While studying for O Levels, many students will meet a dilemma when it comes to the choice between going to Junior College or Polytechnic. Both types of institutions have their own benefits, and so this is a comprehensive breakdown of their pros and cons! Keep in mind your own learning style and areas of interests while reading this article.
Purpose of JC vs Poly
Firstly, it is important to note that JC and Poly serve slightly different purposes, even though both are educational institutions. JC prepares you for higher education, while Poly prepares you for the workforce.
Even as our education system tries to shift the focus away from exams and grades, the truth is that many students are still very concerned about this aspect.
For JC, while only your A levels (not across the 2 years) grade will decide the course you are able to enter, it is important to be consistent from the start. Many people think they can afford distractions in J1 and focus in J2, but trying to catch up in J2 may be very challenging. This is because the content is relatively in-depth and heavy. Most of the time, your individual hard work affects your grades the most (with the exception of H1 Project Work).
Poly involves many project works. Just like JC, consistent work is vital. Your grades each term will eventually contribute to your final CGPA (unlike JC), so great self-discipline is required. There are students who complain that they meet groupmates who do not contribute to their project works, and that may result in one not graduating with a 3.9/4.0 GPA.
Further education – What Do You Want After JC or Poly?
According to this Straits Times article, more than 70% will be qualified for university. However, the course you are eligible for greatly depends on your RP. If you go to JC, you should be aiming for university since you cannot really do specialised work with A Level certificate.
With JC, there is a higher chance of getting into these university courses: Law, Medicine, Dentistry. JC provides a broader selection of degree courses, which is useful in the event that your interest changes.
Most Poly graduates need to score above 3.8 GPA and have a decent portfolio to secure an interview in most local schools. If it’s clear what you wish to do in the future, you can choose Poly, since you graduate with a Diploma that allows you to work. You can also continue to university if you wish to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree etc.
If your area of interest requires experience and specialisation, Poly will be able to provide you with these. You get to truly see how the specific industry works instead of just learning the theories.
In JC, there are science attachment/research programmes as well as H3 subjects that you can take to further your interest. There are selection processes for different programmes and you likely need to show aptitude in a certain subject to get into those programmes.
In Poly, you have more hands-on experience, as well as industry exposure and applied learning style. You also get work experience through internships. This would vary depending on the course you have applied to, so do your own research!
Curriculum and lesson style
JC may be pretty fast-paced and content heavy, where students learn a topic in just one or two lectures. A lot of time is spent doing tutorials. The theoretical content also has to be absorbed and applied quickly.
Poly is suitable for you if you prefer doing things at your own pace. You will get more freedom to plan your own time and independence is important. However, there is still a considerable amount of workload that you will have to tackle.
Advice before choosing
Choosing your subject combination in JC can be quite important, as studying for a subject you dislike just makes it harder.
For Poly, look up career options for whatever diploma you plan to study. If you want to go to university, make sure they accept it as a relevant diploma for admissions. Take a look at the course curriculum and understand what will be taught throughout the 3 years.