Guide to fulfilling education dreams

Review by JOANNE LIM


DECIDING what to study, where to study and how to finance yourself can be mind-boggling for many school-leavers, especially with the multitude of higher education centres and programmes to choose from. 

From scholarships to useful contact numbers, the ninth edition of Wencom's Higher Education Guide will save you from more hair pulling while you conduct your search.  

Organised and easy to use, the guidebook caters to both Malaysians and foreign students, especially from China and South-East Asia, with chapters like “International Education” and “Malaysian Private Education”. 

Can't decide between maritime and music? Students will find the “Career Guide” enlightening with brief job descriptions of over 25 careers and tips on what personality traits would fit each job. Careers in banking, engineering, medicine and law are also highlighted. 

For those contemplating studying abroad, three new countries – Japan, Germany, and France – are featured in the international education section. 

A foreign student to these countries must show adequate knowledge of the national language.  

So if you do not know what Entschuldigen Sie bitte or Spielwarengeschنft means, Wencom's advice is to take up German language courses at any Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes branches or institutions offering such programmes. 

Those keen to learn French can go to the Alliance Francaise in Kuala Lumpur or Penang for more information on its language courses. 

Information on nine other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and Russia, has been expanded, providing a more comprehensive and detailed coverage. 

This covers entry qualifications, expected expenses, visa requirements and employment opportunities during term breaks. 

The latest edition also comes with a new section, called “Financial Planning on Higher Education”.  

According to Wencom, scholarships are hard to come by, even if one is academically outstanding; therefore, it is always wise to plan your finances well ahead. 

With listings of over 500 local and international scholarships and study loans provided by local banks, the guidebook serves as a useful resource for information on eligibility for financial aid and where to go for further enquiries. 

Parents worried about having to starve in order to give their child higher education will also find the book useful, with a step-by-step guide in financial planning for children from the age of three. Tips include setting aside a lump sum contribution and targeting the inflation rate in years to come. 

The guidebook's “Green Pages” contains over 2,200 addresses, e-mail and contact numbers of local and overseas education institutions, training centres, R&D institutions, postgraduate schools, distance-learning centres, exam centres, and insurance companies with education plans. 

To top it all, the publishers have included contacts for student travel bureaus, embassies, all Education Ministry departments, and Malaysian Student Departments overseas. 

For those preparing for an interview, the guidebook provides tips on how to make a good impression by being punctual, smiling, maintaining eye contact, and asking questions. These tips can help reduce stress and anxiety too. 

Nearly 400-pages long, the directory contains a good balance of information on both public and private institutions.  

A profile of each learning institution is given, along with information about the courses and facilities available, the duration of the courses and the minimum entry requirements.  

There's also useful after-sales service, such as the Data Bank Service, where the publisher helps to channel readers’ enquiries to the appropriate education institutions based on the user's preferred course, place of study and budget. 

The 16 Data Bank Enquiry cards, which can also be addressed directly to the respective institution, are also included. 

This all-in-one comprehensive guidebook is indeed reader- friendly and relevant; suitable for both school-leavers and mature students. 

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