Studying in Polytechnic School

There are a lot of colleges in Singapore that will provide an excellent curriculum and worthwhile experience to their students. Due to the number of excellent choices out there, some students will be confused as to which option they should take for the next level of their education. However, there are also those that already have their eyes set on one of the five Polytechnics found in Singapore. This article was made with the sole purpose of educating these individuals about what lies ahead of them when they first set foot in Polytechnic.

Poly versus secondary

The academic experience a student had in secondary school will be greatly different from the academic experience they will have in a Polytechnic. Here are a few examples of how a Polytechnic differs from secondary school.

1. More freedom

Majority of Polytechnic university students are already in the early stages of young adulthood and are expected to be more responsible than teenagers, thus, these students are given more freedom than they had when they are still in secondary school. However, freedom also entails a lot of responsibility, and if one is not careful about how they spend their days of freedom in Poly, they might experience a dive in their semestral marks.

At first, this change will be really difficult to adjust to, as students have experienced 10 years of having to follow a strict curriculum. The freedom may be a little daunting at first, but it will gradually become more natural over the next few months and you will be able to enjoy your Poly life to its fullest.

2. Varying schedules

Another key difference that Polytechnic has over secondary schools is the fact that not all students share the same schedule. In secondary, even if the different classes have different subjects at different time periods, all of the students still start classes at the same time and end the day at the same time as well.

This is different for Polytechnic as students often have the to take classes that have varying schedules. You can have your first lecture at 8 A.M. on a Monday, but take your first class at 10 A.M. on a Tuesday. Not only that, but there will also be a huge difference in the intervals of the classes you take. You could have free reign for as long as 3 hours before your next class starts.

3. Your lecturers won’t chase after overdue homework

Do you remember those times when your teacher consistently nags and tells you to submit your homework even when it was only a day late? Well, say goodbye to those types of teachers in Poly. The professors or lecturers one will encounter in Poly are often not that proactive in asking their students to submit due homework.

This is due to the fact that these lecturers have a lot of students that they have to handle and are not exclusive to a single class or block. This means that they are too busy to chase after students that have forgotten to submit their homework.

4. No more uniforms

One of the most noticeable difference between Polytechnic and secondary schools is the fact that Poly students are no longer obliged to wear any uniform. Uniforms are a way for primary and secondary schools to quickly identify their students. This will also allow their students to look neat and presentable whenever there are school-wide gatherings or events.

Polytechnic, on the other hand only issues an identification card for their students as a means of identifying their students and allowing them into the university’s premise. This allows their students to have freely roam and visit nearby coffee shops or libraries to study without having to worry about their uniforms getting dirty.

What you should know about Poly

Now that the differences of Poly and secondary are out of the way, it is now time to discuss what to expect when you first set foot in your chosen Polytechnic.

1. You will still be subject to stress

Just because you no longer have to follow a strict curriculum doesn’t necessarily mean that you are free from stress. In contrast, you are more prone to experience stressful situations in Poly due to the freedom you experience.

When a person has poor time management skills and is drunk on the felling of freedom they have experienced in Poly, they will surely experience a lot of cramming sessions. Not following a curriculum does not mean that one is free from academic stress, it is instead an invitation to create one’s own academic path and to progress at the pace they seem fit.

2. Your GPA is cumulative

Your GPA or general percentage average, is the grading system that is present in Polytechnic, and to tell you honestly, it is cumulative. This implies that all the grades you have collected over the years you spent in Poly will reflect in the overall grade you receive once you graduate from Poly. This is why one cannot take semester for granted as it will affect the grade you will get once you graduate.

If you are concerned with the grades you will get in Poly, then you can always rely on private tuition to help you through your days in Poly. And what better place to get private tuition in Singapore with leading home and online-based tutoring agency: FamilyTutor.   

3. Get to know your peers

You will encounter a lot of people over the span of your Polytechnic life. Some will be older than you, while others may be younger. And it is a great idea to get to know these individuals and fins the right circle of friends that will help you progress through Poly.

However, do be careful not to fall for the traps of “fake” friends who only want to befriend you to gain something from you. Be sure that you and the friends you make in Poly share a mutual benefit for each other in order to help everyone from the circle progress though Poly easily.

4. Be polite to your lecturers

The teachers you will encounter in Polytechnic are often called lecturers as they conduct lectures in a lecture hall filled with hundreds of students. These lecturers are responsible for educating the students of the Polytechnic and are always open for queries about the lecture.

Always remember to be polite to these lecturers as you would to any teacher you previously had as they are doing their best to educate the young individuals of the institution so that they may one day become successful individuals.

5. Food choices are abundant

Most Polytechnic have a cafeteria inside the campus, so you do not have to worry about not bringing lunch with you. However, what you should be weary of is the abundance of food choices in the cafeteria and other food establishments near the campus.

This can be really appealing at first as you will never run out of new flavors to try out. however, be sure to keep an eye on your food budget as the more options there are, the more likely one will spend a lot more money on food. This overspending on food can seriously put a dent in your monthly allowance.

6. Bring a jacket with you

Almost all of the lecture halls in Polytechnic are air-conditioned. This is a really great feat to have especially when it is warm outside. However, when the lectures take up 2 or 3 hours of your time every day, the air-conditioning will surely get to your skin and make will make you feel really chilly.

Unless you are a superhuman who can handle the cold rally well, then it would be a great idea to bring a jacket with you whenever you will take a long lecture. This will allow you to have a way to warm yourself whenever you feel cold in the middle of the lecture and prevent you from being distracted from the lecture.

7. Build up your portfolio

Polytechnic often focuses on the development of one’s skills so that they may find a job even if they do not proceed to college. This is why polytechnic often have extra-curricular activities that will help its students hone the skills they will likely use. These activities can be a great chance to build up your portfolio early by adding as much experience related to your chosen career path as possible.

This will make your portfolio to look more attractive to the companies or establishments that you are planning to apply to due to the fact that even though you do not have any work experience yet, you have gained a lot of career related extra-curricular experience over the course of your Polytechnic life.

8. Learn along the way.

Every individual’s experience in a Polytechnic will greatly differ depending on the person in question. Some of the pointers listed above may be effective for others while others may not find it as useful. However, the best way to adjust and get used to life in a Polytechnic is to learn for yourself.

Over the course of the entire time that you will spend in Poly, you will experience a lot of new and unfamiliar events that will allow you to grow and learn. Learn from these experiences in order to add more wisdom to your person. After all, the knowledge and experience you will gain from your time in Poly can sometimes outweigh the prestige of graduating from a well-renowned junior college.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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