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Getting To and Through College

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Sponsored Post: The focus of schools in Hong Kong has traditionally been about preparing students for college academically. However, research has shown that this is not enough to help students be successful. On February 21, The Harbour School (THS) hosted a talk and panel discussion titled “College Transition: How High School Should Prepare Your Child for College Life” to tackle an issue Hong Kong parents often do not think about. With so much emphasis on college admissions in Hong Kong’s test prep secondary school environment, many students are entering universities unprepared. Sharing the panel with THS High School Principal Dr Elizabeth Micci and Head of School Dr. Jadis Blurton are University of Hong Kong Postdoctoral Fellows Dr. Sam Crickenberger and Dr. Monaliza Maximo Chian. The discussion was led by Tim Hoffman, Counsellor, Hoffman Psychological Counselling.

The discussions around student success are no longer about academic proficiency, but college and career readiness. This comes from a recognition that students need more than a basic understanding of concepts and content to be prepared for success in the global economy. They need knowledge that is aligned to postsecondary standards and must be able to apply that knowledge to solve real-world problems. But what does teaching and learning look like in schools that are delivering on this promise?

Dr. Micci outlined the problem quoting statistics from US sources – while more students are graduating from high school and entering college, the fact is only 28 percent of students complete a bachelor’s degree in the time the program is expected to take and nearly two million students who begin college each year will drop out before earning a diploma. Stellar academic results alone are not enough for college success, she said. So, what else is needed?

  1. Forging relationships with high school teachers is good practice for college years.  

  2. Strengthen executive function skills such as time management, study skills and planning and organising.

  3. Educate students on financial decisions and independence.

  4. Understand how to network and build relationships.

  5. Developing leadership skills.

  6. Applying academic concepts to real life projects.

  7. Internships with real businesses and community partners.

  8. Fostering healthy work-life balance for students to pursue passions outside of school.

Hence, a good high school should prepare its students to succeed in an increasingly complex and interdependent world by engaging them in meaningful experiences in a variety of settings outside the classroom.

After understanding the issues surrounding college persistence, the evening moved to a panel discussion to hear from experienced University professors on the challenges they’ve observed in the classroom.

Panelists included THS Founder and Head of School, Dr. Jadis Blurton, THS High School Principal, Dr. Elizabeth Micci, Hong Kong University Postdoctoral Fellows Dr. Sam Crickenberger and Dr. Monaliza Maximo Chian.

  1. Dr. Blurton has worked in the fields of Education, Child Psychology and Educational Psychology for more than 30 years, practicing clinically as well as teaching at the university level and working with schools.

  2. Dr. Micci received her Ph.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Education after serving as a high school English teacher and administrator of a college prep academy in the US.

  3. Dr. Crickenberger is a marine ecologist who received his Ph.D. from Clemson University and has taught biology courses ranging from non-majors to graduate level at universities in the United States.

  4. Dr. Chian received her Ph.D. in Education, Teaching and Learning with a specialization in Qualitative and Interpretive Research from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has 20 years of professional experience in Pre-K through Grade 8 public schools in California as an administrator, mentor teacher and classroom teacher, as well as having served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the Department of Education at Azusa Pacific University.

The panel discussion was led by Tim Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman, a Counsellor with Hoffman Psychological Counselling in Hong Kong, spent more than two decades as a consultant and partner in a top-level global executive search firm, worked for nine years at IBM, and received his Masters in Mental Health Counselling from Brooklyn College.

The High School Information Series is a THS initiative to educate and inform on issues related to secondary school education programs and transition to college and beyond. The series brings in industry professionals to discuss key topics related to future readiness in students.

For more information about The Harbour School, visit the school’s website.


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