Meet a Young Scholar

Joy, Bokai and Lyndon talk about their experience on our Young Scholars Programme.

Joy Britten

My Young Scholars experience was a challenging, exciting and immensely rewarding one.

Through weekly 2-3 hour sessions of MATHS 153 at the University, I encountered higher-level maths concepts and new branches of the subject, which fascinated me. The coursework reached beyond the scope of secondary school maths and taught me a new way to approach problems. I found the material challenging: I was stretched to think harder than I ever had at school. Supporting me through this were excellent lecturers and a group of tutors who really invested themselves in our understanding.

Transitioning into my first year at University this year I have noticed the numerous benefits that the Young Scholars Programme created. On my first day I was already very familiar with the campus, as well as with university-style learning and assessment. Through the Programme I had met like-minded students from across Auckland, leading to friendly faces at my very first maths lecture this year. Also, not only did I already have one course’s credit “in the bank” before even starting University, but the course opened doors to numerous Stage II courses in my very first semester, giving me the option to leapfrog ahead if I chose.

I feel like the experience steeled me, greatly improving and expanding my mathematics ability, as well as leading me to develop skills in managing workload and time. I consider the course to have directly affected my achievement in the NCEA Scholarship exams and strengthened my application for the University of Auckland Scholarship. The entire experience was really rewarding and I would recommend it to any student seeking to be extended and challenged in the area they’re passionate about.    

Bokai (Andrew) Qi

I felt the Young Scholars Programme was particularly helpful for me as it showed me what to expect before I formally set foot into University. Attending lectures throughout Semester One in Psychology 108 gave me insight into the structure of lecture content and the standard required of assignments. Coming into University three times a week after school, I was able to familiarise myself with the campus and online resources like CECIL.

As one of the first IB students admitted to the Young Scholars Programme, my experience was particularly unique as IB is notorious for its high workload. There were a few weeks where I could not attend lectures due to IB assignments, but I found that catching up with past lectures also improved my independence and self-study abilities. I matured a lot under the need to plan these extra catch-up sessions for myself and sharpen my time management.

Psychology 108 offered me the opportunity to advance my interest in a subject that was unavailable in high school. It ensured that I could diversify my exposure to different subjects before attending university, and so guided me to find out whether Psychology was a degree I wanted to pursue.

The experience the Young Scholars Programme provided me undoubtedly helped me settle into university life much easier. It is for sure an opportunity for keen high school students to push themselves and even discover an area of passion.

Lyndon Alford

In Semester One of 2014, I participated in and completed the course Mathematics Acceleration and eXtension (MAX) 153 as a Year 13 high school student. My overall experience of the course was one of many challenges, but with a rewarding end result.

Living out in Swanson and going to Henderson High School made travelling to and from the University something of a weekly challenge. Travelling by train for nearly an hour at a time was initially a chore to put up with, but as the semester progressed I actually found it to be a valuable time to study and look at the content of the next week's lecture. Because not many others on the course lived nearby, it also meant that meeting for group study sessions was very difficult; so I completed the course largely on my own, which entailed many weekend hours of studying. Based on this experience, I would highly recommend meeting in groups; it makes learning and understanding the course material just that much easier!

The content covered in the course was largely new to me (as one would expect – this was a university paper!), some of which I struggled to understand. Although the content itself didn't help me as much with NZQA exams as I had thought it would, perhaps more importantly, the course taught me how to think mathematically, to allow me to see previously unknown mathematical problems in a slightly different way, and to be able to solve them much faster and with more confidence than before the course.

I am currently studying for a Bachelor of Music, with composition. Although the mathematical side of the course I took isn’t strictly relevant for this subject, it was an invaluable introduction to University life – not to mention a one-paper head-start!

Overall, I found the MAX Young Scholars Programme very useful for getting to know the ropes of the University system, and how everything works in University as compared to school. The transition from high school to University was that much easier than I feel it would have been otherwise.