Expansion of Aptitude-Based Admissions for Students Pursuing Higher Education

Published Date: 08 April 2016 12:00 AM

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1. To better support students in pursuing their studies in areas that align with their strengths and interests, the polytechnics and autonomous universities will expand existing aptitude-based admissions that take into consideration broader measures of abilities beyond examination results. This is in alignment with the national SkillsFuture movement, to provide individuals with opportunities to develop and deepen relevant skills.

Early Admissions Exercise

2. Currently, the polytechnics already admit students based on strengths and attributes beyond academic grades through the Direct Polytechnic Admissions (DPA) Exercise and the Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE).

3. From the Academic Year (AY) 2017 intake onwards, a new Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) will replace the DPA, with an increase in the intake allowance from 2.5% to 12.5%. Through the EAE, the polytechnics will assess students’ suitability for admission on the basis of their aptitude, talents and interests in the course being applied for. The exact mode of assessment under the EAE may vary across courses, and can include interviews, submission of portfolios, and aptitude tests. Students with exceptional talents in areas such as leadership, community service, sports and arts may also apply through the EAE. With this, the JPSAE will be folded into the EAE. The EAE will take place in June/July of the year prior to entry to polytechnic, and allow students to secure a conditional place in a diploma course of their choice, even before they sit for their GCE O-Level examinations.

4. Similarly, an Early Admissions Exercise (ITE Graduates) [EAE (I)] will be introduced from the AY2017 intake onwards for ITE students seeking admission to the polytechnics. It will allow them to be considered for admission on the basis of strong skills exhibited in areas relevant to the diploma course they wish to pursue. It is projected that up to 10% of the total polytechnic intake of ITE graduates will be admitted via EAE (I).

5. At the individual course level, aptitude-based admissions via the EAE and EAE(I) for most courses may constitute up to 30% of the intake of each course, in line with current practice. Around one-third of courses will have their course-level allowance raised to 50%; these courses include those in social and healthcare services, design, and media, where the ability to do well depends on a range of qualities beyond academic grades, and passion for the field is especially important. The list of courses with an increase in their course-level allowances can be found in the Annex.

6. The EAE and EAE(I) will commence in mid-2016 and early 2017 respectively, for admission to polytechnic in AY2017.

Increased Discretionary Admissions Intake at the Autonomous Universities

7. To enable more students to be admitted on the basis of their strengths and talents beyond academic performance, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore Management University (SMU) will admit up to 15% of their annual intake under the Discretionary Admissions Scheme (DAS) – an increase from the current 10%. Applicants who do not meet the cut-off point for the course they applied to, but who demonstrate aptitude for the course and possess a minimum level of academic competence to cope with the rigours of the course, may be considered under the DAS. The increase in the DAS intake allowance will be implemented for students matriculating from AY2017 onwards.

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