Year Three: EXPERIENCE

  • Are you considering further changes to your study plan? Have you considered the relevant factors?
  • Are you making use of your learning activities to develop skills for your future?
  • You are half-way through your U studies. What else you need to work on to realize your goals?

1. Use “Degree Audit” to monitor your progress

Are you on track towards completion of your Programme/Major/ Minor requirements? If you are not sure, run the Degree Audit in SIS now. Degree Audit is a tool to track your progress. It will match your enrollment records against your degree and declared major(s)/ minor(s) requirements — what have been fulfilled, what are in progress and what are still outstanding. Seek clarification early with the Faculty and/or Department if in doubt. You can still make changes to your course enrollment during the Add/Drop period in Semester 2.

To access “Degree audit”, go to HKU Portal > SIS Menu > Academic Records > My degree Audit. There’s also a User Guide for reference.

In case you are considering a further change to your Major/Minor subjects, run a “What If” analysis in SIS to see how the switch may impact on your course selection and study progress. For further enquiries, please contact: 3917 0123 / ithelp@hku.hk

2. Spend more time on challenging courses

Advanced courses are more challenging. Make sure that you do pre-lecture preparation, clear your questions before the next lecture, discuss with Prof and tutor your assignment ideas and refine your study skills. Revisit the study skills resources of AAO and CEDARS, you may find useful reminders how to improve your study strategies and skills. Remember, manage your time with care and do not over commit.

3. Go on Exchange

If you are going on exchange this year, here is some advice for you! First, know your objectives and plan them into your exchange. Second, apply for leave of absence and submit credit approval application with your Faculty by the deadline. Third, take care when selecting your courses. To bring back the credits, you will need courses that match with your HKU courses. Fourth, immerse yourself in the local culture and learning environment as much as possible. Network with your classmates and teachers in case you will go back for your PG studies!

If you are considering exchange in your final year, note that exchange in the final semester is usually not advised. Due to the difference in semester dates between HKU and the host institution, there may not be sufficient time to process the credit transfer for your timely graduation.

4. Prepare for graduation: postgraduate studies or work

With one more year to graduate, it is time to plan for your future. Would you pursue postgraduate studies or work? Study first and work later? Work first and study later? What to study? What field to work in? Discuss your ideas with teachers, academic/careers adviser, fellow PG students or alumni – they are your “resource persons”!

  1. Postgraduate studies – PG studies is a huge investment. Read the AAO worksheet “Is Postgraduate Study Right for Me?” to get an idea about the different PG programmes, what are involved and how to get started. Make good use of your penultimate year to research properly, practice graduate admission tests, check test dates and plan ahead.
  2. Work – Choosing a career means more than finding a means of making a living. It is an important decision that shapes your future. Don’t wait until the final year! Attend career fairs and recruitment talks organized by your Faculty/Department/CEDARS to gather information and assess your suitability for different careers. Spare time to practice different aptitude tests. Moreover, you can find out where your seniors went after graduation from CEDARS’ graduate employment survey reports.

5. Strengthen out-of-classroom experiences

This is the LAST summer for those of you who study a 4-year degree programme. Use it to gain worthwhile experiences and develop useful skill-set through different activities e.g. internships, summer study abroad activities, and service learning projects. If you are not sure if a research postgraduate programme is right for you, you may assist in a research lab to test it out. Have a chat with your Professors, they may offer you some interesting opportunities!

Tips

  • Check the combination of introductory and advanced courses – For some degree programmes, there is a strict requirement of the number of introductory and advanced courses. Check carefully to spot problems before your final year.
  • Get academic references – One standard admission document for postgraduate studies is reference letters written by your professors. It is time to let your professors know you better if you have not been proactive in interacting with them.
  • Use the GPA calculator – Do you know how grades, GPA and class of honours are calculated? See the AAO’s Expected Cumulative GPA Calculator for answers to your questions. The target GPA calculator there can help you find out grades needed to reach your target class of honours.

Stories

Johnson Chow (BSocSc, Year 3)

Johnson Chow (BSocSc, Year 3)

My three years of HKU life, academically, is a rewarding journey on self-perfection. Having struggled with HKDSE, freshmen often want to indulge themselves in freedom and pay scant attention to studies. Great changes in study and social life in university can be a shock particularly for Year 1 students. Looking back, I believe this is a necessary learning process that new students have to go through. By carefully balancing between academic studies and leisure activities, I continue to pursue my passion and improve my skills on writing. While some may find it dull, the road to improving academic subtleties like citation, referencing and grammar can be beneficial. A good paper does not only reward us with a good GPA, but also serves as a constant reminder that we, as students, need to retain the precious diligence developed during our secondary school life.

Sammy Tsui (BA, Year 3)

Sammy Tsui (BA, Year 3)

I am a third year student, majoring in Chinese Language and Literature. Looking back at my study journey, it is greatly satisfying, while at the same time challenging.

As someone who is deeply interested in the Chinese language, literature and culture, I find studying Chinese very fulfilling and happy. What is more, learning Chinese is not only about learning Chinese – to be more specific, the branch of Chinese studies is not a lone island because I can study Chinese through a historian or a philosophical lens, which makes learning an intellectual enjoyment, and this is why I regard myself enriched at the end of the semester.

However, this also makes studying Chinese, like any other subjects, difficult as it requires knowledge and senses of other branches of inquiries, which may be pressuring particularly days before the exam. Therefore, I have decided to read more relevant books during the semester break to continue my learning journey and make sure that I am fully recharged and equipped for the upcoming semester. Moreover, many advanced courses in HKU require prior knowledge, although they may not have made studying relevant introductory courses a prerequisite upon registration. Therefore, in order to ensure fluency and progression in your course of study, it is advisable to take relevant courses before you take the really advanced or challenging ones. This is also a mistake I made in my earlier years at HKU.