The title says it all: we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide of literally everything you need to know, see and do during Poly Open House 2017 to make the most out of your trips to each Poly Open House! As a start, here are 10 tips and tricks to take note of. 

In case you didn’t already know, the Poly Open House is an annual affair where all five local polytechnics – Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic – open their doors to newly graduated secondary school students seeking the next step in their tertiary education. Over a span of three days, the institutes introduce their courses, CCAs, facilities, and school spirit etc. through guided tours, CCA showcases, and even guest performances, amongst other fringe activities. With the slew of ongoing activities at the different polys, and the short timeframe to cram everything in, you’ll definitely need a few pointers to help plan your itinerary wisely. 

Before heading out, be sure to: 

#1 Research on the courses you’re interested in

Don’t just aim for courses that spark your interest without reading up on it first. Check out the different topics the syllabus has to offer, the credit weightage for each module, as well as the career prospects available. There are over hundreds of options to choose from across the five polytechnics, so narrow down your choices to the ones that appeal most to you. With that list in mind, search for the relevant booths/schools at each Open House you visit – that should keep you from getting distracted. 


#2 Seek a second (or third, or fourth) opinion

Whether you’ve decided on a course or not, speak to your parents and teachers before fully committing to it. They are the ones who’ve been with you throughout your growing up years and would know where your expertise lies. Sharing your goals with a trusted party will give you a better insight on what’s the best course of study, and they will be able to foresee any future pitfalls you may encounter. Alternatively, you could also approach a education and career guidance counsellor in your school – they will be able to offer practical insight to help you make your final decision. 

#3 Map out your route

All five polys are scattered across the island, so find out the travel time required between schools and split up your visits into batches based on proximity. It will take you days to cover all five polytechnics, so plan your schedule accordingly and keep track of the duration spent in each school to efficiently to maximise your time. While you should keep your eyes on the prize (i.e. finding out about your course info), take some time to explore campus grounds and immerse yourself in booths and activities available; only then will you be able to truly experience each poly and what they have to offer. 

Click here for a quick list of happenings across the polys! 

While you’re there:


A photo posted by Republic Poly (@republicpoly) on

#4 Get there early

There’s going to be a lot of people and a lot of activities going on, so it’s best to head down early. Not only do you get to beat the crowd (and the heat), you will also be the first in line to get your hands on exclusive perks and free goodie bags!

#5 Don’t be fazed by the crowd

Upon stepping into the bustling campus grounds, you might feel overwhelmed by the whirlwind of events and swarm of unfamiliar faces. Don’t panic – remember that everyone there is around your age and you guys might even end up as schoolmates in the future, so go ahead and mingle! If you’re here without any friends or family members to accompany you, don’t be shy to approach a fellow student ambassador on site who will gladly greet you with open arms. You can usually find them along activity booths and where the guided campus tours are held.


A photo posted by Ngee Ann Poly (@ngeeannpoly) on

#6 Ask a lot of questions

Come prepared with a list of questions you may have about the faculty. Don’t hesitate to clarify your doubts and ask for feedback from the seniors present. How was their experience as a first-year student? How are the orientation camps here conducted? What do they find the most challenging about their course? Remember to speak with the academic staff or a course counsellor to get a professional point of view as well. Polytechnic life is a completely different ball game compared to secondary school, so it’s important to know what you are in for as a prospective student. 


A video posted by Nanyang Polytechnic (@nanyangpoly) on

#7 Save every piece of info you get

You may feel tempted to throw out that stash of brochures you’ve gathered, but trust us: these handouts will certainly come in handy when it comes to finalising your top 12 choices. Locate a quiet corner after settling down and take a good look at all the information listed, which will give you a complete summary of what you can expect from each course. Having all the pros and cons laid out will help you to weed out and prioritise your options.


A photo posted by Temasek Polytechnic (@temasekpoly) on

#8 Register for seminars/workshops

Attend the various seminars and workshops that will be taking place, where you can find out more about the different curriculums, scholarship opportunities, admission requirements and other academic queries in detail. There are also dedicated forums for parents to participate, which gives an overview of what pursuing a tertiary education is all about and also allows them to pick up tips on how they can guide their child into making informed decisions. Spots might be limited, so make sure to register for the talks you have in mind on their respective websites ahead of time!


#9 Explore the campuses

Aside from seminars and workshops, go on the guided campus tours where you get to check out the academic buildings, student amenities and specialised equipment provided for your preferred courses. Having a conducive environment ensures that students get ample hands-on experience in and out of the classroom, which is why it’s important to ensure that the facilities are readily accessible and in good working order. While you’re at it, explore the study areas, food courts and recreational offerings too as these are the places you will be spending most of your time at in between classes. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the Teenage booth for awesome goodie bags! 

#10 Check out the CCAs available

Don’t forget the CCAs showcases! Take your pick from the endless array of extra-curricular activities available – from academic school clubs, to special interest groups, to sports and adventure teams, there’s sure to be one that tickles your fancy. To really step out of your comfort zone, why not challenge yourself by joining something you’ve not tried before? Not only is it a great platform for you to pick up new hobbies and develop it into a passion, CCAs can also help to beef up your resume and help it stand out from the sea of university/job applications in the future. Win-win!

Our Ultimate Guide ain’t over yet! Check out our Open House 2017 activities listings at each poly here. What are some of your tips and tricks to navigating the Poly Open Houses? Comment below and share your insight. Last but not least, read all about Poly education and more in our  January 2017 Passport To Your Future

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What's Next After Your 'O' Levels?

22 Dec 2016 by Teenage

Still unsure about which course to pursue after your ‘O’ levels, which tertiary institution to enrol in, or even which career is ideal for you? Speaking to a career guidance counsellor will give you helpful insights to make this monumental decision. Singapore Polytechnic’s education and career guidance counsellor Paul Tan shares tips and advice about planning for your future. 

For the uninitiated, Education and Career Guidance (ECG) is about equipping students with the necessary knowledge, skills and values to make informed decisions at each key education stage. This allows students to successfully transit from school to further education or work, and hence better manage their career pathways and lifelong learning. Through ECG, students can learn to develop social and emotional qualities such as resilience and adaptability for a rapidly changing working environment.

ECG counsellors are specially trained personnel deployed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to educational institutions. They help students explore their strengths and interests in relation to their aspirations. The ECG Counsellors will also guide students in planning and making informed decisions regarding their education and career pathways. You can find ECG counsellors in secondary schools, junior colleges, centralised institute, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) colleges.

Photo: Singapore Polytechnic

Q: Many of my friends seem to know what they want to pursue but I am still unsure. My results are only average. What can I pursue?

A: ECG seeks to enable students to understand their strengths, interests and aspirations better, so that they will make better informed educational and career choices. With ECG, students will be more informed about their suitability for the various course options, rather than just congregating towards more popular choices or choosing courses based on results. Students will also be in a better position to choose courses that will help maximise their potential and aspiration.

Q: Should I decide on a career first before I choose what I want to study, or vice versa?

A: Based on a 2009 MOE study, about 48 per cent of students made their course or career decisions without sufficient exploration. It is more important for students to sufficiently explore their course of study or career, instead of worrying about whether to choose the course of study or career first.

Q: How do I know what kind of skills I would need when I have decided on my choice of career?

A: Having the right set of skills will make it easier for students to look for jobs and enhance their career progression. Employers often look for candidates who have portable and transferable skills, such as service excellence and leadership. Cultivating these skills helps students to stay employable and competitive as business conditions keep changing.

Q: How do I know what course to study in order to have the career I aspire to have?

A: Students should prepare and position themselves for long-term growth and stability by finding out which industries are growing and offering jobs with better prospects. By matching their interests with the type of skills and jobs that are in demand, students would be able to choose the course of study, in order to have the career that they aspire to have.

Photo: Singapore Polytechnic

Q: Some of my friends have been through Career Interest Profiling (CIP), what is it? How can this help me?

A: In CIP, students discover the type of work and occupations that would excite them though a self-assessment career exploration software. Students will identify and learn more about the broad interest areas most relevant to themselves. They can then use their results to explore the relevant diploma courses to study.

Q: How accurate is CIP?

A: The accuracy of CIP depends on the software used and how honestly the student responds to the questions asked. Singapore Polytechnic uses a software with high reliability and validity. Students will receive an accurate, reliable profile of their vocational interests. The profile allows students to make an informed decision on their aspiration and how their interests related to the relevant diploma courses.

Q: What can I find out from an ECG counsellor?

A: The ECG counsellor at the polytechnic can help students in the following ways:

  • Build on the relevant skills and knowledge learnt in secondary school
  • Develop a positive and realistic perception of self
  • Provide advice and guidance on possible careers and aspirations
  • Prepare them for their transition from school to work.

Q: When should I approach an ECG counsellor for advice? Would 16 years old be too young?

A: It is never too early to seek advice on education and career matters. At the age of 16 , students can begin to have conversations about education planning and career exploration with an ECG Counsellor.

Consulting an ECG counsellor will provide you with a clearer insight of your possible career paths and arm you with better knowledge on the steps to take after your ‘O’ Levels. Do you still have questions? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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Have a crush in school but too shy to ask her out in person? Chanced upon someone’s Instagram account but don’t know how to ask him out on a date without sounding like another weirdo off the net? Let us be your wingman. Here’s a collation of 9 perfectly non-creepy ways to approach your crush via social media. 

#1 Dedicate a song

Credit: Giphy

Who doesn’t love to be serenaded by someone through a song? It’s a classic. But of course, we’re not talking about that boombox holding outside your crush’s bedroom ala 1989 classic, Say Anything — you can always upload a video of yourself singing a cover of your crush’s favourite song or a song with all the right lyrics on Instagram or Facebook, dedicated to him/her. At the end of the video, remember to pop the question with a charming smile! 

#2 Keep it real

Credit: Bustle

No tacky tricks or try-hard pickup lines here. Treat your crush like a regular human being and converse normally! Tell her you love her witty tweets or tell him it’s really cool he does (one of his interests based on his Instagram) and would love to have coffee sometime! Simple as that. Be honest and genuine — and if it doesn’t work out, you might just end up making a new friend! 

#3 Be the online confidante 

Care for your crush subtly through comforting replies to their troubled Instagram captions (if any) or wish them luck on a major presentation they tweeted about, or even just wishing them a nice day. Make sure to leave a deep, good impression before sliding into their PM and suggest continuing the conversation in person. Take it slow and make sure they reply to your tweets/comments before direct-messaging them. Of course, don’t start leaving a message on every single post they make – keep your responses sporadic, nonchalant and totally cool. 

#4 Tell it like you see it 

Credit: Giphy

If your crush is someone you’re already friends with, then it would be more about being genuine than creative. Post a picture of your crush on Instagram and in the caption, write down 10, 20, even 30 things that you like about him/her and then 10 reasons why they should go out with you. Tag them! Nobody can resist going “aww” at that. 

#5 Insta-worthy feed Credit: IGNANT

Piecing together a full photo through uploading parts of it one by one to build up a 3×3 grid is kind of a thing now. Yes that’s exactly what we’re suggesting. Segment a photo of yourself holding a card with a message for your crush into nine parts and upload them accordingly. You could either tag your crush in the caption, or drop them a text telling him/her to check it out. With that being said, it’s one of the bolder moves on this list and we’d advise for you to only do so if you’re good friends (or at least on speaking terms) with your crush. 

#6 Subtweet/Subgramming 

Credit: Meme Generator

Subtweeting doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation to it. Sometimes your crush may tweet or upload an Instagram photo that’s reply-able. For twitter, you can post a witty subtweet that’s subtle yet relevant enough for him to notice it’s for him. For example:

Him: So bored, if only I had some company to grab coffee with.
(After a few seconds) You: Really could use a caffeine fix right now.

And if your crush has a knack for such hints, you’ll be getting that coffee date!

#7 Create a #hashtag story

Sounds tacky but it will always be cute. Come up with a sweet and witty personalised hashtag specially relevant to your crush. Following that, post a thread of Instagram posts, with each photo narrating from the first time he/she caught your eyes to hoping for a date with them now. Put that cherry on top by hashtagging each post with your unique hashtag! But go easy on the captions, it only takes a few overly-passionate words to escalate from an innocent crush to sounding like you have a creepy obsession… 

#8 The ‘push’

Making the first move for conversation and making the first move to ask someone out are very different. Sometimes the latter has a higher chance of success if the former is not done by you – removing the element of “creep”. However, many times your crush needs a little push. You can research through their various social media accounts to find out what they’re passionate about or feel strongly for. By expressing your opinion vehemently on those same topics online, when they chance upon it, they may feel the urge to start a conversation with you about it. From there, your chances of getting a meet-up is lookin’ pretty good. 

#9 From public to private

Credit: Giphy

Private messaging is never the smart first move. Start by sending a friend/follow request and see if he/she reciprocates. After the first barrier is passed, you can move on to liking or commenting on their photos. Give a good first impression of being just a friendly online follower. After several exchanges of replies and the niceness is still mutual, you’re ready for the PM to slide in the question. Remember, don’t jump the gun by being overly zealous and scare your crush away!

Do what you will with this list, but bear in mind to also respect your crush and their privacy. Sweeping your crush off their feet on social media seems great in theory, but everyone responds differently – just like asking someone out in real life, they too have the right to say no. And if they do, don’t keep broaching the topic online. Simply brush yourself off and move on with dignity and grace. 

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

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Dear Kelly's Official Response And Apology

11 Nov 2016 by Teenage

This is an official response from Kelly Chopard. Once again, we would like to deeply apologise.

An apology

I sincerely apologise if my response to “Raped after lying to mum” came across as harsh and “blaming the victim”. Please believe me when I say I am profoundly sorry for teenagers who are vulnerable and often “naïve” as I stressed, more than once, in my response in this case. I stated, “Your total naivety led you to believe you were having a sleepover with a best buddy. I totally believe you had no idea that he had sex on his mind. It is most unfortunate for you”.

My response takes into consideration our many readers who seek direction so they will not find themselves in a similar situation. I have to adopt a particular tone so as to make sure the writer does not engage in such risky behaviour again, and this is also aimed at warning readers of the consequences they face should they engage in risky behaviour.

Throughout my response I never blamed her. I said she was “naïve”. My focus was for her, and our readers, to learn that certain actions have consequences and I wanted to stress, “… never lie to your parents”. I pointed out the dangers of no one knowing where she was, even saying how worried her mum and the best friend would have been if they tried to phone her and got no response because she was under the influence of liquor and “he would not have answered it”.

I was focusing on the danger this girl put herself in. I focused on helping her see that her behaviour sent the wrong message to the guy. She honestly stated that the guy never lied to her. “… He said his parents were going away and asked me to stay over, I said yes”. She admitted she knew they have no maid.

I wanted everyone to know the danger of sending the wrong signals. He definitely got the wrong signals. When she arrived she says, “He grabbed me and kissed me”. I said she should have left but stated, “However, I believe you didn’t have a clue what he had in store for you”. Again there is no blaming her.

Again, I stated this because I know she was hurting but I have to put across the point that such behaviour obviously gave the guy the wrong idea as he knew she knew, “there was not going to be adult supervision or even anyone else present”. This point is important for the girl, as well as readers, so they get guidelines on how to behave so they don’t send the wrong signals. I try to write in such a way as to stress that care must always be taken so as not to find oneself in a venerable position.

There is no intention of “victim blaming”, just an attempt to point out that one’s actions have consequences and the sad fact, for me who really cares for everyone writing in, is that many young people today take risks and put themselves in precarious situations resulting in unhappy outcomes.

No one can be more sorry for this girl than I. I believe what hurt most was his casual dismissal of her but I was careful NOT to dwell on this so as not to cause her further pain. I tried not to highlight what was going through the guy’s mind. I was careful to downplay his point-of-view so as to spare her additional pain.

I genuinely care for my readers and over the years we have built a warm caring relationship, but I never underplay the seriousness of certain actions that could have negative consequences.

At the end of each issue of the Dear Kelly column is this statement: “Teenage DOES NOT condone pre-marital sex. Also included is a list of relevant associations, with contact details, should anyone seek counselling.

I try my best to help those who need a listening ear and I am gravely sorry that this response has garnered a negative response. I sincerely apologise if my response has upset readers but I hope, after reading this explanation, you will understand where I am coming from. My readers know they mean a lot to me.


After qualifying as a teacher, Kelly Chopard went on to attend several counselling courses. Over the past 30 years, she has been invited to sit on panels and discussion groups, give talks and has thought modules dealing with youth issues. She counsels primary and secondary school pupils. She also engages in parent-pupil counselling sessions. In the 1970s, she was a member of the People’s Association Team counselling young adults in areas like drugs, smoking and other health and social issues. From 1979 to 1983 he had a counselling column in a local woman’s magazine. Since 1996 she has been responding to Teenage readers in her Dear Kelly column. 

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The Best Paying Part-Time Jobs in Singapore

4 Nov 2016 by Teenage

Sometimes it’s all about the money, money, money when that teeny-weeny sum of allowance just can’t last you through the week. Fret not; we’ve unearthed some of the highest paying part-time jobs out there that will earn you more dough!

IT Fair Promoters, $40/day


IT fairs are legendary amongst students for their pay (if you work hard that is). You get an average basic wage of around $40 per day, but of course you earn commission from the sales you bring in too. If you’re aggressive enough in sales, that amount can jump up to above $100 for just a day’s work. Job descriptions vary – some want you to be a sales promoter, some just want you to hand out flyers or samples, and some may even ask you to be a mascot. All of the above will involve a lot of leg power, but lets think of it this way, walking around all day can really help you tone up those gams!

Roadshow Promoters, $10/hour

Roadshows are the outdoor alternatives to the usually air-conditioned IT fairs. Depending on the company you work for, you can earn commission for pulling in clients. Okay, so you might have to endure the weather, but at least you don’t run the risk of being flattened by the hordes of deal-crazed customers who throng fairs looking for cheap discounts. If you’re lucky enough, you might even end up in a mall! Roadshow wages are equivalent to the wages you get for a better paid waitressing job, so it’s pretty common to see companies paying $10 per hour to their roadshow promoters.

Waitressing, $7-$12/hour


Ah, the all-time favourite job of students everywhere. Some companies may even give you staff perks like free dinners or allow you to claim late night cab fees. The average salary range for a part-time waitressing job is between $7 to $12 for one hour. The average rate for waitressing is $7.50 per hour, so grab any that comes your way if it pays $10 and above for an hour!

Hint: definitely not at Starbucks or any fast-food chains

Tuition, $15-$50/hour

Put your stellar academic results to good use by giving tuition in your spare time. It’s times like these that you finally see some rewards for pulling all those all-nighters trying to find that elusive value of ‘x’. Knowing our fellow kiasu Singaporeans, there’s no lack of tuition opportunities out there, so keep your eyes peeled and start pulling some strings to land yourself a nice cushy tuition gig. If that fails, you can choose to sign up with tuition websites that match you with a tutee, but they tend to take a commission. Market rates for tuition jobs are around $15 to $50 per hour, depending on your qualifications and the education level of your tutee.

Telemarketing, $9-$10/hour


 If you’ve got the gift of the gab and an uncanny knack for persuading people, you should definitely give telemarketing a go. With a basic salary range of $9 to $10 per hour and additional commission that comes with successful deals, this is definitely one of the better paying part-time jobs out there. It may seem boring dialling number after number and repeating the same lines over and over again, but hey, at least you get to do so in the safety and comfort of an air-conditioned room.

Tip: watch our for irate customers who may not take too kindly at being called up, which unfortunately, may be most of the people you call.

Cleaning, $16/hour

You may thumb your noses at this supposedly low-level job, but don’t dismiss it just yet. It has one of the highest hourly wages around, with employers paying up to $16 an hour! Skill-wise, it’ll help if you regularly help out with your own household chores (say thanks to your nagging mums) cause your employers will want to see something sparkle since they’re already paying for it. To get started, simply sign up with one of the numerous cleaning companies around and they’ll link you to a cleaning job. Admittedly, your friends may laugh at you for taking on this one, but you’ll have the last laugh – all the way to the bank.

Any other good part-time lobangs to share? Let us know by commenting below!

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