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Student Journey

The University of Hong Kong’s Lead for Life certificate programme is a transformational and holistic journey for undergraduate students to help them grow in character leadership. It builds upon the foundations and success of the previous Character of Leadership programmes at HKU. Hear and read feedback from students of the current Lead for Life cohort who have already started on this journey to become leaders of character.

Student Testimonials

How can you join Lead for Life?

We invite all incoming first-year HKU undergraduate students of the 2022/23 academic year to apply for the next intake of Lead for Life. We seek as wide a diversity as possible in our students who will be joining the Lead for Life programme. An overview of the steps to earn your Character Leadership certificate from HKU is below. Have any questions or comments? Or just want to chat more about the programme? Contact us today!
Your undergraduate journey as a Lead for Life student at The University of Hong Kong will take you through the following 5 steps:

Step 1: Application

We encourage and welcome students from all abilities, backgrounds and cultural diversities, and across all faculties and degree programmes to enrol. For more information, please send an email to lead@hku.hk or message us using the online form. Applications for the 2022/23 academic year are now closed. Stay tuned for next year!

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Step 2: Orientation

Your journey as a Lead for Life leader will start with a two-day orientation programme at HKU. This will be when you first meet your mentors and fellow mentor group students. Two programme mentors will lead each mentor group of about ten students who will be a mix of academic backgrounds and cultural diversities. Students will have opportunities taking turns as student leaders within each mentor group. With your mentor group, you will explore together in practical and fun ways answers to life questions such as: Why am I here at HKU? What are the values of education at HKU? How do I flourish at HKU? 


Step 3: Core activities

Lead for Life works easily alongside your undergraduate academic degree through your engagement in three core activities: classroom learning, mentor groups, and service projects. There is great flexibility of the pathway to earn your HKU Character Leadership certificate. Students can choose classroom learning experiences, service projects and modular learning opportunities which are best suited to them and their needs. You will need to fulfil the following minimum requirements:


Participate in your mentor group until graduation. Much of the learning in Lead for Life will take place in the communal context of a mentor group, which provides an inclusive, personalised, and nurturing environment. Mentor groups are flexible such that they can cater to and care for the various needs of the students in the group. The trained mentors themselves represent diverse and inclusive leadership. You will need to attend at least one mentor group event each semester. This event will be planned by the student leaders together with the mentors, and can be as simple as a gathering or outing. The hope is that the activity can be much more, but there is recognition some terms/years will be busier than others. The goal is to create a context in which mentor groups develop organically and relationally for meaningful conversations to thrive.

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Experience life-changing ‘aha moments’ in interactive and inspirational courses. Students will need to take at least one course which has been listed as a Lead for Life certified course: such as designated courses from the HKU Common Core Curriculum, The Way to Success by CEO Global Education Foundation, and others. Mentors too will be trained, provided ongoing support and offered relevant courses to help support them to further integrate character leadership into their vocations.

Current designated Lead for Life HKU Common Core courses:

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It’s not about you as an individual, but about how we build vibrant communities together. Students will need to take part in at least one group service project with community impact during their time at HKU, between years two to four of their Lead for Life undergraduate journey. The service project can be done together with your mentor group, or with other student groups or organisations. You can choose from an inventory of possible projects at HKU or design your own. CEDARS provides advising services and service project funds.


Optional boosters

Throughout the years, there will be an array of booster learning opportunities available. Lead for Life intentionally incorporates diverse perspectives through its curriculum, readings and speakers. These booster learning will potentially be in the form of short video modules, Oxford Character Project events, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce courses, book clubs, competitions, special pop-up events, online resources, and lots more. These boosters are available for Lead for Life participants and attendance is highly encouraged as they will greatly help further enrich your character leadership journey.


Step 4: Distinction

Just prior to your last year to graduation, all students active in the programme will be invited to apply and interview to receive the distinction as a HKU “Leader of Character”. The interview assessment will be based on the student’s journey so far in the programme. Students aiming for the distinction will be assessed by having participated in and taken more than the minimal requirements, and their reflection of growth as a character leader. If the interview is successful, then the student will lead in the subsequent year’s Lead for Life activities. These students will receive career coaching as well as the HKU “Leader of Character” distinction on their certificate. There will also be potential opportunities to interview for job internships or practicums.

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Step 5: Completion / Commencement

There will be a celebratory graduation with a world-class speaker who embodies the spirit of character leadership and leading for life. All students successfully completing the programme will receive a HKU Character Leadership certificate – some with the HKU “Leader of Character” distinction. Congratulations on making it so far!! The journey goes on to greater heights as students begin building flourishing communities in their own chosen vocations. Students will also be encouraged to keep on learning, leading and helping out with future Lead for Life events, such as orientations, where others are just starting their journeys.

Join the HKU Lead for Life community.

We encourage and welcome students from all abilities, backgrounds and cultural diversities, and across all faculties and degree programmes to enrol. Be a pioneer with us in this new HKU Lead for Life community! For more information, please email lead@hku.hk or message us using the online form. Applications for the 2022/23 academic year are now closed. Stay tuned for next year!