Polytechnic Early Admission Exercise – Part 1

As you are aware, both GG BB got early admission offers to their preferred course in local polytechnics. While we were working on this early admission exercise, I searched, but could not find resources, especially from a parent’s point of view about the steps, so I thought of doing a blog post on how we went about this to successfully get an offer. This is so it can help someone else who was in our position last year.

This and the next posts are very Singapore centric, so apologies in advance to readers who are live out of this country and for whom this post is completely irrelevant.

The best way to go about securing an Early Admission to the Polytechnic course of your choice, in my opinion, is to start as early as possible. All the five Singapore polytechnics have open houses twice a year – once in January, either just before or just after the O level results and once in June before the EAE exercise. When you or your child is in Secondary 3, drop in to the polytechnics at least once, either in January or June and see the various courses you are interested in and talk to current students and also the lecturers. You can also ask any burning questions you may have about the course, the whole EAE process and also future prospects.

What we did was go and visit our top two polytechnics first (just S and me) when both BB & GG were in sec 3. While BB had already decided on his course of choice even before he started primary school, when we visited the polytechnics in the January of the year they were in Sec 3, GG was interested in another course. S and I visited the schools and spoke to lecturers, especially about the EAE process and what they look for in successful candidates. I found the lecturers and current students very interested in speaking with us and they shared pertinent information that was very useful to us. Actually when parents and students who are in sec 3 go, I think both students and lecturers are more keen to share, because it shows how much interested they are. We missed the June parents forum for EAE that year because we were on holiday that year, but managed to make our way to another poly (that was not on our radar) to see what schools are looking for.

During the school holidays at the end of sec 3, start working on your statements of aptitude and interest and the statement of achievements. I can’t stress this enough, but do not wait till the last minute to work on these.

The statement of aptitude and interest is a 600 character write up which is course-specific. You need to craft a separate statement for each of the courses you are applying for. This statement needs to showcase your interest and passion for the course and why you are the best person they should admit to this course.

In this statement, do list what you have done and your accomplishments, especially those that are relevant to the course you are interested in. If your CCA is something that is relevant to the course, mention that and if you hold a leadership position in the CCA and have taken part in competitions, this is the place to mention it. Anything that you have done, either in school or outside, which can showcase your passion and interest for the course needs to put here.

The statement of achievements is a 1000 character write-up which is generic in nature. This is a common statement which goes to all the courses you will apply to. In this write-up you need to highlights your achievements like CCA leadership (this need not be relevant to the course, but just to showcase your leadership skills and abilities), awards you may have received in school and elsewhere, any entrepreneurial skillset you may have, community service and others. This statement is to show who you are as a person. This is where you can be honest, open and original.

You have to note that the write-ups for the 600 characters and 1000 characters write-ups include spaces and punctuation marks and when you start writing, it does not seem a lot. In the beginning you feel that you have a lot of leeway to write, but when you start writing and including the spaces and punctuation, it’s not a lot to go with. So you need to edit both statements multiple times to tighten it up and to ensure that you have everything you want to showcase.

I would suggest that you write the first draft of both write-ups and get someone else to have a look at it and help edit it. One idea is to show it to the English teacher as most schools encourage students to apply to the polys via the EAE. In our case, I got both of them to do the first draft and then helped them edit and tighten the statements. They also showed their drafts to their school English teachers who also helped with the statements. We took three to four drafts before we finalised the statements.

The statements should be ready by the end of the June holidays the year you plan to apply through the Early Admission Exercise. When you start the application process, you only get some 10-15 minutes to submit, so don’t and I say this again and again, don’t start writing the statements then. You may time out of the submission by the time you think what you want to put in your statements.

The EAE submission portal opens up sometime in end June and will be open for about a week (seven calendar days). You can submit up to three choices of courses spread across the five polytechnics in Singapore. I do know of people who only submitted one choice since they were only interested in a single course, but I would say to use all your choices and wisely. It may also be be prudent to spread your choices across polytechnics as sometimes you may not get a call-back from the same poly for multiple courses.

Part two where I write about what happens after you submit your choices will be posted on Friday.

1 thought on “Polytechnic Early Admission Exercise – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Polytechnic Early Admission Exercise – Part 2 | Memories and Such

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