So you missed out on every one of the earlier Phases to get your child in the school you desire. Now, you are faced with trying to succeed in the highly stressful Phase 2C.
While it is true that Phase 2C is stressful because everyone is trying to get into the very popular schools, and that everyone should just stick to the very sensible rule of thumb of going for the nearest school to their homes that are unlikely to feature balloting, we are KiasuParents afterall. And KiasuParents don’t go out without a fight, no matter how slim the chance.
But here is the stark fact. If you do decide to go for it, chances are high that you will be balloting, once again, during Phase 2C(S). Why?
It’s because most other parents will think in the same way – as long as there is a chance to get into a “top” school, go for it. They have an infallible conviction that there is always their 2nd choice school that they can go for in Phase 2C(S).
As a result, these 2nd choice schools become the top choice for parents who were balloted out of Phase 2C (sometimes over 50 parents could be trying to get a single vacancy in Phase 2C!). So the whole cycle starts again.
Our advice to parents is that if we really have a second choice school that we are sure to get a place in Phase 2C, just go for it in Phase 2C. Resist the temptation of trying to get that elusive vacancy in one of the incredibly popular schools. In the best case, we will be feeling like we have won Toto, which, of course, feels great. But in most cases, we don’t always win Toto, and we may end up with neither our 1st nor 2nd choice schools.
There are of course, cases where parents really have no choice but to try to get into the popular schools, because those are the nearest schools to them. Our advice would be that unless you are within 1km of these schools, don’t try to join in the fray. You would be throwing away your valuable Phase 2C priority of getting your 2nd choice school.
If you are within 1km of that popular school, you might wish to contemplate this. While it is true that you will be in a balloting situation, it is also true that your odds are much better than someone who is more than 1km away.
For example, if a school has 50 places for Phase 2C and there are 100 applicants. If 45 of these applicants are within 1km and the rest between 1-2km, then effectively, 55 applicants will be vying for the last 5 seats, with odds of 1 in 11. The chance of success is less than 10%.
On the other hand if 55 of the applicants staying within 1km, then the 45 who stay beyond 1km will not even qualify for balloting. So 55 applicants will have to fight for 50 seats, with odds of 1 in 1.1. The chance of success is 91%!
So if you do stay within 1km of the school, it might be prudent to just go for that school if you really desire it. However, you must be prepared with your 2nd choice school that you may have to register in Phase 2CS.
Do the following:
Select 2 schools as your 2nd and 3rd choices.
The 2nd choice should be one that you will most likely be able to get your child in Phase 2C without balloting.
The 3rd choice should be one that you will most likely be able to get your child in Phase 2C(S) without balloting.
To do this, use www.onemap.sg
Start up your browser and enter www.onemap.sg as the URL.
Enter your home address’s postal code in the box.
Mouse over to the “Services” button. A dropdown list will appear. Move down to “School Query” and click.
In the SchoolQuery popup box, click on the “Find schools near a building” button.
Now, move the cursor over to the map and click on your home (which should already be highlighted and centred in the window).
Both schools within 1km (marked as Red) and between 1-2km (marked as Blue) will be displayed.
Note down each of these schools. Then refer to KiasuParents.com’s P1 Registration History to check each school’s balloting history. The schools that have mostly uncolored boxes in Phase 2C and 2C(S) in the past 5+ years will be the candidates for your 2nd and 3rd choice schools, respectively.
Now you must monitor the take-up rate (TUR) for Phase 2C very closely. At the end of each day of the 3 day exercise, MOE will post the total number of registrations, so far, for each school. This number will be reflected as the APP rate or rate of applications in KiasuParents.com’s P1 Registration History. Unfortunately, MOE does not provide finer granularity that would inform parents of how many of the applicants are within 1km, between 1-2km or beyond 2km. To find out, parents will have to call up the schools directly. Try not to do this too often, because it is really tiring for staff to keep manually updating parents in this mode, and tempers could be short. Ask nicely, and the staff will reciprocrate.
You can also do some rough estimation yourself. Based on 2010’s P1 registration data, we have found that generally:
75% of applicants would have registered on Day 1
14% of applicants on Day 2
11% of applicants on Day 3
However, the above rates could be very different for some schools in the following ways:
For some popular schools, parents could be holding back until the last minute to place their bets. This happened last year for Catholic High, where most of the applicants registered on the last day! However, this is quite rare.
In most other cases, the traditional “2nd choice” schools are the ones that enjoyed the highest registration rates in Day 3, when parents gave up on their 1st choice schools and wisely went for the 2nd choice schools in Phase 2C.
Schools also help parents staying further than 1km away and who registered in Days 1 or 2, by notifying them when the number of applicants who stay nearer to the school have exceeded the quota. This allows parents to quickly withdraw from the school and activate their 2nd choice school in Phase 2C. This accounts for the negative rates for some very popular schools during Day 3 or even Day 2.
Both mommy and daddy should be prepared to take leave on the afternoon of the 3rd day. By noon, you should have decided on whether it is worthwhile to take the risk and register in that popular school, given the TUR in the previous 2 days. You have to determine if you can stomach the odds if you go for your 1st choice school. Otherwise, just go for your 2nd choice school.
You can then go to the school to register. For schools that have moved on to online registration, you can actually stay home to do it. So hopefully, most schools will join the system by 2012.
Those going for the 1st choice school are likely to have to ballot.
If luck is not on your side, you will have to activate your 3rd choice school in Phase 2C(S).
We hope that the above steps can help to clarify a number of the questions we have received over the past month. Good luck to all parents!
The table below is 2010’s applications for each school, broken down on day by day, so that parents can have a rough gauge of the percentage of applications for each school on each day.
Eg. for Admiralty, 82% of all applicants in Phase 2B applied in Day 1, 12% in Day 2, and 6% in Day 3.