Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Truth About Polytechnic Courses

So polytechnic open houses are right around the corner, just tomorrow in fact! This is for all 'O' level people who are still contemplating which course to choose, here's an insider's point of view. And if you read on, there's a second section for those who are planning to go into media but don't know which course to choose!

It's that time of the year again, where you are happily in your 6 months holiday(if you choose the polytechnic route that is), where you just sleep at 4am and wake up at 5, and do absolutely nothing and just turn up. But 2015 comes and you're placed into shit again. That day where you jump into your uniform for one last time if you're lucky enough, to collect the almighty result. 

And the the scary choice of choosing a course/school to go to. And I'm sure questions like 

'Aiya which course to choose'

'Stress lah, I know what course I want but which school, distance or reputation'

'Shit, I don't know what I want'

'I want course A, but my family want me to go course B, how like that'

It's common to have this kind of confusions as you should know by now, but still nonetheless, it is incredibly vexing. But before the catastrophic results day, there's the open house. And every poly is furiously promoting their open house events. And every website you go to, you see 



 THIS and


Now you might be wondering, where's RP's open house poster? Is it cause no one would in their right sense have the actual want to aim to go RP? Albeit partially true in my opinion, THAT IS NOT THE REASON, cause I couldn't find it. 

That aside, with attractive facilities and nice places to eat and all the visuals makes every single polytechnic very tempting to join, so how now? So based on what I've gathered and heard from friends and classmates, here's each polytechnic's 'strong' areas. They are in no way proven or factual and just solely from the word of mouth and opinions of OTHER PEOPLE.

Singapore Polytechnic - Engineering
Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Film & Media Studies
Nanyang Polytechnic - Health Sciences/Animation
Temasek Polytechnic - Design
Republic Polytechnic - (Not sure)

I don't know what purpose this piece of information serve, but for reference use, here it is. Now to answer the questions that most of us, or now you have : 


Firstly, if you head to an open house, or read up the course and module, UNDERSTAND THIS, it will definitely be drier and more boring than how it is being described, because it is suppose to tempt you. So no matter what course you choose, it is the same. You will be disappointed,you will be surprised. 

But with that said, the best and easiest answer is obviously what you're interested in. But unlike the masses, some of us are just overwhelmed by the number of choices and sadly can't find one that you closely identify and can dedicate 3 years of your life and can be passionate throughout. 

The easier method is to look at your JAE booklet and cancel out courses and categories you know for sure you are not going to be interested in, and then look at it and keep on narrowing it down. For those you manage to catch any form of interest, head down to the website and look through the modules and if you're still interested enough, head down to the open house - which also is a elaborate version of school life, THE REAL SCHOOL LIFE IS A LOT MORE BORING AND MUNDANE. Expect that. 

'Stress lah, I know what course I want but which school, distance or reputation'

If you ever brought this up in class or ask friends, all teachers, parents, friends alike will tell you that don't consider the distance from home to school, consider the course and what you really want. THIS IS A LIE. 

Not even trying to be funny, they first thing you should even ever consider is the distance and how long you will take to and fro school. Why? Simple reason, across the polytechnics, the things you will learn is going to be so similar and the qualification you have is going to get you the same job at the end. But what will determine a lot is your grades and how you do it. 

One big concern that way too many students neglect and blinded by their 'dream course' is sleep. I've heard and seen too many people go 'Course X is my dream course, I can sacrifice a few hours of sleep'. While this is true for some, but most of us really succumb to this within 3 months maximum. Initially, it is liberating taking a different route going to school. For some, for the first time your school isn't across your school, for once you have to take a train to school. 

All of that is fun for the first few weeks, until you and spend 2 hours of your life everyday just to get from school to home, and how during 8am classes you need to wake up at 5:30am to prepare when you can wake up so much later if school was nearer. 

The point is, our education believe it or not, is actually good enough that just because you graduate from say NYP or even RP, doesn't make you any less compared to a SP graduate. But what will take away your competence is your lack of rest and ability to function because of how tired you are. And consider this, while your friends are studying for finals, you are still tired and on the way home. 2 hours a day, that's 10 hours of your life you're not getting back. And think weekends too, projects sometimes burn those days. 

So they say don't consider the distance, my tip is ALWAYS consider distance. 


Now this part is for those people who are interested in media, particularly in Mass Communication. So if you guys still don't know, EVERY single polytechnic has a Mass Communication course, just that they are named differently, but believe me, THEY ARE THE SAME. 

Singapore Polytechnic - Media & Communication
Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Mass Communication
Temasek Polytechnic - Communications & Media Management
Republic Polytechnic - Mass Communication
Nanyang Polytechnic - Mass Media Management

I will not speak of those I have very little information on, but for those that I do, I will tell you like it is. Now, I have no intentions of slamming any courses, and the things stated here are based on facts, opinions, and personal experiences. 

Frankly frankly frankly speaking, if you enter Ngee Ann's MCM, you're in very good hands and the training you get there is very well-rounded and industry ready, but at the same time, it is super rigourous and extensive, and if you don't think you can get a lot of work done in short periods of time, and burning ALL of your holidays meeting deadlines and going out of your ways to get people for certain modules, don't consider this course because you will end up with a shitty 2.2 GPA. 

However, if you're ready for that, then you will enjoy the things you learn in MCM, no bullshit and nonsense, you get the full package. If you have dreams of becoming a writer, columnist, journalist or radio personality, do not even consider anything else, because Ngee Ann exposes you to the best writing practices, and also in terms of the opportunities you actually get to write for something. And radio-wise this poly has churned out the most number of radio personalities. Reputation wise, this is the oldest Mass Communication course with 25 years in existence, and it just so much above the remaining 4 polytechnics


In general terms, the remaining Mass Communication courses has very equivalent credentials and standards. Basically all equally not on par with Ngee Ann Poly. But I will give you my opinion of the course in Singapore Poly, for the simple reason, I am in it. 

If your interests lie in advertising, public relations, marketing, media research, and production even, Singapore Polytechnic's Media & Communication is probably the best bet on giving you that. You will be given really amazing briefs to work on, and mentorship by one of the largest communications group. By the end of your 3 years here, you will be trained impeccably to be an marketing executive. The lecturers in these respective modules have extensive experience and give you constructive criticisms and provide you with excellent guidance, delivering very informative tutorials. 

Plus you get to use this space modelled after a real communication agency, which just tops off the entire experience as a marketer. 

HOWEVER, this course is a hell hole and no place for budding writers or radio journalists. The emphasise on writing here is cruelly minute, and the the coursework that you will be tasked to do for writing is very basic and not as complex as NP's. 

For the most parts, it is very marketing based, so you will not go very far as a writer in this course. Outlets wise, you will have little to no chance seeing your written works getting published anywhere, because currently SP has no such channels. 

Bear in mind this course has been around for around 14 years, but the new syllabus only began 4 years ago, so technically this course is just 4 years old.

Even though with that said, XiaXue was a graduate, but please refer to this post before thinking the course made her the great blogger that she is


For Nanyang Polytechnic, you will learn business aspects like business law, as well as Mass Communication stuff. If you want to become a writer and cannot get into NP, I would so much more suggest you go to Nanyang. Modules concerning writing are plentiful compared to the former. However I will say that, the course in Nanyang from what I've collected is that this course will suit you best if you're looking to do production in the future. Front end or post editing, Nanyang has very good facilities for you to practice. 

I will not comment on as much for the other polytechnics because I have way too little information to way in whether or not they are courses for you, but I hope you do understand where I am coming from, because the modules you will partake and the weightage of it will affect you and your performance in your course. 

Moreover than anything, if you're willing to put in hardwork you will do well, but there is a clear differentiation between putting in hardwork and enjoying what you're doing. Whichever it is, I would really recommend you read up and go to the open houses and talk to the people to understand what it is. It'll be good if you can read in between the lines of what they are saying because they are trying to get you to go to their course. Ask ask and ask questions in regards to what you want to do in the future and all that relevant shtuff. 

Ok that's it for this post in 'O' levels and poly courses. I may or may not write another post on what you will expect in polytechnic, all the real shit people don't tell you, to complete the whole facade and series of this how to guide for poly. 


  1. RP's "Poster"

  2. Hi Thanks for your blog
    education360 is the leading educational and career blogger in India. No need to get confused about your future courses. We are here to solve all your career related queries.

  3. thank you so much for this blog. it's really helpful, especially because i'm interested in the mass media courses. thank you!