AFTER THE A LEVELS

After the A levels: What are the options?

About 14,000 students took the A-level examinations last year and received their results on March 2.

We look at the various tertiary institutions and what they have to offer.

NUS to help students plan their careers from the first year

Students entering the National University of Singapore (NUS) from August this year will start planning for their careers from the first year.

Previously, students would use the services of the university's career centre only on an ad-hoc basis, and take up workshops on resume writing or how to conduct themselves at job interviews usually in their third or final year.

NUS vice-provost Chan Eng Soon, who oversees career preparation programmes for students, said that now, in the first two years, the focus will be on helping students discover where their strengths and aptitude lie.

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How Singapore's six public universities differ

With six public universities, students now have a diverse range of degrees to choose from.

To attract the best students, the universities are striving to be different - in their programmes, tuition fees, student and faculty mix, accommodation options, financial help and overseas opportunities.

Calvin Yang looks at the options offered.

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Many options for prospective students interested in engineering

Private institutions have turned their attention to engineering degrees, to keep up with industry demands.

Some, like PSB Academy and Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), have set up laboratory facilities and brought in machinery for students to use.

This comes as engineering jobs rank among the top 10 unfilled positions for the third year in a row.

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More degree programmes in niche areas at private schools

These days, private institutions are moving beyond offering business and management degrees.

In the last two to three years, they have brought in more degree courses in niche areas, from early childhood education to fashion and biomedical science.

School officials said that these are in line with the rising demand in Singapore for specialised skills and knowledge in the job market.

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James Cook University eyes bigger pool of students after move to new campus

The Singapore campus of Australia's James Cook University (JCU), which started moving to its new campus in Sims Drive in Aljunied last week, aims to grow its student number from the current 3,700 to 5,000 by the end of next year.

On top of its 23 degree courses in areas such as business, psychology and early childhood education, JCU Singapore is also looking into offering degree courses in civil engineering and nursing at its new 24,000 sq m campus, which used to house Manjusri Secondary School.

Its degree courses are the same as those run at its home campuses in Australia, and its students here take the same examinations.

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Yale-NUS hires another 20 academics, brings faculty count to 70

Singapore's first liberal arts college has drawn another 20 academics from fields such as political science and art.

This brings the Yale-NUS College's faculty count to 70, as it prepares to move in July to its permanent Dover campus, from its temporary location at the National University of Singapore's University Town.

In July, another five to 10 faculty members will join the college, a tie-up between the United States Ivy League institution and the National University of Singapore.

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Singapore universities help undergraduates get off on right footing

Besides the National University of Singapore, the other five universities have also come up with various initiatives - from compulsory internships to dedicated career counsellors - to help students start their careers on the right footing.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has recruited 13 consultants, all former human resource professionals with hiring powers from diverse industries such as engineering, banking, consumer business and digital entertainment.

These full-time NTU staff members will mentor students over the course of their studies and give advice to better prepare them for their chosen industries.

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Live Facebook chats, not just open houses for prospective students

Live Facebook chats with university deans, immersion camps that offer prospective students a glimpse of campus life, and pop-up trucks and double-decker buses that ferry student ambassadors to junior colleges islandwide.

In recent years, the six universities here, which offer more than 150 full-time degree programmes in all, are using novel ways to stand out from one another and get students to pick them.

Competition for the best students has heated up, with the opening of Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) in 2010, and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) a year later.

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Dual-degree programme from two varsities for select few

A dual-degree programme offered by two local universities - the first of its kind here - has taken in its first batch of 30 students.

The four-year course in technology and management offered by Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Management University (SMU), which started in May last year, attracted more than 500 applicants.

Just a small fraction was picked because the universities wanted the "cream of the crop" for this course, said Mr Tom Estad, associate dean (undergraduate matters) at SMU's Lee Kong Chian School of Business.

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Freshmen to learn data skills at NUS

National University of Singapore (NUS) students are already being taught how to use words to forward an argument through thinking and expression courses.

From this year, they will also be taught how to use numbers or statistical data to analyse and argue a point, through a new module in quantitative reasoning. It will be one of the general education requirements for all freshmen from this year.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, provost of NUS, explained: "The use of data is becoming prevalent in many fields. The ability to use and interpret data is becoming a critical skill."

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Using stereotypes to teach diversity

A group of 25 university students were told to write about stereotypes that they had heard about various races, religions and sexual preferences on a whiteboard.

They were then made to pick a label that best described them and stand before it.

This was an exercise in a three-hour-long Managing Diversity in Asia class at the Singapore Management University (SMU).

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Diplomats share their experiences in culture class

The scene in this Singapore Management University (SMU) class is not a typical one.

While most classes are made up of mainly local students, this one has an equal number of locals and international students on exchange here.

This was deliberately done to fit the theme of the module called "Global-City Stage - Singapore in the world, the world in Singapore."

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