To give due recognition to applicants with diverse talents for admission to undergraduate programmes, PolyU has taken a step further by supporting three new non-academic talents schemes commencing in the academic year 2022/23. The three new schemes are:


  • Student-Athlete Learning Support and Admission Scheme (SALSA)
  • School Nominations Direct Admission Scheme (SNDAS)
  • Special Talents Admission and Recognition Scheme (STARS)

They serve as alternative admission routes for students whose exceptional achievements – in sports, arts, STEM, and leadership etc. – are not fully reflected in their HKDSE results.


SALSA funded by UGC

For local students with exceptional talents in sports, the newly launched SALSA Scheme funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC) aims to support outstanding athletes who aspire to pursue dual-track career development, with a commitment of up to HK$100million for allocation among PolyU and seven other UGC-funded universities in Hong Kong, in the 2022/23 to 2024/25 triennium.


This year, 11 student-athletes who have excelled in athletics, swimming, badminton, fencing, table tennis, etc. have joined PolyU through SALSA. The freshmen student-athletes are enrolled in a wide range of undergraduate programmes: Four will study Physiotherapy, while the rest have opted for programmes including Medical Laboratory Science, Linguistics and Translation, English and Applied Linguistics, Applied Social Sciences, and Hotel and Tourism Management.


Holistic and personalised support services at both university and individual levels will be provided to SALSA students throughout their study at PolyU. A designated coordinator will be assigned to them, offering individual consultation in handling their learning needs from admission to graduation, and teaching assistants will be assigned to provide additional academic support.


Triathlete Yip Tak-long

Triathlete Yip Tak-long

Triathlete Yip Tak-long, one of the SALSA student-athletes who has recently started his university life as a Physiotherapy major at PolyU, said: “Injuries are the greatest enemy for every athlete, who must learn to avoid them. Therefore, I am interested in learning physiotherapy and finding ways to prevent injuries. I hope to strike a balance between my training and studies, as an athlete and a physiotherapy student.” He believes his passion for triathlon has fuelled his interest in physiotherapy.


SNDAS spearheaded by EDB

Spearheaded by the Education Bureau (EDB) of the HKSAR, SNDAS provides opportunities for secondary students who have demonstrated exceptional talents and interests in specific areas, to be considered for direct admission to local universities. SNDAS applicants are required to take the HKDSE Examination and apply through JUPAS in parallel. In this ‘programme-student matching exercise’, a total of 146 publicly-funded undergraduate programmes from the eight UGC-funded universities are included in SNDAS in the 2022/23 academic year.

SNDAS nominations are submitted by secondary school principals and verified by EDB. After that, universities will arrange interviews with the nominees to assess their suitability for specific programmes.


Through SNDAS, 24 students will be taking the undergraduate programmes in Biomedical Engineering, Applied Social Sciences and other disciplines at PolyU.


STARS launched by PolyU

As for PolyU’s STARS, it recognises students with special talents in sports, arts and culture, leadership and community services, and STEM. To support this scheme, STARS Scholarships of up to HK$400,000 for a four-year undergraduate study period per student were established, along with the new STARS Residential College in the Homantin Student Halls, providing students a vibrant living and learning environment with diverse opportunities for their talent and holistic development alongside their pursuit of academic excellence.


At PolyU’s Strategic Planning Forum 2022, Vice President (Education) Professor Kwok-yin Wong said that four dedicated selection panels have been set up to assess the suitability of students with special talents for admission. “In the coming year, we plan to extend these schemes to non-local undergraduate students, and we will also keep on reviewing the schemes to make them more efficient and to attract more students.”


A quick glance — PolyU's admission schemes for special talents

Besides SALSA, SNDAS and STARS, PolyU has four other non-academic talents schemes which are open for admission from students with diverse talents:


  • Outstanding Sportsmen Recommendation Scheme (OSRS)
  • School Principal’s Nominations (SPN)
  • Multi-faceted Excellence Scholarship (MES)
  • Other Experiences and Achievements in Competitions / Activities (OEA)