Taking the Leap Forward After Secondary School

tertiary education

What’s After Secondary School

Your child is about to graduate from his secondary school, but what’s next? Parents who want to make a more informed decision to suit your child’s educational needs before making a choice, this article is for you.

To get started, here are the options you can take after secondary school in Singapore.

Junior Colleges

How to apply: Generally, applicants who graduated from secondary school looking to join a JC will use their ‘O’ Level scores to apply. But if your child does not manage to secure a place, applying under the Direct School Admission (DSA) route is another alternative. Under the DSA scheme, students will be able to use their sporting or artistic talent to enter their preferred school. Click here to view the list of participating JCs and select each school to see which DSA categories your child can apply under. Do note that your child may have to go through a trial, audition or interview before securing a spot in the school.

International Baccalaureate Schools
Graduating students can also opt to enrol in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school under the IB Diploma Programme (DP). There are 24 schools in Singapore that currently offer this programme.

DP students will study and be assessed for six subjects for the duration of the programme, and will also need to finish a two-year course comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). More information can be found here.

How to apply: Fill in the application form available in your preferred IB school’s website and you’re good to go. You will also have to submit an application-for-candidacy fee before you can be considered.


Probe further and you may find out that your child already knows what he or she aspires to be professionally. In such a case, why not encourage your child to join a polytechnic and get a head start in developing the skills required for the job? There are five local polytechnics, each offering a variety of diploma programmes to choose from.

Students are presented with a more hands-on, practical curriculum compared to their JC counterparts. Polytechnic students will take about 3 years to complete their course of education before opting to either join the workforce or continue studying by pursuing a university degree.

How to apply: Admissions into your child’s course-of-choice will be determined by his or her ‘O’ Level aggregate score and whether it meets the cut-off point for that course. Since each polytechnic has various courses, the cut-off points for each will differ. Cut-off points for the same course across different polytechnics will also be different depending on the previous intake, so do make your decision after comparing across each school.

Visual and Performing Arts Schools

There’s also something in it for budding young artists if your child wants to develop his or her artistic abilities. Consider pursuing a diploma in these schools:

School of the Arts (SOTA)
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)
LASALLE College of the Arts (LASELLE)

These institutions also provide part-time courses and degree programmes – most of which are hands-on work – to help your child through formal education. Not only will your child get to learn from global visual and performing arts celebrities as they visit and provide lectures for students, your child will also be provided with lots of resources to participate in concerts and exhibitions.

How to apply: Other than reviewing each applicant’s ‘O’ Level aggregate scores, individuals will also be required to submit a portfolio of their work or undergo an audition or a test specified to each course of their interest.

Not sure what to choose? Go to an Open House!

Doing your research online is useful, but nothing beats heading down to your child’s list of dream schools to find out which one is the most suitable. All the schools we’ve mentioned hold an annual Open House lasting a few days to a week, so don’t miss the opportunity to ask and clarify your doubts while taking a look at the facilities as well.

After all, this next step after secondary school is a huge milestone and will significantly impact your child’s educational journey. You can support him or her by reviewing these options we’ve outlined before determining your choice together.






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