3 Malaysian Students Accepted Into Harvard College Despite 3.41% Acceptance Rate

The three Malaysians join a total of 1,942 students who were selected out of 56,937 applications.

Cover image via @lapetitemaligne (Twitter) & The Harvard Crimson

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Three Malaysian students have defied the odds and been selected to attend Harvard College, the undergraduate school of the world-renowned Harvard University, this year

According to the Harvard Club of Malaysia, Ho Shu Xin from Ipoh, and Pua E Rick and Sydny Lum from Kuala Lumpur, will be joining the Ivy League school's undergraduate class of 2027.

The three Malaysians were selected out of 56,937 applications, with a 3.41% acceptance rate.

They are among the 14.5% of international students from across 102 countries selected to attend Harvard College, out of a total of 1,942 students admitted.

Ho intends to major in Educational Psychology, Pua plans to pursue studies in Biological Sciences, while Lum plans to major in Economics

Harvard College alumni and interviewer Nick Khaw, who is now the Head of Research at Khazanah Nasional Berhad, said all three students are inspiring, passionate go-getters who are already making great impacts in the communities around them.

"Ho's story was inspiring. Not only has she excelled in school, but she has a vision and passion for education... During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho founded Project 30,000 Hours, an organisation that aims to help develop students' self-leadership skills and restore access to online learning," he said.

Ho is also a UNICEF Young Leader and a member of Thrive Well, an organisation that offers community mental health programmes to students living in PPR flats.

Meanwhile, Khaw said Pua is a passionate scientist and science communicator, who co-runs a blog called 'The STEM Bulletin' with a team of 20 writers to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects outside of the Malaysian academic syllabus.

"What impressed us about Pua was not just his deep passion for STEM but also his drive to improve things and help others around him," said Jacintha Tagal, another Harvard College interviewer and Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang Church pastor.

The three Malaysians accepted into Harvard College (from left): Ho Shu Xin, Pua E Rick, and Sydny Lum.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

As for Lum, Khaw said the Garden International School (GIS) scholar is an example of a thoughtful, mature, and accomplished student who is committed in her pursuit of Economic research, especially in her self-driven project on the implications of Bitcoin for developing countries.

Lum is also an excellent debater, emerging champion in national and international level, such as the Malaysia National Schools WSDC 2022 and World Schools Debating League Asia 2022. She also co-founded the journalism club in her high school.

Both Ho and Pua are currently studying A-Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM, while Lum is an A-Levels student at GIS.

Besides the great news, Harvard College interviewer Nadiah Wan also encouraged more talented students from Malaysia to apply

According to Nadiah, who is also Group CEO of TMC Life Sciences Berhad and CEO of Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara, the cost to attend Harvard College is free for families with annual incomes falling below USD85,000 (about RM375,000).

The alumni said nearly 25% of Harvard College students come from families earning below this threshold.

"Harvard admissions is need-blind and financial aid is 100% need-based, meaning that students are admitted solely based on their ability and character regardless of socio-economic background and financial ability to pay," she explained.

"If a student is admitted, Harvard is committed to ensuring that they can afford to attend," she assured.

The three students will join these other Malaysian students who previously made it into Harvard College:

Here are more talented Malaysians doing us proud overseas:

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