Guide to choosing your schools & courses

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hello hello! 
IT’S JA-NUA-RY but not a month for you to nua because school starts for many or worst, no difference at all because I’m interning (AKA no holidays). And January also marks an important month for those that took their O levels last year. 

So now you are moving on to the next phrase, you struggled between the choice of going to ITE/ JC/Poly. I wouldn’t be touching so much on ITE and JC because I personally study in a polytechnic. 

Firstly, for those that didn’t manage to score their ideal grades can choose to apply for Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE) to your ideal course. If you’re not interested in JPSAE, you can skip this whole entire part and scroll down. 

 I entered my course through this exercise and practically, this is for those that die die want to enter the course and have the burning interest AND proofs (like certificates or talents). I’m guessing that they look much more on the proofs rather than your interest but even if you don’t any, no harm trying right?

 If you’re selected for the interview, they will call you up and please follow the following steps: 

2.) Do not be late for the interview and be well groomed. 
3.) Put all your certificates (Even those irrelevant ones to step one very zai) into clear plastic sheets and put these sheets into a ring file as your “portfolio”. 
4.) Bring along your proofs too. (I brought along a compo book which my school published as my essay was in it to show that I’m proficient in writing) 
 5.) Prepare questions that are related to the course to ask the interviewers. Please don’t ask shallow questions if not they will think that you do not know the course well and kuakua say byebye to your place in the course. 
 6.) *optional* Bring along your musical instruments (Guitars/ukulele etc.) to show off your talents (Esp if you’re applying for a media course) 

 So now after you finished the interview, just sit down, eat popcorn and pray hard you get in! 

 Now, for those kids that are deciding between JC or POLY. I’m just gonna touch on two myths. 

“JC is so tough, go poly better lah can lepak one.” They said. 


In Poly, you have around 5-6 modules per semester; you get about 3 assignments per module, each module lasting about half a year. Do the maths and you get about 18 assignments half a year, which means 1 month = 3 projects to be completed. Not forgetting tests and exams. * (*Disclaimer: I’m writing based on my course and the numbers are just a rough gauge.)

You get all kinds of projects (depending on your course), those that requires you to spend hours at the library sourcing for books for APA (crediting), out at 3am to do filming, sourcing “sponsors” for your projects and the list goes on. As an almost graduating student, I can tell you, it’s terribly draining. Worst if you meet groupmates that are freeloaders. 

 I’m not talking about getting a GPA 4.0. I’m just talking as a student with a GPA of 3.34. In year one, I scored a GPA 3.7 and that was when I worked really, really hard. But as the workload increases, I couldn’t cope and it dropped. Even my grade was considered not bad – I got a mixtures of As and Bs, and probably one C sometimes. But let me tell you, a B+ is enough to kill your GPA. That’s how tough it is if you wanna score well. 

And fyi, CCAs usually starts at 730 – 930 for once/twice a week, so go do the calculations on how much time you have left excluding transport and sleep for your projects. 

“If you know what you’re going to do, go to poly. If you don’t, go to JC.” 

50% True, 50% False. 
If you aspire to be a kindergarten teacher, of course taking a diploma in Early Childhood Education would be a better path for you compared to going to JC. However, ask yourself how sure you are that you really want to be a kindergarten teacher? Is it a temporary thoughts or something that you have thought through for a really long time? How much do you really know about this job? Often we only see things on the surface, we don’t see the shit behind the job until you really get to experience it. I was a very good example. 

 I wanted to be a radio DJ back in Sec 4, which was why I was so determined to get into Chinese Media and Communications. My knowledge for the media industry was sparse at that point of time, which probably makes me think that working in the media industry is all so glamorous and easy. As time pass, my knowledge grew and my passion died down, realizing that maybe being a DJ wasn’t what I want to be afterall. And also, it isn’t an easy job, especially with the fierce competition. So in conclusion, being in poly just makes you more “specialized” in a certain field, but that doesn’t mean you will be stuck in that field forever. 

 How is poly life different from Secondary school? 

Practically what you can’t do in Secondary school can be done in poly. 

1.) Lots of freedom from assignments to eating in class Being in poly is a whole new world. 

You don’t get teachers chasing after/punishing you for not doing your work, you don’t want to submit, I fail your assignment lor. Cannot graduate? Repeat lor. 

 Usually, you get your Assignment Descriptors (Practically a piece of paper that tells you what is required and how you’re graded for that particular assignment) and you do your work at your own time. Some lecturers don’t tell you what to do, (claiming that they don’t want to spoonfeed you) while some lecturers open up consultation slots (usually not compulsory, but they will tell you: you don’t want come you on wrong track your problem ah)

Also, secondary school kids like to trend pon school right? Yea you can pon lectures and nobody will say anything, AS LONG AS YOU MAINTAIN YOUR ATTENDANCE ABOUT 80% (Just to be safe ahem) or be prepared to camp at your letterbox for the warning letter. 

 Not forgetting the fact that most lecturers allow eating in class. This is probably the thing that I’m most thankful for because I guess most of us won’t have time to sit down and have a proper breakfast so most of the time we skip the meal or eat our breakfast on the go. However, this is also bad because you would have a higher tendency to buy snacks to class and munch on. I usually would have a cup of coffee from the vending machine to keep me awake in class. 

2.) Laptop for work? 

We SELDOM use pens and papers so laptop to us is like our notebook. But most of the time, it’s just a form of entertainment for us. Trust me, most of us would use our laptops during lessons to surf the net or to rush the gonna-be-due work, nobody is really paying attention to the lesson. 

Clearly, all the lecturers know about this but some of them just can’t be bothered with us lah LOL. Some would implement rules though, so it really depends on the lecturers. 

 3.) Dress code 

Remember the attire check in Secondary school? No ankle socks, no dyed hairs, no short skirts. 

In poly, practically nobody cares about what you wear in poly unless you walk into the lecture hall with a bikini. I know many of you are excited by the fact that there is no uniform but trust me, you will dread it because you had to think about what to wear every morning and sooner or later, I can expect to see you walk around school with the school tee, fbt and slippers because sleep is just more important than the freaking fashion. You think youVictoria’s Secret Model meh? 

4.) Your bunch of friends constantly changes 

 People said that the best bunch of friends remains at secondary school level and I totally agree to that. In poly, there are all kinds of people everywhere. Of course there are good ones that would last, but mostly, they are just temporary kind of friends that you need when you doing a group project or just for PR purposes. 

 It’s also common to see people forming cliques after joining various camps and maybe you would be envious seeing them going out on outings together claiming how sweet and close their “families” are, but there are lots of gossiping and bitching going behind the scenes.

 Throughout my three years, I have seen many fallen out/distant friendships that not only happening to me, but to others as well. People will walk out of your life or get distant, but it’s a phrase where everyone will face. 

 5.) Food price & choices 

Unlike in secondary school, a bowl of noodles probably only cost you $2.00 at most. But in poly, it starts from $3.00 onwards. Depending on the poly, some poly have Starbucks, Coffee bean, Mcdonalds and even Sakae sushi. 

Canteen wise, I would have said Ngee Ann Poly (Not being bias here) has the widest and best food choice although it’s madness when it comes to finding a seat during lunch hour. I dislike TP’s canteen because it’s kind of lok kok. *no offence, just personal preference here* Not air conditioned and the food choice is pretty limited too. Although I think it’s of cool that they have this café-like places that is managed by their own students in the school. 

I hope this posts do help some of you out there who are struggling to make choices/wants to know more about poly life! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any doubts and I will try to reply you asap!

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