Capitalising on Strengths and Transforming Weaknesses:  Recommendations for Asian Students 





The world of higher education offers boundless opportunities.  For Asian students, understanding one’s strengths and areas for improvement can be vital in selecting the right university program.  



Recognising Strengths


Asian markets consistently rank at the top of global educational rankings, such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (source:  OECD). This is a testament to the high academic standards set in Asian educational systems.  Many Asian students develop rigorous study habits from an early age, which lays the foundation for academic excellence.   These students also prioritise a hands-on approach, particularly in mathematics, science and technology, which are highly sought-after skills in today’s global job market. 



Identify your Personal Weaknesses and Work to Overcome Them


While Asian students often excel in technical subjects, there can be a challenge with languages and communication, especially when transitioning to English-dominated landscapes.  This can hinder active participation in diverse educational settings.  Moving away from the comfort of home to a new country with its unique cultural nuances can be overwhelming.  This can sometimes result in Asian students feeling isolated or out of place. 



To tackle the language barrier, Asian students should actively engage in language learning, and take advantage of all available language-learning resources, such as class discussions; reading novels and news; or leveraging online resources such as films, forums, and free online language courses and references.   It also means practising speaking and writing the language as much as possible.    They can also consider participating in debates and other language-intensive activities or proactively talking to peers, teachers, school staff and even neighbours, which is helpful for developing language skills in a real-world context.  


English teachers and class teachers in high schools are always the best language partners for Asian students to hone their skills.    Do not be afraid to share your challenges and concerns with them, who can offer you support on subject-specific and social development.   



Some Asian educational systems emphasise memorisation.  This method, while effective in some contexts, may not always develop skills like critical thinking or independent research, which are essential in many Western universities.   In today’s learning environment, students can “gamify” their studying process to make learning more engaging and effective.   For instance, they can set goals and track progress, or use a flashcard app to study for a test.  



Making an Informed Decision 


Before starting university applications, Asian students should carefully consider their personal strengths, innate potential, and areas for improvement, especially if they are unsure of their future career path.  While interest is a motivator, it is equally important to match their interests with potential.  


The Strong Interest Inventory Assessment® (SII) is a psychometric assessment that helps students make informed decisions about their education and careers.  It can be taken at any stage of life, from junior school and high school to after university graduation.  The SII provides in-depth information about an individual’s personal interests, which, when combined with their academic performance, can be a valuable tool for identifying potential career paths.  





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