Back to All News

Shaping the future at Imperial College London

Being accepted to the prestigious Imperial College London was a dream come true for recent graduate Zelin Shao. Soon to begin his university studies in the UK, the highly motivated alumnus is grateful for the help and support he received from ACG Parnell College.
Recent ACG Parnell College graduate Zelin Shao

Zelin Shao is a student on a mission with the long-term goal of helping improve New Zealand’s infrastructure. And after achieving an outstanding five A* grades (90% and above) in his Cambridge A-Levels and gaining entry into Imperial College London’s civil engineering programme, the ACG Parnell College alumnus is well and truly on the road to success.

Over the past two years, Zelin has been delighted with his A-Level results, scoring over 90% in mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry and an incredible 98% in further mathematics. 

“I knew I’d done quite well in the exams, but I was still pleasantly surprised by my grades. In fact, I was very excited to do so well in my further mathematics paper because that’s one of the hardest A-Levels,” says Zelin.

“I hope that I can continue to achieve great results at university this year, although that will be a bit more of a challenge.”

Fortunately, studying the Cambridge curriculum at ACG Parnell College has laid strong foundations. And the top scholar is confident that ACG has ideally equipped him to tackle his next study challenge.

“Cambridge is great because you can choose the most suitable subjects for you, but it is also challenging because of the significant volume of knowledge you have to learn. However, the good news is that it really helps prepare you for university-level study. I learnt so much at ACG that’s helping me now, like how to set up goals to ensure I keep working hard in the right direction. Not only that, but the school guided me through the entire university application process, and their support has been invaluable.

“In my opinion, ACG provides the best education in New Zealand, delivering an intense but very positive learning environment.”

Since stepping onto the ACG campus in Year 8, Zelin has come a long way – and in a lightning-fast timeframe.

“When I first arrived at ACG, I joined the elementary ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages] class to learn English. After two terms, I successfully passed the ESOL exams and joined the mainstream classes. It was a record at that time!”

However, Zelin’s commitment to hard work and academic success have clearly paid off, culminating in an offer to study at the world-renowned Imperial College London. He has the following advice for other students striving to emulate his achievements and fulfil their dreams of attending overseas universities.

“I think the most important thing is to choose the most suitable subjects as early as possible. Then, stick with those subjects after that, try hard, and get good results! Every subject is challenging – it’s really all about perseverance.”

In 2021, over 20% of our Year 13 cohort who studied the Cambridge International curriculum left ACG Parnell College with three or more A* grades (90% or above). This achievement meets and, in some cases, exceeds the standard acceptance requirements of the top universities around the globe.