Sky is the limit for top students
WHAT do top Hong Kong students do at an academically rigorous US college when they are not studying? Not much - they are typical bookworms, some say. But for scholarship winners Alan Au Yuk-lun, Gallant Chiu King-lun and Chan Hing-lun, who recently returned for their Christmas holiday, there is the world of soccer, skiing and even aviation.
Such activities, however, are only complementary to their straight As record in their engineering studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), New York.
At an institute with an Engineering School ranked among the top five in the US and computer facilities the first in world colleges, the trio find ample learning and training opportunities.
''We are required to use computer even in Maths and Physics, besides Engineering graphics,'' said freshman (first-year student) Alan, an HKCEE nine As scorer, who discovered a computer room even in his dormitory.
The three enjoy the moderate-sized 4,000 strong undergrad student body, and the institute's relative short distance to New York City (three hours' drive) and Boston (four hours).
Gallant, a senior who topped his matriculation class at Kowloon Wah Yan two years ago, was a member of one of the few successful teams that got top grade by inventing a vending machine that produced iced tea from powder in an engineering design course.
Studies aside, Gallant formed the first Hong Kong Students' Association (HKSA) soccer team last year, which got into the semi-finals in the intra-murals in its first try.
Hing-lun, Queen's College's 10 As student at the HKCEE, is a computer and systems engineering student who enjoys being treasurer of the HKSA.
He is also eyeing something more adventurous - getting a licence to fly a small private jet! ''I'm joining the Aviation Club next semester,'' said the sophomore (second-year student).
Alan goes for skiing. ''I'm taking a six-week course at the Ski Club to do something I couldn't in Hong Kong.'' Through the well-established Undergrad Research Programme (URP), Gallant and Hing-lun teamed up with faculty members for hands-on research that showed them what advanced degree studies required.
At present, yearly tuition at RPI is US$16,800 ($131,000). Room and board costs are about US$5,000.
RPI offers three scholarships of at least US$5,000: the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship for top Maths and Science students; the Rensselaer Alumni Scholarship and Chinese Students Scholarship.
For further information, call Mr Richard Chan on 914-273-4062 or write to: RPI, Dean of Admissions, Troy, NY12180, US. The institute's number is 518-276-6216, and its fax number is 518-276-4072.