Pursuing her vet dreams in Melbourne
17-year-old who will start foundation studies in Trinity College in Australia was told to 'prepare for the worst'
She has wanted to be a vet since she was 12, and was determined to pursue veterinary studies after her O-level examinations.
Avi Leong, 17, ended up getting an L1R4 score of 15 points, and did not qualify for veterinary medicine courses in local polytechnics.
But this July, she will travel to Australia to embark on the long road to becoming a vet at Trinity College, University of Melbourne.
Avi had already predicted the outcome of her O levels after receiving her preliminary examination results, which is why she decided to focus on making the cut for Trinity College. It offers foundation studies under the University of Melbourne, where she wants to pursue the doctor of veterinary medicine post-graduate programme.
While researching the application process, she found out about IDP Singapore, which counsels students on their options in tertiary education overseas.
She said: "I showed the IDP counsellor my results, and he said I might not be able to apply for the programme because my results were in the grey area, and I didn't meet some of the admissions criteria.
"He told me to prepare myself for the worst because the school is quite strict."
After liaising with the admissions office of the university, Avi's education counsellor, Mr Farid Zainal, advised her to apply for Trinity College, but not to get her hopes up.
Mr Farid, who has been with IDP Singapore for almost two years, said: "Avi's situation was quite unique. She was determined to pursue veterinary studies at the University of Melbourne.
"We try to cater to the client's requests as much as possible. It's their education and hence their future.
"We try to see if there are any alternative pathways to what they're aiming for, like foundation studies or alternative universities. Most people don't see that there are viable options elsewhere."
Avi was eventually offered a place in Trinity College - with conditions.
Since she did not take additional mathematics as an O-level subject, she will attend five extra weeks of maths tutorials with the college starting in July, before she starts her foundation studies in August.
After a year of foundation studies at Trinity College, she intends to pursue a three-year bachelor of science degree, and then pursue the three-year doctor of veterinary medicine post-graduate programme at the University of Melbourne.
Avi did not think twice about accepting the offer.
She said: "I was quite thankful, because I was already preparing for the possibility that I might have to go somewhere else."
Avi's mother, Mrs Tinah Leong, who accompanied her to the counselling sessions said: "She has told us time and time again that being a vet is what she wants to do, so we did whatever we could to get her there. Studying overseas is a big but worthwhile investment."
Check out University Expo this weekend
About 40 universities and institutions from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand will be setting up booths at the University Expo organised by IDP Singapore this weekend.
Students can speak to the admissions teams and get answers to their questions about overseas education.
There will also be seminars and a panel discussion on studying overseas. Register at events.idp.com/singapore-expo, admission is free.
Date: Saturday and Sunday
Time: 11.00am to 4.30pm
Place: Orchard Hotel