To those of you who are anxiously waiting for their O level results, first of all, congratulations to all of you! Regardless of whether your results meet your expectations or not, you’ve done a good job of completing your secondary school education and going through your boring lessons day after day (the lessons are good for you, but they are undeniably boring, really).
So on 14th January, your long and arduous wait will come to an end. You may or may not already have plans with your close friends to study the same course or go to the same junior college together. But when the results come out, you and your friends may end up making decisions different from what is initially planned. Whichever institution or course that you choose to go to, just know that there’s no good or bad choice to take. It’s only about what fits you within the options that are available to you. As mentioned earlier before, academic results aren’t everything. They are just something that grants you options. The better results you have, the more options you will have. And if you have poorer results, you might end up with only a few choices to make. But it does not mean that you will not be successful within that few options. So don’t be dismayed even if you do not get your ideal results. You just have to make the choice that is right for you.
There are still a few days from now till 14 January, so you really should spend time thinking about the following few questions in order to make a decision that you won’t regret years down the road.
Do you prefer to learn through studying or having hands-on practice?
Some of you are intrigued by and thirsts after new knowledge and are definitely fine with the whole mugging process and taking examinations. On the other hand, there are those of you who can’t visualise ideas and concepts through books and require actual practice at the topic in order to better understand. What’s important here is to identify which of the type you belong or you might actually find yourself in a course or institution that is deeply unsuited for yourself.
What do you want to do in the future?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not necessarily need to attend university in order to get a good career. Certain profession values experience and skills more than the paper qualifications. For example, if you’re interested to work in the media industry, then certain courses in polytechnics will be much better suited for you than attending 2 years of JC before moving on to university where you will only begin to start the hands-on in your specialisation.
To illustrate it better, this is how the 2 paths will look like for someone who’s interested to be a video editor, for example:
2 years of Junior College education learning about Mathematics and Sciences
-> 3/4 years of University education learning about the specialisation
-> Graduate as a fresh university graduate with no relevant industry experience
(Time taken to enter workforce = ~6 years)
3 years of Polytechnic education learning about the specialisation (with internship)
-> Graduate as a fresh polytechnic graduate with 6 months’ worth of relevant industry experience
= (Time taken to enter workforce = 3 years)
In the above scenario, the person who chooses the polytechnic route will be able to start working after 3 years as compared to someone who takes the JC route which requires about 6 years. In the span of 6 years, the person who took the polytechnic route would have already gained 3 years’ worth of relevant working experience and is highly likely to be more valued by the employers than a fresh university graduate.
Disclaimer: The above scenario is only specific to certain professions. For specialisation such as Law, Medicine, Psychology, etc, you are required to have a university degree, and hence, taking the JC route may prove to be more efficient.
As such, it is important to find out what do you want to do in the future and not make your choice just because everyone else is doing so.
What are you good at?
Ironically, sometimes you are interested in something that you aren’t actually good at. And vice versa: being good at something that you don’t enjoy doing. In this case, after identifying what you want to do, the next step is to identify what are the subjects or skills that you are actually good at. For example, if you are keen to be an engineer but you hate Mathematics and Physics to the core, I’ve got bad news for you. There is a module that is called Engineering Mathematics and it will bring back no small amount of trauma to your delicate heart.
In the event that you find out that you are not necessarily skilled in the area that you want to pursue, you have two options. It’s either you go ahead with your passion or choose a field that you are confident that you will excel in. There’s no right or wrong choice here to make, it’s only about weighing the pros and cons.
Find out what subjects/modules are involved in the curriculum
JCs are pretty standardised in their subject offerings across the board, but it’ll still be good to do your due research prior to the 14th. As for Polytechnics, there will be tons to do. Even if all polytechnics offer the same course that you want, no course are identical to each other. So you will need to check out what modules does this course in this particular polytechnic offer and check if they are beneficial to you in your pursuit of your desired career. If need be, you can contact the polytechnics directly to find out more details about the course.
Do your due research
This does not merely apply to the research about the courses and the schools, but also about the whole process of applying to a school under Ministry of Education. There are different schemes available to apply to the school that you want, and in the event that your O level results are lacking to make it for the course that you want, there is always a chance to appeal. So make sure to note down all the important steps and dates early so that you won’t be caught unprepared when the time comes. As most of you will be undergoing through the Joint Admissions Exercise, here is the MOE’s website on all the important information that you should know! https://www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/joint-admissions-exercise
With all of that said and done, here’s all the best to all of you regardless of what you choose to do, and may you have a great year ahead!
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