Around 15,500 Hong Kong secondary school graduates have been accepted into local universities amid reduced competition, marking the highest admission rate since the city introduced a new university entrance examination 10 years ago.

Chinese University of Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

Close to 40,000 people who sought to enrol at local universities through the Joint University Programmes Admission System (JUPAS) received their application results on Wednesday morning, weeks after receiving their grades for the key Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE).

The universities admissions body recorded only 39,523 applicants this year, the lowest since the HKDSE replaced the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination in 2012.

Amid a drop in competition, 15,857 JUPAS applicants – or 40.12 per cent – received offers to study full-time bachelor’s degree programmes at eight publicly-funded universities and the self-financing Hong Kong Metropolitan University, as well as the Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Education offered by the Education University of Hong Kong (EduHK).

The official body did not provide a breakdown of the number of candidates who were admitted to bachelor’s degree programmes. After deducting the first-year intake of the EduHK higher diploma programme, it is estimated around 15,500 secondary school graduates – or over 39 per cent of the JUPAS applicants – secured spots in local universities.

The figure did not include the 3,465 candidates who were admitted to locally accredited and self-financing bachelor’s degree programmes under the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors.

Top scorers

Six of the eight students who achieved perfect scores in this year’s DSE exam were admitted to the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Five will study Medicine (Global Physician-Leadership Stream), the Sha Tin-based university said on Wednesday, including two “super top scorers” who attained Level 5** – equivalent to the top score of seven – in eight subjects. Another “super top scorer” picked the Quantitative Finance and Risk Management Science Programme, it added.

The University of Hong Kong. Photo: Supplied.

CUHK said 778 students were eligible to receive its Admission Scholarships, which would be offered to those who scored Level 5** in one or more subjects in the exams held in April, when Hong Kong was gripped by the fifth and deadliest wave of Covid-19.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU), on the other hand, said on Tuesday that it admitted 16 students who scored 42 or above in their best five subjects. Each of them will be awarded a HK$100,000 scholarship or more under the President’s Scholars scheme, it said.

The Pok Fu Lam-based university added the HKDSE candidates they accepted had the highest average scores among all local universities, while its law programme remained the most popular choice for top students.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.