Got your results recently and it doesn't allow you to go to the course that you wanted.
Now the question comes, do you want to make do with the course that you didn't want to study and waste 2-3 years, and potentially another 40 working years, of your life doing a job you dislike or will you want to choose the more unconventional way of taking up the course you prefer in a private school?
Worry not because you are not alone.
1 in 3 interviewed in our recent survey says they didn't got into the course they initially wanted and went into it anyway. Among them, as many as 82% of them went on to study part-time in a private school after working to pursue their initial interest so that they can get out of a job they don't enjoy.
It seems like going directly to study in a course you have interest in will actually save yourself much time and money.
Choosing a private institution
Unlike choosing a government or mainstream school, it is not really that straightforward when you are looking for a private school to study in.
Different private schools actually have different standards, ways of teaching etc., and so it is very important you carefully select one that suits you most.
Let us go through the steps of choosing the right course and school with you.
1. Duration of study
Ask any hiring managers and they will tell you that they value experience over the number of years you spent in school.
If a similar programme can be completed within a shorter time with the same skills acquired, why would you want to waste an additional 1-2 years studying instead of coming out to work and earning that valuable experience?
If you look at the details of some courses closer, you will realise that many modules are actually not that important at all in helping you in your work in the future. (e.g. history of design, arts & its origin)
You may also want to consider taking a part-time too if you have intention to work part-time while studying. The additional money can come in handy during that year end overseas trip or for that high performance laptop you always wanted.
Never hurts to be financially independent, isn't it?
2. Your Interest
It is important to know what you enjoy doing so as to pursue that as a career.
Considering that you most probably need to work for more than 30 years in your life ahead, it really makes no sense for you to study and work in a role that you do not enjoy doing.
If it is a skills based course that you are looking into (e.g. design, photography), it is always better to be more hands-on and lesser/no examinations. This is to ensure that your time spent in school is always working on improving your skills through practises and not wasting time memorising textbooks.
Contrary to popular beliefs, there are still a few no-examinations-project-only schools in Singapore registered with the council for private education (ministry of education) providing diploma courses.
3. How many roles can you take up in the future?
Look at the modules that are being offered.
Are they all theory or can you learn some skills (software, photography etc.) in the course? It will be more valuable when the knowledge you acquire is not something you can learn easily by borrowing a book from the library.
Apart from that, how many different kind of majors does the diploma/degree has?
It is a new economy where skills based workers (programmers, designers etc.) are paid more than your traditional bank staffs, acquiring skills during your diploma course is much more important than having that A for your Chemistry.
If a diploma has more disciplines/skills impartment, you will also find it much easier for you to get a job since you can perform different tasks or take up different roles.
There are also more options for you when you want to pursue a postgraduate programme in the future.
4. Who are your lecturers?
Are the lecturers current industry practitioners or full time lecturers with only academic experience?
Not saying full time lecturers are not good but they may not have the first hand experience on the latest trends in the market and may lose out in imparting relevant real-time knowledge in that aspect.
Current industry practitioners are also good contacts for your future use when you need a referral or to get a job done.
They tend to share good and interesting stories they have encountered which may help you avoid possible pitfalls in the future when you embark on your new career.
Pic credit: Our students' recent trip to AirBnB office in Singapore
5. Location of the school
We all know how tiring it can be after a long day in school and the last thing you want is to walk another 30 mins on a rainy day without proper shelter to reach the nearest MRT station.
You may even feel like quitting halfway through the course and that is the last thing you need.
Most private schools are in the central district and are ideal in terms of accessibility. Please do not find trouble for yourself and enroll in a school that is located in the west when you are living/working in the east.
Rule of thumb, if you find it too far even when you are going there for the first time to apply for the course, perhaps it IS really too far for daily commuting for the next 1-2 years.
Try finding a school that is near to a mrt station too if you do not have your own transport.