The time of the year is here again, when prospective students frantically scour through the internet for tips to ace their college/university admission interviews. I hope what I documented prior to my acceptance to NTU help shed some light on how the interview works. I have also received numerous e-mails pertaining to this so I thought I should share some frequently asked questions here for the benefit of those who’re too shy to approach me.
Please bear in mind that I’m merely a student of the school and not some ambassador who is authorised to speak on behalf of WKWSCI, so everything that is written here are merely my thoughts. It’s always advisable to seek second opinion before forming your own judgement 🙂
You can still e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have queries not answered here. I’m always very happy to help prospective students!
I also appreciate feedback about the accuracy and helpfulness of this entry! Do share your joy with me if you succeed at your interview as well! 🙂
Before I begin the FAQs, there is ONE thing you’d need to know about WKWSCI before you go for the interview because it’s one achievement that we’re so damn proud of and it’d be a shame if you don’t already know it:
According to the 2014 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject, NTU’s Communication & Media Studies is ranked 6th in the world…. NTU said the subject Communication & Media Studies jumped an impressive 17 positions within two years since QS started ranking this subject, to become No 1 in Singapore and in the Asia-Pacific.
1. I do not come from a Communication Studies (CS)-related diploma programme. Is my chance of getting accepted into WKWSCI slimmer?
I had received tons of emails about this which makes this the most frequently asked question. This is very subjective so my opinion on this is: yes and no. ‘Yes’ because you may not have relevant portfolio to show that you’re suitable for the course and ‘No’ because you MAY not need to even produce any portfolio (with exception of NAA), thus categorising you with the JC applicants who also have no experience in this field.
In fact, I think that people with CS background stand a slightly lower chance of getting in because they’d expect higher standards from us. When I went for my interview, I had to make a short impromptu speech on top of producing my portfolio which showed my designing AND writing capabilities even though I already expressed my interest in the advertising field clearly from the start. Some of my friends who graduated with Business diplomas on the other hand got it way easier – they didn’t have to produce any portfolio because the interviewers refused to see them so all they did was talk. Of course, a handful of my DBA (a Business course offered by Singapore Poly) friends briefly showed what they did to a different interviewer so it all really boils down to the one(s) interviewing you!
But if you want a definite answer, I think it’d be a ‘No’. I always have the impression that WKWSCI assesses every applicant fairly. They don’t shun people with no CS background nor do they only favour those who have. However, you definitely need to possess 2 sets of IMPORTANT skills in order to be considered, regardless of the specialisation you intend to pursue. They are writing AND public speaking. If you don’t have these skills, CS is probably not the course for you.
2. What should I do if I do not have any CS-related portfolio to show?
First and foremost, I recommend that you decide what specialisation track to pursue if you were accepted into WKWSCI as doing so makes you seem less indecisive. WKWSCI offers the following tracks to concentrate:
- Broadcast & Cinema Studies
- Public Relations
- Communication Policy & Research
For me it was, no doubt, advertising like duh… I spent my entire Poly life trying to perfect my advertising/design portfolio hahaha. I had no problem answering any advertising-related questions. What stumbled me was the interviewer’s request to view my writing because I had just too many design works that didn’t show my writing proficiency at all.
Having a track in mind makes your more focused on improving on your portfolio. You can modify it according to what you want to pursue. For example, if you want to be a journalist/PR, you should have more write-ups than anyone else to show your flair for writing. Or if you want to be in the advertising field, you should have some mockups WITH COPY (learn from my mistake). They DON’T have to be perfect/professional because if you’re so good, then why are you applying to University? You can start working already! FYI that was exactly what my interviewer told me -_- I was repeatedly shot down by him when I answered that my works were amateurish. “No no no! What is there to improve on? These are very good! You shouldn’t waste your time here! Go apply into SUTD or SIT!!!111”
Since having good command of English is what makes the cut, producing anything that shows your proficiency in the language should be sufficient in that aspect. Personally I think you can show reports you had done during your Poly course (or GP/History essays done in JC), or you can do a write-up/essay about anything that interests you. I believe the interviewer (typically a professor) will be interested to read about your thoughts. If you were part of a CCA in Poly that required you to write (a writer for the school magazine or something), you should also include that in your portfolio. Once again, it doesn’t have to be of top-notch standard and LONG but it has to be grammatically correct. I showed my copy for a newsletter (about 5 lines) and the interviewer seem pretty satisfied with it. Haha.
During the application process you would have already indicated your course of study in Poly, hence the interviewers would most probably know that you do not have anything really CS-related to show. Just show what you did during your 3-year course and if possible, select those that are closely related to CS (e.g. event planning, marketing plan etc.).
Always, always bring something to show to your interviewer(s) even though they MAY not look at them (it depends on how lucky you are). Going there empty-handed = bo chup, okay?
3. Since I do not have any background in CS, would it be difficult for me to keep up with the lessons?
NO OF COURSE NOT. You basically start from scratch in Uni and study the fundamentals of everything media before you choose your specialisation. That means you have to, at least once in the course, design a newsletter, write a press release, shoot a short film, study media law, study the history of media and other not-so-fun stuff. The only difference between one with CS background and one without is the ABILITY TO EXEMPT FROM COURSES and end your programme 1 semester earlier. But there are MANY people I know who came from Mass Comm in Poly who chose not to accelerate the programme because the graduation ceremony will be held on the same day anyway.
4. What were some of the questions thrown at you during the interview?
Okay I hope my memory doesn’t fail me. I am not feeding you my responses because if you guys are passionate about the course, you should have your own answers!
“Why did you choose WKWSCI and not elsewhere?” (elsewhere – if you get what I mean)
“What do you like to do?”
“Why do you want to apply into WKWSCI and not enter the working industry since you already have so much experience?”
“Why not SUTD and SIT?”
“In WKW, we value good writing and public speaking skills. Do you have anything to show your proficiency in writing?”
“Now, give me a 3-minute speech about someone who inspires you or someone whom you look up to.”
And lastly… “If you can’t get in this year, try applying again next year okay?” to which I replied, “This is my second application.” He was a little dumbfounded. “Oh..”
5. What should I wear for the interview?
Anything not too formal, casual, fanciful and revealing. For girls, just be donned in a knee-length dress and for guys, short sleeves top with long pants should do the trick. Jeans are fine too.
6. How long must I wait for the interview results to be out?
I waited for close to 2 weeks but that was during the appeal period. If you had your interview before that, it should be faster.
Other WKWSCI-related FAQs
1. What are some essentials I need to have?
There are no needs per se because the school has almost everything. As long as you’re a student there, you get free access to the computer labs and printers (have to pay but through credits). Of course, your life would be much easier if you have the following:
… but I’m still coping very well with my HP laptop. Go Windows!!!
- Adobe Design and Web Premium
… Basically all you need from there are Photoshop, Dreamweaver and InDesign. Contrary to popular beliefs, it is not expensive to own the authentic Photoshop. You can get the Adobe Design and Web Premium at student price from mine.com.sg.
- Final Cut Pro (FCP)
… to edit videos but it’s only available for Mac. Windows users have to edit their videos in school 😦 The authentic copy can cost you thousands of dollars though so usually students get it by other *sinister look* means.
- Sony Vegas Pro / Adobe Premiere Pro
… Another alternative for FCP. Sony Vegas Pro and Adobe Premier Pro are also Windows-supported. Likewise, you can only get them by other means.
- Microsoft Office
… For report writing and creating presentation slides. MO isn’t that important now that we have Google Drive. But nowadays students also like to act cool and 一个 artsy fartsy and use Prezi instead for their presentation. Huh why? I find Prezi too complicated and error-prone. I have never encountered any group that managed to go through all Prezi transitions smoothly without exclaiming, “Oops!” and then clicking several times before getting to the right frame. I get massive headache just by looking at the slides zooming in and out in fast motion.
2. I missed the Freshmen Orientation Camp!!!!! O SHIT WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?!
NOTHING. Relax and let nature takes its course. If you’re intending to stay in hall, you don’t have to worry at all. If you’re not, you can still meet nice people through group projects and elective classes! Or if you’re free, through clubs and other CCAs. Please always remember that you go to school to study okay, not to be the most popular person or something. Life will still be equally awesome with just 432 Facebook friends and 3 likes on your statuses LOL. Life will still be equally fantastic even if you have to eat, travel and study alone sometimes.
To read more about my friend-making process, click here.
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That’s all from me 🙂 I will update this post as and when I have new questions but please don’t ask me about FASS because I don’t think it’s fair for someone who know nuts about the NUS/FASS to answer them.
Thanks for reading!