There are many Singaporean students who dream about enrolling in a Polytechnic; however this dream is not that easy to achieve.
There are many hurdles the students have to overcome before they are granted access to the course of their dreams and given the key that unlocks countless possibilities.
In some cases, the entire application process has to be absolutely flawless, and that doesn’t just mean having exceptionally good grades.
If you have always wanted to study in a polytechnic, but you’re not sure what you should do to increase your chances of getting into your chosen course, this article is for you. The following five power tips will increase your chances of getting a place in your dream course in a polytechnic of your choice, so read on to find out what they are!
1. Being involved in co-curricular activities increases your chances of admission.
Being a high-achiever from an academic point of you is, of course, essential; however, today, this alone may not be enough to get admitted into a polytechnic (and this is especially true of some popular courses).
In the 21st-century, people in charge of admissions are increasingly on the lookout for young people who have participated in co-curricular activities and have an impressive history of community service.
Participating in co-curricular activities makes you a well-rounded individual and develops your soft skills, and this is exactly the type of student the polytechnics are looking for.
So if you wish to increase your chances of getting into one, you should definitely consider signing up for relevant CCAs. And when you do, it is a good idea to try and win several competitions while you are there or rise up the ranks within the club. Demonstrating leadership skills and showing initiative will do wonders for your admission chances, and it may even increase your scholarship opportunities.
2. Start preparing your relevant portfolio as early as possible.
In polytechnic, students study technical courses that are directly connected to the field in which they want to build a career. This is one of the reasons why many students prefer polytechnics over junior colleges in Singapore.
If you are one of those decisive students who already know what they want to do with their life and you know which polytechnic you want to apply to, why waste time?
You can start developing your talents in the field of your choice before you even set foot in the polytechnic to get a formal education. Start working on your portfolio as soon as you decide what you want to do in life.
That way, when time to apply to a polytechnic comes around, you will be able to demonstrate that you are serious about pursuing a career in this field, thus increasing your chances of admission. For instance, if you want to apply for a music course, what is stopping you from creating some music sheets or audio samples?
The answer is absolutely nothing!
If you want to become a photographer, why not buy a cheap second-hand camera and start uploading your images to a free stock photography site? The technology in the modern era gives us an opportunity to pursue our passion from the comfort of our own home. It would almost be an act of negligence to pass on the opportunity.
By creating a portfolio, you will definitely impress the people in charge of the admissions and increase your chances of getting in the course of your choice.
Educators love providing opportunities to passionate and determined individuals, and by having a portfolio, you will show them that that’s exactly who you are.
3. Prepare for your interview in advance.
Even if your portfolio and your application, in general, are excellent, you will still have to do well in the interview to be accepted into the polytechnic of your dreams. The interviewers will ask you two different types of questions; these are standard questions and creative questions. Standard questions are the ones you can easily predict.
These are the ones that ask you about your general background and about your motivation for getting into that particular course.
A simple Google search can render dozens of potential standard questions an interviewer may ask, so you have absolutely no excuse to be unprepared for these types of questions. But keep in mind that giving short, predictable, and boring answers will not do you any good, so when you’re preparing for the standard questions, think of the ways you can improve and develop your answers.
With that being said, it is not recommended to memorize your answers in advance because at the interview you may leave the impression of being stiff and robotic if you do so. So think about the topic contained in the question in advance, but be careful not to sound scripted when answering them at the actual interview.
The second type of question, as we have already said, is the creative type. Interviewers ask creative questions to see if the student can deal with pressure and to test their background knowledge.
To prepare for creative questions, you may find it useful to go over your old school notes and try to predict which topics may be mentioned in the questions.
Other than not being prepared, nervousness is another common culprit that causes students to flunk their admission interview. I know it is quite hard to calm your nerves no matter how many times you tell yourself that you don’t have the reason to be nervous, but since confidence is another trait the interviewers are looking for, you will have to find a way.
It is a good idea to conduct mock interviews with a friend or perhaps a group of friends (since you will have to answer before the panel.) Each person has their own unique way to unwind; find out what works for you and use it to calm down before you enter the interviewing room.
You should also know that the interviewer is not the only person who is able to ask the questions during the interview. If you wish, you can also use a portion of the time to ask some unanswered questions you may have about the course (you may be interested in something that wasn’t mentioned in the online description).
4. The 600-character write up.
To gain a better understanding of your background, polytechnics will often ask you to create a 600 character write up. The number of words you can use here is limited, so you cannot afford to waste a single one on irrelevant information.
Make sure that you demonstrate your love for your chosen subject in the write-up. You can do this by citing any relevant achievements from your school years and all relevant club memberships. If you don’t happen to have these, then you can write about relevant life experiences that demonstrate your passion for the subject.
Needless to say, you should be mindful of your grammar and punctuation. It is recommended to have your tutor or some other knowledgeable person review your write-up to make sure that it is up to par. Don’t be impatient and sand in your first draft. The hours you may have saved now will cost you dearly in the long run.
5. Attend events like open houses and talks.
If you live within the driving distance of the polytechnic you want to attend, it is always a good idea to go there and to see the campus with your own two eyes before you actually enroll. You can check the school calendar and see if they have any open houses or talks scheduled in the near future.
You can also find out about the questions like using your parents' CPF to pay for your Poly school fees, so you are better informed about the courses and budgeting.
Not only will you see the polytechnic and get a better sense of what you are getting into, but you will also have the opportunity to meet up with some current students and ask them a few questions about their admission experience.
Each and every student who is currently studying at that polytechnic has been through the admission process you will have to face and knows exactly what you are about to go through, so by chatting with current students, you can pick up some useful tips and tricks that will help you in the application process. And if you can’t manage to have face-to-face conversations with such students, you can always find them online.
To conclude, getting a place in your dream polytechnic course may not be as easy as you initially hoped; however, it is well worth the initial effort since the right education can open a lot of doors for you in the future.
Each year thousands of students are given the opportunity to pursue the career of their dreams, and there is absolutely no reason why you can’t join their ranks if you are smart about it and follow our five power tips before your application process.