Should I get a degree in Computer Science? A CS student’s perspective

Should I get a degree in Computer Science? A CS student’s perspective

Should I get a degree in Computer Science? A CS student’s perspective

Computer Science (CS) is one of the hottest degrees amongst university applicants nowadays, as reported in this article.

Given the tech-driven world that we live in today, this trend is no surprise – job prospects for computer science graduates are pretty solid. Techies rejoice!

For more trends on the future of work post-Covid, check out this article.

Are you considering taking up a degree in Computer Science? This article might help you out with your decision by explaining Computer Science from an NTU CS student’s perspective.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a CS student, but I’ve tried as far as possible to give accurate information! These thoughts are compiled responses from my friends studying CS and some web research.)

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science is the study of computer systems and computing. It comprises two main categories: hardware and software.

Hardware teaches you the components of a computer and how these components work together to enable the device to perform its functions efficiently and optimally.

Software is where programming comes in – it focuses on writing programmes to solve problems. You learn topics like software engineering, object-oriented programming and data structures and algorithms.

Altogether, what you learn teaches the logical thinking processes behind coming up with solutions for computing problems. This translates into Computer Science-related professions like software engineers or programmers.

In NTU’s Computer Science degree programme, students are introduced to the most popular programming languages such as Python, C/C++ and Java in Year 1 and 2. You will also be exposed to some low level programming languages such as ARM Assembly Code.

After learning these languages, most projects should allow you to pick a programming language of your liking to complete, and you will specialise in Year 3.

More on NTU Computer Science’s curriculum here.

Misconceptions about Computer Science

Photo by fabio on Unsplash

Computer Science is often confused with other degree courses.

  1. Computer Science vs Data Science

Computer Science is a very large field comprising many areas of study. Data Science is a subset of Computer Science which focuses on analysing and studying data to gather insights.

Computer Science comprises the big picture of technological growth and advancement, e.g. in the development of supercomputers.

On the other hand, Data Science focuses on managing data, e.g. maintaining and handling huge volumes of customer data. Graduates who specialise in Data Science become data analysts or scientists.

(p.s. It’s a specialisation that you can choose in Computer Science!)

  1. Computer Science vs Information Systems

Information Systems is a more specialised version of Computer Science.

Information Systems studies the practical usage of larger codebases (a collection of source code) to host large-scale systems, networks, databases etc.

While Information Systems is considered a subset of Computer Science, it focuses on the practical/business aspect – the enterprise solutions for a particular technology. This degree commonly leads to professions like system administrators.

Computer Science focuses on the technical details of implementing algorithms and code. Some questions a Computer Science student would ask are ‘How do I code this?’, ‘How do I implement xx feature?’.

  1. Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering and Computer Science are very similar. In NTU, there are quite a few overlapping modules between these two degree programmes, but Computer Science focuses on software while Computer Engineering has more hardware-related modules.

Some other misconceptions…

  1. CS is just coding.

While it is true that Computer Science involves a lot of coding, they are different in nature.

Computer Science is the theory behind computing, learning about what computers can do and how it works. Some things that are taught in Computer Science that aren’t explicitly coding are digital logic, data structures and AI.

On the other hand, coding is the practical tool that is used to make computers do stuff. It is the means to an end.

If coding is the ‘How’, Computer Science is the ‘What’ and ‘Why’.

As a result, understanding how computer hardware works is equally as important as coding is! The programmes you code must be compatible with the computer, after all.

  1. CS will cover the hottest new trends and topics in the computing world.

Because technology is constantly evolving and changing, we often hear new buzzwords very frequently, like bitcoin and blockchain technologies, and many people think that school will cover these topics.

While the syllabus is updated once every few years, Computer Science modules mainly cover more fundamental concepts because they are foundational to understanding and resolving more complex problems. Most (if not all) trending new technologies are built on these fundamental concepts.

This equips you to ‘learn how to learn’ so that you can easily learn new technologies that appear when you’re in the workforce.

NTU CS vs NUS CS

Many people wonder what the differences between NUS and NTU’s Computer Science programmes are. In terms of syllabus, they seem to be pretty similar.

NTU Computer Science explores a bit more hardware in Year 1 and has a common first year with the Computer Engineering people, so if you’re more interested in Computer Engineering halfway through, it’s easier to change majors.

NUS Computer Science and Computer Engineering are two entirely unrelated majors, so it’s a little tougher to change majors.

Additionally, in my friends’ opinions, NUS’s Computer Science professors are more engaging teachers. This doesn’t mean that NTU’s professors are any less knowledgeable, though, and I encourage you to ask seniors about their experience too!

If you’re a prospective freshman, here are NUS and NTU’s freshman guides.

Or, if you’re thinking of changing course/university, check out this guide for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Career Opportunities

Almost every company will require a computer specialist, so computer science degree holders will have many job options post-graduation. These are a few of the more common ones.

(All statistics were retrieved from MOM’s Occupational Wages Table 2020)

  1. Data Scientist

Job scope: Find, manage and analyze huge volumes of data to draw business insights from

Median salary: $8,000

  1. Database Designer and Administrator

Job scope: Create systems to store and secure different kinds of data (i.e. a database) and ensure they run efficiently

Median salary: $6,274

  1. Software and Web Developer

Job scope: Create and maintain softwares or websites that tackle a business need

Median salary: $5,000

  1. Systems Analyst

Job scope: Design new IT solutions and modify or upgrade existing systems to include updated features to meet a business need

Median salary: $6,433

  1. Network, Servers and Computer Systems Administrator

Job scope: Installs, maintains and organizes LAN networks, WAN networks and intranets, and takes charge of a company’s computer systems

Media salary: $5,200

As you can probably tell, the Computer Science field has some pretty well-paying jobs. If you’re interested in knowing about other high-paying jobs in Singapore, check this article out.

How do I know if Computer Science is for me?

Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

I hope you’re not just in it for the money, because it is not easy to get through if you don’t enjoy it! Consider this – if a few years down the road, Computer Science isn’t as popular anymore, would you still do it?

My friend took Computer Science because she knew she wanted to do something STEM- and software-related, and Computer Science seemed like a harmonious mix of both.

If you like problem-solving and are interested in going into IT-related fields in the future, it should definitely be amongst your top few choices.

You can also try enrolling for CS50’s Introduction to CS course on Edx to get a feeling of what learning it might be like. It teaches many fundamental areas in Computer Science and is sufficiently informative for an introductory course. (p.s. it’s also free!)

If you prefer reading, websites such as W3schools and GeeksforGeeks are also some online resources that provide good information on basic concepts.

If you find these basic concepts unenjoyable or boring, then maybe a degree in Computer Science isn’t for you. But if you do enjoy them, then maybe you’ve just found your calling!

Tips from an NTU Computer Science Student

  1. Online resources! Computer science is hard, but luckily you’re not alone. Online resources like W3Schools and GeeksforGeeks are two useful websites to help you understand difficult concepts.
  2. Competition is pretty fierce. Better grades are required to get into both NTU and NUS CS as compared to previously, according to Today. For some numbers, this year’s NTU SCSE intake was around 800 people, and Computer Science students form the majority of the cohort.
  3. Notion to take notes. My friend recommends Notion specifically for coding modules because they have the ‘code blocks’ function that allows code portions to be recognised as code, so your coding notes will look nice.

In conclusion…

If you’re considering taking a degree in Computer Science, I hope this article has been helpful!

While this degree can probably help you rake in a good amount of cash once you start working, I hope it’s something you’re genuinely interested in too. I encourage you to ask seniors currently in Computer Science for more advice on their experience, because they may give you a different perspective.

If you liked this article, follow our Instagram, Telegram and LinkedIn for updates on more student-oriented content!

Lost in transition: What to do after scoring badly in the A Levels

Lost in transition: What to do after scoring badly in the A Levels

Lost in transition: What to do after scoring badly in the A Levels

It’s the new year and with it comes the sombre reminder that results would soon be released for the batch of students who sat for their A levels. As the days inch closer towards the release of results, a myriad of thoughts and emotions would probably be running through your mind.

Some would eventually attain their desired results – with tears of joy and ecstatic wails on their faces. However, for others, results day might be less of a celebration. If you find yourself staring at your result slip feeling utterly demoralised, fret not. As someone who has lived through the agony of receiving bad A level results, I’m here to tell you that results day is not the be-all and end-all.

In this article, I’ll be sharing some possible paths you can consider if you’re wondering what to do after A-Levels, especially after scoring bad A-Level results.

Looking for a course that meets your rank points

If your score falls short of your ideal course, consider looking for alternative courses that meet your current rank points. Compare your grades to the IGPs (indicative grade profile) for various university courses.

Should your grades be close to the 10th percentile, you still stand a decent shot at admissions. Furthermore, ABA (aptitude based admissions) or discretionary admissions with a decent portfolio can always boost your chances.

While looking through courses you are eligible for, do thorough research about the various modules offered, career prospects and whether the course is something you can see yourself pursuing for 3 to 4 years.

Sample of NUS’s IGP

Here is a table of the links to the IGPs of the various local universities:

NUS IGP

https://www.nus.edu.sg/oam/undergraduate-programmes/indicative-grade-profile-(igp)

NTU IGP

https://www.ntu.edu.sg/admissions/undergraduate/indicative-grade-profile

SMU IGP

https://admissions.smu.edu.sg/admissions-requirements/indicative-grade-profile

SUSS IGP

https://www.suss.edu.sg/full-time-undergraduate/admissions/indicative-grade-profile-igp

SIT IGP

https://www.singaporetech.edu.sg/sites/default/files/2021-01/SIT_Indicative_Grade_Profile_0.pdf

SUTD IGP

https://www.sutd.edu.sg/Admissions/Undergraduate/Application/Admission-Requirements

Considering private universities

For most students who fail to meet the cut off for local universities, a popular alternative is to look at private universities. Well-known private universities include Kaplan, SIM, The PSB Academy, Curtin University, James Cook University and MDIS.

To find out more, check out the 9 best private universities in Singapore.

Retaking the A Levels

If your grades fell short of your dream course, another way forward from bad A level results would be retaking the A-Levels. Retaking requires commitment and dedication from your end as it means taking a year off to study again for the major exam. Here are some steps you can follow to see if retaking is the right choice for you.

Firstly, analyse your current grades and identify where you may have faltered. If you are able to spot areas of improvement, then draft out an action plan that you can follow.

Secondly, check SEAB’s website to confirm you can retake all your subjects and consider changing your subject combination if required. Thirdly, decide if you’d be retaking as a private candidate or going back to your JC.

In most cases, if you fail an H2 subject, then JCs would be open to having you come back and join the new JC2 batch. However, in the case you do not meet the requirements to retake in school, do not be afraid to reach out to your tutors to see if your school could support you (such as by providing consults if needed).

Retaking is a tough choice but with enough determination and consistency, it is a choice worth making in the long run. Find out how this retaker scored 88.75RP.

Applying to a Polytechnic course

Bad A-Levels results might also be an indicator that perhaps the A level curriculum is not suited for you. If you see yourself as more of a hands-on learner and if you have a passion for a certain field, then consider enrolling in a poly course instead.

While it may sound like a longer route, especially if you intend to pursue a university education, the experience you can glean from a polytechnic education would make you more adept in your selected field. Here’s a guide to choosing the right polytechnic.

Taking a gap year to work and upskill

When thinking “what to do after A levels” applying for a gap year might not be the first thing you might think of. However, there are many benefits of taking a year off before going to University – as long as you plan your time wisely and set goals for yourself.

People embark on gap years for different reasons, some might want to work or upskill while others might want to retake the A levels or study something different. To learn more about taking a gap year, be sure to hear from those who did it, such as these 3 students who shared their gap year experience.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what to embark on after A levels, should you choose to take a gap year.

Part-time or Internships

If you believe that gaining more exposure in a certain field would be more beneficial, then try looking out for part-time or internship opportunities. Furthermore, taking a gap year to work after A levels and applying for university afterwards can prove to give you a better shot at discretionary admissions.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many jobs for A level students. Do not fear the lack of experience – just make sure to prepare a portfolio and show your passion to learn. A level internships are common especially given that you have 6 months after the release of results before university commences.

Websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, JobStreet and STJobs are good places to start looking. If you are not sure what to do after A levels, specifically the kind of jobs you want to apply for, you can find out more from 15 online jobs for students.

Upskill

Other than internships or part-time positions, you could also take the time to upskill via various online courses. Course sites such as Coursera, Google, SkillShare and Udemy have various modules you could consider. Having skills would make you stand out for others applying for A level internships.

Students may also use this time to pursue a side hustle. If you have a passion for entrepreneurship or have a skill that can be monetizable, then consider starting up your own business. Find out more tips from 3 students who found success with their side hustles.

Always a way ahead

We hope this list has been helpful for all those considering different paths after the results. Remember, bad A level results does not define your ability or skills and is simply a redirection for the next step ahead! Believe in yourself and trust the process.

In the meantime, should you want to learn more about how you can maximise your opportunities as a student, give Study Ramen a follow on our Instagram, subscribe to our Telegram channel for updates and connect with us on Linkedin.

10 easy and interesting unrestricted electives to take in NTU

10 easy and interesting unrestricted electives to take in NTU

10 easy and interesting unrestricted electives to take in NTU

It’s Star Wars season – NTU’s module-bidding battle! As a new semester begins, NTU students will begin to think about what unrestricted electives to take.

Unrestricted electives are meant to ‘broaden your knowledge. Basically, these are academic units set aside for you to take modules outside of your major. Fun!

NTU is particularly blessed because we have the magical teaching institute, NIE, within the compounds of our school. As you will see below, NIE offers some of the most interesting UEs.

If you’re an NTU student thinking about which unrestricted electives to take, here are 10 easy and interesting ones to check out (updated as of December 2021).

Are you a freshie? Check out this NTU freshman guide for all you need to know about NTU.

AAI08B Singing with Freedom

I know, the course title is a little cringy. But bear with me.

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: Using the McClosky technique, you’ll learn how to sing without strain (hence freedom) and use your voice better, which makes for a nicer singing voice.

Difficulty: 3/10. There is literally no homework but to practice your singing!

Why you should take it: The professor is very experienced and encouraging. Singing in front of people is often intimidating, but he always encourages students to not feel stressed and have fun with it.

Grading components: 3 singing tests – Vocal exercises (15%), Song 1 (35%), Song 2 (50%)

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

FYI: There is an audition; you need to send in a 1 minute voice clip of you singing. But, the professor shared that he’s just looking for a basic sense of rhythm and pitch. If you can sing in tune and on beat, you should be able to pass.

CM8002 Forensic Science

Picture from Discover Magazine

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn about how science is used to provide evidence for criminal cases.

Difficulty: 6/10. Content is very interesting but brain-stimulating; you have to study for it to do well.

Why you should take it: You will analyse real-life criminal cases as course material! The professor makes the class interesting and even his tests are pretty fun – the final test was a made-up case and students had to analyse it. Most people who take this module love it.

Grading components: 2 online MCQ Midterms (25% each), 1 online short-answer Final (50%)

Find it under: Chemistry and Biological Chemistry

FYI: Be prepared for lots of chemistry/biology.

AAA18M Batik

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn the basics of how to create beautiful batik designs with hot and cold wax and batik dyes.

Difficulty: 4/10. As with all new skills, it’ll take some getting used to, but really you just have to listen and execute (as best as you can).

Why you should take it: It’s a unique experience! Quoting a friend, ‘For someone who is bad at art, I had fun.’ Batik classes outside also aren’t cheap, so might as well take it in school.

Grading components: Project 1 (40%), Project 2 (40%), Digital Journal (20%)

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

FYI: You’ll need to pay around $60 for art materials.

AGQ28C Food and Society

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll explore culture through food. This includes cooking food based on the week’s theme and learning more about the context in which the food is eaten.

Difficulty: 4/10. You have to cook, but recipes are provided and cooking is done in groups so it’s not too intimidating even for novice chefs!

Why you should take it: You get to cook and eat in every class. You can even take the leftovers home! Cooking with people also means making lots of new friends in the process.

Grading components: Country/Topical Report (30%), Infographic (30%), Essay (40%)

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

HN9010 Singapore: Imagining the Next 50 Years

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn about Singapore’s future – the threats that may affect Singapore in the long run and policy strategies to combat these threats.

Difficulty: 1/10. Pass/Fail. Need I say more?

Why you should take it: If you’re looking for an easy UE, this is it. Classes alternate between online and physical every week, and the content is very manageable.

Grading components: Weekly online MCQs (30%), Reflection Essay (50%), Class Participation (20%)

Find it under: General Education in Art, Humanities and Social Sciences

HZ9101 Introduction to Creative Writing

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn about different types of creative writing like poetry, fiction and non-fiction and even try your hand at writing them yourself.

Difficulty: 6/10. People who are new to creative writing might find it difficult at first, but most people who took it enjoyed it.

Why you should take it: It’s a really interactive class; everyone shares their writing and provides feedback together! While this might seem intimidating, the professor is very encouraging in the process.

Grading components: Fiction (20%), Poetry (20%), Multimedia Project (20%), Reflective Essay (20%), Class Participation (20%)

Find it under: English

Level 1 Languages

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn the basic grammar and vocabulary of your chosen language. You’ll also learn more about the country’s culture.

Difficulty: 6/10. Learning languages requires effort to remember and understand what’s being taught, but they begin with simple expressions and grammatical forms.

If you’re learning a new language and want to memorise new words and phrases, these 6 flashcard apps may help you.

Why you should take it: Learning a new language is always a good skill to have. Classes are also interactive, so it’s a fun way to learn about a new culture!

Grading components: Weightage varies based on the language, but usually it includes at least one oral test, listening test and writing test.

Find it under: Humanities

FYI: Because many people learn Japanese and Korean by themselves through watching shows, the bell curve for these languages are usually pretty insane. If you’re a complete beginner and don’t want to stress too much, try another language like Russian or German!

AAA28R Ceramics 1

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn about the whole ceramic making process – from preparing the clay to glazing and firing.

Difficulty: 5/10.

Why you should take it: It’s loads of hands-on fun! You get to make your own ceramic creations and keep them too.

Grading components: Project 1 (40%), Project 2 (40%), Written Project (20%)

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

FYI: You’ll need to pay around $60 for art materials.

AAU08A Theatre Games: Engagement through Play

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You’ll learn how games conventionally used in theatre can help to build interpersonal skills and engage people.

Difficulty: 3/10. Literally, you go in and play games.

Why you should take it: The games are reminiscent of childhood fun! Because they are designed to help you be more expressive and less shy, it’s very interactive and you’ll get to know the people in your class too. It’s great if you are interested in theatre but have little experience in it.

Grading components: Lesson Plan (50%), Reflective Journal (50%)

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

FYI: While the classes themselves are super chill, you still need to put in the effort for the lesson plan and reflective journal. The lecturer is strict with grading!

AAA18H Painting with Oil and Acrylics/AAA19J Painting with Watercolour

What this NTU Unrestricted Elective is about: You will learn about what makes a good painting and learn basic painting techniques.

Difficulty: 5/10. Getting the hang of painting might be tough for some, but it will get better the more you practise it!

Why you should take it: The lecturer is very understanding and helpful, always emphasising that it is a beginner-friendly class. It’s also a therapeutic way to relax amidst a hectic week.

For more ways to de-stress, check out these 10 techniques for stress-relief.

Grading components: Technique studies (40%), Still – Life (30%), Final Portrait/Landscape

Find it under: National Institute of Education (NIE)

FYI: You’ll need to pay around $60 for art materials.

Some parting words…

Don’t be afraid to try something new! While we all want to maintain as high a GPA as possible, don’t limit yourself to the easiest UEs just to do well.

Choosing modules that are fun will make the work not seem like work.

May the force be with you this Star Wars season, and have a fruitful semester ahead. For more study-related content, you can follow us on Instagram, check out our LinkedIn, or subscribe to our Telegram Channel.

Polytechnics in Singapore: A guide to choosing the right Polytechnic

Polytechnics in Singapore: A guide to choosing the right Polytechnic

Polytechnics in Singapore: A guide to choosing the right Polytechnic

Which polytechnic to choose

“What’s next?” is something most post-secondary school students ask themselves after receiving their ‘O’ level results. Although there is a rise in popularity of the 5 Polytechnics in Singapore, students may not know which Polytechnic in Singapore to choose from. Continue reading to find out more about the niche and benefits each Polytechnic can offer you!

Republic Polytechnic

Location: 9 Woodlands Ave 9, Singapore 738964

Located in Woodlands, Republic Polytechnic (RP) was founded in 2002 and is the newest Polytechnic in Singapore to be opened. It has a total of 7 schools with more than 30 diplomas to choose from! RP is well-known among students for their niche in sports diplomas, such as the Diploma in Outdoor & Adventure Learning, and Diploma in Sports Coaching.

RP also boasts a unique pedagogy where the Polytechnic infuses Problem Based Learning (PBL) in their curriculum, resulting in well-rounded students with strong presentation and teamwork skills.

Apart from all the courses offered, another aspect to consider when selecting your future school is the environment. Physically, RP has an extremely aesthetically pleasing campus, with open lawns and spaces for students to gather. Most of the campus is also air-conditioned, which is always a plus!

RP is also home to the Republic Cultural Centre, which hosts arts events and festivals for both its students and the public. Another unique aspect of RP is the numerous Sports Hall they provide students with, including the Competition Hall, Badminton and Table Tennis Hall, as well as the Martial Arts Room.

To make sure their students never go hungry, RP also offers 3 food courts, 2 cafés, as well as a Subway and Cheers store. After class, students can also choose to hang out with their friends at Causeway Point, which is only a 5-minute bus ride from the nearby bus stop.

Student life is especially vibrant on campus, with a total of 46 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) offered. These CCAs range from sports and service-learning clubs to leadership clubs, so every RP student can enrich their life on campus and develop themselves holistically.

RP also takes good care of their students, and even provides shuttle bus services for students living in the East and North-Eastern parts of Singapore! Despite being the youngest Polytechnic in Singapore, RP has won several awards. Many of these awards recognise their efforts in improving workplace health for RP staff, which translates to an even better environment for students to study in!

RP also offers a variety of scholarships, some of which even offer a bond so students do not have to worry about employment after graduation!

*Notable alumni include Yip Pin Xiu, Benjamin Kheng, and Ian Fang

Here’s a list of courses Republic Polytechnic offers!

Interested in Republic Polytechnic? Look for more information here!

Nanyang Polytechnic

Location: 180 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, Singapore 569830

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) is another Polytechnic in Singapore that is located in the North, and more specifically, in Yio Chu Kang. The Polytechnic established in 1992 boasts a total of 6 schools with more than 40 courses in total, and is also known as the only Polytechnic with a Diploma in Social Work.

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to join NYP, you’ll be excited to hear that the Polytechnic in Singapore has an iO Pre-incubator, which serves as a space for students to consult their respective mentors on ideas for startup and social enterprises. NYP also offers the JumpStart Programme, which provides a grant for students who already have a prototype on hand, and are ready to realise their ideas!

NYP also provides a wide range of facilities for students to use when they’re not in class, such as the T-Junction for students to relax and have fun, as well as the Reading Lounge for those looking for a quiet space to study.

The Polytechnic also offers a total of 5 food courts for students to choose from, so you’ll never get sick of campus food. If you ever want to go off campus to eat with your friends, Ang Mo Kio (AMK) Hub is just a 5-minute drive away!

The Polytechnic aims to develop its students holistically and offers the Co-Curricular Activities Points System (CCAPS) to recognise accomplishments outside of school. NYP students can achieve these points by participating in the over 80 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) the Polytechnic offers, with unique clubs such as the Mindsports and Street Workout Club!

The Polytechnic has also brought home many international awards, including a total of 5 awards from the WorldSkills Leipzig held in Germany, where NYP was recognised for their skills in various areas.

NYP also offers numerous external and internal scholarships that all students can apply for, some of which offer bonds with partnering companies and cash awards.

*Notable alumni include Romeo Tan, Carrie Wong, and Vanessa Peh.

Here’s a list of courses Nanyang Polytechnic offers!

Interested in Nanyang Polytechnic? Look for more information here!

Temasek Polytechnic

Location: 21 Tampines Ave 1, Singapore 529757

Temasek Polytechnic (TP) is the only Polytechnic in Singapore located in the East and has 6 schools on campus, which provide students with a total of 37 diploma courses to choose from. TP offers unique courses such as the only Diploma in Veterinary Technology as well as the only Diploma in Law and Management.

Its location in the East is not the only unique aspect about TP – the Polytechnic also adopts a Practice-Based and Skills Education (PSE) framework, where students will be taught to handle industry-based situations. TP has also adopted Self-Directed Learning (SDL), where students are honed into proactive individuals in their learning.

Additionally, students interested in developing their leadership throughout their Polytechnic life will be more than excited to join TP. The Polytechnic offers the 3-year Leadership: Essential Attributes & Practice (LEAP) programme for all students to hone their leadership skills.

TP not only provides students with a total of 61 lecture halls but also a convention centre and amphitheatre. Students do not need to worry about food as well – the Polytechnic has 5 food courts, a Mcdonalds, and Subway for students. With the variety of cuisines offered, you are guaranteed to never be hungry! If you ever want to hang out with your friends after school, the educational institute is only a 15-minute bus ride away from Tampines Mall.

Not only that, TP also offers a wide range of more than 80 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), including special ones such as Wakeboarding and Toastmasters, which teach public speaking skills to their members.

Even though TP was only founded 30 years ago, it is also well-known for their Design school which is home to students who won the Crowbar Awards for five consecutive years since 2017.

TP also gives their students the opportunity to apply for scholarships, and even recognises students who excel holistically, presenting them the CCA scholarship.

*Notable alumni include Dasmond Koh, Xu Bin, and Charmaine Soh.

Here’s a list of courses Temasek Polytechnic offers!

Interested in Temasek Polytechnic? Look for more information here!

Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Location: 535 Clementi Rd, Singapore 599489

Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) is one of the highly sought-after Polytechnics to enrol in after students graduate from their secondary school. With a total of 8 academic schools and 39 diploma programmes to choose from, NP is also known for its School of Business as well as School of Film and Media Studies. Additionally, it is also the only Polytechnic in Singapore that offers the Diploma in Chinese Studies, as well as the Diploma in Data Science.

NP is also well-known for its vibrant student life on campus, with more than 100 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) available for students to mingle around with others from different courses. Additionally, the Polytechnic in Singapore also offers a unique teaching pedagogy to help students expand perspectives through interdisciplinary study (IS) modules. Throughout their 3 years in the educational institute, students must take at least one IS module to gain soft skills.

NP also provides high-quality facilities, including platforms such as The Sandbox to assist aspiring student entrepreneurs to begin their startup journey. Some well-known companies founded on campus include Carousell. Not only that, NP also has a gym, convention centre, and even an aerospace hub for students!

Apart from the well-rounded facilities for students to develop both their academic and holistic skills, NP also makes sure that their students never go hungry! The 4 food courts, along with the Subway and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf located on campus guarantees students a diverse range of cuisines to satisfy their cravings. The Polytechnic is also located on Clementi street which is near Beauty World, a famous supper haven for students.

NP also presents their students the opportunity to apply for scholarships and awards, to recognise their hard work. Through its well-established curriculum, NP won the Singapore Quality Class Star Award and the President’s Award for the Environment in 2014.

*Notable alumni include Sonia Chew, Jean Danker, and Anthony Chen.

Here’s a list of courses Ngee Ann Polytechnic offers!

Interested in Ngee Ann Polytechnic? Look for more information here!

Singapore Polytechnic

Location: 500 Dover Rd, Singapore 139651

Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is the Polytechnic with the longest history in Singapore, with a total of 8 academic schools and 33 full-time courses. Apart from the numerous courses offered, SP is also well-known for their Engineering diploma programmes, along with extremely unique courses such as the Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science.

Other notable diplomas offered include Facilities Management, where students will be certified in fire safety, risk management, and supervision of construction work upon graduation. With such a practical curriculum, SP is definitely one of the most attractive Polytechnics in Singapore!

SP also offers its students a colourful life on campus, with more than 100 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) for students to choose from. Apart from the many CCAs, SP also holds an annual SP Flag Day as part of the Freshman Orientation Programme (FOP), where students take part in meaningful fundraising for the underprivileged in Singapore.

With such a big campus, SP provides only the highest quality facilities for their students, including 2 libraries, an aerospace hub, and a sports complex. The Polytechnic located in the West of Singapore also delivers a variety of food options for students as well.

With 6 food courts, a Macdonald’s, KFC, and Subway, SP students have access to an affordable range of cuisines on campus. Students can also choose to go to the nearby Clementi Mall to eat if campus food does not suit their taste buds.

SP also provides its students with numerous scholarships they can apply for, from those recognising outstanding academic talent to those rewarding students who excel holistically.

Through its longstanding history as Singapore’s first Polytechnic, SP has brought home various awards. This includes the ASEAN People’s Award for community-building efforts and the South West Environment and Community (ECo) Award for their contributions to environmental and community sustainability.

*Notable alumni include Tanya Chua, Taufik Batisah, and Kelly Poon.

Here’s a list of courses Singapore Polytechnic offers!

Interested in Singapore Polytechnic? Look for more information here!

Conclusion

Although many students are overwhelmed by the options they can go to after receiving their results, enrolling into a Polytechnic in Singapore is just the beginning of an exciting journey filled with friends, group projects, and fun. We hope that you have a much clearer idea of which Polytechnic is a better choice for you after reading this article!

Check out our Instagram @studyramensg and join our Telegram Channel for more student-oriented content! To find out more about Studyramen, visit our Linkedin Page at Studyramen.

Double Degree vs Double Major: A comprehensive breakdown

Double Degree vs Double Major: A comprehensive breakdown

Double Degree vs Double Major: A comprehensive breakdown

As our world gets more volatile and uncertain, new jobs are being created every year while others are becoming obsolete. To stay relevant in the job market and widen employment options, students are starting to explore double major and double degrees.

What does taking a double degree or double major mean? Does it cost more? Will I need a longer time to graduate? Understanding the pros and cons of double degrees and majors is helpful in deciding your choice of university too!

What does it mean to take a double major or double degree

Students who take a double degree will graduate with two different degrees, which means they will receive two separate degree certificates.

  • Example: Bachelor of Business, major in Finance and Bachelor of Social Sciences, major in Political Science

Students who take a double major will graduate with one degree and will receive only one degree certificate, but their two majors will be reflected on their academic transcript.

  • Example: Bachelor of Business, major in Finance and Political Science

Workload differences for double major and double degree

Double degree vs double major

For double majors, your second major will have fewer requirements than your first major. Most of the time unless in special cases, double major students will clear the same number of modules as a single major.

The reason why they clear a similar number of modules is because instead of taking free/unrestricted electives like students taking a single major, double major students will take modules specifically related to their second major to clear those additional requirements.

Although the number of modules is the same, single major students have the freedom to pick lighter and fun modules like language modules, food-related or hobby-related modules, which could translate into a lighter workload overall.

For double degrees, there is an increase in the number of modules to clear as you are completing two full majors. Except, you will not have to clear the university core modules twice.

Your workload essentially depends on how fast you want to graduate, since the number of modules you take in university is mostly self-planned. However, to graduate within 4-5 years as most double degree students do, you will likely need to overload some of your semesters.

Graduation requirements to fulfill across different universities (NUS/NTU/SMU)

NUS:

NTU:

  • For NTU, the number of module units to clear varies widely according to the course you take. The table below will only show an average to give an idea of the difference.
  • Total module units to clear:

SMU:

  • Double degree: attain minimum grades for specific modules and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.4 for the first 2 years (3 years for Law only) and a cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout the rest of the course
  • Total module units to clear:

How long would it take to graduate if I take a double major or double degree

Double major students can graduate within the same timeframe as single major students, which is 3 to 4 years depending on your degree.

For double degrees, it also depends on which degree you are pursuing, but are on average, completed within 4 to 5 years.

How taking a double major or double degree can affect employability

Compared to a single major, if a student’s second major or degree adds value to the job, they will make a more attractive pick.

With a double degree, you are potentially open to more career pathways since you will have extensive knowledge of two fields of study.

A double major could also provide similar opportunities except if two students apply for the same job, it is only logical for employers to pick the double degree student over the double major student, ceteris paribus, since they essentially have more knowledge in the field.

However, many jobs factor in GPA in their employment decisions too. Hence, if you foresee a double degree or major being too stressful to the point that your GPA drops significantly, graduating with a single major and high GPA may work better for you in terms of employment.

How to qualify for double major or double degree

Students’ academic results are the main qualifying factor for the two programmes but compared to double majors, double degrees have fewer vacancies and stricter requirements.

NUS

For direct admission to NUS double major and double degree programmes, students need to attain good to excellent grades in all subjects and fulfil other subject prerequisites.

Current NUS students who wish to apply for a double major have to do so within the first five semesters of study and will be assessed based on certain criteria, including your CAP.

Students can also apply for a double degree in NUS during their course of study, usually by the end of their second year, but exceptions are made for later admissions too. A good way to find out if you are eligible is to check with your academic counselor.

Fundamentally, the basic qualifications to transfer to a double degree includes taking modules related to the second degree for the school to assess your ability in that subject, and a minimum CAP of 3.7.

NTU

NTU double degree programmes can only be entered via direct admission and the option to change to a double degree from a single degree during the course is not available. The acceptance will be based on good academic grades.

For NTU double majors, you can either be accepted upon admission based on good academic grades or be offered at the end of year 1 if you attain a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and above.

SMU

For SMU, all students have the option to take up a double major programme. Students who are interested are to declare it after entering the university, by their second year.

To get a double degree in SMU, you can either apply for it through direct admission with good academic results or apply for it by the end of your second year. To qualify, you will need a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 and minimum grades for specific required subjects, depending on your course.

Cost of double major and double degree programmes

Jar of coins
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

The costs of double major programmes do not differ from single major programmes.

The costs of double degree programmes can differ slightly, but the increased costs are usually due to the length of the course more than the course itself. As double degree programmes usually take longer to complete, you will need to pay for the additional semesters you are in school, amounting to a larger total sum.

On the bright side, the fees for the additional semesters are also subsidized. Only when you exceed the normal candidature period of your degree will you be required to pay partial or non-subsidized fees.

However, there are slight nuances across each school.

In NUS, double degree students are to pay tuition fees according to their primary degree during the stipulated normal candidature. Exceeding that, fees will only be partially subsidized.

In NTU, the tuition fees for the double degree programmes are the same as their Business Degree and Accountancy Degree, which is slightly pricier than their other single degrees. Similar to NUS, fees will only receive less subsidy if the normal candidature period is exceeded.

In SMU, if the double degree programmes are priced differently, the fee paid by the student is based on the degree that costs more. Besides a double degree involving Law which has an expected duration of 5 years, SMU double degree students can expect to complete their programme in 4 years.

Are the double major and degree combinations fixed or flexible

For NUS, students can pick their second major from a wide range of disciplines.

For their double degree programmes, NUS offers 9 different combinations to direct admission double degree students and 5 more available only to non-direct admission applications, which are those who have completed their first year of study.

Even so, students are allowed to initiate their own combinations if they meet certain criteria which include a minimum GPA and the completion of a certain number of modules.

For NTU, their double degree and major programme combinations are slightly rigid but are specially curated to ensure industrial relevance and academic rigor. Currently, they are offering about 15 different double degree combinations and 50 over double major or second major programmes.

For SMU, as they strongly encourage students to graduate with multiple disciplines, their offerings for a double major and degree tracks are extremely flexible. This allows students to freely design their own preferred programme combination.

Is it possible to take double degrees in the same faculty

As different schools may define the word “faculty” differently, it can be confusing to understand it from this perspective.

The bottom line is that your two degrees have to be from two different disciplines. For example, Bachelor of Social Sciences and Bachelor of Science is possible but Bachelor of Business and another Bachelor of Business is not.

If you wish to specialize in two different majors in the same degree, like specializing in both Psychology and Sociology under Bachelor of Social Science, go for a double major instead!

Is it possible to upgrade from double major to double degree

You cannot “upgrade” from a double major per se, but it is possible to apply for a transition to a double degree programme during your course of study.

This option is open to single major students as well, as long as the requirements are met. You may refer to the admission requirements mentioned above for more information.


That’s all!

Hope this article helped to answer your questions about double degrees and double majors and in deciding the best combination of subjects for yourself! If you need more information on the respective universities, check out our freshmen guides for NUS, NTU and SMU!

For more informative articles and study tips, subscribe to StudyRamen’s Telegram channel and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn!

30 ways to spend the school holidays improving yourself

30 ways to spend the school holidays improving yourself

30 ways to spend the school holidays improving yourself

30 things to do during the school holidays to improve yourself

School’s out, and now it’s time for a break.

But if you are getting bored of doing nothing and binge-watching Netflix shows all day, then why not look for some ideas to make your holidays more productive?

To help you with that, we’ve put together a list of 30 things on how to spend your school holidays more effectively!

It includes things to do that are suitable for students still in lockdown, or for those who prefer to spend their holidays at home.

Read books

Reading books is a productive way to spend your vacation, and it’ll be good to read both fiction and non-fiction books from a wide range of genres.

If you’re not sure about which book to start, check out our list of recommended self-improvement titles!

Learn a new language

Head over to websites like DuoLingo to learn another language like Korean, Japanese, French and more!

You can also check out these flashcards applications that could help you with your language learning journey.

Take a online course

For a productive way to spend your holidays, you can look to start online courses!

There are plenty of free courses on various topics available on websites like Coursera, Linkedin Learning and Udemy.

Volunteer for a good cause

Spend your holidays doing something for a good cause by volunteering! Not only would you be able to help others, but it would also provide you with a meaningful experience.

You can help out at animal shelters or participate in programmes that help migrant workers, or look at our article to find more places to volunteer at!

Find a part-time job

Apart from being a productive way to spend your vacation, it helps you gain working experience, useful practical skills and earn a little bit of pocket money!

If you are keen on spending your summer vacation at home, you can search among the variety of online jobs available for students for a suitable one too.

Start on a side hustle

If you’ve always wanted to try being your own boss, unleash your inner entrepreneur and start up your own business during these holidays!

To get some inspiration and motivation, you can read this article on three students sharing their side hustle experiences.

Increase your vocabulary

Having a wide vocabulary range would be useful for students, so why not do so during school holidays!

You can visit websites like Vocabulary.com or search for other resources that’ll help with building your vocabulary.

Learn about new study techniques

Make use of the holidays by reading up on ways to up your study game for your next semester.

Our articles on revision techniques like the Pomodoro techniques and active note-taking methods would be great to start from!

Reflect on your previous performance in school

Think about what you have achieved in the previous school semester and what you can improve on from now on. This would be helpful in setting and working towards new academic or personal goals.

Plan for future career or school options

Consider potential job options or academic routes that you’ll like to take in the future.

You can spend time during the school holidays to research extensively for industry insights or possible education paths.

Or you could also reach out to people like school ECG counsellors or network on platforms like LinkedIn.

Join school programmes or competitions

Look for events that your school offers in which you can participate, for example, Hackathons or exchange programmes. By doing so, you’ll be able to gain memorable experiences and new knowledge.

Additionally, you’ll gain perks like being able to build your portfolio and gaining new connections.

Attend career fairs, workshops or events

You can search for upcoming career fairs and events held during your school vacation on career development websites to attend like SkillsFuture and WorkForce Singapore.

These events would motivate you on your future career goals and give you more information on industries you are interested in.

Brush up on your Microsoft Office skills

Having good technical skills in using Microsoft Office would be beneficial for school and for future professions.

Spend your time during the holidays by enhancing your skills on excel sheets or powerpoints, which you can learn from here.

Learn creative skills

You can even work on your creative skills by learning more about photography, photo and video editing or using graphic design software like Canva.

Learn how to code

Another interesting and useful skill would be coding!

You can sign up for physical holiday coding camps and workshops like at SGCodeCampus.

You can also look for online resources available like Codeacademy and freeCodeCamp to learn different coding languages, for example, Python and JavaScript.

Explore new places

Take yourself outside to visit new places with a curious mind.

For example, you can check out these unique vintage shops, or head over to museums to gain some knowledge and creative inspiration.

Improve your physical health

Take care of yourself by spending your holidays working towards your health or athletic goals.

Keeping up with a constant exercise routine and working on eating healthier would be good for improving your general well-being.

Even if you are a student still in lockdown or prefer to stay at home during this vacation, you can also stay productive with home workouts available online.

Pick up new hobbies

A productive way to spend your free time during the holidays would be to learn something new.

Take up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, like learning a new instrument, a new art form or others to cure your boredom.

Declutter and clean your study space

Prepare yourself for the next school semester by keeping your study space organised.

It would also be good to sort out all your school notes and materials as well as to tidy up your desk.

Start a personal blog or website

Sourced from Wix

Starting a blog or website is a fun and interesting way to exercise your writing and creativity skills.

Write about your passions and interests on blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr, or design websites and portfolios on Wix.

Improve your financial literacy

It is important to improve financial literacy which would be extremely beneficial now and in the future.

You can spend this school holiday picking up this valuable skill by learning about money-saving tips as a student or about investing in Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Read the news

A good practice to have during the school holidays is to keep yourself updated on current affairs, and you can do so by reading the latest news.

National Geographic and Channel News Asia are some examples that offer great articles to acquire new knowledge.

Watch educational documentaries and Youtube videos

An engaging way to learn would be through educational videos, and it’ll be good to spend your holidays productively watching and gaining learning insights.

You can head over to websites that offer collections of free documentaries or search up for videos on YouTube channels like CrashCourse or AsapScience.

Listen to educational podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to gain new insights on a whole range of subjects and topics while on the go or when you have free time at home.

Check out these lists of 13 Singaporean podcasts for youth and 10 educational podcasts that you would definitely want to listen to this school holiday!

Play brain games

Apart from being able to have fun while playing games, brain games help to refine your cognitive skills, like memory, problem-solving and many others.

You can use apps like Lumiosity or play board games like Chess and Scrabble that would help train your brain.

Fix your sleeping schedule

Busy schedules during the school term might have caused you to lose out on sleep, so you can spend the school holidays adjusting your sleeping times.

Ensure that you are having ample sleep with sleep trackers like Sleep Cycle. You can also read our article to learn more ways to aid you!

Go out and enjoy nature spaces

A study by the University of Exeter suggests that spending more than 120 minutes outside in nature increased the likelihood of experiencing good health and higher well-being.

With that, after being cooped up indoors studying for your exams, a great way to unwind during your school vacation would be to head out into nature!

Participate in environmental activities

With the increase of environmental issues like plastic pollution, take small actions to help the environment by trying activities to educate you about being eco-friendly.

You can start by checking out upcycling DIY projects online or looking out for more informative environmental events on LepakinSG during the school holidays.

Catch up with friends and family

During your free time while on school vacation, it is good to spend more time with your friends and family and bond with them through various activities.

Start journaling

Journalling is a good activity when staying at home during your school vacations. It provides many mental health benefits and is a good habit that helps you organise your thoughts.

You can learn how to start a physical journal here, or turn to journal apps like DayOne.

Final Notes

We hope that this list of ideas would give you some inspiration on how to spend your holidays.

Holidays are meant for you to recharge before school resumes, so remember to strike a balance of being productive and taking a well-deserved break.

We hope that you’ll have a fruitful and enjoyable school vacation! Be sure to follow us on our Instagram, Linkedin and Telegram Channel for more content.