Second Attempt in University Application

(Extremely wordy post ahead)

PLEASE READ: Please direct all questions to the comments section below so that they will also be visible to other prospective students. Do note that I will not be entertaining any NTU-related enquiries through e-mail from now on. Thank you for your understanding!

As most of you have known (or heard about), foolish me applied for courses solely at NTU last year so my choices were rather limited. Well, the reason for doing so was the irrelevance of the courses offered by other Unis (NUS and SMU) to my Poly course of study and my interest, I felt. Even though I was offered Linguistics in the end, I rejected it as I didn’t see myself as a linguist, and the limited opportunities it may offer me with a Linguistic degree. I didn’t regret the decision, but I wished I was smart enough to apply for other Unis, just to broaden my choices. So this year, after A FRUITFUL YEAR OF REST..

I applied for both NTU and NUS! Sorry, no SMU due to the hefty school fees and out-of-the-way location. And some more I’m also not very elite so better not uh. And luckily I did because this year’s competition seems to have stiffened! So I was less worried as compared to last year when I didn’t receive my letter nearing the closure of the first acceptance window. Even people who have got Diploma with Merit were not able to enter their desired courses (and it’s courses relevant to their Poly course of study I’m talking about). This is madness!!

So I heeded the advice of NTU’s dean of admission (such a nice professor! I really owe my application success to him :)) of ranking my choices seriously. If I really want the course, I have to rank it as my first (especially those that are really difficult to get in because they tend to be more.. stuck up? Haha). Needless to say, I ranked Communication Studies (CS) as my first after being rejected by them last year *sobs* as well as FASS for my NUS application. Both are related to my course of study in SP (Media and Communication). Sometimes I really do wonder why people chose another course that isn’t relevant to what they were doing in Poly (other than the cost and competition)? Wouldn’t that be a waste of your years (and money) in Poly then? :/

Anyhoos, I was offered an interview and test for my second (or third? Can’t remember) choice from NUS which was Industrial Design. I like drawing and designing, but I felt INDUSTRIAL designing isn’t my thing so I informed the school about my absence and was subsequently rejected by NUS altogether 😦

As for NTU, I was offered an interview for my second choice which was NIE (once again rejected by CS), taken place on a Thursday morning at MOE headquarters with 3 core interviewers, one of which was the dean of the faculty. It was a very stress-free one; I didn’t feel like I was being shot down with tough questions or whatsoever. Just the interviewers trying to understand what’s suitable for me because they needed to know if I was more comfortable with Primary or Secondary level. Being in the education industry for about 3 years, I somewhat know how it’s like to be in the teaching industry.

Some questions they asked were:

“What do you think are the challenges teachers/schools face now as compared to olden days?” or something along that line. If I remember correctly this was a follow-up question led from an answer I gave previously.

“Do you have any teaching experiences?” and referring to my resume, “What are your roles in your workplace?”

Answered their questions with accuracy and confidence and yup, was eventually accepted into their Bachelor of Arts (Ed) programme but specialising in the Primary track. πŸ™‚ Of course, I do believe that my interview only made up a small percentage of my acceptance. I guess working in a tuition centre, having to oversee the Centre and handle difficult parents do give me an advantage. When I was in the Centre, I do get a chance to teach sometimes when teachers do not arrive punctually and yeah… I do enjoy teaching hahaha! But I want to do communications. Haiya, the dilemma.

In the end I appealed for Communication Studies because I felt that being a teacher is like a life-long commitment. Before I commit myself to this position, I really want to do something else first, which is comms. I do see myself as a Primary School teacher though. πŸ™‚ And moreover, being a civil servant is not bad too! With stable income and a stable career.. what is there to fuss about? (Ok maybe the heavy workload and super tight schedule that come along as a teacher.. but really, every job will have it what! It’s just a matter of whether you can handle or not. And that’s the challenge! If you pass the challenge, you’ll be rewarded – with promotions and/or big fat bonuses :P)

For those who are interested to join NIE, all I know is successful applicants will either be offered a BA or Diploma programme (with 4-year bond and fees fully paid for by MOE) even though you may be applying through NTU. It’s strange I know but I guess if they feel that you’re not ready for BA, they’ll test the waters by offering you a Diploma first? And if you do well you’re able to crossover to BA programme upon completion of your Diploma πŸ™‚Β 

Submitted my appeal note for both FASS and Communication Studies (CS) and none of them got back to me until the very very last week of the second window. Don’t know why the long delay but I wish it’s because I was on their waiting lists and they were waiting for withdrawals so that they can offer me a slot. Hahahah. The wait was seriously killing me though.

I went the extra mile for CS (because that is what I really really want anyways) and requested for an interview which surprisingly they granted – weeks after the appeal was sent in – because it’s not like CS to conduct interviews as they look purely at academic merit. Was so elated when I received a surprise call from WKWSCI in the early morning of Wednesday, but interview would be on the next day (2 days before I went to Taiwan *phew*). Good enough! Quickly got up and do all the necessary preparations, read up on WKWSCI and blogs by its students. I swear I was thrice more anxious for this than the NIE one!! So afraid that I would screw up 😦

On the interview day, my parents and I circled around NTU trying to find the faculty andΒ due to my time miscalculation, I was 10 minute late. Fwoah NTU is seriously huge and it’s like an island on its own. Upon arrival, I was led to an interview room and was told to wait for my one and only interviewer. He came in looking relaxed with a can of green tea in his hand and even before the interview actually started, he already gave me a disclaimer that the interview wouldn’t guarantee me a spot (even if I ace it) because all slots are somehow taken up. He could only make a recommendation and if there’s vacancy, they’ll take me in. Imagine my sudden despair when I heard that… 😦

Nevertheless I gave it my all, put in my utmost effort because I wanted it so badly. I was even tested on my oral communication and/or public speaking as I needed to stand up and say a story (hahaha) probably because my portfolio is mostly on design and he needed to ensure that I could speak/write OK. Not much issue on that. But he was pretty impressed/surprised that I learned basic French (I mentioned that I’m very into languages) during my Poly years which made him ask, “Parlez-vous Francais?” (You speak french?). O_O He is an Indian but knows French and Mandarin. I’m amazed! Haha Then he sidetracked a bit and talked about his time spent in Beijing, a common topic between us because THANKFULLY I was in Beijing just 3 months back, and how their culture differs from here. Even though we somehow could “click”, the interview didn’t go as well as I wanted it to be because firstly, he felt I was more of a designer than a comms person. Secondly, based on my portfolio he said I already have sufficient experience and I should be pursuing higher education in design-related courses in SUTD, SIT etc. That really demoralized me a bit 😦 I could tell he was trying not to give me false hopes by iterating that he could only make a recommendation of me because he couldn’t possibly remove an existing student just to admit me.

No news from WKWSCI for the next 1.5 weeks and I went ahead with signing the bond with NIE with my sureties, thinking that I wouldn’t stand a chance for CS anymore. Suddenly 2 weeks ago when I was at work, I received a call from Bf. Annoyed (cos I hate to receive calls when I’m working), I answered the phone and he told me to check my e-mail. And there in my inbox was this:

Acceptance Letter from WKWSCI, NTU coupled with other info

I SCREEEEAMED AT MY WORKPLACE cos I never expected myself to be accepted (especially when the second acceptance window has already closed). I had already given up hope when I signed the bond with MOE. So yes, the problem is with the bond now. How was I going to annul my teaching agreement after signing it? Would I be liable to pay a penalty? I quickly got out to call MOE to enquire, but no one available was able to answer my question so they promised to get back to me the next day.

Sleep was interrupted when I received a call from MOE the next morning (why do they have to call that early every time -_-). A rather young sounding lady (regret not asking for her name) was on the other line and she asked me what my question was (huh, didn’t I state my enquiry the day before liao?!), so I repeated the whole story and even before I finished, she answered a stern “No, you can’t (withdraw from the teaching position) after you have signed it”. Like a total straight No without providing with further explanation. My mood went spiralling down but determined to terminate the agreement, I asked what would the penalty be if I were to do so prematurely. Then she provided me with an e-mail address which I’d have to send in my enquiry myself (again).

I vaguely remembered that my agreement would only commence on 30 July (when I got my acceptance letter it was only 24 July) so logically, even if I were to leave then, I should not be liable to pay anything since the contract hasn’t started yet. But I kept my hopes up high and emailed to the relevant department. And I was so glad I prompted the lady on the phone (else she would just say No and that’d be it) because I was allowed to annul my teaching agreement after all and not be liable for any liquidated damages πŸ˜€ I was right!

So I’m a full-fledge Communication Studies student now! πŸ™‚

Will touch more on orientation and school soon!

25 thoughts on “Second Attempt in University Application

  1. Hi Fiona!
    I chanced upon your blog when I was searching online whether there were any successful appeals to the universities. I just got rejected from NUS and reading this long entry of yours indeed gave me some hope to get into the course I really want to. Thus, I’m just wondering if you have any tips to advice me for my appeal? πŸ™‚ I would really love to be given a chance to be interviewed by the professors as well.. Hope to hear from you soon!


  2. Hey Eunice! Perhaps you can try emailing the dean or professor in charge of applications or the faculty? It is not a sure-work method but there’s no harm trying πŸ™‚


  3. Hi Fiona! I read your blog and I also got rejected by FASS and I am planning to appeal 😦 So was your appeal to NUS FASS successful? Perhaps you can email me? I am sorry to bother you but I really want a place in NUS 😦


  4. hey Kate, did you email me too? I’m gonna copy and paste the reply here for the benefit of others (or maybe not..)

    I’m not sure if I’m in the position to advise you since I was rejected by NUS in both application and appeal. I didn’t have to write any essay too when I appealed to NTU so yeah. I believe FASS isn’t looking out for a politically correct essay so perhaps you should write the reasons why you want to get into FASS so much (maybe as opposed to NTU/SMU or other courses offered by NUS).

    I’m not really familiar with NUS so I don’t think I can help you much. Sorry! 😦


  5. Hi Mia, I emailed the dean of admission but I think it’s a different person now so I don’t know if my approach still works. Your email may end up getting ignored. Also, do note that your chance of getting re-considered is significantly lowered once your appeal is officially rejected, which was what happened in my first attempt :\ It’s also a little too late now to reconsider applicants. Hope that helps!


  6. Dear Fiona

    When you emailed NTU’s dean of admission for an interview request,did you attach any personal statement?If you don’t mind sharing,what substantial reasons did you provide for the interview to be granted?I’m hoping to do the same so as to increase my chances of getting into the programme of my choice.



  7. Dear Fiona
    I am an Indian student from CBSE school.
    I got a rejection letter from NTU(engineering) and I am planning for an appeal.Can you please help me to write an effective appeal for a program started this year only by NTU. Please tell if any industrial training certificates or community work certificates would help.


  8. Hi Ariana, I only attached my result slips from Poly and testimonial from my then-employer, together with reasons why I felt that WKWSCI was the school for me. No special reasons. Whether or not you will be miraculously granted an interview, it all depends on the dean of admission and if he is willing to go the extra mile to speak for you. I was just lucky!


  9. Hi Nishant, I’m sorry but I get a truckload of NTU enquiries like yours every year so to be fair to others, I cannot help you with the writing of the appeal letter. Of course, any testimonials or certificate which you feel are relevant to the course you are applying will definitely be helpful. Good luck!


  10. Hi Fiona,

    I took a gap year and luck is still not on my side as I have been rejected by all the other universities I applied to. I am planning to call SMU and request for an interview as I have not been called up for one. Can you please give me same advice on how to ask for a requested interview? Also, what can I include in my appeal to make me stand out from the others?

    Just to introduce myself, I am a Singaporean that lived overseas for a long itme. It is the SAT that is pulling my chances of getting into a local university here in Singapore.


  11. Hi Fiona,
    I would like to know whether you emailed the dean of admission before or after your appeal results were released? If it was before, then did that mean that you appealed through the NTU portal and emailed the dean at the same time?


  12. Hi Fiona,
    May I ask how far was your results from the 10th percentile of WKWSCI? This is as I am also extremely keen on the course but my results are quite far off from the 10th percentile although I meet the minimum subject requirements of a B in GP, so I would like to find out how far is the deviation. Thanks in advance!


  13. Hey Daphne, I’m going to be very frank and tell you my GPA haha. I had like, 3.63? The cutoff during my time for Poly grads was 3.7 or 8. No harm trying πŸ™‚


  14. Hi Fiona

    May I ask roughly how did you write your appeal letter? (because we can only write a 250 words appeal so i’m quite stressed how to) Because i’m extremely interested in comms and i got rejected:(


  15. I mainly wrote about what I did for that gap year I took as well as the main achievements during my Poly years. Ended off with the skills I acquired from these experiences (be sure to choose the skills that are most applicable to the course). All the best! Hope you’ll get the course you want πŸ™‚


  16. Hi Fiona, just curious, why do you say that SMU is elite? cos I might be going SMU but I’m very hesitant due to it’s “culture”. Thanks in advance! πŸ™‚


  17. Hi Daphne! Hope my reply isn’t too late. SMU is known to be “elite” because of its location (situated in town) and student demographics i.e. mostly rich kids, mainly because 1) location (seen fanciful cars driven to the school) and 2) school fees – SMU fees are the highest among the 3 local Unis here and 3) the kind of programmes they pride themselves on e.g. business, banking, law. But then again, don’t let these stereotypes affect your decision. If you think the environment/programme suits you, go for it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Fiona! I applied for NIE BSC(Ed) but got rejected. currently im waiting for their reappeal result. Can i ask if BA is easier to get in? As i really want to pursue teaching but it looks like the chances are slim 😦 Also, did you work any teaching jobs in the gap year? Hope to get a reply from you soon!! Thanks πŸ™‚


  19. Hi Sushmita, sorry for the late reply. MOE definitely needs more BA teachers since there’s more demand for language teachers. I worked at a tuition centre during my gap year as a supervisor and was also a part-time tutor. Hope that helps πŸ™‚


  20. Hi Fiona, I came across your post and I hope to get some advice from you. I applied and appealed to NTU and got rejected both times :(( I really want to get into NTU, but my GPA is average. I tried talking to department heads and deans of admission, but that did not help. I’m thinking of re-appealing or reapplying. Is there any way to bolster my chances of getting in? And is it daunting taking a gap year? Hope to get a reply from you soon! Thanks!


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