JC or Polytechnic for me? (Response B)

This query comes from a student:


I just received my O level results, and got 9 points for my L1R5. I aspire to pursue a Bachelors of Engineering in Aerospace at NTU in the future, however I am rather torn between going to a poly (in this case aeronautical engineering @SP) and a junior college.

I believe the poly route would let me acquire ample hands on experience in the aviation field, but I am fearful I might not attain a GPA score good enough for entry into NTU. On the other hand, I know my chances of entering a local university are much higher statistically speaking if I pursue the JC route; then again I am not really interested in the regurgitation and rote learning style of A level subjects.

What should I do? Feeling very lost right now.

The Response:

Congratulations on your good showing in the 'O' Levels!

I'm just going to address the point about hands-on experience of polytechnic education and what you call regurgitation and rote-learning style of an A-level education.

Even if you choose the polytechnic route, there will still be a fair amount of regurgitation and rote-learning to do because there's simply no escaping the fact that there are certain pieces of fundamental knowledge and theories that you will have to master in any discipline at any level. Some level of regurgitation and rote learning is always necessary.

The polytechnic route allows you to specialise at an earlier age. If you go to a JC, you are still studying general subjects, which isn't a bad thing because you have another two more years to think about what you would like to specialise in studying. After all, you are still very young and there're probably much more in the various academic fields that you probably don't know about yet. I personally would recommend giving yourself more time to do further research so that you can make a more informed decision.

Of course, if you are absolutely sure that you want to start studying in the field of aeronautical engineering early, by all means, go ahead. If you are determined to work hard, you will get into university regardless of whether you choose polytechnic or JC.

Aaron Ng

(Councilor: December 2014 - December 2015)

Aaron Ng has since returned to NUS as a full time lecturer and is no longer active tutoring.

Answered On 16 January 2015