What's next after 'O' Level for Singaporean students?


After receiving the O-Level examination results, now come the moment of truth for all high-school leavers in Singapore; it’s time to answer the big question of ‘What’s next?’

After spending almost ten years in the secondary school, it is now the time to move forward and get ready to enter the real world. In Singapore, there are so many options available for high-school graduates. There are over 22 junior colleges, 5 polytechnics and few other ITEs in Singapore they may choose from and each of the institutes provides different purposes to prepare students for different routes in their lives. Some may lead to an entrance into the top university in Singapore and some other may open the door into the career world, working with a multimillion-dollar company in Singapore.

Junior College

After sitting for the O-Level exam, students with good grades can now choose to enter a junior college to prepare themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills before entering a university in Singapore. Junior college is suitable for students who are academically-inclined and would like to have the first taste of what it’s like to study in a university. Junior college replicates the learning modules in university, as students will have to attend lectures, tutorial sessions and undertake several co-curricular activities while studying for two years in any junior college in Singapore. In this school, students may choose to design their own subject syllabus  science streams or art streams  depending on the major that they would like to take in the university after graduation. Junior college prepares its students for another Cambridge examination, which is known as GCE A-Level examination. In Singapore, there are several well-known junior colleges that students may choose to apply to. Those junior colleges are:

  • Anderson Junior College
  • Innova Junior College
  • Jurong Junior College
  • Nanyang Junior College
  • National Junior College

If students succeed the A-Level examination, they may choose to enter into any top universities in Singapore such as the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technology University (NTU) or Singapore Management University (SMU). Check out our article about the top three universities in Singapore to learn more about them.

Polytechnic Institutes

Besides than choosing a junior college as their next education platform, students may also opt for a polytechnic institute after sitting for the O-Level examination. Polytechnic institute in Singapore is established to prepare students with hands-on and industrial experiences as it has designed its courses to be practical and come with industrial attachments. Students who enrol into a polytechnic institute will have to do several internship projects with companies from the industry that is related to their studies. This polytechnic school is suitable for students who would like to dive right into the career world after completing their three-year studies in the institute. It can also be an alternative route for those who would like to enter a university upon graduation. The courses offered in these institutes have been improved over times, in order to meet the standard and requirements of the top universities in Singapore. Students have several options of polytechnic institutes in Singapore such as:

  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Republic Polytechnic

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

Since students have various interests and demands, the Singapore government has also provided another choice of institute for the O-Level graduates. Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is another alternative for those who would like to attain knowledge and technical skills and work in less conventional industries such as:

  • Multimedia and Entertainment
  • Pastry and Baking
  • Beauty Therapy
  • Fashion and Design

This kind of technical school provides the essential theories and practical knowledge to prepare the students before they enter into the career world as a baker, fashion designer, beautician or videographer. The Institute of Technical Education, or better known as ITE, has been receiving good reviews and feedbacks from the satisfied employers. This is due to the fact that there are hundreds of talented, skilful and qualified ITE-graduates that are now working with several well-known companies in Singapore. Besides than preparing students to enter into the workforce, ITE also prepares its students to continue their studies in polytechnics all around Singapore. Even though this takes longer before students may receive their diplomas, but the knowledge, skills and experiences gained from their studies in ITE will make it all worth it! Here is the list of ITE schools that you may choose from:

  • ITE College Central
  • ITE College West
  • ITE College East

If you are currently deciding on your next academic route  either a junior college or polytechnic institute or ITE  we hope this article has, more or less, shed some lights on your available options. Remember to consult with your parents and family members and make a thorough research before choosing any school or institute. Choose the one that can provide the best education values to you and don’t forget to consider the opportunities each of the institute has to offer.


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