FOR Cambridge A-Levels (CAL) student Vythilingam Siva Shanmugam, his time at Taylor’s College allowed him to get the grounding he needed to get into his dream university – University of Cambridge.
The shy teenager comes to life when talking about his interests, especially the sciences.
“I have always enjoyed learning about science such as how the different components of the human body interact with one another to ensure optimal health. Besides that, I enjoy giving back to the community and always look at how I can help people.
“Therefore, it is only natural that I choose medicine as my career. I believe that pursuing the study of medicine will continue to challenge my knowledge potential throughout my professional life,” he says.
Vythilingam, who is an alumnus of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Abdul Samad in Petaling Jaya, shares that his life was not just about achieving outstanding results in his studies, but also exploring his interest in sports.
“I love sports – both the physical and online varieties. I have tried my hand at a few sports but feel like my calling is in futsal, chess, table tennis and cricket, the last of which is relatively unknown except among avid fans of the sport,” says the younger of two siblings.
Vythilingam’s brother, who is only a year older, also studied at Taylor’s College. Their shared experience brought the two brothers closer.
“It was fun to be able to share this experience with my brother. Growing up, we were always close and this experience allowed us to appreciate the benefits of receiving a quality pre-university education as well as the effect it has on our university applications,” says Vythilingam.
Support and guidance
During his time at Taylor’s College, Vythilingam was able to nurture his love for the sciences by participating in competitions and helping his peers with their assignments.
“My mathematics teacher Mr Lai Wing Kean and chemistry teacher Ms Kwek Saw Lian encouraged me to participate in competitions to gain wider exposure in my subject areas. I owe my success in competitions to them.
“Furthermore, I attribute my achievements to Mr Balachandran Palaniandy for his continued guidance and moral support in helping me to not only grow my confidence and knowledge but also make my résumé more impressive, which contributed to my successful application to University of Cambridge.
“I am grateful that I was able to make such good friends at Taylor’s College. These friends stood by my side and cheered me on when I was looking for ways to source funds for my studies after learning that I had gained acceptance into the university. I would not have ventured into a media campaign and crowdfunding exercise if not for the support of my family and friends.
“Mr Hariandra Muthu was also instrumental in helping me enter my dream university as he advised me on how to go about doing so. Without support from him and my friends, I would not have had the courage to bring my story to the wider Malaysian community. That saw me being contacted by a representative of my current benefactor,” says Vythilingam.
He is thankful that he never gave up on his childhood dream to study at University of Cambridge even when it seemed out of reach.
“Until you know for sure that there is absolutely no way left to achieve your goal, always keep trying. Do not let naysayers or even a major factor like financing influence your decision to apply to the top universities.
“If there is a will, there is a way – I am a testimony to that. Just think out of the box and work hard to enter your dream university,” says Vythilingam.
University of choice
Since its inception in 1969, Taylor’s College has provided a platform for countless Malaysian youth to reach their full potential. As a pioneer in pre-university studies in Malaysia, Taylor’s College takes its responsibility in giving students the best head start very seriously.
The importance of providing the right start through a holistic approach to teaching, strong student support and helping students gain placements in universities of their choice cannot be overstated.
Taylor’s College has a track record that is second to none in preparing graduates to gain admission to the finest universities in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and other countries across the world.
Amir Irfan Mohamad Hishammudin, another student from the CAL programme, shares that an added advantage of studying at Taylor’s College is the assistance provided by its University Placement Services (UPS) Centre. Amir found that the process of applying to universities was a lot smoother thanks to the experienced UPS personnel.
“They helped translate all required documents during application season and were always there to point out mistakes in my application,” says the JPA scholarship recipient. Amir secured a spot at Brown University – a US Ivy League institution.
Amir says that even though he was enrolled in a UK-based pre-university programme, he was able to gain entry to a US university thanks to his active involvement in extracurricular activities.
“Universities in the US look for people who are just as involved in extracurricular activities as they are in their studies. The tips on time management that I picked up while at Taylor’s College allowed me to be actively involved in activities inside and outside the classroom.
“It is precisely for that balanced approach that I was able to get into Brown University. I believe that my time at Taylor’s College will stand me in good stead in future as it has prepared me well for university life.
“Although I deemed the course to be academically challenging at first, I discovered that knowing the A-Levels syllabus made it easier for me to study for my SATs,” says Amir.
Taylor’s College offers the Cambridge A-Levels and SACE International (previously South Australian Matriculation) programmes at Taylor’s Lakeside Campus.
¦ For more information on the CAL and SACE International programmes offered by Taylor’s College, visit college.taylors.edu.my
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