Choosing the Right JC
I’ve recently completed my A Levels examinations, finally freeing up time to write an article I have thought about since the first week of JC. Instead of writing about how to survive the JC education system, perhaps it is more useful to know how to choose the right school so that surviving the 2 years will be more of a cinch.
Here are 5 pointers I would like to give my juniors choosing the next path of their academic lives.
1. Ignore School Status
Most people choose the school with the lowest cut off score. As Singaporeans, we all know which the elite schools are. It is always satisfying to tell your relatives or friends about the “top” school you’ve successfully enrolled into.
Besides, most people hastily equate “elite school” with “better education”, which therefore leads to better varsity prospects and even better job opportunities. While there is some correlation between these factors, you must remember enrolling into these schools does not guarantee you straight As and perfect scores.
To ace your JC curriculum and enjoy 2 fulfilling years, you need to look beyond superficial factors like school status.
2. Teachers’ Dedication and Devotion
Teachers play crucial roles in your academic success in any educational institution. When patronizing the open houses, observe how the teachers portray themselves and how they talk about their work. Speak to your seniors and secondary school teachers to find out about the various work ethics of instructors in junior colleges. You can even trawl forums online, but remember to remain objective when reading others’ opinions.
When the general work staff is motivated, you won’t lose out even if the school is not amongst the “elite”. This is because they will be the ones you’ll be consulting late into the night at school benches or in the library; they will be the ones to inspire you to learn more; and they will be the ones to push you to your limits.
3. School Culture
A school’s culture is shaped by its students, teachers, and general system mechanics. Would you prefer a competitive school culture? For those who thrive under pressure and aim to be the best of your peers, a competitive school culture would be suitable for you.
For those seeking a more caring, nurturing environment that allows you to grow at your own pace, where you are not constantly dwarfed by highly intellectual peers, you may want to seek schools with a culture of care and patience.
Some schools have their cultures cast in stone, which you can observe and understand when you attend their open houses. Look out for how their students behave, their curricula, and respective school achievements.
4. Physical school environment
I cannot focus when studying at home so I stay back later in school to finish up my revision and do my homework. This means that having a good study environment in my school is essential. Good quality study environments can include libraries (the most ideal option for me, given Singapore’s humid weather), classrooms, and study benches in well-ventilated places.
My school opens the library and a few classrooms till 9pm for us to study, and this allowed me so much convenience and ease while preparing for the final exams. So observe these facilities closely when you’re at the schools’ open houses!
5. Follow your Intuition
This last point may not seem like a legitimate one, but do listen to your heart. Sit down in a quiet corner and think through your choices. If you need to, you can even physically jot down the advantages and disadvantages for each option.
Don’t be swayed by your parents’ urging, don’t be overwhelmed by your teachers’ comments, and don’t be influenced by your peers’ decisions. Bear in mind that you will be the one in the institution for the next two years, and JC curriculum is not for the faint-hearted.
So would you rather be suffering silently for a choice you didn’t make, or would you rather make a stand and decide for yourself which school is best for you?
With that, I’d leave the eventual decision-making to those who shall embark on this journey shortly. I sincerely wish you the best of luck, and may you find fulfilment and joy in the following years to come.