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  • Amenamy's Avatar
    1 post since Sep '12
    • Hi guys! I'm new here, so I'm not sure if I posted this into the wrong topic, sorry if I did.

      Anyhow, I'm graduating this year O Levels, and I'm confused which would be the better path. So, um, I'd just like to ask, what is poly life like? And what about JC? What time does JC start? And also how about the lessons, what are they like?

      I also heard that poly is slightly more slack than JC, is that true? I heard that JC people "work harder than dogs" but I don't hear of poly students complaining... Anyway I'm not the type who can handle stress, so I wonder if JC is even the right choice for me. :/

      I'm not sure which to go to, my relatives are pestering me... They're more kanchiong than I am. ^^; I guess it's not too early to ask, right? Thanks in advance! :D

  • a-Lost-9uY's Avatar
    5,893 posts since Sep '06
    • I guess Poly will be a better choice for u..

      Yes, Poly is kinda slack(usually) but must see which course are you in 1st..

      both JC n Poly has its pros n cons..

      if you’re intending not to go Uni, Poly would be a better choice..
      as end of the day, a Diploma is always better then an “A” level paper(no offense)..

      of cos after u grad frm Poly u still can go Uni, be it private/govt ones..

      n if u have ardy intended to go local Uni, i guess u go JC better..

      my 2cents..

  • the Bear's Avatar
    149,694 posts since Feb '01
    • depends on what you want and what you think you need..

      here's something to think about: if you go to the poly, you'll finish with a diploma and actual skills.. and if you're good enough, you can go to uni with almost 1 year off from all the exemptions you're getting..

      if you go to JC, you're getting A levels which are not true skills which employers want if you don't make it to the university... if you do, you'll start from scratch anyway and end about the same time as the guy who went to the polytechnic..

      so, if you are pursuing an academic career, the A levels would be a great thing to have..

      and do not even start to think that polytechnic will have less stress..

  • Moderator
    Summer hill's Avatar
    6,640 posts since Dec '11
    • if you are the one who think taking O-levels is very tiring...

      don't even think about JC

  • collinnxk88's Avatar
    669 posts since Jan '07
    • well, poly does have more flexibility than JC, and the stress itself varies but overall still NOT stress-free. there's still projects and assignments, just how much only. the class hours depends on the modules [can be 4 to 6 main and 2 electives] and the hours per module that needs to be clocked.

      and, don't pon [tutorials/labs especially] unless there is something once in a while that is really impt to you.

  • floraet's Avatar
    36 posts since Oct '12
    • depends on your career choice in the future. most courses like law or med hardly accept any students form polys,even if they do well, only 1 or 2.

  • Moderator
    Summer hill's Avatar
    6,640 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by floraet:

      depends on your career choice in the future. most courses like law or med hardly accept any students form polys,even if they do well, only 1 or 2.

      You can go overseas.

  • Puahjy's Avatar
    7 posts since May '12
  • Moderator
    Summer hill's Avatar
    6,640 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Puahjy:

      Hooray. This topic become the question for this year november chinese si han email

      details pls

  • Puahjy's Avatar
    7 posts since May '12
  • Lokey's Avatar
    1,806 posts since Jan '09
    • Why do you go and lock this topic!!? http://sgforums.com/forums/2297/topics/461350

      Do you even know what that TS is talking about?!

      For Radiography is a special course. You need to take "A" level then followed by diploma in radiography. Like nursing, there is sponsorship for all students. You can check it out on Singhealth or National health.

      Eg: http://sg.dimension.jobsdb.com/career/Default.asp?PID=3&AC=SGH&EC=000&GC=G1&JobID=4934&LID=1&SP=1&GID=112,113,114&EFD3E40D-7EAF-4C2A-9569-1885873E63A0


  • Moderator
    hiphop2009's Avatar
    6,606 posts since Jan '06
    • I have decided that ALL JC or Poly dilemmas to be posted here.

      Any other threads with regards to this topic will be locked and directed here. Please do not go off topic starting from now. 

      to Lokey, by the way, i didnt lock that thread, but it enables us to better manage your question =)

  • Mr.Fat's Avatar
    9 posts since Oct '11
    • I'm currently a JC student, and i have 2 poly grads brothers :) 

      My field of interest has always been education system in Singapore, hope my comment would be useful to you :D

      Firstly, there really is no definite answer to whether you want to go JC or POLY. As mention many times by commentors, it is really subjective to whether what kind of life do you want to lead in the future, your type of learning (hands-on/practical/Mugger/etc.). However, in the end, it is really up to you, if you are determine to go either poly/JC, give it all you got and leave no regrets!

      Secondly, please note that there is no such thing as superiority among tertiary education institutions. All tertiary education institution provides varying oppotunities for their students. I also believe that no matter where you choose to go, you will definitely enjoy your experience there :) 

      As a JC student, i can only give you my opinion/exerience i have regarding JC that i have experienced. My JC life have been very enriching. Though life is tough, i really enjoyd studying my favourite subject such as Mathematics/Economics. Alot of people say that JC are boring and hard. However, i feel that if you can manage your time well and pace well, you will eventually do well. Teachers in JC are definitely caring (though harsh at times), but you will share special bonds between you and your tutors, you and your classmate, you and your CCA mate and more. 

  • Tmdkiller's Avatar
    83 posts since May '10
    • First of all poly is not stress free

      This is MY personal opinion of the pros and cons of a Polytechnic and JC

      Pros of studying in a polytechnic:

      1) No need to wear uniform
      2) Great choices of food (AS COMPARED TO JC)
      3) Most places are air-conditioned (Yes I know JC also have but usually in classrooms only)
      4) A Diploma is always better to have than an A- Levels (Supposedly after I gotten my diploma, I do not wish to further my studies, I can still get a stable job, but for JC, you only got A-levels so if you wish to discontinue your studies, you are very screwed because you are stuck, JC is usually for those super chiong one, good platform if you wish to go university fast.)
      5) Polytechnics are more flexible
      6) School compound is generally more spacious as compared to JCs
      7) Got fast food all and is also cheaper

      Cons of studying in a polytechnic:

      1) Assignments can sometimes 'kill' you
      2) Very difficult to find seats in the food courts especially when you're in a big group
      3) Need to go for war in the public transports daily (I'm in Ngee Ann Poly so I have to take the train to Clementi then change bus) [This is a nightmare if you are late, however if you study in Singapore Poly, it would be easier as it is directly at Dover station]

      Taking into consideration of your case, I would recommend that you go to a polytechnic and course of your choice, but most importantly you should have interest in that course otherwise it would be a torture for you.

      However, this is just my personal opinion, this is not an ultimatum, the ultimate choice lies in you. Good luck!

      Edited by Tmdkiller 25 Nov `12, 3:58PM
  • nooboy96's Avatar
    5 posts since Dec '12
    • Jc people will tell you to go jc

      Poly people will tell you to go poly

      And i will tell you to go ITE

  • Ladidah's Avatar
    4 posts since Dec '12
    • Another good thing about poly is the internship opportunities. For example, TP offers attachments with huge organizations like Interpol and CID for their Cyber & Digital Security and Digital Forensics students. Definitely a headsup in terms of work experience.

  • Anselm's Avatar
    1 post since Jan '13
    • If you are interested in IT courses, you can consider the Diploma in Cyber & Digital Security in Temasek Polytechnic. I’ve just graduated from the course and I find it awesome! You get to protect and secure the cyber world (internet), pick up hacking skills to gather information about online crimes and some students were sent to INTERPOL in France for internship. It was a good experience for me.

      If your worried about university quite a number of us went into NUS, NTU and SMU.

      My advice is to choose courses that your interested in….

      Edited by Anselm 13 Jan `13, 11:11AM
  • M the name's Avatar
    1,763 posts since Mar '09

      Different strokes for different students



      Students pursuing post-secondary education have a wide range of choices 



      Jane Ng


      WHAT NEXT AFTER THE O LEVELS: Students at Crescent Girls' Secondary checking out one another's O-level results on Thursday. Although it may be hard for many to get into the top IP schools at the junior college level, there is no shortage of places if they want to do the A levels next. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


      Vesshnu Sutharsan scored eight distinctions in the O levels, giving him a perfect six points for his six best subjects.

         Take away four bonus points for his co-curricular activity, the National Police Cadet Corps, and his distinction in Higher Tamil, and his score for applying to a junior college is just two points.

         Vesshnu, one of two top students at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary when the O-level results were released last Thursday, has his heart set on doing the A levels at Raffles Institution.

         Despite his sterling grades though, getting into RI is not a sure thing. The school's cut-off last year was three points, this year's cut-off is not known yet, and there is no telling how many will apply to go there.

         All but the very best O-level students will find it difficult to get into Singapore's top junior colleges: RI, Hwa Chong Institution, Victoria JC, Temasek JC and National JC.

         The reason: All have integrated programmes (IP), which means that most of their JC-level places are already taken up by students who have been there since Secondary 1 or 3.

         All will accept new students at JC level as well, but it promises to be highly competitive for hopefuls like Vesshnu.

         According to the Education Ministry, at least 20 per cent of JC1 places in each IP school will be reserved for students applying through the joint admission exercise after the Olevels.

         RI has about 300 places out of 1,250 at JC1 each year, and Hwa Chong, 250 out of 1,200. No details are available for the other schools.

         The number of places may well be lower, because the schools can also enrol students through the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme, accepting them based on their talents rather than O-level results. The schools declined to reveal how many places go to DSA students, saying it varies from year to year.

         The cut-off for entry to the JCs is determined by each year's O-level results and the number of places available. For RI and Hwa Chong, last year's cut-off was three points for both science and arts, after deducting bonus points.

         In all, there are now seven schools running the integrated programme at junior college level which take in students after the Olevels.

         Most O-level school-leavers who want to do the A levels will stand a better chance of getting into one of the 12 remaining "traditional" JCs which offer only the two-year A-level course.

         These include established schools like Anglo-Chinese JC, Anderson JC and Catholic JC, as well as newer ones like Pioneer, Meridian and Innova JCs.

         Many usually take in 750 to 900 students, though JCs like Yishun and Innova - with the lowest cut-offs of 20 points - have previously taken in fewer than 700.

         There is also the Millennia Institute, which offers a three-year A-level course. It takes in about 550 to 600 students each year and its cut-off is 20 points.

         Given the changes to the junior college scene since the introduction of through-train programmes at JCs, secondary schools and specialised schools, there are now 24 schools offering the A levels or an equivalent programme.

         In the next few years, two more will run a junior college programme: the Singapore Sports School will offer the International Baccalaureate diploma course next year and a new JC will open in 2017 for students from three schools offering the IP jointly - CHIJ St Nicholas Girls', Catholic High and Singapore Chinese Girls' School.

         Barring other changes, there could be 26 schools with junior college programmes by 2017.


      Popularity of polytechnics


      The irony is that while the number of schools with JC programmes has grown, the proportion of students choosing to go to JC has declined.

         More are opting for polytechnics instead, including many who qualify for JC. For those who do well, a polytechnic education is a route to university too.

         According to Education Ministry statistics, the percentage of the Primary 1 cohort admitted into junior colleges dipped slightly from 28.2 per cent in 2006 to 27 per cent in 2011, while the proportion admitted into polytechnics rose from 40 per cent in 2006 to 44.4 per cent in 2011.

         Students keen on the polytechnic route say they know where their interests lie and prefer a more hands-on learning style.

         Windsor Thniah, 18, from Bedok Green Secondary, came up tops among his schoolmates from the Normal (Academic) stream when the O-level results were announced last week.

         His score of 10 points means he qualifies for several JCs, but he wants to go to Nanyang Polytechnic for its digital precision engineering course.

         "I'm a hands-on person and I'm interested in the course. The career prospects are good," said Windsor.

         Secondary school teachers say they advise students to consider their grades and interests when deciding between JC and polytechnic.

         Teacher Donny Lee, 34, from Northbrooks Secondary, said he reminds students to ask themselves if they can cope with the rigour of the A levels.

         "Many students do aspire to go to university and most who do would choose a JC over a polytechnic," said the head of Normal (Technical) and discipline.

         Despite the popularity of polytechnics and IP schools, the Education Ministry says the 12 JCs offering only the A levels continue to draw students.

         Their total enrolment has remained stable at around 20,000 for the last five years and they prepare students well for the A levels, the ministry said.

         The message to O-level students is that while it may be hard to get into the top IP schools at JC level, there is no shortage of places if they want to do the A levels.

         Schools like Pioneer JC say they have not been affected by the IP JCs. Principal Tan-Kek Lee Yong said her school's marketing efforts and academic programmes have helped it attract 850 students with seven to 16 points each year.

         Some educationists believe that having a range of schools is good for students with different learning styles.

         Mrs Belinda Charles, who helmed St Andrew's Secondary for nine years and St Andrew's JC for 12 years, said a JC education will always be relevant.

         "There are some academic needs that cannot be met at polytechnics, and some courses in universities will always prefer students from JC," said Mrs Charles, now dean of the Academy of Principals.

         So even though lower-end JCs may attract fewer students, she does not think they are at risk of closing down.

         "Since they have a smaller enrolment, it is a good chance for them to work with smaller groups of students more effectively, especially with today's more demanding curriculum," she said.

         But at least one former JC principal questioned whether a student who scrapes into JC - say, with 20 points - will be able to secure a place in university.

         Mr Tan Teck Hock, who was principal of Serangoon JC from 2007 to 2010, said students join a JC with a hope.

         "Whether they are a three-pointer or a 20-pointer, they have the same aspiration - to get into a university," said Mr Tan, now principal of the Physical Education and Sports Teacher Academy. "But students who come in with, say, 20 points, realistically, their chances of making it to a local university are lower."

         The Education Ministry says about 75 per cent of all A-level candidates obtain university places here. Individual JCs declined to reveal how many of their students obtained places in local universities.

         Parents point out that while a high proportion of students at the best JCs would likely qualify for university, the proportion must be considerably lower than 75 per cent at other JCs. The questions are, how low, at which JCs and what happens to these students?

         Ms Hairin Rahman made it to Catholic JC after the O levels but things did not proceed as she hoped. She said she did badly at the A levels and did not qualify for a local university.

         "I entered JC thinking that I would naturally end up in a local university but I could only qualify for a private school," said Ms Hairin, now 25.

         So she went from JC to Republic Polytechnic, where she spent three years doing a biomedical science course, and did well enough to get into the National University of Singapore. She is now a third-year sociology student.

         Parents with children in neighbourhood schools, like housewife Cynthia Tan, 45, have watched the changing post-secondary school scene and grapple with what it means for their children.

         The mother of two boys and a girl aged eight to 15 said that these days, merely getting into a JC is no guarantee of getting into a university or a preferred degree course.

         She noted that aside from the keen competition for available places in the top JCs and IP schools, JCs further down the line have raised their cut-offs for entry too.

         "Schools like Nanyang JC have a cut-off of nine points, ACJC, six points. If my son gets into the bottom-tier JC, what are his chances of making it to a good course in a university here?" she asked.

         She does not think her eldest child is doing well enough to get into a top JC. She and her dentist husband are considering sending him overseas.

         For now, Vesshnu Sutharsan is holding on to his hope that his O-level results will land him a place in RI.

         If it happens, it will be a dream come true for the older of two sons of a planner and secretary.

         Aware that the competition will be stiff, he is checking out the open houses at other top JCs as well.

         If that RI spot stays beyond reach, he will fall back on what he knows about himself. "I got 227 for my PSLE and did not expect to do so well for my O levels."

         He will go where he lands, and keep working towards his next goal of becoming a doctor.





      The following junior colleges offer two-year programmes leading to the A levels. Their cut-off for entry last year ranged from 6 to 20 points. This can be change each year.


      Anglo-Chinese JC

      St Andrew's JC

      Nanyang JC

      Meridian JC

      Anderson JC

      Catholic JC

      Serangoon JC

      Tampines JC

      Jurong JC

      Pioneer JC

      Innova JC

      Yishun JC



      The centralised institute offers a three-year course leading to the A levels (Cut-off for entry: 20 points).

      Millennia Institute


      IP JCs

      These junior colleges used to run two-year programmes leading to the A levels but have expanded or merged with secondary schools to take in students from Secondary 1 or 3. (Cut off for entry into JC level last year ranged from 3 to 7 points)

      Raffles Institution (It merged with Raffles JC and takes in girls from Raffles Girls' Secondary.)
      Hwa Chong Institution (The previous Hwa Chong JC merged with The Chinese High Schooland was renamed Hwa Chong Institution.)
      National JC
      Victoria JC
      Temasek JC



      Secondary Schools which previously stopped at the O levels but now have through-train programmes leading to the International Baccalaureate or the A levels.

      Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)

      St Joseph's Institution

      Dunman High, River Valley High and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science have JC-level programmes but do not accept new students at the JC level. The school of the Arts takes in JC1 students via direct school admission only.




      The Singapore Sports School will offer the IB diploma course from next year.

      A two-year JC will open in 2017 to take in students from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School, Catholic High and Singapore Chinese Girls' School. 


      Think, The Sunday Times, January 13 2013, Pg 38

      Edited by M the name 15 Jan `13, 2:22PM
  • Moderator
    hiphop2009's Avatar
    6,606 posts since Jan '06
  • M the name's Avatar
    1,763 posts since Mar '09

      The big step


      Here's your chance to test your inclination towards the right path to a higher education



      Undecided on what's the right path beyond your O levels?

         This simple checklist devised by Mr Daniel Koh of Insights Mind centre will help.

         It generally covers aspects like the way you think and your studying style, both of which should be considered before you finally decide on the route you want to take after the O levels.


         At the end of the checklist, check the scoring system below to find out how you fared.


      1. Learning in a free and open structure suits your personality. Yes No Undecided

      2. Learning in an intensive and stressful environment works well for you. Yes No Undecided

      3. Hands-on learning, practical work and experiments are your main interests. Yes No Undecided

      4. You prefer traditional teaching styles and structured learning e.g. with tests and assessments. Yes No Undecided

      5. Your passion is in new subjects which are not traditionally offered in school. Yes No Undecided

      6. Obtaining an A-level certificate is important to you before making future plans. Yes No Undecided

      7. On-the-job training is something you like as part of your learning. Yes No Undecided

      8. You prefer traditional subjects and more conventional routes of learning progress. Yes No Undecided

      9. A less formal interaction between students, lectures and the environment appeal to you. Yes No Undecided

      10. You can learn at a very fast pace with high absorption ability. Yes No Undecided




      If you mostly answered "Yes" for statements 1,3,5,7 and 9, you may have a preference for Polytechnic studies.

      If you mostly answered "Yes" for statements 2,4,6,8 and 10, you may have a preference for Junior College studies.

      If you were mostly "Undecided", you are uncertain about which route to take after your O levels.


      Disclaimer: This checklist is for educational purpose only and should not be used for formal decision-making. Insight Mind Centre will not be responsible for any misuse.


      Ask these questions before the next step


      Choosing the right path after the O Levels is a challenge. Psychologist Daniel Koh of Insights Mind Agency answers some important questions about the transition



      Mr Daniel Koh of Insights Mind Agency

      Mr Josh Goh of GMP Group


      How should one choose the right educational route after the O levels? What should a student should look for?


      Most teens are going through a major transition in their life where they usually focus on their current interests and strengths as well as mind sets.


         Therefore, it would be beneficial for teens to find out more about different professions and what they involve plus the skills needed.

         By doing so, the teens may expand their range of choices and opportunities or realise they have skills and strengths that they didn't previously focused on.

         With more information and increased self-belief, one can make better choices rather than be impulsive or confused.

         Since choosing one's educational path after the O Levels Is a big move and involves becoming more independent, teens need confidence and passion in their choices.

         So they need to look at the long-term propects and ask themselves, "Would I want to do this for the next five years?"

         Commitment, motivation and determination to meet the challenges ahead are important.

         So teens must know how to move from making the choice to sticking to it.

         They should avoid thinking too long about their choices or making big plans because it may later become too difficult or demanding and they will eventually give up.

         A well-chosen educational path after 0 Levels can be a good starting point that leads to many future prospects. but patience is needed.

         Teens also need to choose something that suit their strength rather than something popular and succumb to trends or peer influence.

         If you are passionate and interested in something, it will be easier to carry on in the field.

         Since teens are largely at peace with themselves, all their energy can be used for studying rather than dealing with negative emotions such as anger or frustration.


      What questions should students ask themselves when making the choice?

      They should ask themselves the following questions:

      What I can see myself doing in the future, not just what I should be doing?

      Why am I doing this? Am I doing this for myself, my future and happiness or for other reasons like money, status, parents?

      • What career do I see myself best suited for?

      • How do I see myself improving and moving forward?

         Teens need to realise that this is not the final destination and that they can slowly and steadily work towards their goals in life.


      What other points should students take note of when they consider what route to take after O Levels?


         Teens need to be sure of themselves, believe in themselves, be open and honest with themselves.

         Then they can make the right choices because their choices are based on their self-awareness and insights about themselves,their environment and society.

         There is no perfect choice or answer, so they should be brave and take the right step forward.

         There is a saying that goes: "In school, they teach you a lesson and test you on it. In life, it tests you first, then teaches you a lessons."

         It is all right to fail when one has done his or her best but not right to fail because of not making the right choices.


      What to look out for when choosing the next step


      Assistant director of corporate services Josh Goh from executive search firm GMP Group gives his take?


      How should one choose the right educational route after the 0 levels? What should a student should look for?


          It is not uncommon that students choose courses based on the perceived glamour or compensation package of the jobs.

         While some might end up living the high life, others will end up disillusioned because they have no interest or their personalities are just not suited for the job or industry.

         Therefore, it is vital that students plan their education and career path by first understanding their personality traits, passion and the qualifications that they will require to reach their career goal.

      What questions can or should students ask themselves when making the choice?

      Important questions O-level graduates should ask before deciding on the next step include the following:

       Which industry or job do I think I will be pursuing?

         To have a realistic picture of the career goal, it is always,good to talk to an industry practitioner.

         Find out from the practitioner what are the rewards as well as the challenges of the job.

         Ask him or her for the qualities required for one to be successful in the particular industry or job.

         At the same time, ask the practitioner about the criteria to get a foot in the door and the qualifications to advance in the industry.

       Do I have the passion and personality traits?

         When the job becomes tough and frustrations set in, passion is usually the determining factor whether the person can sustain in the job.

         If the passion dwindles after talking to the industry practitioner, then it would be advisable to not proceed further.

         It is also essential to understand the kind of personality trait necessary to succeed in the job.

         For example, the chances would be higher for an extrovert to succeed in a sales job as compared to an introvert.

         However, that does not necessary mean that the introvert will fail. But the introvert will need to put in extra effort to change his behaviour at work to succeed, which could potentially kill the passion for the job.


      What other points should students take note of when they consider what route to take after O levels?


      A T-shaped profile is necessary to ensure success and longevity in a person's career.

         The T-shaped professional is one who has the depth of understanding in one particular field (his core competency and functional knowledge, represented by the vertical stroke of the letter T) and also the ability to understand multiple disciplines and apply functional knowledge across situations (which is the breadth - the horizontal bar of T).

         Educational institutions are trying to impart such basic skills to students and it would be to the student's advantage to absorb the knowledge that they are taught in school.

         They will also need to further develop that way to remain employable in the job market.


      Go Guide Beyond O Levels, The New Paper, Thursday 10 January 2013, Pg S3-S5

      Edited by M the name 27 Jan `13, 3:38PM
  • a mugger's Avatar
    433 posts since Jan '13
  • M the name's Avatar
    1,763 posts since Mar '09

      Choosing to go to private school




      Students from four private education institutions say why they picked that route



      Miss Nurul Huda Baharudin and Mr Alvin Toh are students at the International Sports Academy. (Inset) Miss Zhu Lin, a former student of DIMENSIONS International College.






      THE private school option is attractive to O-level graduates for various reasons, such as flexible timetables, more hands-on learning and independence.


         That's why some choose that route instead of the junior college or polytechnic path.

         Mr Alvin Toh, 19, a student in the International Sports Diploma in Sports & Exercise Science (Sports Fitness) programme at the International Sports Academy (ISA),
      wanted to take a specialised qualification in sports.

         The ISA, which has courses accredited by the United States Sports Academy, was his choice.

         He said: "Rather than just having lectures in class, we also have tutorials and practicals to elevate our understanding as we get to do it and gain experience. From the knowledge and skills acquired, we can enhance our lives.

         "We are also introduced to different events to allow us to be exposed to more experiences."

         Miss Nurul Huda Baharudin, 18, a full-time student in the International Sports Diploma in Sports Coaching at the ISA, said: "The ISA enables me to get a world-accredited sports qualification in Singapore. The course provides lots of hands-on studying that is important in the field 1 want to eventually pursue."

         Miss Zhu Lin, who is in her 20s, took the Preparatory Course for Singapore-Cambridge GCE (Ordinary Level) Examination at DIMENSIONS International College.

         She said her experience there helped her excel in her studies. After her O.level course, she enrolled in Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and is now a university student in London, UK.

         She said: "I successfully completed my O-level studies in DIMENSIONS International College and managed to enrol in TP. Thanks to the curriculum and learning processes there. I was able to find my recipe for academic success and graduated among the top students in TP in 2012."

         After her O levels, Miss Rachel Tan enrolled in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nata).

         Miss Tan, now 26 and a manager with PA Artiste Network, said: "I wasn't interested in business, I am not a science person and I wasn't great in art or design.




          "My father recommended that I consider doing arts management at Nata as he felt that there would be demand for arts management graduates as Singapore's art scene continued to grow.

         "I chose Nata as it has a very good reputation as an arts institution...I was learning new stuff every day and it caught my interest. I was excited about going to school every day!"

         She graduated from Nata in 2007 with a Diploma in Arts Management and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Arts Management in 2008.

         She earned the Best Graduate Award in her arts management diploma course and received a scholarship from Nata to pursue her arts management degree. She graduated with first-class honours in 2008.

         Marketing analyst Isman Tanuri, 34, obtained a Diploma in Sales and Marketing Management, followed by a BA (First Class Honours), Marketing Management, from Marketing Institue of Singapore Training Centre. The degree is awarded by Northumbria University, UK.

         He said: "As I wanted to study marketing, the most natural choice was to enrol in the institute for its expertise. For part-time studies in Singapore, the PEI route is a more ideal arrangement if there are work commitments involved.

         "It is also a great opportunity to meet and share ideas with fellow professionals who are upgrading themselves."


      Making students fee at home


      What PEIs do to make new students feel a part of the school's family




      (Below) Dr Susie Khoo, PSB Academy's dean and senior vice president, (right) Dr Peter Lewis, vice president of higher education, Kaplan Singapore, and (right below) Ms Tan Gek Khim, senior director ot Management Development Institute of Singapore.

      ADJUSTING to life in a private education institution (PIE) can be daunting and stressful.

         Students are expected to be more independent and disciplined in their studies and they also have to learn to get along with other students, some of whom may come from different cultural backgrounds.

         The Pies here have various ways to help first-time students cope with the stresses and strains in school life.




         Mar Peter Lies, vice-president of higher education, Chaplain Singapore, said: "We organise a welcome orientation where students introduce themselves to each other. Many of the friends that they make. during the orientation are the people they hang out with during the rest of their stay in the school.

         "During the orientation, they are also informed of the many committees and activities that they can be involved in. These forms of orientation help the new students look forward to a fun and fulfilling Chaplain experience."

         MS Tan Get Him, senior director of Management Development Institute of Singapore (MODS), said that during their orientation sessions, students are given a "survival kit" which comprises some of the following items:

      Notes on transition and stress management

      Time-scheduling tips

      Lists of importanttelephone numbers and addresses

         She added: "During the orientation period at MODS, student coordinators make themselves approachable to students, who are also introduced to the various clubs that students can join, such as the Mass Communication club, Psychology club and Business clubs, to name a few."

         An optional two-day Orientation Camp is held at Manning Academy of Fine Arts (Naafi) to help freshmen bond with their seniors and know the school better.

         MS Carol Tan, Naafi's vice-president of administration, said: "They get to interact extensively with their seniors and will therefore know who to seek peer support from in the future. The orientation programme includes a department-specific briefing conducted by the freshmen's respective heads of department.

         "During the briefing, they will meet their lecturers and administrative officers who are responsible for supporting them during their period of study in Naafi.

         "A welcome talk will also be held in the first week of school for freshmen to brief them about studying at Naafi. The president, and representatives from departments such as the Office of Student Affairs, Office of Student Care and the Finance Branch will also introduce themselves and brief the students on key academic matters."

         MS Tan said the Naafi president would also give an introduction to the senior management and Naafi's vision and mission, objective and core values and provide an overview on:

      Education pathways

      Degree programmes with partner universities

      Recent graduate survey findings such as the salary range and employability

      Overall learning experience of previous students

      General pointers on studying at Naafi

         She said: "The student population at Naafi is very different from that of the secondary schools in Singapore.lt is highly diverse with 59 per cent comprising Singaporeans and permanent residents, 24 per cent from South-east Asia, 14 per cent from North-east Asia and 3 per cent from the rest of the world.

         "The cosmopolitan culture at Naafi is one which we try to cultivate. Our centric location in South-east Asia means we are a natural melting pot and we expose our students to a myriad of arts and cultures from the region to expand their perspectives."

         Students who begin their studies at DIMENSIONS International College are given a comprehensive orientation detailing all that they are required to know and understand to make students feel right at home.

         The PIE's customer service staff will provide the necessary social support for students.




         Besides the orientation programme, staff of PUB Academy will also conduct tours of the campus for freshmen.

         Or Sushi Shoo, PUB Academy's dean and senior vice-president, said: 'We will share with them general information about the school, the academic programmes, facilities and amenities.

         "New students will also be introduced to their classmates, the relevant academic and administrative staff at PUB Academy, followed by a campus tour to get them familiarised with the campus and its surroundings.

         "We also have full-time counsellors within our Student Affairs team. For students who encounter difficulties in their studies or adjusting to their new environment, they will receive private counselling sessions to discuss the1r difficulties and be given appropriate advice to help them to cope."




         Mar Lies said Chaplain also conducts monthly activities for new students to make it easier for them to make friends, get to know each other and ultimately to enjoy their Chaplain experience.

         He added: "Since many of our students are from overseas, we organise cultural events which promote stronger interlocutor understanding. These events give Singapore students opportunities to become friends with international students and are also great chances for foreign students to know more about Singapore culture from the perspective of someone their age."

         He said students with a flair for the arts like photography, music and dance can join the numerous recreational interest groups on campus through the Media and Arts Society of Chaplain, while those who are passionate about sports can join Chaplain's football and basketball clubs.

         He said: "Besides these clubs, Chaplain regularly holds workshops and seminars which help students gain the soft skills needed for them to meet the challenges of the real world. These workshops are conducted by highly experienced teachers who are well-versed in teaching personality development.

         "Students who want to do their part in community building can participate in various activities through Care Serve and Enrich, a student organisation involved in activities such as volunteering in gift collection for underprivileged families during Christmas. Students can serve their peers by volunteering to be student leaders in the Student Committee, which is what we call our student council.

         "Recently, the Student Committee distributed welfare packs to other students to help them cope with the intense stress and pressure brought upon by finals week. By giving students the opportunity to become involved in a multitude of extra-curricular activities, Chaplain makes it easier for students to adjust to university life."

         Each welfare pack contains items such as drinking water, cup noodles, a bottle of Brand's Essence of Chicken and a stress ball.

         Chaplain also organises visits to established multinational and local companies in order to give its students a glimpse into how each business operates.

         Mar Lies said: "These visits give them the chance to talk to senior managers who will give them an inside perspective on how they can join and become successful in their dream jobs and companies. We also provide career counselling to the students, who can rely on Chaplain's huge network of worldwide alum, many of whom are now working in senior management posts and can provide guidance to new graduates."

         Mar Mucky He, head of department (marketing, management and hospitality) at Marketing Institute of Singapore Training Centre, said that in addition to the per-course orientation, its students also attend field trips once every two months to the various places in Singapore, such as museums to immerse the foreign students into the local culture, as well as introduce them to other students (from different courses) who are from the same country of origin as them.




         All new students at International Sports Academy (IS) undergo per-course counselling before applying for their courses. Each of them also gets a handbook which helps orientate them to the facilities and inform them about
      important guidelines.

         The per-course orientation at IS covers the following aspects:
      Disseminate and emphasise important course details and other information like student support services and school facilities

      Inform student of course deferment/extension criteria, procedures, suspension and expulsion conditions

      Inform students of their rights, including internal and external grievance and dispute resolution procedures, fee protection schemes, and the reference to the Council for
      Private Education's (CAPE) official weepiest

      Details of the organisation awarding the certificate/diplomas, if applicable.

      Learning and assessment requirements of the programmes, as well as guidance on students' responsibilities in relation to successful completion of the programmes.

         The IS lecturers are also provided with each student's profile summary earlier, so that they can design their learning strategies appropriately in order to welcome the new students and make them feel at home.

         MS Juice Kong, general manager of the IS, said: "The lecturers can also act as mentors as they would have understood the new students better and the direction the students had hoped to take.

         "Our lecturers, who are certified by the United States Sports Academy, are well-quipped with industrial knowledge in their specific areas so they can guide and inspire the students."

         At per-counselling sessions, all expectations are made clear to students. Students enrolled in any of the three diploma courses are expected to complete a mentors of 200 contact hours, inclusive of a project detailing the mentors

         "Student services personnel are available in the office daily if students encounter any difficulty or require any assistance.




         Many Pies have counsellors on stand-by during the orientation sessions to help students find their way around the vast maze that is private education.

         Besides its counsellors' services, Tourism Management Institute of Singapore (THIS) also provides students with a 24-hour Student Emergency Hot-line, pastoral care to help them through their courses and a student support team that will monitor their progress throughout the duration of their course.

         East Asia Institute of Management has a Student Service Centre (SAC) to help students with their queries and problems, although students often approach their Programme Manager-in-charge or their lecturers for help as they are more in tune with the students' progress.

         MS Juice Kong of IS said: "The lecturers work hand-in-hand with the Student Services (SS) personnel on campus and keep them updated on the concerns pertaining to the students. Our SS personnel also have random personal chats with the students to find out how they are coping.

         "Our students are also given clear access to the management team in order to provide feedback. The teamwork culture at IS helps students alleviate their anxieties as they work in groups to source out more information as part
      of their assignment fulfilment."

         "There will be an orientation scheduled for students on the first day of class. Students will be informed of the course details, school facilities, student handbook requirements, staff contact information, places of attractions and festivals and libraries in Singapore.

         "We have a counsellor to attend to students in school and a 24-hour Student Emergency Hotiine. We will provide pastoral care to students who have difficulty in adapting to the environment, crossword and culture shock. The student support team will monitor students' progress throughout their course."

         MS Carolina FAO, manager, student support services. at THIS, said: "There will be ice-breaker games for students to get to know each other better. An orientation will be scheduled on the first day of class."


      Go Guide Beyond O Levels, The New Paper, Thursday 10 January 2013, Pg S9-S11

      Edited by M the name 29 Jan `13, 12:23PM

      Typical problems faced by new students


      and the ways institutions can help them get back on track





      STUDENTS at private education institutions (PEIs) face different problems and issues.

         Ms Carol Tan, Vice-President, Administration, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) said: "New students who find difficulty adjusting to the new environment (at Nafa) may experience anxiety and stress.

         "For example, students who are weak in English may encounter difficulties in understanding lessons and communication.

         "These students will be recommended to attend English proficiency classes provided by Nafa, to help them improve on their language skills."

         On top of those classes, counsellors and teaching staff work to identify struggling students to offer counselling or academic guidance.

         "Students are encouraged to provide feedback to counsellors or teaching staff from the respective departments on concerns related to their academic or personal difficulties.

         "Counsellors and teaching staff will review feedback and suggestions during internal meetings. Acceptable feasible suggestions will then be implemented and monitored.

         "If required, professional counsellors will be engaged to attend to students with more difficult problems. Staff will keep all records confidential and monitor the progress for review purposes," said Ms Tan.

         Annually, a Student Satisfaction Survey on Nafa's services is conducted for all diploma and degree students.

         The representative said: "The survey covers aspects such as academic resources, facilities and support staff. Students can also submit their qualitative feedback on the various aspects about Nafa. A Lecturer Evaluation is conducted at the end of every semester when students register for their

         The feedback, collected by their human resources department is then reviewed.

         Dr Susie Khoo, Dean and Senior Vice-President of PSB Academy, said its students face similar problems.

         She said: "When students face such problems, staff from the Student Management department will be appointed to help and provide them with the appropriate advice and follow-up. If a student faces emotional or psychological difficulties, regular counselling sessions with our professional counsellors will be scheduled to help the student back on track."

         A representative of SDH Institute said the inability to transition from secondary school life to life in a PEI is a common problem.

         He said: "At the Diploma level, students have to do more group work and presentations which is quite different from what they do in secondary school. We will advise them about the difference and also the importance of group work and how this will help them in their future career development.

         "Foreign students also commonly experience homesickness. To help, we introduce a senior who is of the same nationality as a buddy."

         Mr Mickey Hee, Head of Department (Marketing, Management and Hospitality) at Marketing Institute of Singapore Training Centre, said: "Attendance at lessons is a major problem.




         "Students have to be on campus for at least three hours daily, but some do not like this as they live quite far away from the campus.

         "Every second week of the semester, we will address the attendance policy to reiterate the importance of this regulation, as it is a regulation from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. If they still do not meet the minimum attendance requirement, they will be individually counselled by the campus counsellors.

         "To help foreign students who experience homesickness, we arrange field trips for them and also arrange for them to meet students from the same country of origin so they do not feel so alone ."

         As Shatec Institutes has many foreign students, homesickness is a typical problem felt among them during the early part of the academic year.

         Ms Tan Yu Yu, senior manager, student support services at Shatec Institutes, said: "Typical problems the students face include boy-girl relationships, family disputes and gaming addiction issues, for which they can approach any of the trainers, staff from the Student Support Services department, or even external counsellors for students who need specialised attention and guidance."

         Ms Caroline Foo, manager, support services, at the Tourism Management Institute of Singapore, said: "Typical problems faced by our counsellors include language barriers that arise because of poor conversational skills. Our trainers will be notified to monitor students' progress. Students are also encouraged to communicate in English with the help of our trainers and staff.

         One of the typical problems faced by students at International Sports Academy (ISA) is the loss of motivation due to the increased academic demands of life In a PEI.

         Ms Joyce Keong, general manager of the ISA, said: "To tackle this issue, we engage the help of the academic faculty and other members of the administration team to constantly keep up to date with the motivation level of the students.

         "We also closely monitor the student's grades and attendance to determine their motivation level. Experiential Learning like volunteering at a swim meet at United World College, sports workshops at Nan Hua Secondary School and Yoga by the Sea, help maintain the students' motivation.

         "Another issue our students face is their uncertainty over the accreditation of their qualifications. We reassure them by highlighting that lnternational Sports Academy is registered with the Council for Private Education as well as our links to the United States Sports Academy."


      Go Guide Beyond O Levels, The New Paper, Thursday 10 January 2013, Pg S16

    • True or false?

      Debunking these private education myths


      DO YOU think you know all there is to know about studying in private education institutions (PEis) in Singapore?


         Here are some misconceptions that the Council for Private Education (CPE) feels you should be aware of.


      Education Registration Framework and EduTrust Status


      Myth: Registered or EduTrust-certified private schools will never close down.

      Fact: As private schools are commercial businesses, there is no guarantee that they will not run into commercial problems and close down. However, the CPE has put fee
      protection schemes in place to protect students' fees in the event that a private school is unable to continue operating.

         Under the Private Education Act, the school is required to complete its teaching requirements to its affected students or make the necessary arrangements to place them in alternative schools to complete their studies.


      Educational Qualifications


      Myth: Qualifications obtained from private schools registered with the CPE are recognised by the Singapore Government.

      Fact: Singapore does not have a central authority to officially recognise educational qualifications. The decision to accept your qualifications depends on the hiring policy of the organisation.


      Student Contracts


      Myth: "The private school did not go through the terms and conditions of the student contract with me before I signed the contract. Therefore, I cannot be held responsible even though the contract was signed by me."

      Fact: You are legally bound by the terms and conditions stated in the student contract once you have signed it. Always review the student contract carefully, and sign it only when you have fully understood and agreed to all the terms and conditions stated.

      Myth: "I do not need to obtain receipts for payments that I make to my school."

      Fact: You should ensure that you obtain a receipt for any payment made for whatever reason to your private school. You should also obtain written confirmation on whether the amount would be refundable (if at all), upon the completion of your studies.




      Myth: "I have a family emergency and have to stop my studies. The private school will refund my fees ."

      Fact: You are legally bound by the terms and conditions stated in the student contract that you have signed, including its stated refund policy. Always review the student contract carefully and sign it only when you have fully understood and agreed to all the terms and conditions stated.

      Myth: "I am attending classes at a private school, but was never required to sign a student contract with the school. If I do not wish to continue with the course, I am entitled to a refund of my fees."

      Fact: All private schools must sign student contracts with their students for courses that last longer than two months. The CPE regularly monitors private schools for compliance.

         However, should your school not request that you sign a student contract with them for a course that lasts longer than two months, please contact the CPE immediately.

         If you are already attending classes and have not signed a student contract with your school, please note that you will be taken as having entered into a contract with your school based on your school's published policies and procedures.


      Academic Dispute


      Myth: "I want the CPE to order my private school to let me view my exam papers."

      Fact: This is an academic policy that is decided by the school. You are encouraged to raise your concerns or requests through your school's internal administrative processes to resolve such issues.

         If the matter remains unresolved, or if you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you may then refer to the CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme. Please contact the CPE Student Services Centre for more details on the scheme.




      Myth: "If I stop my studies a few months before the formal completion date, I am still entitled to my certificate."

      Fact: In most cases, you are required to complete your course to obtain the certificate. You should check with your private school for more information on graduation requirements for the course that you are pursuing.




      Myth: "I can register for courses of my choice at the CPE, since the CPE oversees course entry requirements in private schools."

      Fact: The CPE is a government agency tasked to regulate the private education industry in Singapore. You should approach the school of your choice to register for your course.

      For more information, visit www.cpe.gov.sg and click on "Guide for Choosing a PEI" Students can also e-mail their questions to
      [email protected], or write to:

      CPE Student Services Centre
      1 Orchard Road #01-01
      (YMCA International House)
      Singapore 238824

      The Student Services Centre is open from 9.30am-6pm, Mondays to Fridays; closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.


      Go Guide Beyond O Levels, The New Paper Thursday 10 January 2013, Pg S17

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