Jessica Pîncotan, XII F
It is essential to recall the importance of continuous improvement in education and building the path to academic elite, both nationally and internationally. The path is arduous, and those who believe that filling in a few forms and sending in the enrolment form is everything to be done, unfortunately, they are future students of universities without much academic prestige and not the applicants in a fierce competition. The top 50 universities in the world - for which it is worth leaving home - also ensure subsequent acceptance to a similar, top master's degree, and then a top job, as international exams and tests are required by the admission board. It is certain that they accept ''la crème de la crème'' - the best of the best - not just an ordinary applicant. The last decade has brought the meteoric rise of Asian universities on the scale of the world's most prestigious educational institutions, the world's top 30. Competition between applicants grew enormously as Asian candidates have applied in increasing numbers to all the world's top universities. This proves their thorough and consistent preparation. Apart from the Cambridge Advanced and IELTS English language certificates that validate academic communication skills in an international language at C2 level (in this case English for my chosen university profile) the top universities also recommend studying Mandarin Chinese. This probably anticipates the changing times and the growing weight of the Asian economies in the coming decades. Validation of Chinese language proficiency through the internationally recognised language exam, HSK, levels 1-7, offers the opportunity to attend classes, but also to connect linguistically with Chinese history, culture and literature. The dual programme of my choice is International Studies (branch of Political Science), East Asia being the specialisation, along with advanced level Chinese language study. In this regard, "Moise Nicoară" National College opens doors to a diversity of university programs by taking international exams, such as Advanced Placement exams, an American program adopted by Great Britain, Europe and Asia, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Vanda Stan, head of the English department of the college. In order to be outstanding as a candidate, my choice - out of 15 subjects from which you can choose between 1-4 - was Language and Composition AP, an exam specialising in rhetoric and political discourse analysis in different historical contexts. Furthermore, the essay exam consists in demonstrating knowledge of critical and structured thinking, set in the note of diplomatic speeches. The courses were taught by American university professors from prestigious colleges. My grade was among the top 20% worldwide, as 476,735 candidates from around the world took the exam. My English communication skills have also been honed in the International English Olympiad, HIPPO, with over 67,000 participants annually. Achieving high scores and continuously participating in international Olympiads and competitions in 2021 and 2022 have helped to maintain and polish my language skills. Another significant milestone for me was participating in the European Youth's Parliament sessions, one of the most prominent European platforms for civic education. Debating with international students on contemporary issues enriched my diplomatic skills in an academic, multicultural and multi-ethnic environment, where my participation was acknowledged and awarded with diplomas for plenary and sectional debates (international politics, human rights, climate, energy, health, etc.). The admissions process to Asian, British and Dutch universities, although complex and arduous, was successfully completed due attentiveness to each step of the application process, with concise and coherent paragraph or verbatim answers to well-considered questions from international admissions offices. Admission to Science Po-Hong Kong University, SOAS University of London, University of St. Andrews, London School of Economics and Political Sciences and Leiden University was instantaneous, practically the day after I submitted my application. Crossing paths to educational scholarships and first-rate academic learning environments gave me the satisfaction of rewarding work. I cannot conclude without mentioning the importance of my college, "Moise Nicoară" National College, in my professional development. The college's management - Prof. Dr. Diana Achim - and the international exams coordinator, the head of the English department - Prof. Dr. Vanda Stan, supported me and gave me the unique opportunity to take these tests in my country and in my city. I was advised and guided step by step, and I was never overwhelmed by the multitude of documents that had to be submitted as proof of my entire academic endeavour of twelve years. I hope that my experience will encourage both a tendency towards academic excellence and an emphasis on the rigour required for it. Diligence, the long time devoted to study, the American university courses, the mobilization for the most important deadlines, and the depth of my dedication, my professors' and colleagues', are the main factors of the distinguished results. Beginning in 9th grade, I have had plenty of support throughout the laborious 4-year journey that required the qualities of an elite student of an elite national college. Thus, I can say that my "chance for excellence" was honed through these interludes, the end of my studies remaining open for unique opportunities in the most prestigious corners of the world.