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The best preparation for the world’s top universities

“KTJ has always had a strong culture of mutual respect,” says Glenn Moodie, KTJ Principal. “Most students within our community accept others for who they are and take a positive role in embracing and celebrating diversity.”
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Sixth Form is not only the last two years of school for Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar International School (KTJ) students, but also the peak of their growth. This is a time of happy tears, for friends to go their separate ways and pursue their dreams and for all they’ve overcome and achieved at their verdant, 80-acre campus in Mantin, Malaysia. “They are so sad at the end, even the ones who have only been here for two years and it's because this is when they feel the full force of the relationships they've made and the community they’ve built,” says Gary Slade, Deputy Head of KTJ Secondary. 

KTJ is where students “Make It”  and Sixth Form is where they see the culmination of everything the school’s provided them: 24/7 support, a second family on campus, an appreciation for diverse perspectives, enrichment and co-curricular activities, and many more. And with these, they emerge as confident young people armed with valuable skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. In a changing, increasingly competitive world, their resilience, independence and global citizenship will help to prepare them for what’s to come.

Houseparents and house staff listen just as well. “Students will come up with many ideas, and many of those I will push because I feel if the students want something, and it's reasonable, I'll do my best to make sure that's offered to them in houses because they're the ones living it,” says Slade. In addition to House Captains, a student Head of Boarding has also been introduced. This new position allows the assigned student to convey the needs and wants of those in the boarding houses while developing key leadership skills.

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Getting into the world's top universities takes more than just good grades and great CVs. While KTJ Sixth Formers have both — in 2023, 32% of A Level entries were graded A* and 81% graded A*-B plus a seemingly endless list of enrichment, leadership and community service opportunities — they also have a team of experts dedicated to guiding and advising students on admissions to competitive universities and on life in higher education. 

It’s all part of the culture of support at KTJ — which doesn’t end when classes are over. Boarding is compulsory for A Level students and a key feature of KTJ. This means that each day and during the weekends, experienced Houseparents and House Staff (with 85 years of collective experience amongst them) are on hand to help and guide. “At the beginning of any year, we quickly find out which students are going to need initial support and I think our team is brilliant at doing that,” says Slade. “It's making the students know and making them aware of the systems in place.”     

In good hands

Preparing for university

and beyond, the KTJ way

The next step after Sixth Form at KTJ is to one of the world’s best universities. KTJ students gain admission into Cambridge, Imperial, London School of Economics and Political Science, Oxford, University College London, Harvard, UPenn, Ivy League universities and other top universities in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the UK and US. Such success is the result of years of preparation. “We have around three different universities come into KTJ Sixth Form each week to deliver academic lectures, as well as give talks about the university campus, facilities and courses,” says Emma Davidson, Head of Sixth Form.

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"We have so many different activities and events going on which help students cultivate new skills and interests," says Davidson. "This broadens the horizons of our students and allows them to explore which subject they might want to study at university."
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Guest speakers from different backgrounds — from architects to commercial aeroplane pilots, some of whom are KTJ alumni — add more insights into the different disciplines and professions that the students can consider. These sessions are paired with numerous competitions and enrichment activities, from robotics to forensics and debating.

Making informed decisions about the future

In Lower Sixth, the Morrisby Test is used to help students make informed decisions about their future career path, based upon their strengths, weaknesses, interest and personality. In the second semester, they are put into mentoring groups, each led by a specialist teacher in the area they have chosen, such as Law or Medicine. Mentors are well versed with both UK and US university applications and are able to help students with the ever-important personal statement.

Rania hopes to study economics at LSE, following in the footsteps of her two siblings who attended KTJ (one has graduated from LSE, and the other is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh). 

Despite her initial difficulties with the English language when joining KTJ in Form 4, Raina quickly felt right at home. This year, she co-founded the CCA group Financial Frontier, which explores the intersection of finance and business. “Last year, I joined an investment competition with the school,” Ichwan says. “At first, I didn't know anything about investment, but now I feel good about sharing my knowledge with my friends and the lower forms.”

“My tutor is Miss Shirley; she always gives good advice,” says Rania Rahmaputri Ichwan, an Upper Sixth Form student, originally from Indonesia. “She does not pressure me to finish but always tries to lead us at our own pace.”

From KTJ to Cambridge

From staff to seniors, peers to graduates, Yeh felt like everyone had his best interests at heart. Teachers gave him the technical details to add to his personal statement. The Sixth Form team meticulously reviewed his application and helped him meet deadlines. “My peers and I formed a tight-knit network, sharing vital information about university admissions and empathising with one another as we navigated the intricacies of the highly competitive application process,” he says. “Seeking advice from KTJ alumni who had successfully traversed the same journey, I received invaluable feedback on my application, further bolstering my prospects.” 

“The simple routines of life in the boarding houses, from preparing together in the morning to sharing meals in the dining hall, engaging in spirited sports activities after lessons, and studying collectively during prep time, all hold a unique and enduring charm.”
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KTJ’s support was “comprehensive and instrumental” in shaping Philip Yeh’s path to study engineering at the University of Cambridge. He remembers taking part in the annual Oxbridge engineering workshop, which not only simulated real-world challenges but also fostered collaboration among students from diverse engineering disciplines. “My participation, both as a contestant and an organiser, exposed me to multifaceted problem-solving perspectives, significantly enhancing my critical thinking and practical engineering skills,” he says.

For Yeh, one of the most indelible aspects of his KTJ experience was “the camaraderie and sense of belonging fostered within the boarding community.”

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