Should I go to a poly or JC?


Should I enrol in a Polytechnic or Junior College? The crucial question that many students will face after they get their O-level results.
There is definitely no right or wrong answer for this question. And you yourself should know best the answer to this question. Here’s an entry to guide you towards making a decision between the two options:

Going to a Polytechnic
There are five main polytechnics in Singapore to apply to – Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Temasek Polytechnic.

Entry requirements
For the polytechnic application, the L1R4 of the student will be taken into account. The L1R4 is computed by taking the student’s English grades, 2 relevant subjects and 2 best subjects. The points to apply for polytechnic courses can vary from as low as 6 points to 26 points. The cut off score for the same courses varies across the different polytechnics, do check out the Joint Portal of Polytechnics in Singapore website.

  • Academic programmes offered/options
    For the education options offered at the polytechnic, the options offered provides students with a more dynamic and progressive learning experience. Unlike the compulsory subjects required of students to take in secondary school, students can now pick a study of their interest. This can vary from courses in the sciences, arts and humanities, business etc. Their study during their time in polytechnic will focus on a particular course and go in-depth on the different essential aspects of the course.

  • Studying and style of assessment
    Instead of taking one national examination at the end of their study like at the primary/secondary school level, the students’ grades will be assessed based on a continual assessment. Results at the polytechnic level is measured by the Grade Point Average (GPA), where students will receive a GPA after every semester.

  • Duration of programme
    The duration of pursuing a polytechnic degree is 3 years.

  • School fees
    The school fees per annum for differs for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents (PRs) and International Citizens. Here’s a chart on the approximated fee to study a full-time cost at a polytechnic in Singapore:

  • Post-poly route
    This would be one of the greatest factor to take into consideration. There are quite a few routes that a polytechnic graduate can do with his/her diploma. One would be to further their education for a degree at a local or overseas university. The other that some graduates opt to do is to work. With a diploma, polytechnic graduates are considered rather employable in the workforce.

Going to a Junior College

  • Entry requirements
    As for entrance into a junior college, the L1R5 of a student will be taken into consideration. The L1R5 is computed by taking the English or Higher Mother Tongue grade of the student and 5 other relevant subjects. The score for entry into a junior college can be as low as 5 to 20.

  • Academic programmes offered/options
    As for the academic programmes offered, it is more similar to secondary school where students are take subjects like General Paper (GP), Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Economics etc. Students are required to take a total of 3 subjects at the H2 level and 1 at the H1 level, together with General Paper (GP), Project Work (PW) and H1 Chinese if you did not take Higher Mother Tongue (HMT) in secondary school.

  • Studying and style of assessment
    The studying and style of assessment in junior college is largely similar to the model in secondary schools. Students will sit for small tests over the duration of their time in junior college, Mid-Year examinations, Promotional examinations, common tests and Preliminary examinations to prepare them for the A-levels at the end of the two years.
    The studying schedule in a junior college is often perceived to be rather packed and fast. Although following a similar model of assessment as the secondary school, it is often regarded as a huge jump for students who enter a junior college after secondary school.
    It may be a struggle to adapt at the start initially, and you may be faced with demoralizing grades that you have never gotten in your life. It is rather common for this to happen, and many students struggle their way through the two years in junior college but eventually do fine at the A-levels.

  • Duration of programme
    The duration of the junior college programme is two years, but there are students who take three years to complete the A-levels as well. The school will often provide recommendation for the students if they should extend their study to three years to better equip them for the national examinations. Some schools also allow students to opt if they want to do an additional year should they feel unprepared to take the A-levels.*
    *on a case-to-case basis

  • School fees
    The school fees vary according to the junior college that you enrol in and your citizenship status.
  • Post-junior college route
    After junior college, students often use their A-level results to apply for university. Students who choose to enrol in a junior college will normally further their studies to get a degree at a local or overseas university. This is so as the A-level certification is often regarded as insufficient to secure a good job in the long-term as students are not equipped with the required skills to do so.

As mentioned earlier in the post, there is no “right path” to go towards. The above mentioned are just some important factors laid out on some considerations when it comes to picking between entering a polytechnic and junior college. Weigh the factors above according to your own personality to fit into the respective schools, your interests and your and your family’s financial capacity to make the best decision for yourself.

Geraldine Lee
Geraldine lives out of bubbles and dreams. When she’s not writing, she reads about kids and parenting matters. Her works have been featured on Singapore’s Child, theAsianParent and now, even yodaa.