Early Admissions Scheme (Hong Kong)
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The Early Admission Scheme (or simply "EAS"), held by the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong SAR, China. was a subsystem of the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS), between academic year 2002/03 to 2010/11. It enables students to enter the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong or the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology without sitting for the HKALE. Candidates with 6 or more "A"s (Distinctions) in the HKCEE, with level 4 or above in English Language, and also level 4 or above in Chinese Language or "C" or above in French or Putonghua, are eligible for applying the Early Admission Scheme which may grant them the admission to the aforementioned institutions without the need to sit for the HKALE.
Each year only 400-500 candidates are eligible to join the scheme. Most of them will attend university after they finish their Form 6-year study. The others that are doing Form 7 and taking the HKALE are usually those who either fail to enter their desired programme via the EAS, or plan to study abroad as some overseas universities do not accept applications with only HKCEE results.
There were extremely rare cases in which students eligible for the scheme, are given an independent offer shortly after the announcement of HKCEE results, allowing them to enter the university immediately rather than after Form 6, far before the scheme opens to them. They are not counted as applicants of the EAS even they are granted "Early Admissions" like EAS applicants. Unlike EAS students, these students are usually given an extra year of foundation courses when they enter the university.
After the last HKCEE examination for school candidates had been launched in 2010. The scheme's is likely to be abolished after 2011. However, some institutes considered some other procedures as a replacement.
By the number of actual intakes, the EAS is the biggest subsystem of JUPAS (roughly about 3-5% of total JUPAS intakes). It aims at providing flexibility to outstanding Secondary 6 students to be admitted to the three institutions participating in the scheme. Applicants must achieve the requirements in one sitting of the HKCEE or other qualifying examinations.
Applicants will be invited to information sessions held by the three participating universities on specific dates in order to help them in choosing the universities and programmes. On submission, applicants may select up to three programmes per university, making it a total maximum of nine programmes.
Applicants will then be invited to attend an interview by respective institutions. Usually only the first programme in the priority order of each institution will provide a subject-based interview but there are various exceptional cases. After the interviews applicants will receive feedbacks from the universities before they make their final choices.
A few weeks after the interviews, applicants will be required to draw up a final list of iteration. The list should consist of a maximum of 5 programmes. The programmes in the list are divided into two bands, with the programmes in the first two priority order being Band A and the other three being Band B. Successful applicants will only receive one offer which is the highest priority on their programme list.
Theoretically, to prevent domination in some popular "elite" programmes, hence causing unfairness to mainstream entrants, no programme should admit more the 1/3 EAS students to its total JUPAS intakes. An existence of such system made a few students may end up not being offered to their desired programme, though in most cases they will accept the less-desired offer.
Views of Non-EAS students
There are more and more critics on the Scheme who believe imposes an unfairness to Form 7 students (especially to those who have obtained remarkable HKCEE results but could not achieve Level 4 or above in either one or both language subject(s), those who are unable show their talent to the maximum extent in the HKCEE or who do not excel academically but in other areas which are ignored by the scheme) who are required to sit for the HKALE which is much more difficult than the HKCEE.
Form 6 Study
Non-EAS students are likely to face huge pressure as the EAS students are often labelled as 'superior' whereas non-EAS students are categorised as 'inferior' or 'less able'. Non-EAS students have to face the HKALE, which is generally believed to be more tedious. Moreover, EAS entries are counted as entry by JUPAS but not direct admissions, which means, the mainstream applicant will have less chance entering certain programmes, especially programmes which are popular in EAS applicants, like Medicine.
Nevertheless, not all eligible students participated in the scheme. Students who left their original secondary schools and went studying in Hang Seng School of Commerce had to give up participating in this programme. On the contrary, students who went to PLK Vicwood KT Chong Sixth Form College were not required to make such sacrifice for quality education.
Doubts in suitability for EAS students
The general public and many education experts criticise that HKCEE is not an appropriate examination for being a selection criteria of universities' admission procedure. Apart from this, the keen competition for places in the universities would extend to the HKCEE, and Form 5 students (HKCEE candidates) may encounter a high psychological pressure. It is also doubtful whether EAS-benefited students are mature enough to choose suitable university programmes which would probably determine their whole life. Adverse effect on EAS-benefited student (who have already seized places in the universities) learning in Form 6 would also be inevitable.