Table tennis Olympic medalist Minnie SOO Wai-Yam will be admitted to the School of Science at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in the new academic year (2022/23), following the introduction of a new admission scheme for elite athletes by the University Grants Committee (UGC) last week.
Minnie Soo, a bronze medal winner of the Table Tennis Women’s Team Competition in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, is the first student admitted to the HKUST mainly based on her sports performance after UGC launched the new Student-Athlete Learning Support and Admission Scheme (SALSA).
To encourage students to develop non-academic talents such as sports, HKUST launched the Student Athletes Admissions Scheme (SAAS) three years ago to offer student athletes special admission arrangements, scholarships, living allowance, academic accommodations and other relevant assistance. There are currently around 15 elite athletes studying at HKUST.
To better support SALSA, the University enhanced SAAS to provide more flexible admission and assistance to top local athlete applicants. Apart from designated SAAS advisory committee, HKUST is set to recruit extra academic tutors to provide successful applicants with more flexible and personalized academic support. That includes extending their study periods, study load adjustment, examination rescheduling, and class attendance waiver. They may also receive tuition scholarship and living allowance of up to HK$42,100 and HK$55,000 per year respectively, along with sponsorships on sports competitions, injury prevention, treatment trainings and counselling services.
Minnie Soo, who will begin her life as a university student in September, said she was both excited and nervous. “It’s been a decade since I last studied on a campus. I chose to become a full-time athlete at an age when I should be studying at school, because there is a golden period for every athlete and I want my full potential unleashed. It has been a wonderful and rewarding journey, and now I will dedicate this passion to the second chapter of my life.”
Enrolled in the school-based science program, Minnie said she is interested in physical science and is aspired to become a scientist or educator in the future.
Prof. Emily NASON, Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions, said the University is delighted to admit a devoted and outstanding athlete like Minnie to join the HKUST community. “She never gives up on her studies despite a highly demanding training schedule, and overcomes painful injuries to score the victory. I truly admire her resilience, and see a great deal of resemblance to the can-do spirit at HKUST,” Prof Nason said. “The University will provide a holistic and supportive learning environment to these bright young athletes so they can pursue their academic dream while winning glory for Hong Kong.”
HKUST has re-opened SAAS to non-JUPAS applicants to allow more outstanding athletes to pursue their undergraduate studies in the 2022/23 academic year. Deadline for both JUPAS and Non-JUPAS athlete applicants are now March 31. Please visit the website of the scheme for more information.
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