When Ceci Li Wing-man failed to get into a university two years ago, she realised that she would have to enrol in an associate degree programme. She completed a two-year sub-degree course in applied social science at Polytechnic University's Hong Kong Community College. Her hard work paid off when, after graduating, she was offered a place to study for a bachelor's degree in social work at the university. Ms Li was one of a handful of fortunate associate degree graduates able to convince a government-funded university to accept them. Only associate degree graduates with an outstanding academic performance are given university places. 'I was so worried that if I didn't get into a university that studying the associate degree would have been a waste of time,' she said. 'Even the employer who hired me to do a part-time job looked down on me when he learnt that I was studying at a community college,' she recalled. However, she found to her surprise after attending classes for some time, that studying at a community college was rewarding. She was also profoundly inspired outside the classroom. After participating in many activities and voluntary work, she was even more determined to become a social worker. 'The needy and some social workers I met in these activities touched me so deeply that I seriously thought about the value of being a social worker, and that's why I wanted to be one of them,' she said. 'I knew if I really wanted to make it my career, I had to secure a place at a university.' She was thrilled to be informed by the university that she had been offered a place to study for a bachelor's degree in her chosen field. 'I look forward to putting my knowledge into practice and contributing to the community,' she said. 'The Polytechnic University campus is not new to me since I used to study on the same campus for the associate degree course, but I am a bit nervous about meeting my new classmates,' she said.