Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Currently pursuing her Business degree in London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Louisa Chew is going to share how she believes ACSI is great choice if you would like to develop yourself holistically.
Get to know Louisa Chew
Hi Louisa, thanks for agreeing to share your insights into life in ACSI. Let’s start off with something close to a lot of Singaporeans’ heart, if you have to eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
I would choose Crystal Jade because I really love dim sum, it is right up there as one of my favourite foods!
Lovely! How would your friend describe you?
They always seem to find my comments funny so I guess they would say I am funny!
Rate ACSI school uniform out of 10?
To be honest, AC school uniform is quite comfortable and the colour is quite nice too so I’ll give it an 8!
Coming from a non-affiliated school, what made you choose ACSI?
Indeed I was from Singapore Chinese Girl School (SCGS) which was a non-affiliated school. I was actually considering between ACSI and a few other JCs after my O Level. My older sister went to ACSI and my parents noted her thriving in the IB environment, one which is markedly different from the A Level environment. ACSI requires its students to work on many course works and thus demands from students to put in a more consistent level of work compared to A Level. Personally I felt more suited to such an environment where a slightly less emphasis is put on the final examinations.
What is your subject combination and any particular reason?
I took the rather popular BCME (HL Biology, HL Chemistry, HL Math, and SL Economics). When I joined ACSI, I was debating whether to pursue medicine, dentistry, or business at university level. Like many others at that time, I wasn’t too sure which path to take, so I felt the BCME combi, in particular with HL Math and HL Chemistry, would open the most doors to university.
You alluded to course works, also known as the Internal Assessments (IAs) earlier, what would you say were some of the more memorable moments you have while working on them?
I think a lot of people would agree when I say most of the time, our experiments (for science IAs) didn’t quite turn out the way we envisioned. Frustrated as it may sound, I ended up having a lot of fun laughing at our own failures in and around the lab with my friends. Seeing that everyone was going through the same struggle as I did made me realise the pain was only temporary and just part of the journey.
Course works wise, it was more of a long journey. In IB we have the EE and TOK, which depends on the style of your teachers, would require you to put in more independent efforts, which were the case for myself. I was lucky enough to do an English EE, which mostly requires writing and research.
Is it fair to say there are a few struggles in your academic journey?
Yes, definitely! Personally it was difficult to adjust academically coming from the O Level background because friends coming from the Integrated Programme in MGS or ACSI would have been given a good foundation before transitioning to JC. I also belonged to a small minority in my class who did not have tuition classes which meant I have to maximise my time at school clarifying my doubts with my teachers and friends.
You mentioned teachers there, how would you describe teachers in ACSI in general?
I couldn’t really say for all teachers, but I was lucky enough to have teachers who would always try to make themselves available for consultation. I was struggling a little bit with Economics and Math leading up to Prelims. It was really flexible in the sense that you could just drop them an email asking for a consult and prepare some relevant questions myself for them to go through.
Moving on to a less serious topic, what CCAs did you join and how was your experience?
I joined 2 CCAs, Track & Fields, which we fondly call Track, and Media Resource. Track gives me some of my closest friendships in AC. We really bonded well as a team from spending a lot of time training together and having meals afterwards, and of course, participating in competition. Sometimes after school you just wanted to go home and have a 16-hour power nap, but the joy from training is unparalleled as it gives you the energy you never thought you have after long hours of sitting in class.
Were you always going to join Track once you entered ACSI?
In secondary school, I used to be in dance CCA but thought that I should pursue something different in JC, although I did have some experience with track & fields before in some external events.
Competition forms a unique part of the memories of students in sports CCA. What did you learn from representing ACSI in Track & Fields competition?
Our girls team going into competition was aware of our expectation, which allowed us to focus on what truly matters at the end of the day: enjoying the process. Enjoying what we did helped me to discover a lot more about myself.
What was something you learned beyond the four walls of the classroom from your time in ACSI?
I think the highlight of my time was the AIA (Acsians in Action) program. There were many proposals from groups of students for an overseas service learning trip to be vetted by the school. In the end, the school would choose a selected few to carry out their respective proposals. We had to do the organising, the liaison with third parties, and managing the team all by ourselves. I learn a lot about myself and others through the daily reflection session that we had. It is definitely recommended for anyone who is joining ACSI to give it a go!
Describe the profile of students who would thrive in ACSI?
I think to maximise your time in ACSI, one should be a flexible person in being able to work well in teams as well as independently, as there are many opportunities for collaborative work, particularly in CCA, and of course independent research work in writing reports. Also in general, I think as long as whoever has the mindset of wanting to learn and grow as an individual, would thrive in the ACSI environment.
One advice for juniors looking to enter a JC?
Really try to understand your strengths in learning style, and see whether that could gel with the school. The IB program is definitely independent yet requires a good amount of teamwork to succeed in. On the other hand, I think what I gather from my A Level friends is that you would need to be super independent and different in the sense that there is comparatively little to no projects that you have to deal with. Obviously without actually entering JC, one would not know whether or not a program suits one better. However, if you don’t mind putting in consistent work over a long time, IB could be an option for you. Plus, I think IB in general and ACSI specifically is a good choice if you value holistic development!