Peer Tips

Here you will find advice from current and past students on selecting and completing your Common Core courses, tips for completing assignments, and engaging in Common Core’s extra-curricular activities.

General Advice

Generally, an undergraduate student for a four-year degree needs to take 36 credits from Common Core to graduate (for five-year degrees and other special cases, please refer to the Faculty requirements).

You must take at least one and no more than two Common Core courses from each Area of Inquiry.

There may be time clashes between Common Core and your other courses and commitments, so plan your schedule before course registration.

You may not be able to enrol in the courses of your preference for reasons such as limited quotas, so always have a backup plan!

Read the information on the course page, look at the readings, and watch course trailers. Don’t pick courses you are not interested in because you heard the teachers give good grades (this is a popular myth but not true).

Contrary to popular myth, the grades awarded across all Common Core courses tend to be remarkably uniform from one semester to the next. There aren’t any courses that are known for consistently awarding higher grades. Therefore, students are encouraged to select courses that align with their interests.

You may want to earn a minor (or cluster) by picking courses from certain thematic clusters.

Remember you may only select six (6) Common Core courses. Therefore, you should carefully make your course selection to ensure that you meet the necessary minor requirements.

Getting the best out of university entails catering your learning experience towards your career, yes. Also remember, education is a component of personal development — being a good person with the tools, attitudes and creative reflexes to adapt to uncertainty, new processes and phenomena in our societies and to adversity.

Make sure that you find meaningful learning experiences, in courses, study groups, friendships and the many activities of the university, as well as the Common Core!

Teachers appreciate students that are willing to experiment and be creative in their assignment tasks.

Academic rigor does not equal boring! The best academic writing communicates data, information, theory and beyond in a way that communicates human relevance and interest much like any visual or written narrative. The possibilities of story are endless when the subject is real life. After all, truth is stranger than fiction…

Your Faculty Office, your academic advisor, the Common Core Office and Consultants, and even the professors and Faculties offering Common Core courses are all willing to help you with your enquiries.

Do not hesitate to email or reach out to them when in doubt.

All your seniors should have studied Common Core courses before, their advice may be the most relevant to you!

HKU provides many online and face-to-face services to help you improve your planning and writing! The go-to department for this is HKU’s Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES) and their Communication Support Services. The Centre has student mentors and teachers that can provide personalised individual support for any of your assessments. There you may book sessions at the Writing Centre, Speaking Studio, or English Language Advising. For a comprehensive list of general writing tips, you my refer to the ‘Communication resources’ in the resources section of their website.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you encounter a roadblock or preferably early in the writing process!

The service is FREE for HKU students.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your studies or other problems, you should seek assistance from the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS). CEDARS can provide FREE and CONFIDENTIAL professional counselling, advice, and other support services.

Academic Honesty

Students should comply with policies around academic honesty at all time. This means undertaking work without plagiarism, cheating, or receiving unauthorised assistance from others.

For all works unless specified otherwise, please ensure you reference or cite al sources of information that is not common knowledge.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may talk with any member of the academic staff at HKU.

Co-curricular Activities @ Common Core

If you are interested in venturing beyond just the curriculum, Common Core offers a range of voluntary co-curricular programmes and activities that you may be interested in participating in. These opportunities include competitions, seminars, global exchanges, internships, and research projects. Some activities may include the payment of prize monies, honorarium, and student fellowships. You also have the chance to earn out-of-classroom academic credits by successfully completing the programmes that appears on your Academic Attainment Profile (transcript).

The co-curricular activities are aimed at helping you build a portfolio and develop capacities to enhance your future professional and personal lives. Based on feedback from past students, co-curricular activities are also great ways to build friendships.

However, if you participate in these projects, please ensure you are fully committed to actively participate and conduct yourself respectfully to all peers, staff, and community partners involved. Common Core reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to terminate or disqualify any student’s enrollment/ participation to the any of the research programmes. This may occur due to various reasons, including but not limited to, changes in project requirements, availability of resources, academic performance, student conduct and behaviour, or unforeseen circumstances.