These students go viral for making it to Phl’s ‘Big 4’ universities



These students passed the admission test of not just one but all of the “Big 4” universities in the Philippines.

After the University of the Philippines (UP) recently released the results of the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT), twitter users Lia Rufino and Leigh Mamisay shared screen grabs and photos confirming they got accepted not only to UP, but also to Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Lia and Leigh recalled to STAR’s how overwhelmed they felt upon knowing the test results.

“When I saw that I got accepted into the University of the Philippines, everything just felt surreal. I have been on edge for the past few months waiting for the results of my application,” Lia said.

“Once I logged in and saw the words ‘Congratulations!’ below my name, I got so excited, I started squealing and jumping. It was truly a moment worth reminiscing even years from now,” she added.

As for Leigh, “Honestly, the moment I saw the UP results, I was very ecstatic because this has been one of my dream schools ever since I was in junior high school. It was as if all the efforts and hard work that I’ve exerted during my high school journey have given something greater in return.”

These Philippine universities are considered as “Big 4” as they often make it to the world university rankings. 

Both students admitted they did not expect to make the cut but tried to think positively amid the uncertainties. 

Leigh shared, “Honestly, I am not that confident during the applications since it is a given that there would be lots of other students from all over the Philippines who would also be applying at these universities.”

“I did not really expect that I was going to make it. But, I do know that there has always been a huge part of me that had hope. I took the cancellation of college entrance exams as bad news since I wasn’t really pleased with my academic performance during junior high school,” Lia said.

‘Anxiety and stress’

All four universities had earlier canceled their college entrance exams due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lia and Leigh lamented the anxieties and stress they dealt with amid the delays, as well as during the application process itself, especially with the online application setup.

“(P)roblems emerged with the shift to online application setup, especially at the matter of requirement or document requests and acquisitions, overlapping deadlines, and other technical difficulties such as incorrectly encoded data,” Leigh said.

He explained that since other universities required essays for the application, it added to the anxiety and stress.

Meanwhile, Lia shared, “It was also a struggle for me to coordinate with my school about the applications from a distance while juggling online classes and school work. Perhaps, my biggest challenge was getting a hold of the certifications that were needed for my application given the circumstances that we are in.”

Lia has decided to pursue the European Languages program at UP Diliman, although her first choice is Sociology.

Meanwhile, Leigh, coming from a financially challenged family, has decided to enroll at ADMU. The university has granted him a scholarship.

“Although UP grants students free tuition, the monthly allowance from Ateneo could serve (as) an additional relief to our expenses, especially when we go back to on-site classes,” said Leigh.

The incoming college freshmen are both 18 years old. Lia is from Malolos, Bulacan, while Leigh is from Rosario, Batangas.

As of writing, Lia’s tweet has garnered over 13,900 likes and 1,600 retweets, while Leigh has over 1,200 likes and 120 retweets.

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