So either you just successfully finished a round of National Examinations (PSLE/O Levels), or you are about to officially enter the Education system (Primary 1). This will start a new phase/chapter in your Life, in your new School.
However before all that, you have to choose which School to enter. (There are 185 Primary Schools, 155 Secondary Schools to choose from – that’s alot!)
How do you choose the best School suited for your Child among so many?!
Apart from the obvious factors – whether results meet the cut-off point, Schools that are too far away (live in the East but School is in the West); you should already have a filtered List of Schools.
Based off on this List, we are going to narrow down even further to the final 1/2 Schools with the tips/considerations provided below.
(NOTE: Admission to chosen Schools is not guaranteed)
1. Travelling Distance
Take note that we are referring to “Travelling Distance” and not “Distance” to School. The location – how accessible is the School? If your Child is going to School by themselves using public transport (like most students), you need to factor in the travelling time; walking to and fro bus-stop/MRT, bus/MRT travelling time, etc.
Why does it matter when choosing Schools? The total travelling time will determine how early you will need to wake up, and how late you reach home. When you factor in having extra classes/CCA, you will be reaching home very, very late. Imagine the travelling time everyday, spent on studying/revising work instead!
Lets say Samantha takes 1.5 hours to commute from her home to School using public transport (factor in everything).
Usual time to report to School = 0715-0730
Latest time Samantha can leave house by = 0600
Samantha takes 30 minutes to prepare, Samantha needs to wake up at = 0530
Usual time CCAs end = 1830 (depending on what CCA; sports or clubs)
Time Samantha reaches home = 2000 (8pm)
To top it off, most students have tuition (See: market tuition rates, 2018). By the time they finish their homework and tuition, it would most likely be midnight. With only about 5 hours of sleep everyday, they will definitely be suffering from sleep deprivation. Keep in mind that it is very hard to study while travelling – peak period, unable to focus, etc.
2. Reputation of School
“Every School is a Good School”. How many times have you heard this phrase being pushed around? While it is true to a certain extent, there are some Schools that are better than others.
The definition of a School is: “an institute for educating Children”. How we determine if one School is better than the other; the School is better at educating Children than others. A more tangible way to determine if a School is better at educating is through results – results produced.
Different Schools have different environments – some are more motivated and focused towards producing results academically. Your Child will grow up and adapt to the environment; or in other words, the environment shapes them. A good rule of thumb to follow would be any past history of consistent bad leadership/reviews on the School is a cause for concern. It means that there is something erroneously wrong in their system.
Of course, there are other factors such as opportunities provided and links that you should factor in together as well. Both of which will be discussed below.
3. School Fees
Above shown is the monthly fees you need to pay, if you are a Singapore Citizen. The fees for Permanent Residents or IS (Foreigners) are much more expensive.
The amount above seems quite less, however the figure above is not inclusive of the miscellaneous/facilities fees that autonomous Schools add, which can set you back a couple of hundreds yearly. Integrated Programme Schools (thru train to A Levels), and International Schools are also calculated at a different, much higher level.
You also have to consider the silver lining that you will have more facilities to use; such as Swimming Pools, upgraded Gym, Air-conditioned classrooms etc. With these facilities, they improve the welfare of students, hence worth it in the long run.
Something that is equally important, if not more important, in securing your future is: Connections. Being at the right place at the right time can change your life drastically – be it a new business opportunity/venture, life advice, gaining a mentor.
Certain exclusive opportunities come together with being in the School. Opportunities such as overseas exchange, alumni help, networking events etc, all provide help for graduates post Education.
Some Schools organise yearly carnivals/talks/ceremonies etc – all are networking events for students and alumni, mainly for the alumni to mentor students, provide links and guide them towards attaining success. You never know how much of an impact connections are until you are on the receiving end or see others at the receiving end.
5. School Links/Affiliation
Some Schools provide additional help for further education through links – or in other words, affiliation.
The more commonly known affiliation is the Secondary-Junior College affiliation. Affiliated Schools have a higher cut-off point exclusive to only students from certain Schools. For example, Presbyterian High School (PHS) is affiliated to Saint Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC). Students from PHS applying to SAJC can have a bonus of 2 points cut off from their O Level score, giving them a great advantage. (See: Junior College Subject Combination)
These 2 points can go a long way, with the obvious point being it increases your chances of admission into the affiliated School. It is especially helpful in cases whereby admission into the affiliated School is very competitive that year, or if your results don’t make the cut-off points for the School.
With the 5 points mentioned above taken into consideration, you should have filtered down your List of Schools to about 1-2 schools.
Once you have reached this point, we advise you to go to the respective school’s Open House and physically be there before choosing Schools. Once there, you can judge based on environment and feel – which one suits/speaks to you more. (See: Should I Send My Child for Tuition?)
Also, different Schools have different streaming systems/subject combinations. Do look into and research more on the School of your choice before making your final decision. (See: How taking Combined Science Almost Ruined My Future)
Choosing Schools can be a very daunting task. It also speaks volumes about your life; how to make informed decisions, how you adapt to changes/new phases in life.