Amongst the record number of New Zealand students receiving early round offers to top international universities are proud recent King’s College Old Collegians Max Hardy (Peart), Amay Aggarwal (Peart), Michael Daya-Winterbottom (Marsden) and Haoran Wen (Averill) 2012-2016.
Hardy, 2016 House Sacristan, Prefect and captain of the College’s Writing Club has been offered a position at Cambridge in England to study classics. He is looking forward to studying at the prestigious college, especially in his chosen subject of Classics.
“I’m excited about meeting other students who are as enthused about the subject as I am.”
Another King’s 2016 school leaver accepted into Cambridge is Michael Daya-Winterbottom, who has received an offer from Selwyn College to study Classics. He credits his family and King’s College for his success in securing a place at the top university.
“The College system at Cambridge is very similar to the house system at King's: your College is literally your home, and will be the place where you meet most of your friends at university,” he says.
Fellow King's College student Amay Aggarwal has been accepted into both the University of Michigan and King's College London, whilst Haoran Wen has been offered a spot at Michigan University (Ann Arbor) in the United States. Wen was Deputy Head of Averill House (Academic). The students were all members of the scholars common room and actively involved in the life of the school, in an array of co-curricular pursuits.
We were lucky enough to hear from the students about their future plans.
What are you most looking forward to about studying overseas?
Max: Meeting other students as enthused about my chosen subject as I am. Classics is a small subject in New Zealand, but in the UK it’s almost the norm. Studying amongst leading academics, as well as passionate students is the most appealing part for me.
Michael: I'm really looking forward to the prospect of making friends with a range of people from across the globe. Through meeting such an amazing variety of people, I hope to learn about other cultures and ways of life, and make friends that will last me a lifetime.
Haoran: Experiencing new things away from New Zealand and stepping outside my comfort zone to embrace the different cultures and perspectives overseas.
Amay: I’m really looking forward to the prospect of leaving home and getting a chance to start afresh in a completely new environment. I think the liberal arts structure of some US universities really allows you to explore a range of different subjects and options, which aren’t really offered in NZ universities.
What helped you the most when you were applying?
Max: There are a lot of tasks to complete when applying to study in the UK, and Cambridge in particular requires a great deal of additional forms, as well as an interview. I found internet research the most effective tool while I was applying — there are practice interviews on YouTube, example personal statements on the web, explanations on what universities want from their applicants on their own websites, and a host of other resources available.
Michael: I would have to credit my family and teachers the most in helping me with my application. The help given by Mr. Frood in writing my personal statement, and by Mrs. Carey, Mrs. Butchers, Mr. Walker, Mr. Parr and Mr. Lamb with the mock interviews was invaluable, and I'm truly grateful for their assistance in the applications process.
Haoran: Definitely the valuable advice Mr. Frood gave me; he was my USA applications counselor and helped me through every step of the application. I’d also thank my English teacher Mr. Walker for the huge amount of help he's given me this year sharpening up my essay writing skills, which helped when it came to writing supplement essays for overseas universities.
Amay: I think the Careers Department at King’s was really fantastic, particularly when it came to editing resumés or preparing for interviews. They helped me decide which fields I should look further into, and gave me a lot of resources to really help me identify my interests. This cut down a lot of time when I was applying, which was especially important as application timelines coincided with external exams.
Why did you choose to apply for the university/universities that you did?
Max: Cambridge offers a lot that my other choices didn’t or that it shares only with Oxford, namely: a system of supervisions and tutorials, a collegiate system, terrific professors, great architecture, and the top place in the university rankings for Classics.
Michael: I chose Cambridge due to its high academic reputation and standards and its history and traditions. Among its many traditions, I was particularly intrigued in the College system and the Cambridge Union, the university's famous debating society.
Haoran: Michigan has a renowned undergraduate business programme, which I really like the look of. They also have a great American Football team and watching them play would be pretty cool.
Amay: I applied to several of the top US/UK universities, and I’m still waiting to hear back from most of them. I haven’t yet chosen what university I would like to go to but in terms of applying, I focused on the schools that emphasised a global-minded, well-rounded education.
How has King’s helped you achieve an all-round education?
Max: For me, an all-round education isn’t just proficiency in all three disciplines of sport, academics and culture, but the knowledge that something new is always waiting to be learnt — or questioned — in every discipline there is. King’s has made me realise that; it’s given me the chance to pursue the things I’m passionate about and the encouragement to attempt things beyond them. As a result I’ve found a love of Latin, language, writing, debate, drama and countless other things. But most of all, I’ve found a love of learning, the best thing I think an education can provide. And a love of learning has no boundaries; it’s about as all-round as you can get.
Michael: Put simply, King's has given me opportunities that almost no other school does. The extra-curricular activities on offer are of such a wide range and high quality: students have the opportunity to be involved in anything from debating to rugby. The nature of the house system and the outdoor education programme means that students are forced to test their barriers: experiences such as winning in house rugby, building a bivouac and conducting Marsden at Big House in Year 13 will stay with me for my whole life. The house system means that students will be exposed to people with a wide range of interests, often dissimilar to their own, meaning that they will have a wider and more rounded group of friends - an experience that students will learn from, and one that I treasured throughout my time at King's.
Haoran: King's has helped me achieve an all-round education in many ways. The school offers a myriad of opportunities in and out of the classroom that will enable you to discover your talent and strive to be the best version of yourself. Personally I was a member of the Scholar's Com, a house leader, a basketball player, and I also did speech and drama. I don't think other schools in New Zealand provide learning opportunities as comprehensive as this.
Amay: The environment at King’s pushes you to achieve higher. Your house and the school are one large supportive community. Your peers are always there to support you if you were playing Rugby, Chess, or even running cross country - and this really encourages everyone to try stuff in fields they are not really comfortable with, reinforcing the all-round education aspect. Teachers are really teaching the students as individuals and tailoring their teaching methods to ensure that each student is given the opportunity to succeed. I also like the emphasis King’s places on leadership. The House system certainly facilitates this, and I think practically everyone gets a chance to work on his or her leadership skills throughout their final year by leading their House. I think the all round education offered at King’s is probably unmatched in the world, and has really facilitated my preparation for US universities specifically, as they place a very strong emphasis on being well-rounded.