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Singapore’s Best Polytechnics: Courses, Admissions

The Singapore education system is all about equipping individuals with the best knowledge and skills so they can thrive. One of the most important aspects of the education system is polytechnic. The primary aim of polytechnic is to teach practical knowledge to students so they can integrate it with their work.

If you graduate from a polytechnic, you can apply to reputable universities in Singapore or even abroad. Polytechnic courses last three years. If you are looking to enrol in polytechnic, you are in the right place.

Here is your complete guide to the best polytechnics in Singapore so you can make an informed decision.

The Basics Of Polytechnics Education

You must remember that polytechnics in Singapore are tertiary institutions and they emphasize learning through projects and practical knowledge. After students finish their O or N Levels, they will be provided with three unique tertiary routes they can choose from. These routes depend on the student's L1R4 or 5, L1R5 for Junior College, or L1R4 for ITE.

During their final year, the polytechnic students will get the opportunity to intern at some of the top companies that are related to their subjects. It allows the students to apply what they have learned during these three years. After the students graduate, they go into industries related to their courses.

What Is Right For You: Polytechnic Or Junior College (JC)?

Before we move on to understand the best polytechnics in Singapore, you must decide if you want to go to JC or poly. Here are the top factors you must consider to decide which route is best for you:

1. Financial Factor 

As a general rule of thumb, you must remember that poly is much more expensive than going to a JC. The fee of JC is $200 annually while poly fees are over $3,000 per year. Keep in mind that when you enrol in university, you might not have to take up the same modules, which means your per course cost in university will reduce. You can opt to pay with your parent's CPF to help lower the costs.

That is why your cost will even out if you enrol in polytechnic. So, if you don't have sufficient funds to enrol in polytechnic, you can always opt for JC as that is a good option too.

2. Program Emphasis And Length

The polytechnic curriculum goes on for three years while JC will last two years. Besides that, the emphasis of poly education is to prepare students to be ready for their professional life and the workforce. However, JC aims to ensure students are geared up for A-Levels.

That is why you must consider what you want to focus on and what your future aims are. If you want technical education and want to focus more on entering the workforce, then a poly education is right for you. If you want to prepare for A-Levels, JC might be better for you.

3. Stress And Time

JC is much more hectic than poly education. That is because polytechnic lessons take twenty hours a week. On the other hand, JC spans for at least thirty-five hours a week.

Besides that, JC students have to juggle between their extracurricular commitments and their academics. Many JC students find that two years is less to learn so much information. That is why JC life is much more stressful than enrolling in polytechnics.

The Best Polytechnics In Singapore

Now that you are familiar with the basics of poly education, here are the best polytechnics in Singapore and everything you need to know about it:

1. Singapore Polytechnic (SP)

SP is the first and the oldest polytechnic institute that was established in Singapore and it ranks number one among all the other polytechnics. The cutoff points are as low as eight and as high as twenty-two in this institute. It offers over thirty-seven full-time courses and it includes eleven academic schools.

These schools focus on subjects such as business, sciences, media, design, engineering, and much more. There are also sports facilities and recreational sports in the institute that include:

  • Swimming complex
  • Gym
  • Badminton, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and squash courts
  • Sports complex with a running track and football field

SP is known for its engineering courses and it is one of the most popular polytechnics in the country. They also have student camps that enable students to have fun while learning. If you want to pursue engineering, SP will be the ideal choice for you.

2. Temasek Polytechnic (TP)

TP was established in 1990 and it is one of the top polytechnics if you are looking to learn niche courses, such as law, design, and many others. It will be challenging for you to find these courses in other polytechnics. The cut off points go as low as eight points and the highest goes to twenty-one points.

In comparison to SP, TP has a relatively smaller campus size and it is the only polytechnic that is located on the east side of Singapore. Many people living on the east side consider this option because it is close and convenient. TP offers over thirty-seven full-time courses that span across seven schools.

The poly also offers recreational and sports facilities. These include:

  • Badminton, basketball, and tennis court
  • Swimming pool
  • Alumni and student lounge
  • Stadium track
  • Swimming pool
  • And much more

If you want to pursue fashion design or any other designing course, then TP is the perfect choice for you. It will allow you to have the ideal design knowledge and skills that will guarantee your success in fashion.

3. Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)

NP was the second polytechnic institute built in Singapore in 1963. It offers over 39 full-time courses that span across nine academic schools. The cutoff points at NP go as low as eight points and as high as twenty-six points.

NP is one of the most popular polytechnics for people that want to pursue Film & Media Studies. That is because it is one of the first few schools that offers modules of filmmaking to students. Here are some of the recreational and sports facilities you will find at NP:

  • Olympic-size swimming pool
  • Futsal, squash, tennis, netball, and basketball court
  • Sports complex
  • Gym
  • Track and field
  • Adventure park
  • Lifestyle library
  • And much more

So, if you are looking to pursue your passion in film and media, there is no better place to begin than NP. It offers the best courses and will open doors and opportunities for you that will guarantee your success in no time.

4. Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)

NYP was established in 1992 and it was the fourth polytechnic institute that was built in the country. It has a relatively smaller campus size as compared to SP and NP, but it is still one of the top polytechnics you will find. The cut off points begin as low as seven points and go as high as twenty-six points.

One of the most distinctive features of NYP is that the entire poly is painted in white. It offers forty full-time courses that span across eight academic schools. Here are the top recreational and sports activities you will find at NYP:

  • Tennis, badminton, and basketball court
  • Table tennis
  • Gym
  • Olympic-size swimming pool
  • Track and field
  • Adventure challenge park
  • Rock climbing walls
  • And much more

NYP is the most popular for its IT courses. That is why if IT is your passion and you want to pursue a career in it, then NYP is the ideal choice for what you want to study.

5. Republic Polytechnic (RP)

RP is a fairly new polytechnic institute as it was established in 2002. It is the most modern poly and its teaching techniques are completely different from the other four polytechnic institutes in Singapore. For example, RP is paperless and everything happens online from assignments to exams, and much more.

The cutoff points for RP are as low as thirteen points and as high as twenty-six points. RP offers forty-five full-time courses that span across its seven schools. Here are the top recreational and sports facilities it offers:

  • Swimming complex
  • Tennis and badminton courts
  • Table tennis
  • Football field
  • Gym
  • Martial arts room
  • Adventure learning centre
  • Aerobics studio
  • And much more

If you are looking to learn more about sports and pursue this field, then RP is the ideal choice for you because it offers the most and the best sports modules and courses. However, you must remember that the campus size of this institute is smaller than all the other polytechnics in Singapore.

What You Need To Know Before Entering A Polytechnic Institute

Now that you understand the best polytechnics in Singapore, you must still understand other things to make the right decision. After all, the poly curriculum and life are much different than a typical secondary school. Here are the top things you must know before entering poly:

1. Academic Year And Breakdown

The academic year of all polytechnic institutes begins in mid-April and ends in Mid-April the following year. One academic year contains two semesters. In each semester, you have to give two major exams, which means one academic year contains four major exams.

The two exams in one semester happen as one mid-semester exam and as one end-semester exam. Of course, the exam dates and days will differ between each institute and course.

2. Examinations

By the time you graduate from a polytechnic institute, you will have given a total of ten major exams. The first exam period will fall in August, September, and October. On the other hand, the second exam period will fall in February or March.

Polytechnic exams are written and closed book except for RP. If you enrol in RP, your exams will be open-book and you will have to write them down on your laptop. If you fail any of your exams, you will have to sit for the same lesson and exam in the following semester.

If you have to stay an extra year because of a course failure, you will have to pay the tuition fee for that semester. Keep in mind that if you fail more than a specific number of modules, there is a high chance that you will be expelled from the institute. That is why it is crucial to study for the exams and score well.

3. Orientation

A week before the first day of your academic year in poly, the institution will conduct an orientation program for all the new students. The program can last a few days, depending on the school and what they plan for you. The primary aim of the orientation is to expose you to your peers and the institute so you can understand its environment.

Freshmen will be divided into groups and they will have to stick to one another for the entire orientation. They will introduce themselves and then indulge in ice-breaker games to get to know one another. If you want to understand your peers and start your poly journey by making new friends, then visiting the orientation is a must.

4. Internship And Training

All polytechnic students get the opportunity to intern at a company that is related to the courses they are studying. The aim of this is to expose you to your career field so you can begin exploring it. Mostly, poly students intern during their final year.

However, some students also intern during the second year of their poly. So, you can begin your internship anytime during your second or final year. The company supervisors will be asked to assess you and provide comments on your performance.

Final Words

That was your complete guide to understanding the best polytechnics in Singapore. You must understand all these guidelines to make the right decision and enrol in the best polytechnic of your choice. After all, the institute you choose will define your experience and your entire career path.

So, if you have the option of enrolling in poly, be sure to understand your options. Once you do, you can begin your career path and figure out what you want to do in no time.

If you need help with your modules, we are here to assist you to get a good poly tutor at reasonable fees.

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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.