Polytechnic or Junior College?


Posted July 19, 2019
Last modified July 19, 2019

2 mins read



in the midst of all the EAE action, I am reminded of the previous batches of students having misconceptions and questions regarding the different post-secondary educational institutes. with this post I hope that I can clear some of that up and provide a clearer view for all of y'all taking O levels this year. I'm not trying to dissuade people from joining the course they like, I'm simply adding another POV.

disclaimer: everything I post is based on my own perspectives :)

Poly more relax than JC! sec school so sian, can't wait to get out of sec sch and be a poly student!

You couldn't be more wrong. While poly kids may seem less stressed than JC kids, they can actually be as stressed or even more stressed than your typical JC kid. in poly, almost every other test you take contributes to your GPA, and if you screw a year or two up, salvaging it is gonna be a colossal task. you (for the most part) need to be constantly ready for anything that gets thrown your way, be it assignments, or projects and everything in between. in some cases, there might be even more exams in a course as compared to JCs. while this may depend on the specific course you are interested in, do not take a gamble with your future, talk to a senior in the course to get a feel of how life is. in a JC, if you screw up a test (or heck, maybe even a major exam), you still have a bit of leeway for you to get back up and get your shit together (not that I'm recommending screwing up an exam).

also, depending on your luck, (multiple) group projects in poly may make you feel more sian as compared to your sec school days.

I love this poly course! it's my passion & interest and I wanna further my studies in it!
You've found an area you're interested in, awesome. however, this doesn't mean you should dive deep into a poly course immediately. i've seen way too many poly students go into a course thinking they're interested in it, and burning out or losing passion in it a year into the course (or even a sem into school). never go into a poly course purely based on interest. read up about its modules, talk to seniors about the course, go to open houses to learn more about the course to see if you'll really like the content and the style.

my general advice for people are as follows:
1) if you legit know that you want to work in that field in the future, you legit know that this course is for you, and you know what the course entails through seniors and/or open houses, go for it. if you know that you want to work in the business industry or engineering industry in the future, but aren't sure of what specific specialisation you want, you may want to consider Common Business/Engineering Programmes. otherwise,
2) go to a school that offers A levels (typically JC, but there's also MI). you get at least 2 extra years (at least 4 for guys, ello NS) to decide what field you want to further your education in. with an A level degree, your choices are much wider when you're applying for the university (subject prerequisites are still a thing). if you aren't sure of what you want to do in the future, JC is the way to go.

but A level is like O level all over again, but in 2 years. I very tired alr, dw
A level is a whole other beast as compared to the O levels. for O levels, you could still potentially just practice and chiong the last month and still score decently well, but for the A levels, you need to understand the concepts, and learn various skills that you otherwise wouldn't have learnt in your sec sch days. for a JC, it's intense, fast paced, and not for the faint of heart (neither is poly). consistent hard work is key, and there basically isn't any room for you to slack off (perhaps during Dec hols).

your seniors taking A levels may have be going on about PW and/or GP. PW will basically suck the soul out of you, unless you have good teammates, and GP is a whole different beast as compared to O level english, and people typically fail GP during their first few tests/exams for GP unless you have a natural flair for it.

yes, the stress and intensity is unreal, but working hard, adapting to the A levels and scoring well is (personally) preferred to going to poly and potentially burning out. the A levels and polytechnics offer different skillsets, and require very different skillsets for you to do well in each, but as someone taking As in 3 months, this route has been worth it. having a good A level cert will be much better if you don't know what field you want to work in, as compared to a diploma, which essentially narrows your uni routes and career paths.

however, if 2 years is genuinely too intense for you, MI offers a 3 year A level course.

there's probably more that I want to say, but it's 11pm my brain is pretty fried, but if you have any questions regarding poly and/or the A level syllabus (subject combis, requirements, etc), feel free to contact me on Telegram @IcedMilo, I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can!

Author @IcedMilo

Editor @kslui