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TW made it into #Pharmacy

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TW has come a long way since he was diagnosed as “severely retarded” in preschool! If ever there was confirmation of the fact that different children progress at different rates, it’s our children. Pushing them into regular cookie-cutter school was a disaster on several levels, and homeschooling was the one thing that gave us, as parents, the chance to guide them to success rather than relegating them to failure.

In this post, I thought I’d concentrate on TW. Despite my chopping and changing from one curriculum to another over the years, he came through with flying colours. You can read all the details in The Dog Ate My Experiment!, but the past seven years were fraught with anxiety and worry. A lot of people around us expressed scepticism about the decision to homeschool and, not being committed Christians, there was little in the way of a social network that could support and sympathise with what we were going through.

Last year, TW sat for his IGCSEs and his grades were good enough to get him into the Foundation in Science programme at Reading (pronounced “red-ing”) University, Malaysia campus. We knew that the courses between Reading UK (UoR) and Reading Malaysia (UoRM) were meant to be absolutely equivalent. This does have its problems, as I discussed with the Head of Foundation at UoRM, but the year moved on despite my misgivings. Those misgivings, by the way, weren’t for TW but for his peers, the majority of whom did not have tertiary-educated parents. But that’s a topic for another time.

TW did well in his Foundation year, scoring Distinctions across all four subjects, and qualifying for a High Achievers’ Award scholarship (30% discount on fees). But this wasn’t the end of it. He also needed to pass the interview for admission to the Pharmacy department.

The procedure for the interview was to complete a Personal Statement of no more than 400 words, to be submitted a week before the interview, followed by the interview itself. We had no idea whether TW would face one or several staff members.

On the day, we drove TW to university and settled in at the campus cafe to wait. The interview took a total of forty-five minutes…fifteen of them with a member of the Admissions department, and the remaining thirty with the Head of Pharmacy. The interview included some basic questions on what the interviewee thought about the field of Pharmacy, what they intended to study within the field, and their choice of Pharmacy in the first place. This was followed by a quick tour of the facilities. I had read that the Pharmacy interview can also include some basic Maths questions but Reading already knew TW’s results, so I imagine that’s why they left that section out.

We were asked whether we’d like to join TW for the tour but demurred. It’s very easy as a homeschooling parent to continue to “hold the reins” and we know that homeschooling parents very easily get branded as “helicopter parents”. We did not want to be such parents. The next year is going to be TW’s year and we didn’t want to interfere with his forging ahead along his new path. I think that, as homeschooling parents, it’s important to know when to take control and, even more importantly, when to let go.

A week later, TW got an unconditional offer to study Pharmacy at UoRM. He begins at the end of September.

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