Ms Tan Yue Ting might be graduating from Temasek Polytechnic with a perfect grade point average of 4.0, but the 20-year-old is not rushing to enter a university.
Instead, she has decided to take a gap year to work.
The valedictorian, who pursued a diploma in hospitality and tourism management, said she is more excited about her working holiday to New Zealand, which she hopes to start in November this year.
"I want to get more work experience and explore my choices before diving into a degree course," said Ms Tan, who played basketball for the under-18 national youth squad.
She will receive the Lee Kong Chian Award for All-Round Excellence for achievements in her studies and co-curricular activities.
She scored five points for her O levels but, inspired by her aunt, who is in the hotel line and often travels on the job, she decided to forgo a junior college offer to pursue a diploma.
STRAIGHT INTO THE GAME
I was already interested in the tourism industry, and I didn't want to waste my time. So I told myself: 'Why not just step into the game right away?'
MS TAN YUE TING
"I was already interested in the tourism industry, and I didn't want to waste my time. So I told myself: 'Why not just step into the game right away?' It also allowed me to travel, learn about different cultures and make a lot of friends."
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She said she was hesitant at first about taking the polytechnic route after hearing "horror stories" from her peers that it was harder to enter university, but she now feels that is not true.
"I think a diploma will always trump an A-level certificate."
Last week, the Ministry of Education said one in three local university students admitted last year was a polytechnic graduate. At nearly 34 per cent, the level is the highest to date, up from 24.7 per cent in 2011.
Ms Tan is now working as a guest services executive at New Majestic Hotel, a boutique hotel where she gets to "do everything", from checking guests in to handling complaints, to even doubling as a bellboy.
She hopes to pursue a degree in arts and social sciences at the National University of Singapore, but is not sure when yet.
"Honestly, I still do not know what I want to do. I think it's OK. And I don't want to rush it either."