As you get nearer to the end of high school, you’re likely bombarded with all kinds of questions and ideas about what you should do next. Your parents may have suggested for you to choose a path that leads to high paying career at the end. Your friends might tell you to take up something that they think is more interesting or cool. But the truth is, most people don’t even know what they want for the good part of their life (honestly, who does?). Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this.
The pathway to continue their education may be clear cut to some who have already set their eyes for a particular program or course to enroll into. If you have met the entry criteria, go forth and join an undergraduate program.
Plan A: Undergraduate program - Bachelor’s degree
A bachelor’s degree is also known as a ‘first’ degree or ‘ordinary’ degree. This generally leads to a qualification known as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc). A bachelor’s degree usually takes three or four years to complete full-time, with some degrees like medicine taking at least five years. A four-year degree is usually called an honours degree.
Usually, an admission to a Bachelor’s degree requires an official Secondary School transcript with a language proficiency certificate. Every institution has its own minimal admission scores and certain programs might include optional requirements, namely testing or interviewing.
If (unfortunately) you did not achieve the minimum entry requirement for the bachelor’s degree program that you wanted, there is always Plan B, Plan C or even Plan D to bring you back on track!
Plan B: Diploma program
A Diploma course is a level below a Bachelor’s degree, and can be considered equivalent of a first year Degree at university. It is known to be a more “hands-on” course as it focuses on practical and industry-specific skills and knowledge to train you for the working world.
Diplomas are usually 24 – 36 months long, and you can also enter this programme directly after O-level or equivalent. Once you’ve completed a Diploma, you can choose to either start working or pursue a related Degree beginning from Year 2.
This option is perfect for students who know exactly which industry and career path to pursue. If you’re undecided, take a look at Plan C.
Plan C: Pre-University program
A Pre-University program is a preparatory course that acts as a 'bridge' between secondary school and university, providing students with proper knowledge and learning skills to better cope with the challenges of an undergraduate course. There are a variety of Pre-University programs to select from and although many pre-U program are recognized globally by universities; it is important to spend some time finding out more about each type of pre-U program so that your transition into a bachelor degree will be easier. Here’s a quick guide for reference:
Subjects are designed specifically towards the degree course offered by the university and has a shorter duration as compared to most Pre-U courses. A combination of coursework and exams makes up the total results.
Widely known as the “Gold Standard” of Pre-U programs and is globally accepted. It is 100% exam based and takes 18-24 months to complete.
Continuous assessment helps to accumulate marks towards your final grade, instead of depending on a particular exam or coursework. Final results will be a single score, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), derived from your best four subjects plus 10% of your weakest subject.
Canadian International Matriculation Program (CIMP):
Similar to Australian Matriculation, CIMP has a continuous assessment throughout the year which helps to accumulate your marks towards your final grade. The final exam will be an average percentage across all 6 subjects taken, with the maximum score of 100%.
Plan D: Certificate
In the case whereby your high school grades are not eligible for entry for any of the above programs, there is still chance to continue on your education with a Certificate program. A Certificate program is a level below Diploma and aims to provide with the fundamental knowledge and industry-specific practical skills. Generally, the admission requires 1 – 2 Credits in the High School transcripts. The course is typically 12 – 18 months long and upon completion, you’ll be able to join in a relevant Diploma program and eventually a degree.
However, you need to remember that every student is different and there are many roads to success. Never compare yourself with your friends and underestimate your own abilities.
Now is the opportunity for you to carve your own pathway to your future career!