ACCORDING TO the Hong Kong Examinations Authority, the number of candidates of the Joint Entrance Examinations for Mainland Chinese Universities jumped from 395 in 2001 to 1,028 in 2002. It shows that more and more Hong Kong students are planning to further their tertiary education in the mainland. Katherine Cheng Sum-yan is one of them. Katherine, 18, a sixth former from St Paul's Co-education College, and another two fellow schoolmates are giving up their A-level studies in Hong Kong for a place in a four-year undergraduate programme at Peking University. 'Avoiding the A-level examination is one reason why I choose to study in Beijing, but not the main one,' she said. The major determinant was that she was excited by school life there. 'A former senior schoolmate, who was studying at Peking University, told me that there was a big chance of meeting a lot of people. Not only Chinese, but also of different nationalities. It can also broaden one's horizons,' she said. Katherine, who will major in history, was always asked why she would choose to study in the mainland rather than studying in Hong Kong or overseas. 'Peking University is top-class. Its campus is big and beautiful. The studious atmosphere there is also great. So I think I should grasp the chance,' she explained. With the support of her family, she finally decided to apply for Peking University and went to Beijing to sit for the entrance examination After visiting the school, Katherine was even more eager to study there. In late May, when the results were released, Katherine was getting more nervous and worried that she might be unable to get an offer and checked the instution's website, where the result was posted, twice a day. She revealed that at first, her mother did not want her to study outside Hong Kong. 'After she knew my determination, though, she didn't oppose it anymore. But she warned me not to play too hard there nor to date boys but to concentrate on studying,' Katherine said with a smile. 'But I expect she may cry due to missing me so much.'