For most, University is likely to be the last leg of our education journey, and the most important one. Thus, it is imperative that you take a while to fully understand what you’re in for. Application to most local universities are underway, but fret not if you haven’t applied yet – for we have consolidated a list of things you should know before submitting your uni application.

Don’t Put Yourself Down

Have a very average GPA or not enough As to meet the Indicative Grade Profile (IGP) requirements of your desired course? This may make you pause and wonder if you should apply for that course at all. But the first thing you must remember is that the IGP is well, just indicative of your results. A quick look at the IGP from various years will tell you that it fluctuates from year to year. Depending on the supply and demand of this year, the IGP could turn out differently – perhaps there could be a larger intake of students that could result in a lower cut-off point, and that means your chances of getting in are higher! So go ahead and apply confidently, for the simple act of applying may just be the game changer (and because not applying means you have 0% of getting in). 

Do Thorough Homework

When comparing courses in different universities for the same major, be sure to delve into the specific modules that each university offers rather than harping on the honours system. Understand and consider if the modules that the course entails are to your liking as a whole; there may be the implementation of a bidding or first-come-first-serve system to assigning modules, so make sure to take a look at all the modules offered. Also, going to university can be a three to four years affair – do carefully consider factors like the facilities offered by each university and its distance from home. Trust us, these minute details do come into play during your tenure as a student.

Get Your Letter Of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation aka a testimonial can make all the difference. Be it from your school lecturers or employers from previous internships (best if they are related to the course you are aiming for), get someone who knows (and actually likes) you personally to do it, instead of someone who has higher designation – think the beloved school lecturer that appreciates your work versus the module coordinator who doesn’t teach you. When requesting for a testimonial, put in a gentle reminder for your referee to list the desirable qualities you’ve displayed that make you an excellent candidate for your desired course.

Know What You Want, But Be Realistic

University is all about you and your choice. Rather than blindly following the crowd (or your friends), hit pause and contemplate your passion and interests. Get off the beaten track, but remain grounded and realistic. It would be great foresight to learn about something that you can eventually ply your trade in a growing sector (eg. cybersecurity, data analytics and software engineering), but interest is of utmost importance! You may not get to embark on your passion immediately, but you can start by majoring in a course related to your passion, before steering your career towards that particular industry. After all, skill sets from every field will somehow be needed in every industry.

Discretionary Admission

If you don’t already know (well now you do!), universities accept student intake under the Discretionary Admission Scheme, where the discretionary admissions cap will increase to 15 percent this year. Looking beyond one’s academic achievements, your holistic achievements are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The scheme looks for extraordinary teens boasting outstanding achievements or portfolios that display passion, creativity and various outstanding qualities and values which would enable them to excel in their chosen course. However, these students must still have the minimum academic competency to pursue the university course. More info on DA stats can be found here.  

Application process: About Interviews & Appeals

Check if there are any prerequisite faculty tests and/or interviews that you’re required to sit for, and note down the important dates. You will mostly likely be required to compose a personal essay for interviews and appeals – prep yourself by looking for tips or guides to writing the most convincing personal essay. Here are some tips to help you get a better idea:

  • Emphasise on reasons why you should be chosen other than your academic performance
  • Know what your unique selling points are: in terms of achievements and personal interests related to your desired course
  • Reinforce your credibility with endorsement from people (testimonials)
  • A one-size-fits-all essay will not work. Give personal and specific reasons on why you should be granted the chance to study the course, whether it is a stepping stone to your dream career or if it’s parallel to your personal values

Deeply Consider If Uni Life Is Suitable For You

University life is about being as diverse as possible, so it is useful to form a support group of friends through active participation in CCAs, faculty camps or even hall activities – it is always a good thing to have a wide network; look to expand your social circle beyond your own faculty too. You’ve probably heard about it and it’s true: university is a tricky trinity of sleep, social life and grades where you can only seem to choose two, and it’s up to you to find the difficult balance. You have absolute free rein in how you manage your life and time, and in order to make the best out of your experience, discipline is key. And it’s only with tenacity and consistency will you get to see your graduation day. 

Keep Your Options Open

Apply to more than just your dream schools and don’t stubbornly fixate on just one university or course. Always have a Plan B – do consider private universities, foreign universities or even taking a gap year. Think about it: are you hell-bent on going to university just because everyone is going, or are you studying to pave the way for your future? If you’re sure about the route you want to follow, it doesn’t matter how long you take; getting there in the end is all that matters. Private universities mean hefty tuition fees, so it would be wise to carefully consider if the degree is something that you sincerely want to pursue. If you’re still lost, taking a gap year might be a good option to help recollect your thoughts and reconsider your options before jumping in.

Deciding on a suitable university course probably is one of the most crucial decisions you will ever make. We hope this article helped you have a clearer understanding on how things work before submitting your application. Good luck to all you university applicants!

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Happy Saint Valentine’s! Love is in the air as you spot sheepish teenage boys carrying bouquets of flowers on public transport, and girls all dolled up out on dates along Orchard Road. But we all know that fairytales don’t always exist, and things can get pretty awry for unlucky couples. Here’s hoping today won’t get any worse for you than these unfortunate folks on Reddit.

Via GIPHY 

“Mine is from three years ago when my then-boyfriend had to run into his house to get something after we were done with dinner, and I thought he was getting me something nice like chocolate or a stuffed animal… and he ended up coming out with some acne medication that he thought would help me. I said, “I don’t think this is the right day to give me this…”
– thehappyhaps
 
Via GIPHY 
 
“In high school I went out for Valentine’s day with my then-boyfriend. We had been dating for almost a year, but this was the first time we ever really went anywhere (typical high school relationship I guess). So we got dinner, and right before we left we exchanged presents. I was going to a fine arts school at this point so I had made him something in class that I was really proud of and hid a gift card to a store he loved inside. He gave me one of those $5 stuffed animals and just kind of threw it at me, with no card or anything. After that we’re walking to the car, he’s taking up the entire sidewalk almost, so I’m trying to walk through the mushy grass (it had been raining) in heels. I fall in the mud, practically ruin my dress, and he laughs at me. The worst part is that he didn’t even take the present I worked so hard to make for him – he “accidentally” left it at my house when he dropped me off. I still have it, too. :(“
– monadologee
 
Via GIPHY
 
“I was alone last valentines day, and the one before that, and the one before that, and …. so ya all of them sucked but in 6th grade I asked a girl in my class out on valentine’s day, before she could answer, my female teacher said quite loudly “HA, your not going to go out with that loser are you?” (She might have been joking but it didn’t sound like it). The girl I asked out went from having a smile on her face, to a disappointed look. She then turned to my teacher and said “No”, while I made the walk of shame back to my desk…”

– ZPrime

Via GIPHY

“My girlfriend and I thought on celebrating this Valentine’s day with dinner in downtown. After our plates were served, my girlfriend began to stir her meal. To our surprise, a cockroach crawled out of her food and across her plate. I immediately pick it up with my napkin and called over a manager. She took my napkin and our plates away and sent a waitress to our table to handle the situation. She said sorry, we didn’t have to pay for the meal (which we could not eat) and sent us on our way. The has been the worst Valentine’s day courtesy of the professionalism of the staff of that restaurant. But at least it was a night my girlfriend will never forget.”
– RandomJoel


Via GIPHY 

“I was really into this guy in high school, we had been on a few “dates” of sorts and made out a few times, nothing more than that. Our school sold roses as a fundraiser and they were delivered during first period on Valentine’s Day (or the Friday before if it was a weekend). This fateful Valentine’s Day I happened to have the flu, but I came to school anyway because I wanted my damn roses. My name gets called out by the person with the rosecart and I go up and get a few, all of them from my friends in friend-appropriate rose colors, except for one. One tiny red rose. I was so excited, I figured that he must have gotten me a red rose and written the message asking me to be his girlfriend, right?

Wrong. He wrote on the message that he was happy that I was such a great friend. He had the nerve to come over to my table at lunch that day and talk to me as if nothing happened, and I still thought that maybe he’d like me…

TL;DR: friend-zoned by a red rose.”
– purpleyarn

Do you have your own Valentine’s Day horror story to share? Tell us in the comments below! For more on Valentines’s Day check out our February 2017 issue. Out on newsstands now!

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The ever-popular NYP Groove! 2017 saw 11 super talented dance crews slaying the stage with their epic moves. Held at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) during their annual NYP Open House on 7 January, it was a nail-biting battle to the finish. With congratulations in order for the winners and contestants of the Secondary School and ITE categories alike, we couldn’t help but notice a few key traits that boosted these teams to success. Here are some pointers we picked up for the NYP Groove! 2018 hopefuls! 

#1 Dress To Impress (Even More)

QassaFam Depicted: #QassaFam, Secondary School Category 2nd Runner Up

Urbanary Depicted: Urbanary, ITE Category 2nd Runner Up

Academy-of-Nutz
Depicted: Academy of Nutz, Winner of Secondary School Category

Most of the teams were decked out in their street-wear finest but a couple of groups really stood out with their elaborate gear. From #QassaFam’s stylishly bold prints to Academy of Nutz’s Suicide Squad-inspired getup to Urbanary’s military-meets-normcore look, these groups truly dressed to impress. 

#2 Werk That Attitude

UrbanCentury Depicted: Urban Century, 1st Runner Up of ITE Category Realness-AllyDepicted: Realness Ally, NYP Groove! 2017 ITE Category Finalist

Fierce dance routines aside, the one thing that truly sells the performance is a kickass attitude. Channel those Beyoncé vibes and slay away – if you can convince the audience, you’ll definitely impress the judges. 

#3 Timing Is Everything 

 

A video posted by Barry Allen (@nico_pringles) on

We all know that song choice is a vital factor, but another important aspect is how you weave in extra details into your choreography. Whether it’s a cheeky gesture to the audience, or a double-step combo within a beat or even a cleverly-timed flip, it’s all about the minute details and sharp timing that’ll help your performance stand out. 

#4 Have Fun With It 

Fraction
Depicted: Fraction, Winner of ITE Category 

Curry-Sauce
Depicted: Curry Sauce, NYP Groove! 2017 ITE Category Finalist

It’s normal to feel anxious when competing but don’t let your nerves get the best of you. It’s always a joy seeing performers who freely embody their love for dance onstage; not only will the judges be able to feel your passion, you’ll also take away more out of the experience, no matter the outcome. 

Bonus: Check out NYP Groove! 2016 champions Slay Empire totally owning the stage in their guest performance! Watch and learn kiddos, watch and learn.  

 

A video posted by Nadya Esmeralda (@nadesmeralda) on

Congratulations to all NYP Groove! 2017 Finalists and Winners!  

Secondary School Category
2nd Runner-up:  #QassaFam
1st Runner-up: Unfinished Business 
Winner: Academy of Nutz

ITE Category
2nd Runner-up: Urbanary
1st Runner-up: Urban Century
Winner: Fraction 

NYP Groove! 2017 was an absolute blast. Stay tuned for next year’s edition!

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Campus

9 Ways to Make A Good First Impression

1 Feb 2017 by Teenage

Stepping out of your comfort zone to meet new people and forming friendships can be daunting. Here are some tips to ease you in!

Be A Social Butterfly

It’s inevitable for most people to be shy on their first day, so why not step up and make the first move? Initiate a conversation by introducing yourself – throw in snippets of personal info, and break the ice by asking them about themselves. Non-invasive questions like their musical interests, favourite shows, former CCA or even who they follow on Instagram/Snapchat should do the trick! Trust us, you’ll stand out (in a good way) and your future friends will definitely appreciate your gesture. 

Fashion Got ‘cha Back


Credit: Giphy

Sure, true confidence comes from within, but looking your best undeniably helps you feel the same way too. Strut across campus in an ensemble that reflects your personality: ditch the denim shorts for a stylish maxi skirt, or swap your go-to T-shirt for a neat button-up. There’s no harm in donning a dressier outfit especially on your first day – but ensure that you’re appropriately dressed and comfortable with what you’re wearing.

Pay Genuine Attention


Credit: Giphy

Between familiarising yourself with the campus, memorising class schedules, learning your new classmates’ names and updating your socials, first days are usually filled with overwhelming details. But don’t let it deter you from making meaningful connections. Put your phone away, engage in distraction-free conversations and start listening. Chances are, people will also start paying more attention to what you have to say if you set the example. A little sincerity never hurt anybody!

Spare No Compliments

This may sound kinda superficial, but giving a compliment could go a long way. That’s not to say you should shower people with false praises to butter ’em up. Find something you sincerely like about that person, i.e. a quirky accessory, their immaculately styled outfit, cool hair… Plus not only would that off-handed compliment be an instant mood lifter, it also serves as a good conversation starter. So go ahead and make someone’s day!

Be Inclusive


Credit: Giphy (without the loser, of course.)

Social situations may be more daunting for some, so be alert. Every time you see someone standing at the side trying to join in your group conversation, subtly widen the circle to include them. Find someone alone in the corner? Engage them in a conversation. Not only will you help lessen their awkwardness, these gestures speak volumes about your good character. You’ll gain more friends by being a friend!

Think Before You Speak

As wiser people have reiterated, “If you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say anything”. While speaking your mind is usually encouraged, bear in mind that you’re in a new environment with people who are unfamiliar with your thoughts and mannerisms just yet. Instead of indulging in inane chatter, contribute to the conversation constructively, by way of witty remarks or relevant opinions. Be careful of your tonality: try to avoid using tones that may come across as being overly opinionated and aggressive. Also, don’t be overly judgmental against people who rub you the wrong way – give ’em a chance!

Put On That Million Dollar Smile


Credit: Giphy

One way to calm down, appear more approachable (and attractive), instantly feel good, and build better relationships: smile! It sounds way too easy, but smiling has been scientifically proven to give all those benefits and more. If you’re too nerve-wrecked to conjure up a smile, visualising your favourite happy moments with friends and family should do the trick!

Be Yourself


Credit: Giphy

Simple but true. Quirky and random? Flaunt it. Curvy or stout? Embrace it. Too loud or overly hyper? Don’t sweat it. Only when you’re truly comfortable in your own skin will you be able to radiate good vibes, which in turn lets others be comfortable in your presence. Forget about trying to be someone you’re not – not only will people smell it a mile away, the only ones who should matter are the people who accept you for who you truly are. #Realtalk

Make Plans To Keep In Contact

If you’re getting good friendship vibes from a potential pal, ask for his/her number and make plans to meet up again later – invite them out for lunch, go exploring around the new campus grounds, or suggest a cool after-school hangout activity. Don’t worry about coming off as creepy; everybody appreciates having plans especially when you’re new in the area. Who knows, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! 

Have any suggestions of your own to add onto our list? Comment below and share your tips! 

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You’ve just received your O-Level results, now… what’s next? With so many study options available for the next lap of your educational journey, we’ve mapped out an overview to help get you started.

Junior College (JC) and Centralised Institute (CI)

Junior College
Image: Meridian Junior College

With the ability to study a mix of different subjects (e.g. Biology, Mathematics, Econs etc.) along with specialised electives (e.g. Music, Arts, Language etc.), your two (JC) or three (CI) year course of study will see you ending with a GCE ‘A’ Level qualification, which will then determine your entry into a local university of your choice.

Choose this if:

  • You prefer a structured and guided curriculum focused on theory-based learning
  • You want a longer time frame to think about your future specialisation
  • You want a faster and higher chance of getting into a local university
  • You prefer independent study instead of group work

Polytechnic

Polytechnic
Image: Nanyang Polytechnic

Offering a wide selection of skill-oriented courses that fit a range of interests, a polytechnic education prepares students for the real world through networking opportunities with industry professionals as well as industrial attachments. Many polys also offer internships opportunities abroad – if you’re lucky enough, you might just find yourself doing your internships overseas!

Choose this if:

  • You prefer hands-on practical learning that will equip you with applicable real world skills
  • You have a desired field of study and want to gain a better insight into the industry
  • You want to be able to enter the workforce upon graduation
  • You thrive when working with others and love project-based assignments

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

ITE
Image: Institute of Technical Education

The practical skills ITE students gain through their course of study act are highly sought after by employers. Offering students on-the-job exposure, you can choose between full-time courses or part-time traineeship programmes. 

Choose this if:

  • You prefer an engaging learning environment that places emphasis on technical and vocational skills
  • You want to make full use of apprenticeship opportunities with industry partners
  • You want to be able to enter the workforce and apply skills you’ve learnt upon graduation

Specialised Education

Focusing on niche programmes that allow you to explore your topic of interest in depth, specialised educations provide students with the relevant skills and expertise in that field of study, giving you an added advantage to excel in the industry.

Choose this if:

  • You have decided are are committed on a particular career path
  • You want better internship and job placement assistance that may lead to direct employment
  • You fancy having more well developed facilities at your disposal for all your learning needs

Private Education Institution (PEI)

Private Education
Image: The Straits Times

If you want to obtain an international certificate at the end of your studies without leaving the comforts of  Singapore, then private institutions are for you. With some courses taking as short as 18 months (full time) to complete, choosing this study path will allow you to graduate faster and enter the workforce sooner than all your peers. Part-time courses are also available.

Choose this if:

  • You want an international qualification without having to study abroad
  • You want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible
  • You want to have flexibility in enrollment due to there being multiple intakes per year

Overseas Education

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will see you becoming fully independent and self-sufficient, the networking sessions you will be exposed to studying abroad may also open doors to employment opportunities, should you decide to stay on after graduation. Do take note of the high cost of living if you’re going for this option though!

Choose this if:

  • You want an international qualification while at the same time experiencing student life abroad
  • You believe independent living encourages aptitude and personal growth
  • You want to immerse in new cultures and experiences, and meet people from all over the world

Choosing which educational pathway to embark on is one of the most crucial decisions you will have to make during your teenage years. We hope this overview helped you get closer to making an informed choice! 

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