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OCSEP's Extra-curricular program has two core objectives:
1) To inspire students.
Asian students often struggle to choose their university course because they are good at many subjects but not strongly attracted to any. This programme hopes to give students a deeper understanding of a subject beyond school and inspire them to do more outside of the classroom.
2) To improve students' chances of attending a top university.
Asian students rarely appreciate the importance of extracurricular activities for applications to overseas universities. They are important for two reasons:
• US universities put great weight on the value of having a well-rounded student who has participated in activities outside the classroom. It is not unusual for a university to reject a student who has scored very well in SAT exams but does not demonstrate that they have pursued any extracurricular interests.
At Oxbridge an interest in the subject outside of the classroom is essential which can be facilitated by related academic clubs. At other UK universities extracurricular activities are treated in the same way as US universities ¨Cpart of deciding whether a student is well rounded enough to succeed at their university.
• Extracurricular activities improve students' confidence, ability to communicate and work as part of a group. These skills are invaluable for the interview process but also for the duration of their degree where teamwork and the ability to explain ideas are highly valuable.
British and US students are far more active and thus Asian students are at a distinct disadvantage when applications are sent despite performing well in formal examinations.
We believe that the lack of extracurricular activities amongst Asian students can be explained by a number of factors:
1) Societies and clubs in Asian schools lack structure and organisation, often because schools lack the time or resources.
2) There are not currently many activities which are designed to really stimulate the student's imagination and encourage participation.
3) Students do not realise the importance of these activities.
OCSEP offers a comprehensive extracurricular package that covers a number of different interests. Students at the school can be encouraged to attend one or possibly two of the societies without losing their ability to achieve good grades. Once the mindset of Asian students is adjusted we feel that demand for societies will increase and students will become more active increasing their chances of attending a good university and becoming more rounded people. We expect these programs to make the schools that adopt them more attractive to parents.
We list below a number of possible societies which improve students' core skills and stimulate their interests without requiring a large commitment which may impact upon their ability to study. The content of each society is open to modification to match the exact requirements/ desires of students and schools.
- Debating Society