Why Study In Singapore
Singapore has a rich legacy and culture, and like many of its ilk has many a surprises up its sleeve. It was however not like that earlier, but with the determined and continuous effort put in by prominent leaders and the public, the city-state today has emerged as an important trading destination in Asia. Diverse cultures, languages and religions give Singapore a cosmopolitan look. The Government of Singapore sensing the potential and need for quality education in nation building has pumped in huge revenues into the educational sector and has also made it one of the priority sectors of the country. By choosing to study abroad in Singapore, international students have an opportunity to not only be plugged into an education system that promotes excellence, but also be a part of a global community.
An Emerging Educational hub
It is no secret that Singapore will lead the educational revolution in the 21st century supported by an unfaltering educational infrastructure and globally revered scholars to guide the students. The Universities of the land are among the best is also supported by The Times Higher Education QS World University 2008 rankings, as a number of them featured in the top 50 list.
A holistic approach to Education
Singapore`s educational system has seen a complete overhaul from its traditional British-based education system and today encompasses all that is required to succeed in contemporary times. Consequently, the emphasis is on nurturing natural talent and helping the individual achieve his true potential. At the core of its educational structure is its bilingual policy (English with Malay/Mandarin/Tamil) ably supported by a comprehensive curriculum that reflects commendable innovation and entrepreneurship. There is an international mix of institutions which provide the students an ideal platform for sharing of knowledge and ideas with their counterparts from across the globe.
Singapore is considered a favored education destination today as it is well connected with the rest of the world via a vibrant communication network, be it by sea or by air. With a high Internet penetration of 76% students enjoy being connected with the rest of the world with a click of a button. Students are also well connected to rest of the island in an unrestrained manner which helps them undertake various recreational sports and mingle with students belonging to diverse cultural background to understand their traditions and culture.
Feel at Home
While pursuing higher education in Singapore you will experience high standard of living compared to the likes of London or New York. It`s a safe country to live and study in and there is great respect for rules and regulations within the state. There are students from different communities and cultures which makes living and studying in Singapore a fulfilling experience.
Understanding the education system
This is mainly offered by kindergartens and childcare centres and is basically a three- year programme. Students enrolled are usually in the age group four to six. Well groomed and well regulated by the government these institutions provide the necessary skill sets before the kids move into a more formal educational setup.
It is mandatory for a child in Singapore to undergo six years of primary education, comprising a four-year foundation stage from Primary 1 to 4 and a two-year orientation stage from Primary 5 to 6 before he is enrolled for any higher education.
Students here undergo four or five years of secondary education under the Special, Express or Normal Course. The Special and Express Courses are the building blocks that pave the way for higher education in the form of the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education 'Ordinary' (GCE 'O') Level examination in four years. The Normal Course, on the other hand, has students choosing from for the Academic or Technical stream, which in turn facilitates admission to the higher level Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education 'Normal' (GCE 'N') Level examination after four years of study. On successful completion of the course students can even opt for the GCE 'O' Level examination in the fifth year.
The curriculum of the secondary education programme covers subjects like Mathematics, Science and Humanities. In the Secondary 3 level, students take up electives of their choice which again is determined by whether they are in Arts, Science, Commerce or Technical stream.
The Singapore education system focuses on developing students with critical thinking and intellectual skills, as opposed to imposing some repelling ideas that end up destroying their key skills and intrinsic talent.
Junior Colleges / Pre-Universities
Students have to complete their GCE 'O' Level examination before they enter a junior college that offers a two-year pre-university course or may opt for a centralized institute for a three year pre-university course. Junior colleges and centralized institutes provide the final rehearsal before students enter the threshold of University education. Students are required to clear the GCE 'A' Level examination at the end of the pre-university course.
Primary, Secondary Schools and Junior Colleges
The session for primary, secondary schools and junior colleges starts with the fall of January and is divided into four school terms or two semesters. There is a gap period of one week after term 1 and 3 while students are entitled to a longer break after Terms 2 and 4.
Universities and Polytechnics
The academic calendar for the universities and polytechnics also comprises of two semesters, but their academic sessions are normally guided by their respective academic calendars. A semester normally has 13 weeks of instruction and 2 weeks of examinations. The special term is held during the second semester 2 vacation periods and is comprised of two parts. Each of these parts lasts for six weeks, examination period included.
Primary School Admission
Students who are willing to get admission to Primary 2 - 5 and Secondary 1- 3 in a mainstream school have to take part in the Admission Exercise for the International Students(AEIS).
Universities and Polytechnics
You need to apply keeping in mind the academic calendar and deadlines of the University you are applying to. Mostly application forms are available online on Each University website and there`s usually a guide also available to help you fill up the application form.
Please collect all the documents and the exams scores that you will need and start applying. You also have to make sure that as an international student you have the documents and transcripts available in the same format as accepted by the university you are applying to. Your application form will require your personal Particulars, contact Information, academic qualifications, exceptional talents and achievements, exemptions and scholarships, choice of courses that you are applying for, creating admission PIN, which will be the personal password for the applicant to login to online application status facility.
Once you have applied to a University the short listed candidates will have to go through the interview, arrangement for which will be made by the university.
For Undergraduate studies the International applicants should have at least 12 years of education and have cleared the qualifying examination which is recognized in the home country. International students awaiting their final examination results can also apply. Provisional admission may be granted on the basis of their school forecast results or considering past academic performance. Admission will be confirmed upon submission of acceptable grades in their final examinations.
Applicants with good pre-university qualifications will be considered for Advanced Standing. Students with Advanced Standing may be granted exemptions of up to 5 courses. Advanced Standing is only granted when a student has been offered a place and relevant academic certificates have been evaluated.
The SAT Reasoning Test is a compulsory requirement for undergraduate admission. If the SAT and the Reasoning Test is not available in your country, the applicant is expected to take ACT or GMAT.
Proficiency in the English Language
Applicants whose first language is not English must show proficiency in the English Language, by taking any one of the following tests:
oTOEFL - minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based)
oIELTS - minimum overall band of 6.5, or
oMUET - band 5 or 6
For Undergraduate Admission
You need to furnish all the documents to validate the information furnished by you in your application.
-Documents validating your personal particulars like date of birth certificate.
-Passport or any other address proof to validate your contact information.
-Transcripts to validate your academic qualifications.
-Extra curricular certificates to validate any exceptional talents and achievements.
-SAT-I and SAT II/ACT Scores along with Scores to prove English proficiency like the IELTS or TOEFL or MUET. You can also provide your AIEEE or IIT Rank if applying for undergraduate course in engineering in Singapore.
For Post Graduate Admission
-GMAT and/or IELTS/ TOEFL MUET Scores.
Fee & Expenses
Fees and Tuition Grant
The Government of Singapore provides substantial tuition subsidy which comes in the form of a tuition grant and is administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and offered to all admitted students. Students who apply for and are approved for the tuition grants need to pay only the Direct Payment of fees which is the subsidized amount. The tuition grant is not repayable and Singapore citizens in receipt of it will not be required to undertake a service bond. However, Singapore Permanent Residents and international students who take up Tuition Grant will need to sign the TG Agreement and work in Singapore-based companies for 3 years upon graduation. To apply for the Tuition Grant offered by the Government, international students will be required to apply via Singapore Ministry of Education.
For students who are not eligible for or choose not to apply for the Government Tuition Grant Subsidy Scheme, will need to pay the annual full fees. While the subsidized fees remain unchanged during the course of study, the full fees is subject to change depending on the amount of Government tuition grant subsidy.
Deserving students can apply for financial aid which will be offered if they meet the eligibility criteria. Financial aid is provided to deserving candidates in the form of scholarship from ASEAN Scholarships; SIA Youth Scholarships; A*Star India Youth Scholarships; MOE Scholarships for Pre-University Studies; Hong Kong Scholarships & Awards.
There are various courses for which the students (regardless of nationality) are given tuition grant. Candidate who already hold a degree or higher qualification will be eligible for Tuition Grant if they wish to pursue a second course of the same or lower level so long as they did not attain their bachelor`s or higher degree through subsidy by MOE or sponsorship by the Singapore Government (this includes the receipt of a government scholarship such as those offered by the Ministries, Public Service Commission and Statutory Boards for local or overseas study).
Graduates seeking admission to the Graduate LL.B. Programme (GLP) will be eligible for Tuition Grant regardless of whether they have obtained their degree with subsidy or sponsorship from the Singapore government. However, there is a limited number who can enjoy this grant given by MOE. Singapore Permanent Residents and international students who take up Tuition Grant will need to sign the TG Agreement and work in Singapore-based companies for 3 years upon graduation.
Step-II: Submission of E-Form 16
Once the IHL has successfully registered the student, the student may login to SOLAR to submit E-Form 16. Applicants must have the following information before logging into SOLAR:
-A registration acknowledgement notice with the login information provided by the IHL.
-Travel document/passport details (including travel document/passport number, date of expiry, etc).
-NRIC/FIN of parents if the student`s parents are Singaporeans or foreigners who are working or residing in Singapore.
-Singapore`s address and contact details (if not available, please provide the school`s registered address)
-Applicant`s email address.
-A medical report in the prescribed format (available on ICA`s website).
Upon submission of the E-Form 16 through SOLAR, students are required to print a copy of the E-Form for submission to the Student`s Pass Unit, ICA, to complete formalities for the issuance of a Student`s Pass.
For foreigners who require a visa to enter Singapore, the processing time is 10 full working days but you should have a buffer of a week during July/August.
Completing Visa Formalities
Successful applicants will be issued with an in-principle approval (IPA) letter by ICA through the IHL. For applicants who require a visa to enter Singapore, a visa will be incorporated in the IPA letter. Students need not apply for a separate visa and may enter Singapore by producing the IPA letter at the checkpoints.
Note that the Student`s Pass will only be issued not more than one month before the commencement of the course. Students are required to ensure their own valid stay in Singapore at all time.
Foreign students must possess a valid Student's Pass to be able to study at Singapore. To apply for a Student's Pass he/she has to be accepted Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) to pursue full-time studies in Singapore. Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the university will assist all international students with their application for a student pass, which is processed and approved by the Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA). The student pass is valid for the whole duration of the course of study.
Applying for a Student Pass
Depending on the type of educational institution that a foreigner is intending to study at, the requirements and procedures for applying for a Student's Pass will differ.
New applications for a Student`s Pass must be submitted at least one month and not more than 2 months before the commencement of the course. Applications must be submitted through the Student`s Pass On-Line Application & Registration (SOLAR) system which is accessible through Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Step-1: Registration of Application by Institute of Higher Learning (IHL)
Before the foreign student submits an application for Student`s Pass through SOLAR, the IHL must first register the student through SOLAR with the following information:
Name, date of birth, gender and nationality of the student (as appear in travel
document);Course details, course commencement and course end dates; and SOLAR application reference number.