Minwoo Lee

SGIA students have received early acceptance to reputable and world-renowned universities. Minwoo Lee, from the class of 2022 IBDP cohort, received an offer from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and a full scholarship grant from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

How long have you been at SGIA?

I arrived in SGIA when I was in 10th grade, so I have been an SGIA student for three years

Why did you decide to apply to the universities that you did?

One of the main concerns with my university applications was my need for financial aid. Hence, all of the universities that I applied to provide a generous amount of financial aid/large amounts of scholarships, with both need blind, need based, and merit-based options. Another factor that affected my decisions was the university’s fit for my major. I want to study computer science in the future, so I searched for universities with a strong school of engineering/good reputation for their computer science classes

How did you feel after receiving admission offers / acceptance letters?

Honestly, I still can’t believe that I was accepted to the universities that I applied to, especially for HKUST and KAIST. I was initially quite overwhelmed by the insane activities that other applicants did, so I am very glad to have received the acceptance letters.

How has the SGIA IB Diploma Programme helped prepare you?

IB’s rigorous HL subjects and the CAS program allowed me to better manage my activity portfolio and has equipped me with the necessary knowledge to attempt challenges that used to be way above my level, allowing me to be better equipped for the university application/university itself.

Tell us about your university application / admission journey?

In the beginning, I decided to start by brainstorming university essay ideas. Especially for US universities and KAIST, the prompts were quite diverse and challenging, so it took me a long time to properly set up a mind map on what I wanted to write about. Afterwards, I spent about a month finalizing my essays and submitted them to the universities. A long period of waiting followed, and I received my offers and rejections. (rejections do be kinda painful though)

What advice do you have for Grade 10 and 11 students who are preparing for their university journey?

The most important advice that I can give to you guys is to make good use of your 10th grade and 11th grade time. By 12th grade, it is too late to set up your portfolio. Universities want to see your commitment to an area that you are passionate in, so if the universities see that you began all your activities in 12th grade that is not a good impression. Search for what activity/subject makes you happy and start doing extracurricular activities (both in and out of school) to develop your skills in the area. With this method, you will be able to create your portfolio stress-free.

Time management is also another crucial skill that you need. For the Common App (a portal commonly used to apply to US universities), you can list 10 activities. Not all of them have to be major ones, but juggling activities + schoolwork + personal life is a challenge. Start a habit of creating planners and follow through with your plan to train your time management skills.