Which university or program suits me best…?

We often unknowingly make decisions based on perceptions.   However, the gap between our perception and the fact may be incredibly large.

About perception, let me first ask you a question.  Which do you think is a safer place?

A.     Hong Kong

B.     Middle East

For us in Hong Kong, we definitely know that Hong Kong is a safe place, if not the safest place, in the world.  Naturally, we think that everyone on earth would definitely choose the answer “A”, like us.  You may be surprised that people in the Middle East in general are concerned about safety in Hong Kong.   People in the Middle East in general think that Hong Kong is now a communist society and may not be a safe place to visit.  Unbelievable, isn’t it?

In making higher education choices, it is important that we decide on facts rather than perceptions.

Have you ever thought about the following?

Microsoft Word - 20130320 Betty06_perceptions_table

Perceptions can be deceiving.  We must ask smart questions about the program and the area of study.

 

Presentation2

春聯: 自動自覺溫功課 不知不覺考入咗 (二)

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Posted on February 19, 2013 by

昨天說到家長如何協助子女入讀心儀大學,說到尾家長如何投入,入學最終還看學生本人。

除了家長日常與子女的相處,學生只要稍稍改變自己的讀書習慣,亦有助輕鬆踏進大學之門。

在大學工作,讓我有機會接觸不同的教授。之前聽過科大風險管理及商業智能學課程主任蘇家培教授的建議,相信對各位準大學生也很有用︰

  • 善用時間;
  • 保持好奇心 — 例如:多讀書、多發問;
  • 注重家課的質多於量;
  • 持續培養創意;
  • 留意身邊世事 — 例如:養成每天閱報習慣;
  • 改善溝通技巧 — 例如:多與別人討論有趣話題,或參與社會服務等。

看起來並不算艱難。這小小的改變,正是你成功的開始。

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巧合剛看到高皓著的《通向大學之路》,當中提到的「平日當考試,考試當平時」說得很中,實值得分享。

高皓提到平日做功課或做練習時都當作考試一般看待,迫自己在限定時間內完成。由於時間所限,你必定會專心一致地完成題目,不知不覺中提高了你理解問題和作答的速度。這樣更可做到蘇教授所說的善用時間。習慣成自然,當你坐在考試桌前,便不用緊張,因為根本和你平日做功課時無異。

在壓力下做事,誰都總會較容易失手。就由今天開始,把自己裝備好,在重要關頭,從容不迫地面對,必定事半功倍,發揮自如,輕鬆過關。

Presentation1

Betty Law
科大本科招生及入學事務處副處長
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

Happy Chinese New Year

春聯: 自動自覺溫功課 不知不覺考入咗(一)

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Posted on February 18, 2013 by

春聯(一)好一對應節春聯!相信上聯是父母的心聲,下聯是中六同學的願望。一切都「自動自覺」和「不知不覺」,不費吹灰之力達到理想固然好,但似乎有點不切實際。

父母在給予子女空間、「放手」的同時,亦切記要推動及鼓勵他們,為他們打造有利的環境和條件。以下的一些建議是我從科大教授身上學到的,希望有助你的子女入讀心儀大學:

  • 多與子女分享和討論每天所見所聞,習慣閒話家常,別只顧問功課和考試分數。在談話間,試從甚麼(what)引伸到怎樣(how)及為甚麼(why)。要容得下不同角度,不同見解。不要隨便握殺子女天馬行空的想法,創意正是他們最強的武器。
  • 造就他們學習去學習 (learn to learn),例如一起嘗試用新方法去解決舊問題,或用舊方法去解決新問題。
  • 協助他們培養內在的發奮動力 (intrinsic motivation),打、罵、責備、埋怨等肯絕非最佳方法。不管成績如何,亦要欣賞他們付出的努力,具體讚賞他們的策略,選擇等。多給予有建設性的評語,例如分享可如何處理或改善事情。
  • 鼓勵他們多閱讀,可 從閒書開始,簡短的讀物亦無妨,既可舒悶減壓,又可提升語文能力、創意和思考力。
  • 鼓勵他們與三五知己組織研習小組,一起温習,一起討論,一起閒聊。

以下一些書籍,值得各位家長一看:
Daniel H. Pink (2005) A Whole New Mind
Daniel H. Pink (2009) Drive
Simon Sinek (2009) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Happy Chinese New Year

Betty Law
科大本科招生及入學事務處副處長
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty

ID-10039842

The sky is the limit — two stories

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Posted on February 15, 2013 by

Sky is the Limit

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is important to have dreams no matter who you are. Don’t worry about how people see you. Firmly believe that “YOU CAN” and the sky is the only limit.

There is a chance that you are a late starter (with no demonstrable accomplishments yet). It could not be too late for a late teen or young adult to start having a dream and working towards it. It does not matter if it seems far from reach at the moment. Aim high and for sure you won’t land too low.

Let me tell you the story of Prof Shain-Dow Kung (孔憲鐸教授), a person that I have worked directly for. He was a vice-president at HKUST. He grew up in Shandong during war time and had no more than one full year of schooling in total. He was a factory worker in HK at his teenage. By self-studying with a torch under the blanket in the factory dormitory, he managed to get into a degree program … This is not the beginning of a straight forward academic career … When it came to his PhD research, his finding was too stunning a breakthrough to be accepted … Anyway, he started his career at the age of 40. He became a renowned plant biologist and a well-respected educator.

So, regardless of who you are and where you now stand, and regardless of the circumstances, always be hopeful, trust yourself and work hard. (To know more about Prof Kung’s story, simply do a web search by typing 孔憲鐸 and 背水一戰.)

背水一戰

Here’s another true story that I like. It is about an American woman. Her teachers told her that she is just not college material and she should think about becoming a secretary. She went to college anyway. Probably, she was not smart enough to know the difference between a secretary and a Secretary. She really became America’s 25th Secretary of Labor. She is Hilda Solis.

For whatever reasons, do not kill your dreams. Visualize yourself running for them. Fight hard for them.

Betty Law
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ustbetty