When helping your child to choose a tertiary institution for higher education, it is important to do your homework before you and your child commits on the university and course of study. Here are some suggestions on what to look out for if your child has just completed “A” levels or Poly diploma and wish to consider higher education.
1. Ensure that the local service provider (or private institution) is established
I know this can be difficult to determine, but visit their websites and their offices/ local campuses to have an idea on how big the campuses are. It helps if the service provider is an established brand name in Singapore and has been around for some time. You don’t want to sign up and they run away with your money.
However, having said that, nothing is guaranteed. A few years ago, even an established service provider closed down due to mismanagement.
2. Find out who are the foreign universities that are collaborating with the local service education provider
In other words, don’t just sign up with any local educator or private institution that offers the lowest school fees. Go to the websites of these foreign universities and see if they are established.
In addition, you can also visit certain websites that offer information about universities rankings. This will give you an idea on where the foreign university is placed in terms of world rankings.
3. Find out about the course curriculum and course delivery
Ask how the lessons will be delivered and who will be lecturing in the programme. In other words, find out about the profile of the lecturers and who is delivering the course. For example at SIM Global Education and PSB Academy, for certain programmes, there will be a mix of educators from the overseas uni and local lecturers hired to teach in the course.
Ask if Singapore course curriculum is the same as the home country. For example, ABC company is the Singapore education service provider providing an undergraduate degree programme with an Australian XYZ University. Ask if ABC programmes are the same structure/ format as XYZ Uni in Australia itself. It helps if the 2 programmes are similar as it ensures that there is a certain quality and standard maintained.
However, do note that there may be some slight differences in course content, especially if the Singapore office needs to adapt certain courses/ subjects to suit local or Asian context.
4. Speak to students who are on the programme
Where possible, speak to students who are on the programme or who are currently studying in some of these institutions. Find out as much information as possible
5. Speak to friends or family members who are in HR
Find out about current HR’s policies about recruiting graduates from these programmes.
6. Attend Education Fairs
Attend the education fairs organised. Speak to the staff and educators at these fairs. Find out as much as you can about the courses provided and how it will be delivered, and who is delivering the course. However, go with a clear and open mind. Naturally, they are likely to say the best things about their own schools.
7. Visit the local campus
Just like how we would check out the primary and secondary schools for our children before we register our children for P1 and S1, it’s no different even at undergrad level. Visit the schools to see how the students behave and how the school environment is like. I guess at this age, our teens may not want us to accompany them this time round.
8. Don’t just go for the programmes with the shortest timeframe of completion or the cheapest course available
As much as we want our children to finish their undergrad programme in the shortest time possible, you need to be realistic about this too. A good and credible university will not “short-cut” its course curriculum. There must be a certain quality and standards to maintain. An exception to this is that if your child is a poly diploma holder and the uni allows for exemptions. Again, do your homework.
Also, don’t go for the cheapest course/ programme. What does that reflect on the quality of the programme? Maybe their lecturers are not as qualified? On the other hand, the most expensive course need not mean the best course available too.
9. Find out if the schools offer bank loans
Most of these local private schools have a tie-up with local banks. Find out about the financing and loan repayments. Check the fine print and other terms and conditions carefully. I don’t think you can use CPF to pay for your teenager’s education if they study in a private institution.
10. Don’t choose blindly
Most times, the student/teenager may not know what they want and may blindly follow what their friends are doing. This is a very important decision and it will affect their career path. Remind them to think and choose carefully
Hope the above helps in your decision making. Good luck.