Crossroads | Next steps after O-Levels, where should I go?

Updated: Sep 15

Weigh your options on the routes you can take after getting your O Level results. Check out our final installment of this 4-part article to find out how you can walk a path less travelled by.


What are your options? Pt. 1: The Conventional Route


For ‘O’s


Choosing between JC or Poly


If you’re still deciding between going to a junior college (JC) or polytechnic, head over to this comprehensive article by theAsianparent who did a stellar job comparing the two options. Take a stab at the JC or Poly quiz by SmileTutor as well.

O level vs A level

If O Levels was like climbing the Bukit Timah Hill, think of A Levels as hiking along The Great Wall of China. I feel that nothing ever truly prepares you for the rigour of JC. This brings me to the not-so-secret recipe on how you can succeed in JC: sheer discipline and diligence (for two straight years).


Recipe for A Level Success
Sugar, spice and everything nice

Consider what your end goals are. If you have a clear idea of what career you wish to pursue, a polytechnic pathway might be a better choice as it will effectively arm you with skillsets that prepares you for work. On the other hand, JC might work better for those who are i) still unsure about what they want to do in the future and ii) looking for a more secure path into university.


Prioritising JAE options and applying via DAE


Let’s say you want to get into this particular school/course but you fail to meet the enrollment criteria. Unfortunately, since 2016, JCs have been stricter in enforcing standards requested by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to reject appeal requests from those who do not meet the cut-off point (COP). Hence, it’s not advisable to prioritise them in your Joint Admission Exercise (JAE) application if you did not meet the COP.


By and large, while the guidelines for polytechnic courses may not be as stringent, you need to be strategic in ensuring all of your 12 choices count. Look at how far off the points are. If you’ve only just missed the mark, it may be worth listing them high up in your JAE application. Prioritise the order according to the courses that you’re most passionate about, followed by those you have a general interest in. To in