KUALA LUMPUR: For the second consecutive year, no Malaysian student has gained admission into Harvard University.
Datuk Dr Goh Cheng Teik, who heads the selection panel that interviews students for undergraduate admission into the university, said this was due to the deteriorating quality of applicants from Malaysia.
“I called the Harvard College Admissions Office and was told that although they received applications from Malaysian students, no one was shortlisted for interviews as they are not considered competitive enough,” he told The Star.
Dr Goh said former SMK Damansara Jaya student Avinaash Subramaniam was the last Malaysian to be accepted into Harvard in 2010.
Avinaash obtained 11A's in the 2008 SPM and was awarded a full scholarship.
Harvard Club of Malaysia honorary secretary Nicholas Khaw, who is also an interviewer on the panel, said from 1985 to 2010, at least one applicant from Malaysia had been admitted into Harvard College every year. (Harvard College is the undergraduate school at Harvard University.)
In 2009, he said two students gained admission into Harvard.
According to a statement issued by the interview panel, a total of 30,489 and 34,950 applications were received by Harvard University in 2010 and 2011 with 6.9% and 6.3% gaining admission respectively.
It said among South-East Asian countries, Singapore has the highest number of students in Harvard College with 18, followed by Thailand (seven), Vietnam (six), Malaysia (five) and Indonesia (two).
Harvard Club of Malaysia executive committee member Wan Nadiah Wan Mohd encouraged Malaysian students to apply for admission into the university.
She said Harvard University this year awarded a total of US$172mil (RM531.48mil) in scholarships to 60% of its incoming students.
Wan Nadiah, who is also an interviewer, said students are encouraged to begin preparations for applications to Harvard at least six months before the application is due.
The application deadline for the 2013 intake is Jan 1 next year and further information can be found at http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/todays_harvard/index.html