After receiving offers from five UK universities, Jeanne Chnq Ziqi has chosen to study economics at University College London (UCL). Besides UCL, she also got into King’s College London, University of Warwick, University of Bath, and Lancaster University. You may be wondering, what’s her secret to successfully apply to UK universities?

A solid personal statement is a good place to start. “A good personal statement is not about your amazing achievements, but about your experience achieving them,” the 19-year-old Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM) graduate advises.

Wise, disciplined, and ambitious, this young woman is all about self-empowerment. She views her study abroad plan not just as an opportunity for learning, but a great adventure. Nevertheless, getting into five respected UK universities is no small feat. Here’s how Chng did it.

UK universities

Chng’s time at boarding school helped her prepare to go abroad. Source: ECiM/Chng Ziqi

Embrace the boarding experience

Boarding can help foster a sense of independence from an early age, which helps you acclimatise easier when you eventually go abroad for higher education. Here’s what Chng had to say about the benefits: “Boarding in today’s world goes beyond attaining academic excellence. For me, it was also about honing leadership skills and learning to find myself within a community while understanding different cultures around me.”

Being surrounded by peers allowed her to build a diverse social life. Whether through study groups or weekend basketball games, Chng got to establish close relationships with her friends, who became like family. She says, “The boarding experience has shaped me to be a more confident and independent individual because we have to look after ourselves for the most part, both personally and academically.”

Consult your teachers

Chng credits ECiM teachers and counsellors for their role in guiding her from the moment she decided to apply to UK universities. Besides providing impressive references, they were also ever ready to exchanges ideas and provide advice when she hit a wall.

She tells, “The one-to-one consultations with my teachers helped as these were personal student-teacher interactions. This fuelled my optimism for university preparation as the teachers were kind and approachable.”

UK universities

London is a popular choice among international students, especially those who come from a British education system like Chng. Source: Isabel Infantes/AFP

Know your interests and strengths before you apply to UK universities

Chng chose to study economics because she wants to pursue a career as an investor or consultant. She has always been intrigued by the modern financial world and believes it will challenge her to learn new things every day. “I hope to deep dive into understanding how policymaking and global events impact the business environment on macro and micro scales,” she says of her upcoming degree.

In her personal statement, Chng demonstrated her immersed interest and initiative in economics. For example, she is taking up online courses from prestigious universities such as the London School of Economics and the Massachusets Institute of Technology. “Combining that insight with my personal research, I am able to prepare myself ahead of my undergraduate studies at UCL,” she shares.

UK universities

Notable University College London alumni include Alexander Graham Bell and Christopher Nolan. Source: Shutterstock

Embody the confidence of a scholar and leader

Chng caught her break through the Tune Libra Scholarship at ECiM. Her scholarship covered her pre-university education fees, allowing her to immerse in British education at the college’s only international campus. The school also recently launched the ASEAN ECM Libra Foundation Scholarship, which aims to help bright young people like Chng chase their dreams.

As an ECiM scholar, Chng got the chance to develop leadership skills by working closely with her peers. She also got to learn about British culture by taking part in student workshops, cooking classes, and academic enrichment programmes. 

She says, “The interview process for the scholarship helped me gain confidence and believe in myself. Plus, the learning environment in ECiM has pushed me to constantly challenge myself and try new things as you will never know what lies ahead until you’ve tried.”

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