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What Are Universities Looking For in Students: Instil these 5 Exemplary Qualities that Make You Stand Out with Charterhouse


In an era where social media is king, the desire to go viral and live off internet fame can be strangely enticing. Who doesn’t love instant notoriety? However, just like any trend internet fame comes to an abrupt end! Therefore, you need a more sustainable future, built on a good education from a distinguished institution that provides students like you with an edge.

According to the admissions teams at Ivy League and Oxbridge universities such as Harvard and Cambridge, a strong academic background is no longer the sole reason for someone to gain such prestigious admission. Recruitment officers are on the lookout for well-rounded students with qualities that set them apart; students with unique points of view and the drive to see their dreams come true.

You’ll be surprised at how selective the admissions team can be. They give individual attention and careful consideration to each application. Therefore, you’ll want to stand out! Here’s what you need to know:


Students should be self-motivated and have enthusiasm for a chosen course

First and foremost, pursuing a degree is no easy feat, which is why it’s called “higher education”. It requires diligence, dedication and zest for the subject you are pursuing. Without these, students may find themselves in a mental and emotional rut. Considering most degrees are a minimum of three to four years, that’s a long time to be in a rut! So, figure out what you’re passionate about! What do you love studying in school?


Students should be the primary bearer of their responsibilities and have independent thoughts

In university, students will often find themselves having to do things by themselves. And whether or not they are ready for those responsibilities, students with an independent mindset often fare better than those who don’t, especially academically. Take for example Charterhouse, in its A Level programme, no more than 12 students are allowed within the classroom. This small setting presents each student with the opportunity to express his or her ideas, be heard and feel valued.

This brings us to the next point.


Students should be dedicated, master self-management and perseverance

Independent individuals are often firm in their stance.

Students must be able to demonstrate that they are organised, be methodical in their approach, be able to make a decision through creative and critical thinking and be able to defend their point of view with salient arguments. At Charterhouse, the Learner’s Portfolio provides the students with the structure through which they can develop these traits and demonstrate them through their personal statements to a university, or an interview with the admissions team.


Students should be interdependent and have the ability to work with others through collaboration and teamwork

The fact is, the best work is produced when teams of people with different skill sets come together. It’s the way the world typically works, and students need to learn this skill before they go out into the workforce. 

As one of England’s most prestigious schools, service-learning is integral at Charterhouse. The well-rounded curriculum is further supported by a distinctive curriculum, specially formulated by the brains behind the school’s Asian chapter, now open in Kuala Lumpur.  All students participate in an independent learning project that is both theoretical and practical in nature. Taking what they learn in school and applying it, in partnership, to real-world problems in the local community. 

Being consistently participative also indicates an active learner. A person who is actively involved in the betterment of a community and in giving back to those around them.


Students should have a high EQ and good communication skills

A student striving for higher learning must be able to construct a sound argument and relay it to others. Active participation in the classroom breeds a healthy social environment for safe discussions and builds on strong communication skills. Charterhouse’s education programme places great emphasis on a Design Thinking approach. Students will learn how to empathise first and foremost. Relating to others, listening and responding appropriately is a cornerstone to developing both EQ and communication skills. 

How does Charterhouse mould the quintessential student? 

Charterhouse has assembled a ‘Future Ready’ curriculum that caters to the aspiring scientist, business leader or innovator. 

Cambridge A Levels The gold-standard access to university entry around the world is the central offering at Charterhouse. It provides an intensive and all-rounded University foundation for students. 

Independent Learning Programme 

The Independent Learning Programme is driven by service-learning and authentic experiences. Students are encouraged to participate, conduct independent research and solve real-world problems. Students can expect to be able to formulate compelling case studies through investigative, collaborative and analytical approaches. 

Design thinking

This innovative process is widely used by professionals in numerous industries. The approach is further broken down into a gradual process called WEAVE, which stands for Wonder, Explore, Value, Apply and Exhibit. Through this approach, students build a systematic attitude towards problem-solving. 

Spectra Smarts 

Students are highly motivated to have critical, creative and inquisitive thinking. It provides the nurturing bed to build unique perspectives. Charterhouse adopted the Spectra Smarts approach. By moving away from a traditional education model that focuses only on the acquisition of knowledge and developing all human intelligence, students will be better placed to compete successfully in the future.

Charterhouse Forum 

The Charterhouse Forum provides an outlet for students to explore leadership and managerial opportunities. It’s a student-led body, for students by students! There are numerous opportunities for leadership and teamwork, both internally to the school and externally in the wider community. Universities run Student Unions and Charterhouse has the Charterhouse Forum for the same reason.

Charterhouse Learner’s Portfolio

This online platform enables students to showcase how they Study, Create and Inspire. Its dual function acts as a university application driver and a systematic documentation process, allowing students to monitor their progress and growth throughout their learning journey and demonstrate their achievements to universities and future employers.

You’ll find that each project and interaction at Charterhouse is designed to foster leadership, initiative, social responsibility, a sense of identity and character, commitment to service and hone other skills, talents and abilities. 

Students take the initiative to build key areas through practice, experimentation and mentorship with the resources provided by the school within a futuristic environment conducive to learning. 

With such a supportive learning environment, as a student, you will be given every opportunity to find your passion, build your commitment and have compelling arguments that represent your point of view. 

In essence, Charterhouse makes you ‘Future Ready’ by instilling these qualities and qualifications in students, empowering them to recognise an equitable future, develop a genuine interest in the realities of the world around them and take necessary action!

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