School Advisor Articles

Academic Excellence and Beyond: Dawn Ong’s Path from Epsom College Malaysia to LSE

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Jul 03, 2024

Choosing the right institution for A Levels can be challenging. You’ll juggle factors like a school’s academic reputation — will it challenge and prepare you for your desired future? Class size — do you thrive in smaller, personalised settings or larger, lecture-style environments? And don’t forget extracurricular opportunities — are there clubs or activities that fuel your passions and support a well-rounded you? It’s a big decision that many students go through before they can make the decision. Just ask Dawn Ong.

“When I was first looking at which colleges to complete my A Levels in, I toured many schools, but none stood out to me,” she says. “However, when I toured Epsom College, I was immediately attracted to the spacious and modern campus that had bright classrooms and huge fields.”

Mrs Kate Carden-Brown, the Director of Admissions, further solidified her interest with her warm welcome and informative answers to all her questions.

Studying at Epsom College Malaysia

Founded in 1855 and receiving royal patronage from Queen Victoria, Epsom College has a prestigious history. Consistently ranked among the UK’s top independent schools, Epsom achieved the pinnacle in 2022, being named both the Overall Winner and the School of the Year for Student Wellbeing. This legacy of excellence extends to Asia with Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM), its only sister school.

ECiM leverages its near-200-year heritage to offer a holistic British boarding school experience. Nestled on a sprawling 80-acre campus just 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, ECiM provides a perfect blend of academic rigour and extracurricular exploration, ensuring students like Dawn are well-equipped for their futures.

ECiM wasn't just a school for Dawn; it was a launchpad for her academic and personal success. When Dawn joined ECiM in January, four months behind her peers, she was apprehensive about falling behind academically. Thankfully, the small class sizes and dedicated teachers quickly eased her worries. She caught up in no time, feeling supported and challenged in equal measure.

When Dawn returned to ECiM, she saw her results posted on the school wall, a testament to her outstanding academic achievements.


For her A-Levels, Dawn opted for a combination of Business, Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry. Her indecisiveness about a specific career path fueled this choice, keeping her options open while indulging her interest in these subjects. Thanks to the dedication of her teachers and the comprehensive support system at ECiM, Dawn scored an A* in Maths and Biology and an A in Chemistry and Business.

Beyond academics, ECiM offered a vibrant co-curricular activities (CCA) scene. From sports and music to art and academic clubs, there was something for everyone. Choosing an activity wasn’t just about fun; it fostered valuable skills. Dawn’s experience as an Admissions Prefect is a prime example. Working alongside Mrs Brown to organise student-led tours honed her teamwork and leadership abilities.

“The entire prefectorial team would come together to realise the socials for students, decorating the space and setting the mood. We would also help each other with our personal projects, ensuring that every single one was successful.”

These experiences not only strengthened her organisational and planning skills but also instilled a sense of responsibility —  traits that undoubtedly impressed universities.

Academic support was another pillar of ECiM’s excellence. Informative talks, practical workshops and invaluable one-on-one sessions with Mrs Brown provided a comprehensive application strategy, which Dawn took advantage of.  “I maximised my one-on-one sessions and got as much support as possible from Mrs Brown. As a result, I was really satisfied with my personal statement, and I believe it’s how I got my LSE offer.”

Looking back, Dawn believes she had a good experience boarding in ECiM and made lifelong friends during her ECiM years.

HE Support and Internship

The Higher Education (HE) team played a crucial role in Dawn’s LSE admission. For example, Mrs. Brown consistently offered guidance, from reminding students about deadlines to checking in on their progress. She helped them navigate the entire process, from choosing a course and universities to application writing.

“Every single piece of advice given helped me in one way or another. I also sent her my personal statement drafts and had one-to-one meetings to discuss which parts could be improved and which needed to be changed. My peers who had to go through an interview process would meet her for mock interviews. She was there for us every step of the way and is always rooting for our success.”

During her time at ECiM, Dawn participated in an internship programme at AirAsia. This programme offered to all Year 12 students, may have benefited from Tony Fernandes’s connection to the college, but the selection process remained rigorous. “We had to submit an application and our CV, and lastly, go through an interview with the Head of the department that we applied to.”

During her internship at AirAsia as a Project Management Intern, she spearheaded a research project evaluating the effectiveness of their self-check-in and facial recognition system. This involved a comprehensive analysis of both primary and secondary data sources. By participating in this research, she gained valuable insights from several data analytics colleagues and project management colleagues, including data visualisation and presentation design.

Although the internship was brief, it was an eye-opening experience for Dawn. It helped her discover her career path and provided valuable skills in areas like presentation, communication and data analysis, which she continues to utilise today.

Dawn is currently a first-year Management student at LSE, where she is learning both quantitative and qualitative modules such as Economics, Finance, Statistics and more.

Finding the Perfect Fit at LSE

Dawn discovered a passion for Business and Maths during her A Levels, finding them the most engaging subjects among the four she studied.  This interest fueled her search for universities, and upon discovering the BSc in Management at LSE, Dawn knew she had found the perfect fit. The programme’s blend of practical management topics with disciplines like mathematics, economics, finance and accounting perfectly aligned with her academic interests.

With unwavering support and encouragement from her Business teacher, Ms Shanthi, Dawn felt confident that she would flourish in a stimulating and challenging environment like LSE. Moreover, the ECiM Live Talks also proved to be a valuable resource, providing her with insights into various career paths she could pursue with her chosen degree.

Looking back, Dawn credits her time at ECiM with blossoming her interpersonal skills. She feels that the experience fostered a sense of openness to new experiences, pushing her beyond her comfort zone through various endeavours. She believes this newfound willingness to explore has significantly enhanced her ability to connect with others.

“I also believe that boarding has instilled a great deal of discipline in me, which helps me manage my studies at LSE, especially during exam periods. I can stick to a study schedule independently and manage my time effectively, which I’m sure will lead to good results.”

Dawn’s time at ECiM as a boarder proved to be a truly rewarding experience.  Not only did it equip her with valuable skills, but it also built friendships that she believes will last a lifetime.