Poly grads’ O-level results will no longer be part of NUS and NTU’s admission scores – here’s what you should know

Singapore Press Holdings

It looks like how well polytechnic students fared in their O-level examinations will no longer play such a big part in their chances of getting accepted into the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

From 2020, NUS and NTU will drop the 20 per cent weightage given to O-level results for polytechnic graduate applicants.

They will primarily be assessed based on their Grade Point Average (GPA).

However, the universities are allowed to continue imposing O-level subject-specific requirements that applicants have to meet. Interviews, aptitude tests and other forms of assessments may also be conducted.

Students can continue to submit their O-level results relevant to the course of study as additional information to support their applications.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Nov 7 that by doing so, it can “better recognise late-bloomers and those who have done well in polytechnics, or after discovering their interest when they are older”.

According to MOE, this change better supports the diverse profile of polytechnic students – close to a quarter of all students who enter polytechnics do not possess O-Level qualifications. Many are Polytechnic Foundation Programme students and Institute of Technical Education graduates.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, Professor Ling San, Provost, NTU, said: “Given the diversity of students’ prior backgrounds, it would be fairer to look at mainly their polytechnic results for university admission, but we will still consider their O-level results where applicable.”

“NTU will consider a holistic approach in assessing applicants, so that they have an opportunity to highlight their strengths,” he added.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS, told Business Insider: “Each year, NUS sets aside up to 15 per cent of our undergraduate places for consideration of exceptional candidates to be admitted under the Discretionary Admission scheme.

“Through this scheme, quite a number of talented polytechnic graduates have gained admission into NUS, including those with good GPAs regardless of their O-Levels results. They have done well at NUS.”

He added that NUS “welcomes” the policy change as it is in line with its efforts towards a holistic approach for admissions, where students are assessed based on their aptitudes, interests and passion, besides academic achievements.

More details on changes to the application process for polytechnic students will be released by NUS and NTU closer to the Academic Year 2020 admissions exercise, MOE said.