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Poly Vs JC! Help! I Cannot Decide Where to Go

by BGC Candidates

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Written by: Yi Jie 

"Poly or JC?" Odds are this question has crossed your mind at some point. As a kid, our idea of a dream career varied from, "I want to be an astronaut", to "I want to sing!" And the list was always changing. 

So which one of these choices is the one that employers look out for? Singapore job agency, BGC Group helps you decide (with the help of our lovely intern Yi Jie)! 

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Unfortunately, as adults, it is now time to consider what we want to excel in. It is a sad epiphany for Singapore students who realize that they have to decide their careers from a very young age.

How do we know whether we like something if we've never tried it before? How do we know that we won't regret our decision? Or how do we know if this is the right path for us? Questions. Questions. Questions. I hope that my response will provide you with some answers to deciding between choosing JC or Poly! 

Perks of Choosing Singapore Junior Colleges 

As someone who attended a JC after secondary school, I can tell you that my motivating factor was not being sure of what course I should specialize in. Personally, I couldn't decide between Biomedical Engineering or Accounting. My rationale for choosing a JC was the belief that I will be able to study different subjects.

I also liked the idea of studying in a classroom environment, much like secondary school. To get the top grade in JC is pretty simple, you have to keep your head down and study. Studying at a Singapore JC is not the best idea for those who are not book-smart.

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Additionally, those who have a clear idea of what they want to do in the future should consider studying in a Singapore poly instead. Based on my research, many JC students describe their extra-curricular activities as a major perk. A Quora answer mentioned that joining relevant CCA's and groups helped them gained entry into one of Singapore's most prestigious university, NUS.

Things to Consider When Choosing a JC: 

  • Parents: As Asian kids, we are no strangers to parental pressure. If you're still on the fence about choosing between JC or Poly, your parents could shed some insight into the decision for you. 
     
  • University: If you're looking to continue your further your studies with a University degree. JC might be the better option for you. Reports show that 75% of JC students enter University as opposed to 17% of Poly students
     
  • Learning Style: Are you someone who prefers studying on your own? Or are you looking to do a lot of group projects and presentations. The thing with A-levels is that it's a lot similar to your O-level exams. If exams and tests are your forte, you might prefer to stick to the familiar atmosphere of JC. 

 

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Perks of Choosing Singapore Polytechnics

Poly is a route chosen by those who already know what to major in during university or a career of their choice. As students who only studied standard subjects during our Secondary School years. It is important to conduct enough research to find out what will subjects will be the most relevant. Despite sounding very similar, there is a huge difference between subjects such as accounting, finance, and banking and finance.

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Still unsure? Lucky for you, the Singapore government has just implemented a new scheme which allows potential students to sample basic courses before making a final decision on whether or not to take up that course. Halfway through the course, you may change your mind. But don't worry, you can always switch your polytechnic course or start afresh in University!

The best part about University is that everyone is still trying to find their way. Remember that your first year in University is meant to help you figure out both your likes and dislikes.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Poly: 

While there are some clear differences between JC and Poly, many students take similar factors into account, when choosing a Poly. 
 

  • Distance From Home to Your Poly: It might not sound like much right now but the amount of travel time from your home to your poly should be a major factor for you to consider. Imagine pulling an all nighter at home to complete your FYP ('Final Year Project') and then having to travel 2 hours to your Poly to submit it. We'd be pissed too. 
     
  • CCA's: You might not know this now, but your CCA can have an impact on your future job searching efforts. Let's say you graduated poly with a Diploma in Molecular Biology. Having a CCA that involves a lot of event planning and management might lead to future job opportunities in the Marketing industry! It widens the industries for you to land a job in. 
     
  • Pick Schools Based on the Courses You Want to Study: This might not be applicable to those interested in Business and Mass Communications. However, this could be useful to O level graduates looking for specialized positions. 

 

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Making the Best Out of Either Choice

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If your final decision is to enter a prestigious University, it's best to optimize your tertiary life. One way to do this by joining a variety of co-curricular activities. The benefits of joining an after-school activity include expanding your circle of friends and connections.

Tips for choosing a CCA in Poly/University:

  • Choose something that relates well to your interests! Can't find anything you're interested in? What about an activity that you're curious about instead?
  • Pick an activity whose schedule won't clash with both your study and personal calendar.
  • Select an activity that will not distract you from your studies.

Alternatively, volunteering for a reputable organisation can also boost your University application. Examples of associations always on the lookout for people include:

  • Reyna Movement - A Singapore based organisation that seeks to empower women refugees in Kuala Lumpur. You can visit Reyna Volunteer Network for open volunteer opportunities. 
     
  • SPCA, Animal Lovers League, ACRES - Organisations that deal with animal welfare. Perfect for animal lovers!
     
  • Food From the Heart - One for those passionate to eradicate food wastage and poverty. Here, volunteers will be able to visit different bakeries to collect extra bread or distribute toys to children in need. A rewarding program indeed!
     
  • Samaritans of Singapore - If you're passionate about lending a listening ear to people in distress, this is the place for you. Volunteers at SOS Singapore will need to man their 24-hour suicide hotline. For more information on volunteering at SOS, click here.

Don't forget: You can also beef up your University application through various part-time, contract, and temporary jobs. 

 
If volunteering is not something you're interested in, consider polishing your University application by working a part-time job.

Consider shopping for interesting part-time, contract, and temporary jobs in Singapore, through either your school's job portal. You can find them below: 
You can find a medley of attractive positions on BGC's website! There's no substitution for hands-on job experience. Plus it's the easiest way to figure out the responsibilities and areas that you excel at.

Not to mention the things you'll be able to write for your University admissions essay. Who knows, you may end up impressing the admissions team!

At the end of the day, your choice of a tertiary institution shouldn't dictate your choice of career or University course. I hope that you understand the various options that you have to expand your skills, knowledge, and EQ. There is no option that's superior as compared to the other. It all boils down to your respective learning styles.
 
Have a topic you'd like us to explore in the future? Let us know in the comments section below! 
 

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*This article was last updated on January 9, 2020. 
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