Have seen some well meaning parents who put their children through all that sports/performing arts/talent training over the years (especially starting really young), specializing early in the talent but in the end may or may not get that dsa offer that they expected. Have also seen fair share of children who excelled in their favorite sports or talent (some even discovered and groomed only later in upper primary) and indeed received offers in their dream schools. Plus the odd balls who didn’t have much prior experience in the sport but got selected anyway because of the potential that they show.
The message is – don’t do it for the sake of dsa. Do it only because – your child loves the sport or talent, the “talent” is not only because of years of rote training, and it is part of your child’s holistic physical and mental development.
On the other hand, have also seen how children transformed and grew after they found their passion in the talents that they excel or are interested in. They are then able to channel this discipline, resilience, pride in excellence and never give up attitude in their sports or talent to their academics and excel in it too.
Have personally spoken to some in the dsa selection panels. After so many rounds of dsa selections year after year, they usually have a keen eye on those who over trained, those who didn’t have the passion for the talent dormain, and those who might not be able to cope with the academic demands (especially for top IP schools). There is definitely some truth when they say – there is a robust selection process that sifts out the real talents whom they think are able to cope with the academic demands of the school (especially top IP schools). They do look at your p5 and p6 sa1 results to determine if the child is able to cope academically. They might give some discount but don’t expect it to be too far off. Today’s dsa selection is definitely different from many years back. Through trial and error and maybe because of past bad press about how some top IP schools only want the child’s talents but didn’t care about whether the child can make the academic demands of the school, the selection panel is mindful to make sure the dsa talents that they have selected will succeed academically in the school while of course hopefully winning medals for them. In fact, I have seen quite a number of dsa sports/talent kids who got high psle score at the end of their p6 journey too!
So for those who have accepted dsa offers this year – congratulations and walk with your head high to your new schools! One P in a top school told the cohort on first day of school – whether u came in by dsa or by psle score, do remember all of u earned this spot by your own means.
Lastly for parents of students who went into these top schools by psle score and think your kids are better than the dsa kids – don’t underestimate these dsa kids just because their dsa offer letter states that they only need to meet the express cut off point to come into the school.