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Top international universities compete for IB star

Recent ACG School Jakarta graduate Raahim Hadi’s phenomenal IB success placed him in the top one per cent of IB students worldwide and has resulted in an array of merit-based scholarships from leading international universities. Excited about starting a new chapter, the 2022 Valedictorian can’t wait to meet new people from different backgrounds and fully immerse himself in university life. 
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2022 Valedictorian Raahim Hadi with Principal Hutchinson

A near-perfect score, a flood of offers, and a string of scholarships have capped off an outstanding year for ACG School Jakarta’s departing Head Boy Raahim Hadi.

Raahim’s spectacular success in the recent International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) assessments – where he was awarded a score of 44 points (from a maximum score of 45) – cemented his place in the top one percentile of students across the globe. So it’s not surprising that the school’s Valedictorian has received a barrage of offers from some of the world’s leading universities. These include partial-tuition scholarships from the University of Toronto and the University of Melbourne and full-tuition scholarships from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

“After a year of researching and applying to universities around the world, I never thought that on IB results day I’d be faced with such a big dilemma governing the next four years of my life,” says Raahim.

“While I was attracted to the offers from Toronto and Melbourne, I was surprised to see that both HKU and HKUST were willing to offer me full-tuition scholarships. Both universities have excellent globally recognised faculties and facilities for engineering (my chosen area of study). In the end, it came down to picking between the natural countryside of HKUST and HKU’s CBD location.”

HKU won out, and in just a few weeks, Raahim will be heading to Hong Kong to embark on a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) with plans of specialising in mechanical engineering in his second year.

“In the future, I aim to have greatly developed theoretical and technical skills in engineering design, which can be used to research and develop sustainable engineering systems that promote ease of life, such as automotive, aerospace design, HVAC, or robotics.

“For now, though, I’m looking forward to connecting with professors and fellow international students and developing my knowledge and skill set. I’ve been admitted to HKU’s Starr Hall residence, so I’m also looking forward to congregations and high-table dinners with fellow Starrians. It will be fun exploring the campus lifestyle, the CBD and the traditional markets of Kowloon, alongside other students who have just arrived in Hong Kong.”

And with the rock-solid foundations laid during his IBDP studies, Raahim will be ideally placed for success.

“The IBDP’s rigour and fast pace set a good path for students to gain knowledge and develop practical skills – not only in their chosen subject areas but also regarding time management, collaboration and independent study skills.

“The compulsory components at the core of the IBDP, such as the CAS (Creativity, Activity Service) project, ensures students are engaged in a healthy balance of academics and extracurricular activities. The ToK (Theory of Knowledge) course gives students a philosophical perspective while also improving their critical thinking skills and developing an inquirer’s mindset. The EE (Extended Essay) lays the groundwork for long-length coursework and research. One of my most memorable IBDP experiences has to be my year-long process of researching, experimenting and drafting my EE in physics on the motion characteristics of miniature parachutes.”

But academics are not all Raahim is passionate about. In fact, since joining ACG School Jakarta in Year 10, he has thrived and excelled in all areas of school life.

“Along with academics, I opted for extracurricular commitments in leadership and tutoring, which paved the way for me to develop my soft skills and become Head Boy in Year 13.”

And while much of his time at school was spent online due to Covid-19, Raahim still gathered a treasure trove of memories that will be with him for life.

“When I was new to the school, I had a great time getting to know people and participating in House events such as the sports and swimming carnivals. During my online studies as Prefect and Head Boy, I enjoyed planning events with the Secondary and Primary Student Council members and participating in HalloWeek, Sports Week, and Mental Health Awareness Week. I also loved working with other Eco-Warrior Club members to support the implementation of the school’s new Green Space Project. But the most memorable moment of all came at the end of my time at ACG School Jakarta when the class of 2022 gathered together for graduation and to reflect on our journey and all that we’d learnt.

“My biggest ACG lesson? It’s never too late to get involved and transform yourself into the person you want to become. Don’t wait for the ‘right moment’ to take the initiative.”