Should I Choose Polytechnic or JC?


Lately I’ve been listening to IF YOU by BIGBANG on repeat, which is the main inspiration of this blog’s title and sparked some thoughts.


Throughout my years in Polytechnic, there are often (a lot of) times I doubt my choice to enroll into a Polytechnic instead of a Junior College (JC). When I’ve piles of assignments, not-so-amazing teammates, multiple deadlines on the same day, presentation after presentation and more. I often wonder how my life would be if I opted for JC at that point in time.

Not That Polytechnic Isn’t Great

Now it does sound like I’m ranting on my stressed-out 3 years with no luck whatsoever. But I’m here to provide an objective view so you know better which fits you! There are pros of entering a polytechnic… small benefits like not having to wear a uniform, having an unfixed schedule and many, many extra events that polytechnics offer.

Here Comes The “But”

There are also the side where most people don’t see, the consistent effort that poly students need to put in, and the fear of screwing up ANY module at ANY point in time in the 3 years of course. Because 1 bad grade can affect you and pull your GPA down and you can never get it back up. It is easier to maintain your grade in comparison to try to get perfect scores for the rest of your poly life just to make up to that one mishap.

Sigh. (n.d.). [Image]. Tenor.
Sigh. (n.d.). [Image]. Tenor.

The JC Perspective

Having an older brother studying in JC gives me an insight of their life. To put it simply, it’s a secondary school life; but add in one big scoop of competitiveness, triple the stress, minus away your personal life and factor in a LOT of information.

It’s definitely a grind and you will probably never see the end of absorbing information. My brother is constantly studying and the dark circles are just darkening… (No worries! He has now graduated and serving his NS life).

Here Comes The “But” Part. 2

Yes, the stress and pace will squeeze you dry, leaving you to be an empty shell. BUT there are advantages to it. It earns you more time to think about what you want to do in the future, with an GCE A-Level certificate (and scoring decently well in it) opens most university courses for you. It also is more adaptable as compared to Polytechnic, since it is a similar process as GCE O-Level. So before you lose that momentum, you set yourself up for A-Levels and grind. You also have many “tries” (the exams and test papers that isn’t the real deal) to perfect your subjects.

How To Decide?

Ultimately, this is the life you will be leading for the next 2/3 years, depending on where you choose to go. But for all the students out there who needs a little push for a decision, here’s some “guidelines”:

Go for Junior College if you:

  • don’t know what to do/what your interest is yet
  • want a more secure route to university (most JC students are able to go to a university)
  • are not a disciplined/self-driven person (there’s no one to push you and lecturers in Polytechnic wouldn’t care like the teachers in secondary school/JC)
  • prefer to do written papers over hands-on work

Go for Polytechnic if you:

  • already know your interest/passion
  • don’t have plans to enroll into a university/are confident enough that you will score well enough for a university course
  • prefer to do hands-on as compared to written papers
  • want more exposure to the real world
[Thinking]. (n.d.). Disney.
[Thinking]. (n.d.). Disney.


So what if I want to study and work simultaneously? There are Part-time Diplomas to offer (no Part-time A-Level though)!

International schools, such as Spring College International offer a wide range of Diploma courses; available full-time and part-time, depending on your flexibility. For your convenience, here’s the list:

  1. Diploma in Accountancy
  2. Diploma in Marketing
  3. Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management
  4. Diploma in International Business Management
  5. Diploma in Logistics and Operations Management
  6. Diploma in Professional Chinese Teaching


A lot might think it is too tiring or hard to study and work at the same time. But the truth is, there are a lot of people who copes with both their work and school very well when they take up Part-Time Diploma. Furthermore, taking a Diploma will help open up more job opportunities. This will eventually lead you to a better job and more work experiences. Ultimately, having a Part-time Diploma allows you to both enhance your skills as well as earn a full-time worker’s pay, killing two birds in one stone.


This is such a huge thing for us students — or honestly, everyone. To all the night owls out there surviving with 3-5 hours of sleep, pay more attention from here onwards. My parents were super strict on number of hours I slept, so I did not face problems like not being able to focus well. In fact, I felt that having sufficient sleep played a major role in understanding the subjects I was learning and performed better at test papers and my extra curriculum duties.

Students without enough sleep have been proven to be more prone to health problems and have trouble concentrating and doing well academically.

But what if I just can’t sleep? As ridiculous as it sounds, it has become increasingly common in the younger generation to not able to sleep early and wake on time (excluding medical conditions like insomnia). We spend our time on our phones in bed and don’t feel tired until 1:00AM (or even later for some of us). Here’s some self-help pointers:

  • Read your study materials

Works like magic (personally). Set your devices aside and genuinely try to focus on studying the subject. If you end up with a 30-minute recap session — great. Most of us would yawn within the first 5 minutes.

Just to make you feel all fuzzy inside. Milk is also known to have sleep-promoting nutrients like magnesium. If you have problems sleeping when you consume diary products, chamomile tea would be a great alternative.

Private or Local Diploma?

There are a lot of voices in the community revolving around this topic. Whether it is worth it, if there are any downsides to taking the respective diplomas, so on and so forth.

Having to work in SCI and understanding the courses in more in-depth WHILE being a final-year student in a Polytechnic — gives me great insight of how both works and which course is more suitable for you.

Let’s start with Local Diploma:

  1. School Life Experience
    Since Polytechnic is a school of a higher institution, no doubt it still works like a school, with more extra co-curriculums that you may join. A school life bring you fun and friendship, as well as a break away from studies. These are completely optional, so you never have to worry about having not enough time for rest or studies!
  2. Real-Work Place Stimulation
    From the second year onwards, local Polytechnics in general starts to give projects that requires you to work with real-industry brands, where you are no longer kept within the comforts of your school. Furthermore in your final year, you will be attached to a company for internship. Most internship lasts for 6 months (although for me, I was fortunate enough to be able to have 2 internships to expand my horizons than most of my peers!).
  3. Longer Years
    If you’re rushing to get a Diploma certificate, local Diploma might not be suitable for you. As mentioned, it is a 3-year course, and there is no way of speeding up the process.
  4. Rigid Timetable
    Hear me out. I get that Polytechnics do not have a fixed timing of reporting to school everyday at 8AM, unlike the JC students. However, you are not given a choice to CHOOSE your timetable, and from personal experience; it doesn’t cancel out the possibility of having three 8AM classes in a row and ending at 6PM.

Private Diploma can be quite different:


  1. Shorter Years
    It usually only takes a year to complete the course and graduate with the Diploma of your choice. It grants you more job opportunities and be relevant in the field earlier than others.
  2. Flexible Timetable
    As in, choose-when-you-want-to-attend-class kind of flexible. In Spring College International, there is a high flexibility for that! Morning, afternoon, evening, weekdays, weekends, so on and so forth. Commit at YOUR convenience.
  3. Rich Knowledge and Experience from Teachers
    In SCI, teachers are carefully selected to teach each course. They are certified with relevant qualifications and other teaching experiences, so they are not any less abled than mainstream school teachers!
  4. Detailed Attention from Teachers
     Unlike Polytechnic lecturers, they have too many students and too little time to notice every student; and even consultations may be hardly available as lecturers do have other admin matters to attend to. I don’t think half of the lecturers remembered my name despite bein in their classes for 2 semesters. However in Private Diploma courses, it is a smaller class size and teachers don’t have other commitments other than impairing knowledge and skills to the class! You can always raise your questions without the fear to be in front of a huge crowd.

No Matter Where You Go

It is very important to know your ultimate goal and what you want to achieve in life. Do you want to be a marketer in the future? Is your dream a manager? Are you diving into the Accounting world?

Interest drives a huge part of working. It is a natural motivation when things get rough in the career path of your choice. Studying a diploma of the right specialisation betters your shot at the job.


Hopefully by now, there is a decision made in your mind as to which Diploma to take! As a final year student, I definitely have felt that there are some areas throughout my time in Polytechnic that I should have done better. However, I am proud to have come so far in this 3-year journey and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Author: Tan Jia Xuan


Tan, K. (2019, August 8). 8 Myths About Part-Time Studies Debunked For Singaporeans Who Want To Balance Work & School. TheSmartLocal – Singapore’s Leading Travel and Lifestyle Portal.

You've Come To The End Of The Blog!

Contact Us

× How can I help you?