Passion and aptitude can get you into Singapore Polytechnic
Students who got in through Early Admissions Exercise say research, preparation is key
At five, Mr Billy Steven Tay Kit Foong was poring over Calvin And Hobbes comics. At 10, he moved on to classics, such as Animal Farm and 1984.
As a teenager, he helped his mother, an entertainment producer, with events as well.
To secure a spot in Singapore Polytechnic (SP), he applied for the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) for O-level students.
Through it, students receive conditional offers to polytechnics before receiving their final grades. This way, they can be admitted based on interests and aptitude, not just academic performance.
For ITE students, EAE opens today till June 12. For O-level students, it opens from June 27 to July 3.
Joining the theatre club in secondary school taught Mr Tay, 18, a lot. It helped solidify his passion for writing.
He told The New Paper: "Theatre helped me figure out my identity. Everyone else was a sportsman or champion debater or something else. It took me a long time to figure out who I was."
The aspiring writer gave EAE a shot, hoping to get into the diploma in creative writing for TV and new media course.
He said: "When I saw the word 'accepted', I was speechless and overjoyed. It felt like I had taken a concrete step to getting where I want to be in life."
Mr Tay, now a second-year student, said: "I have no regrets. I think I made the right decision. I have fun every day when I go to school, and I love what I do. In this course, I can truly be me."
Mr Isaac Tan Weng Hong entered SP through the EAE from ITE College East and is in his second year in the infocomm security management course.
Mr Tan, 20, neglected his studies in primary school because of computer games.
He told TNP: "I started skipping school a lot to play Counter-Strike at LAN shops. My PSLE results slip showed that I was absent for 267 days."
His aggregate of 127 led him to the Normal (Technical) stream in secondary school, then to ITE, where he applied for a Nitec in the network systems administration. He was able to transform his love for gaming into a passion for computers.
Mr Tan also enjoyed the practical lessons in ITE.
He said: "I would be doing the practicals first during lectures, even though the lecturer hadn't gone through them. One of my philosophies in life is that humans learn from trial and error. Failure to me is learning."
To those considering EAE, Mr Tay and Mr Tan have some tips.
Mr Tan said: "Be sure to do your research on the polytechnics and relevant industries and give your 100 per cent when applying."
Said Mr Tay: "Be sure of what you want to do. Discuss with your parents and plan for everything from portfolios to interviews. Lastly, be yourself."