• Social Scientist

How to choose my Junior College

If you are interested to read on the topic "Should I go JC or Poly?", please click on the following link: https://www.socialscientist.sg/post/should-i-go-jc-or-poly

If you have decided to apply for JC, this article will help you make your choice order for JAE. Your “choice order” matters a lot! So, let’s get started.

What is “Cut-off Points”?

Let's try to understand what exactly is “Cut-off Points”. Cut-off points are the points or L1R5 score of the LAST student that is admitted into that specific JC. Even if you have met the cut-off points of that JC, you might not get a place, don’t forget, it’s the rank points of the LAST students.

For most JCs, the cut-off points of the Science Faculty are lower than the Arts Faculty. So, for most JCs, its harder to get into the Science Faculty.

Also, it is not the ranking of JC in Singapore. However, the results of students entering the JC will influence the results of students graduating from the JC.

Point #1: Are you ABLE to enter the JC.

The cut-off points will be the first factor in choosing your JC. Don’t expect the JC cut-off points to change a lot, +/- 1 point is reasonable and likely, +/- 2 points are less likely. There are 16 schools offering GCE A-Level and the table below shows their Cut-off Points for 2019. Do note that cut-off points change every year!

Based on 2019 JAE Cut-off points (L1R5), Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution are the toughest to get into for both Arts and Science faculty, you might not be able to get admission even if you have 5 points for the Science.

For example, if your L1R5 is 10 points (after all the bonus) and would like to pursue Science faculty, apply for a 6 points JC would not be very realistic. Looking at those 9 points to 11 points would be a good range. Using 2019 as the benchmark, if your L1R5 is 10 points and wish to attend:

  • Dunman High School, Eunoia JC, River Valley High School or Temasek JC, the cut-off points of these 4 JCs must worsen by +1 or more.

  • St. Andrew's JC, the cut-off points of SAJC must maintain or worsen.

  • Anderson Serangoon JC, the cut-off points of ASRJC must maintain and not improve by more than 1 point.

Point #2: Does that JC offer the subject combination that you want to take.

Not all JCs are the same, each JC offers different combinations and some JC offers more combination than others. For example, not all JC will offer H2 English Literature, H2 Geography, H2 History and H2 Mathematics together. Also, some subjects are only offered in certain JCs, for example, H2 Art. You should check with the various JCs you are interested in for details on the subject combinations offered in the Arts or Science Faculty.

Also, the criteria to take the various subjects differs between JC also. Some JCs require students to have at least B3 for O-Level Additional Mathematics before they can take H2 Mathematics.

If you are interested in “Special Programs” and “Electives Programs", make sure that JCs offers and the criteria to take these programs too.

Point #3: Distance and duration of travel

The average school days of JC are longer and more tiring than secondary schools. Taking CCAs into accounts, you can end lessons as early as 230 pm (unlikely) or as late as 8-9 pm (with CCA). Therefore, your JC shouldn’t be too far from home.

For example, between two JCs, JC (A) requires half an hour travelling time, while JC (B) requires 1.5 hours of travelling time. If both JCs are similar in quality, I would strongly advise students to choose the closer one. One-hour extra travelling time each way would mean that you get two hours of extra free time and rest every day! So, it will be 10 hours of extra free time a week, 400 hours a year, that’s about 17 days! That amount of free time if well spent can do wonders. Imagine how much more alert you will be in class with 1 hour of extra sleep.

Point #4: [Big Fish in a Small Pond] or [Small Fish in a Big Pond] theory

[Small Fish in a Big Pond] means you have a higher L1R5 compared to your peers in the JC, or your peers have done better than you for O-Level.

The strength of this choice would be that the small fish would be exposed to peers with better performance that they could look up to and learn from. Hopefully, they will seek to be better and improve themselves seeing how others can be. Self-motivated students exposed to these peers who are better than them would be motivated to improve themselves and do better. Student’s expectation might be adjusted higher. With higher expectations, students might be encouraged to pursue more in life.

However, being a small fish in a big pond can be stressful for the small fish as it is much harder for them to perform as well as their peers. Chances of them doing well relative to their peers are lower. This could be a shock for some students who were top students in their secondary school before coming to the big pond.

[Big Fish in a Small Pond] means you have a lower L1R5 compared to your peers in the JC, or your peers have done not as well as you for O-Level.

The strength of this would be that the big fish would have more opportunities and chances to excel in their studies as well as build on their self-esteem. As the pace of the curriculum usually suits the average learner in each school, being the big fish means that you will be able to follow and be more comfortable with the speed of lecture and rigour of assessment. Chances of you doing better compared to your peers would also be higher. With that, you will have more time and opportunities to explore things beyond books or represent schools in external events.

However, being a big fish in a small pond might lead to complacency and the big fish might not strive to do better or fulfil to their fullest potential.

The above two theories are dependent on how each student’s behaviour and act in JC and might not be applicable to all students. How well you do in JC really depends on what you do in JC and not how well you have done in secondary school.

The model answer is the [Right Size Fish in the Right Size Pond].

Depending on your characteristics, whether you are highly self-motivated, disciplined or your level of self-esteem, find a pond or JC that suits your needs. If you are in the right size pond, you will thrive and do well not only in A-Level but in other areas of development as well.

Point #5 School Culture

Different JCs will have different culture and lifestyle but don’t believe what you heard online or from your peers, old rumours and stereotypes being spread maybe since before you were born. The best way to find out about school culture is not from Open House but check with your seniors who are in that specific JC and ask them for their honest reviews.

Point #6 Other Factors

There are also other factors such as vacancies available in each school. Each JC will have different quota or spaces available for O-Level JAE, for example, EJC will accept lesser students from JAE than SAJC.

OR in the case of two identical students with the same L1R5 and only one vacancy left, who will get it? I will not put in too much effort into thinking about things totally out of our control.

Final Point: “Choice Order”

Please Read your JAE Information Booklet Carefully!

For example, refer [Table 1: Computation of Bonus Points] in your JAE Information Booklet for the full details on how bonus points are calculated.

Feeder Schools and Affiliated JC bonus points

The first important point on choice order is that 2 bonus points for students from feeder schools only if they choose their affiliated Junior College course(s) as their:

a. 1st choice, OR

b. 1st and 2nd choices.

Which means if your 1st choice is not your affiliated Junior College course but your 2nd choice is, your 2nd choice does not get the bonus 2 points! so please be careful.

Next, there is a limit of a maximum of ONLY 4 Bonus Points for most students. Students who have applied for the CLEP, MLEP or TLEP and have been selected for the programme have a maximum of 6 Bonus Points

Advice for your "Choice Order"

If you are using your feeder school bonus 2 points, your first or first two choices must be your affiliated Junior College. Usually, students will be Science first than Arts as for most JCs, its harder to get into Science than Arts. Special cases are CJC and TMJC in 2019.

Your choice order should start from the most difficult, hardest or least likely to get in being 1st choice. then slowly move towards the last choice being the easiest and most likely to get into. But of course, all choices should be the schools that you would like to study in and not because of the ranking of difficulty of admission. The system will assign you to the school that you are eligible from 1st choice downwards, so if your first choice is a school that you can enter easily, most probably the rest of your choices might not matter as much.

So now, how are you going to make that choice?

Your education path must fit your strength and your aspiration. Some students suit one JC more than others. You need to find the JC and the course of studies that suits you and your aspiration. So, it’s not too early to explore what you want to study in university now! What is also important is you find the meaning of why are you spending the next two years in JC.

I wish you all the best in getting to the JC of your choice.

I specialise in JC education and I hope to help youth more, I will be uploading more articles soon! If you are interested in “Should I take H1 or H2 Economics” or “How are rank points calculated?”, please subscribe!

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Have a great day ahead!

Benjamin Thong

Social Scientist Academy


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