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How To Get Into A Popular School via DSA

Singapore puts great emphasis on its education system because it realizes the value of good education.

Also, Singapore’s education system is considered as one of the best education systems in the entire world because Singaporean students achieve the top positions in almost all the international tests.

The main universities of Singapore are considered among the top 100 universities in the world as well. Thus, being one of the best education systems in the world along with some top students, there is competition among the students in the country as well!

Among all the competition, it can get really tough and difficult to get admission to a popular secondary school in Singapore. But, parents want the best for their children.

They want their child to get admission to a popular and reputed secondary school even though the child is not much strong in academics. So how is this possible? This can now be achieved through DSA or Direct School Admission.


What Is DSA?

As we know that there is a lot of competition in the country when it comes to getting admission in good schools, so it gets difficult for a child to get into a popular secondary school through PSLE. Thus, DSA provides the parents with an alternative to get their children admitted to top secondary schools directly without any PSLE.

This program focuses on the students who are not academically strong but excel in other co-curricular activities such as sports and music. Getting your child admitted to a reputed secondary school through DSA is not a piece of cake. There are many requirements and competition in this area as well.

But, if the child excels in other co-curricular activities, there is a chance that he might get admission into one of the elite secondary schools even though he is not strong in academics.


Which Strengths Does The Program Focus On?

Even though your child does not have a strong educational background but has an interest in other activities such as music and sports, the DSA program will help your child in landing a position in one of the top secondary schools in the country.

The program focuses on different strengths including academics that you can use for giving your child the best possible education. Also, your child will not even have to sit through PSLE if you apply through DSA.

There are many activities that DSA focuses on apart from academics. Thus, if your child has an edge in any of these activities, this program is just the right for him.

Let’s take a look at these strengths and activities below.


1. Music, Arts, And Dance

If your child has a creative side and is interested in performing, dancing, and music then this gives your child an edge for sure! They can apply to the top secondary schools through DSA and will have a fairly huge chance of landing up a position there.

For this purpose, you need to get your child prepared for applying through the program. Get them the help of a professional mentor, get them participation certificates from various places or you can even film them while they are performing. These testimonials will come in handy while they will apply through DSA.

Read also: Secondary School Music & Art Elective (MEP) Programmes

Admission Criteria

• Must have represented their school at SYF Arts Presentation

• The child must have won at least a silver award or accomplishment certificate at SYF Arts Presentation

• Must have acquired at least Grade 5 in piano lessons

• Testimonials and proof of participation will serve as a bonus


2. Sports

Is your child good at sports?

If yes, then it can land them into one of the top secondary schools as well! As we know how much the country encourages sports, so applying to DSA through sports is always a good idea and would come in handy.

Although there is no requirement of playing any specific sports to get admission through DSA, there are some sports that increase your chances more. These sports include badminton, squash, football, table tennis, gymnastics, swimming, hockey, and sailing.

Apart from these, some other sports are given value as well. Some of them are basketball, wushu, cricket, rugby, softball, and many more. Thus, if your child plays any one of these sports, they can apply to DSA and get admission to their dream school.

Admission Criteria

• The child must be a part of the top four teams in Inter-School Championship at National Level

• The child must be a quarter-finalist in any major championship held by the Singapore Primary Schools

• Testimonials and proof of participation will serve as a bonus


3. Leadership Qualities

If your child has leadership qualities, it will also help him in securing a position in the top secondary schools of the country. Therefore, parents need to encourage their children in going after leadership positions in different categories. Not only will it help your child in getting admission in one of the top-notch secondary schools, but it will also help them in their practical life.

Admission Criteria

• The child must be a part of the student council in their primary school

• The child should be a member of a Uniformed Group during their time in primary school

• The child should have been awarded for their leadership contributions


4. Good At Academics

In addition, if your child has a good academic background, it will add a cherry on the top! Thus, when your child will apply through DSA, the secondary schools will more likely consider them because of them excelling in both academics and co-curricular activities.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you build up a strong portfolio of the academic achievements of your child as well. For this purpose, you should make them participate in various competitions that prove their academic intelligence. One such well-known program is the GEP program that would make your child directly eligible for DSA.


How To Apply Through DSA?

There is a DSA-Sec portal that enables students to apply through it to get admission to their preferred secondary schools. While there are no fees they need to pay to apply, there are some steps that need to be followed. Let’s take a look at the steps below.

  1. Explore Different Choices

There are many top-notch secondary schools available in Singapore that you need to select from. Therefore, you should select the school that is near your place of residence while considering all other factors as well.

  1. Apply

Once you have selected a secondary school that you think is the best for your child, you can apply it online through the DSA-Sec portal.

  1. Prepare Your Child For Electronic Interviews Or Auditions

If the application of your child is selected, they would have to appear for an electronic interview or audition. You should remember that different schools would have different preferences, and they would evaluate your child’s interview based on their preferences only. Therefore, you should prepare your child for these interviews in advance.

  1. Select Your Preferred Schools

Once your child has appeared in the interview or audition, DSA gives you an option to select up to three schools in order of preference from the schools that you have shortlisted before. You can select the schools that you think would prove to be the best for your child.

  1. The Results

Once all the steps have been completed, you will receive your child’s allocation result along with the PSLE results. So, keep your fingers crossed for that!


Some Tips To Get Your Child Into A Popular School via DSA

While getting admission into one of the top-notch schools in Singapore through DSA completely depends upon the talent and hard work of your child, there are some general tips that you can follow. They will surely help your child in securing admission into a popular school. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. Start Building Your Child’s Resume At The Earliest

You should waste no time in building your child’s resume. Once you notice they have talent in any field, you should start doing it as the whole idea of DSA revolves around the idea of how talented your child it. Therefore, you should never waste time in availing this opportunity.

  1. Assemble All The Important Achievements At One Place

Throughout primary school, your talented child must have collected many awards and certificates for their participation in different activities. You should keep all those certificates of participation and awards at one place so that you can access them easily during the time you apply for DSA and nothing gets misses out!

  1. Prepare Your Child Well For The Interview

The interview or audition is the most important part of the whole DSA process. Therefore, you need to prepare your child thoroughly for the interview because it will either make their future or break it. Different schools will decide upon selecting your child based on this interview only!

  1. Select The Best School

Out of all the options you have to select, you should select the best secondary school for your child that you believe will prove to be beneficial for the growth and development of your child.


Giving the best education to their children is the dream of every parent. This dream can now be made possible through DSA if your child excels in any area even if it is not related to academics.

Therefore, as a parent, you should know everything related to DSA to help your child secure a position in one of the best secondary schools in the country.


Related posts:
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A Comprehensive Guide to STEM education in Singapore

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.