Poly to NUS/SMU/NTU

Hey there, for those of you who read my first post you would know that I have just graduated from poly and am applying to universities

What was I offered?

I was invited by both SMU and NUS for their early admissions exercise and scholarships application. NUS also send me a physical letter and booklet to apply for their University Scholars Programme (USP) , which I was offered a place in I but did not accept it , and I may explain more later or in subsequent posts. I only applied for NTU under their normal polytechnic application window period.

NUS

  • Applied for application and scholarships in end November; only got my results in end March
  • Turns out is is because of the special programmes – Double Major, Double Degree, Concurrent Degree, Joint Degree – that delayed my application

I indicated the following programmes and was offered this Double Major in Communications and New Media (FASS) with Management (Business). Here are my choices:

Special Programmes

  1. Economics with Business Analytics (Double Major)
  2. Business Administration & Communications and New Media (Double Degree)
  3. Business Analytics and Economics (Double Major)
  4. Communications and New Media with Management (Double Major)
  5. Economics with a Minor in Business Analytics

Single Degree programmes

  1. Arts and Social Sciences
  2. Business Administration
  3. Business Analytics

I remember being very lost and was on the hopes of giving up when I got my course as I only placed it there for fun. I honestly did not know how NUS processes its application and I assumed they look at your single degree choices first. I wanted to be in FASS, not directly into CNM, and for the past few weeks I kept waiting for NTU’s offer and ways to appeal into FASS.

It was then that I wonder: why appeal into FASS when my home faculty is FASS?! I called up the CNM Department and the person who spoke to me and emailed me assured me that I need not appeal at all since I am already a FASS student. I was so relieved back then!!! My doubts were also reassured when I asked the Dean’s Office during the FASS Open House in May.

Nobody knows how the application process works but I think it goes by the following order:

  1. Indication for any Special Programmes (As listed above)
  2. GPA/A Level Scores
  3. Order of programmes

NUS does send out rejection letters too so if you have not received your letter, don’t fret as it only means you are on the waiting list!

Come to think of it, I’m kinda lucky to got into the 4th choice instead of my 2nd & 3rd choices as my home faculty will not be FASS then.

FAQ

  1. What are the changes in Application Status?

It goes from Application Received > Application Processing > Application has been Processed. When you reach the last phase, go in to the OASF after midnight or login to the Joint Acceptance Portal to view your offer.

2. Can I drop my Double Major/Double Degree?

If you are like me and am planning to drop my second major, then the answer is yes. You will be matriculated into your HOME FACULTY (please check your offer letter, it states it clearly) as a single degree student. Aka no need to appeal during the appeal period. This is the case for FASS so for other Faculties/Schools, please check with your respective schools.

3. How will I be notified on my application outcome?

You have to check the OASF regularly. A day or two after the outcome has been released, NUS will send you a SMS.

4. Do I need to take the Qualifying English Test (QET) or Mother Tongue languages in NUS? (Read below for more info)

Unfortunately the answer for the first part is a yes. In NUS, QET is administered by its own language centres and not MOE. For polytechnic students who do not have any GCE ‘A’ Level in GP, SAT etc we MUST take the QET test before we start our first semester in NUS. This test will determine whether we need to take any English modules in NUS and if yes, how many. This system is a little bit different from NTU as from what I know, only students with grade C5 and below for their GCE ‘O’ Level English need to do the test. Not sure about SMU either.

Luckily for us though, the Mother Tongue language Requirement (MTL Requirement set out by MOE) is not applicable to poly students. That means we do not need to fulfill any MT modules.

NTU

  • Applied during the normal poly window period
  • Got offered in early April

I went for simpler programmes in NTU partially because their combinations – except for one – did not interest me as much as NUS’.

Here are what I indicated:

  1. Economics and Media Analytics (Double Major)
  2. Economics
  3. Business
  4. Business with a Minor in Strategic Communication

Unlike NUS, I was overjoyed and literally jumped when I saw my offer. It was what I wanted since poly and I told myself “NTU it is!”. That was, however, not the case :’)

I chose FASS instead and I will tell more in subsequent posts. But for now, that’s all I’m sharing about NTU.

I did not attend any interviews or do any tests for this offer, purely based on GPA.

FAQ

1. How hard is it to enter the Double Major programme by NTU COHASS?

Honestly I have no idea. This Double Major programme (DMP) is relatively new, only established in 2016, and has six different combinations under its School of Social Sciences, School of Humanities, Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information (WKWSCI) and School of Art, Design and Media. The annual intake is only 45 FOR THE SIX COMBINATIONS.

For my batch, the 10th percentile IGP for A levels were AAA/B and there was no GPA for polytechnic students as the sample size was too small. I applied with 3.88 so you can estimate it from there.

The combinations offered under this DMP are:

  1. Economics and Media Analytics
  2. Economics & Psychology (Quite popular)
  3. Economics and Public Policy and Global Affairs
  4. Psychology and Media Analytics
  5. Psychology and Linguistics and Multilingual Studies
  6. English Literature and Art History

2. Like SMU, NUS, are there any home faculty?

No. From the sharing session that I attended, the double major students belong anywhere yet they don’t really belong to anywhere (if you get what I mean).

3. What is the difference between a double major and second major in NTU?

Unlike NUS (I think), NTU does separates its double major and second major programmes well.

Double Major simple means two equal-weightage major: 42% to your first; 42% to your second and the balance to General Education modules. It is reflected on your degree certificate.

Second Major, if i’m not wrong, only has 25% weightage for your second major. It will NOT be reflected on the certificate, but only the transcript.

4. How will I be notified on my application outcome?

NTU will send you an email. I got mine at 7pm+ on a Monday, kinda surprised since I thought they off work at 6 LOL.

SMU

  • Applied under early admissions
  • Didn’t went for any admission interview
  • Got invited for Discovery Day 1-2 weeks after I applied but I could not make it due to urgent school event
  • Went for scholarships interview with the School of Economics instead after my last semester results were released

I applied for the following programmes:

  1. Economics
  2. Information Systems (1st major choice: Information Systems; 2nd major choice: Smart-City Management & Technology)
  3. Social Science (1st major choice: Politics, Law and Economics; 2nd major choice: Political Science, Psychology and Sociology)
Inkedphoto_2019-05-14_20-49-00_LI
Physical offer letter from SMU

FAQ

1. What is Discovery Day? Who is it for?

It is literally an event where you go down to SMU, listen to some talks relating to admission and your major. They will present you your offer letter AT THE END OF SESSION. You MUST sit throughout the entire session, lest your offer be revoked.

Quoting from SMU’s website, Discovery Day exists because “This is because we have noticed over the years that there is a select group of students whose application material demonstrates very well the academic ability and qualities that we value. Invariably, they also excel at the traditional interview, are admitted, and thrive at SMU. We believe that we have learnt, after 15 years, how to spot these applications. Thus, for this group of students, they will be shortlisted on the basis of the quality of their submission, and be invited to visit SMU on “SMU Discovery Day”. Our engagement will then be directed at confirming that they are indeed an excellent match for the education that SMU offers, and for them to confirm that SMU is the university of choice for them. Our commitment is to work with applicants to help them make the best decisions for themselves.

We continue to be committed to the belief that we would have met and engaged with each and every student whom we choose to admit. This opportunity is valuable to us because it helps us better understand the applicants’ fit for SMU, and it helps them make an informed decision about their choice of university and programme of study.”

2. How are the admission interviews like?

I have zero idea since I did not attend one but from my friends who did, it was a casual chit-chat with the professors and some may ask you to do some tests beforehand. She waited for 1 – 2 weeks after her interview before receiving an offer letter from them.

3. How was the scholarship interview?

To be frank, I did not know why SMU even shortlisted me considering how my GPA wasn’t perfect (my friend who had 4.0 didn’t get called so I assumed they go by GPA). The interview was with two prof from your School and they asked A LOT of questions regarding the discipline e.g. why economics, what do you know about economics, discuss with me some Singapore’s economic policies.

Obviously I flunked since I was not prepared to handle such questions at all; I prep for the traditional questions such as “why should we accept you?” etc LOL.

After the interview, the prof then handed me my offer letter and other info sheet in the envelope. No rejection email/letter will be send if you failed the scholarship interview.

4. How will I be notified on my application outcome?

For Discovery Day: They will send you an email inviting you to go down campus. Then on the date itself, they will present you with your physical offer letter.

For Scholarships: They will CALL and EMAIL you your scheduled time and day. Then on the date itself, they will present you with your physical offer letter.

For regular applications: I think they will CALL and EMAIL you on your admissions interview. If you are accepted a place, they should send you an email with your e-letter. How long does it take for them to offer you? Based on my friends, it was around 1-2 weeks.

SO, WHAT DID I CHOOSE?

NUS FASS.

All the schools had their pros and cons and I shall talk about them in a later post. I hope that my sharing can help some university applicants with their application and feel free to ask any questions if need be.

FOR INCOMING POLY-TO-NUS UNDERGRADS

Firstly, welcome to NUS. As a polytechnic graduate myself, I really did not know that things will be slightly different for me. For example I actually have to take a Qualifying English Test (QET), before I commence school, which will determine if I need to do any additional English modules. If you are in FASS, this is more troublesome because your core writing modules FAS1101 or FMA and FAS1102 require you to be exempted from QET or have read and passed the relevant English modules. AKA if you need to do additional modules, it will delay the reading of FAS1101/FAS1102. But all is not lost as we are exempted from 20 MCs worth of Unrestricted Electives. Read on to find out more about the things you should take note before entering NUS.

1. Qualifying English Test (QET)

As the name suggests, the QET is a placement test to determine the English capabilities of students who are not exempted from it. It judges your academic writing skills, your grammar and language use, as well as vocabulary. It is administered by NUS’ own Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) so the exemption criteria is different from NTU (FYI students who got C5 and below for GCE ‘O’ Level need to do the test).

The test is held twice a year – one in July before school commences and the other in November. It is highly recommended for anyone to take it in July before you start your freshman year to delay reading of any modules (especially FASS and Biz kids!!).

Who needs to do the test?

The QET is compulsory for students who do not have the necessary English qualifications. For those of us who went to a polytechnic, you must do the test unless you have taken any other qualification tests for instance GCE ‘A’ Level General Paper before or Theory of Knowledge. If you have taken any international English qualifying test before or am an international student, you might wanna check this LINK to determine if you need to do QET.

P.S. Please be diligent enough and read to see if you are exempted from the test. I only found out that I needed to do it when my friend reminded me as I assumed my GCE ‘O’ Level grades were sufficient. And your Faculty will only mass-send a reminder email to everyone so it is up to you to check if you need to do the test.
What is the test format?
You will be given two texts (non-fiction duh) and a question. From there, you have to write an argumentative essay using references from the text, your own knowledge and experiences. The good part about QET is that content is of lesser importance; they are looking for grammar mistakes instead. It does not mean that your essay does not make sense. You still must have a stand and solid content in your paper.
The test is 1 hour 45 minutes and this includes reading time, writing time etc.
FYI the test was conducted in digital format using our own laptops for my round so I’m not sure if it will differ for yours.

How did I prepare for the test?

I revised on basic Grammar such as subject-verb agreements, sentence structure, prepositions and even the differences between American and British spelling. It actually helps a lot considering the fact that QET largely focuses on grammar. Knowing more vocabulary would be advantageous and most importantly, know what is expected from an argumentative essay. That means, have an introduction, a stand, thesis statement, rebuttal etc.

There is also a sample paper for you to try when you go for the compulsory QET briefing. Please do try it under exam conditions as it will be really helpful.

What happens if you fail the test?

You don’t fail the test per se. Everyone gets a band grade from 1 – 3. If you get a Band 1, it means that you have to take two additional English modules ES1001, ES1103. Do note that ES1103 can only be taken AFTER ES1001 is read so yup, it does take up quite a number of time. If you get Band 2, you only need to read ES1103. And if you managed to get Band 3 then good for you because you need no more Queen’s England modules!

IMPORTANT FOR FASS FRESHIES: Do note that the FASS Writing modules FAS1101/FMA and FAS1102 require you to be exempted from QET or have gotten a Band 3 or have completed all the relevant English modules. So if you have a Band 1, you have to clear ES1001 in your first semester, ES1103 in your semester and consider taking both FAS1101 AND FAS1102 in your first semester of your second year. Otherwise, you can just take it easy and take one module at a time but do note that these are supposed to be foundation modules to help you in presentations and academic essay writing.

2. Advanced Placement Credits

Luckily for us poly kia we are given 20 Advanced Placement Credits (APCs) for our Unrestricted Electives (UEs). If you haven’t already know, UEs are part of the graduation requirements and we need 36 MCs to graduate. So do your math and you will realise we only need 16 MCs of UEs, which means we only need to study 4 UEs modules.

It’s good if you are not planning to take an additional language or do a second major/minor/degree because you have more free time in your senior years. It also means that, with proper planning of course, you can complete your studies sooner and head to the workforce. There is, however, nothing much worth celebrating if you are doing second major/minor/degree because you still need to take average of 5 modules per semester.

3. Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Requirement

Another good news for us poly kids, no more Mother Tongue! For some reasons, apart from polytechnic and international students, everyone else is required to have fulfill the Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Requirement before they enter university or complete it during their candidature. It is set out by the Ministry of Education and I’m just thankful I do not have to do Mother Tongue because it will really take up a lot of time.

FYI I am actually bilingual in Chinese and I can speak, write and read Chinese well. It’s just that the thought of DOING Chinese again really scares me as I hate things such as comprehension and oral LOL.


That’s all for now. Other than that, I feel that polytechnic will be similar to university in terms of how lectures and tutorials are carried out. You (and I) will definitely face stiffer competition as we are now competing against JC students but do not worry as we each have our own pace and goal. Stay strong (to myself too LOL) and I hope to see you in FASS.

Feel free to leave any questions/comments below.

2 thoughts on “Poly to NUS/SMU/NTU”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s