Jump-starting her career: How teen lands dream poly course even before her O-level exams

Through the Early Admissions Exercise, she is now building a strong educational foundation at Republic Polytechnic

Siti Nur Khadijah credits the Early Admission Exercise (EAE) for bringing her one step closer to the career she has always wanted to pursue. PHOTO: REPUBLIC POLYTECHNIC

While most people of her age are just starting to think about their future careers, this teenager is already paving the path towards her dream job of becoming a video game concept artist. When she was in Secondary 2, Siti Nur Khadijah set her sights on pursuing her passion in video games and art, and decided that she wanted apply for a diploma course at Republic Polytechnic (RP) via the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) in her graduating year.

Her foresight and forward planning paid off when she was in Secondary 4. Through EAE, Khadijah was offered a conditional place at Republic Polytechnic’s Diploma in Design for Games & Gamification course, even before she took her O-level exams in 2020.

Recognising all-rounded students

The EAE is an admissions exercise that lets students apply and receive conditional offers for admission to polytechnic courses prior to receiving their final exam grades. Applicants are evaluated based on their aptitude and interests, thus allowing for a wider pool of talents to be recognised for admissions into polytechnics.

Graduating O-level students, final-year Nitec and Higher Nitec students at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and adults (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) who have two or more years of relevant work experience are eligible to apply for the EAE.

Successful EAE applicants are given conditional offers by the polytechnic and must meet the minimum entry requirements upon the release of their exam results before they can confirm their offers.

For students taking the GCE Olevels, this means getting a net ELR2B2 score of 26 points or better, as well as meeting the Minimum Entry Requirements of the polytechnic course they have applied for. Final year ITE students need a final net GPA of 2.0 or better for Higher Nitec, or a final net GPA of 3.5 or better for a Nitec qualification to confirm their conditional offers.

A rewarding journey starting with EAE

Today, 17-year-old Khadijah is a second-year student at RP, where she is exceling and enjoying herself. She credits the EAE for bringing her one step closer to the career she has always wanted to pursue.

Khadijah says the reason behind her decision to apply for the EAE was simple. “I chose to apply through the EAE as it can help me get a conditional offer diploma course of my choosing before I took my O-level exams, and this helps keep me focused on the career path I want to pursue,” she quips.

For students who are keen to follow the path the took, Khadijah shares that the EAE comprises several steps. EAE applicants must first submit their applications online, with shortlisted candidates being invited for an interview. Applicants for some courses, such as Khadijah’s, are also requested to prepare a portfolio as part of the evaluation process.

“It can be a challenging process. You have to juggle between preparing for the interview and creating your portfolio; while at the same time, having to study and keep up with the syllabus for your O-level exams. The EAE was a rewarding experience as well, as I learned a lot,” says Khadijah.

Recalling her application journey, teen felt that applying for the EAE helped her better understand her chosen industry and career path.

“To prepare for the EAE application, I decided to take a deeper dive into the industries that were related to the diplomas I was interested in. This allowed me to gain more in-depth perspectives and knowledge,” she adds.

She also shares how she had learnt some new skills while preparing her art portfolio, “To make my application stand out, I learned new design techniques and then applied them in various sketches, concept art, and designs that I created to add to my portfolio.”

Khadijah believes that she made the right choice in applying to study at RP, as she enjoys the school’s approach to learning and the diversity of its campus culture. PHOTO: REPUBLIC POLYTECHNIC

The Polytechnic experience

As an EAE student, Khadijah started campus life at RP with the polytechnic’s Head Start Programme, which lets students complete one Life Skills class module ahead of their peers.

Designed to help students better integrate into RP’s campus environment, the Life Skills module comprises topics such as the understanding of cross-cultural and local affairs, financial literacy, and physical fitness. Through the Life Skills topics, students at RP are holistically developed as all-rounded problem-solvers and lifelong learners.

Khadijah feels that both the EAE and the Head Start Programme have been beneficial in helping her transition into polytechnic life. She says, “Completing the Life Skills module early has allowed me to have a smoother transition to campus life, as I had fewer things to stress about during the semester. Joining RP via the EAE has also allowed me to build rapport and foster friendships with peers who also went through the same programme, since we have common topics to talk about.”

Khadijah also believes that she made the right choice in applying to study at RP, as she enjoys the school’s approach to learning and the diversity of its campus culture.

“I was attracted to Republic Polytechnic because it adopts an effective combination of pedagogy based on Problem-Based Learning,” Khadijah explains. “I felt that it was practical, as we learn primarily through working on various real-life situations that may happen at the workplace,” she adds.

When asked to describe RP in one word, Khadijah replies, “I would describe it as ‘diverse’. The students and lecturers are from varied backgrounds, and all of them have different perspectives to share.  It’s interesting to get to know, learn from, and work with people who are so different from you.”

Route to a bright future

As for the future, Khadijah says she is aiming to become a concept artist and illustrator who designs characters and environments in video games. She hopes to advance to university after she graduates from RP and has every confidence that the education she has received at RP will put her in good stead to land her dream job.

“The EAE helped me get a place in my dream polytechnic course. Now at RP, I am learning the necessary skills I need to successfully get into the game design industry and closer to my goal,” Khadijah adds.

For students who are interested in applying for the EAE, Khadijah has some tips to share, “First, consider your interest and your dream career. Once you know that, try visiting the polytechnic open houses and look into the courses that you’re interested in.”

“Be disciplined and don’t give up. You can play hard after you have studied hard.”


Apply for the Polytechnic EAE and receive a conditional offer for your dream course before sitting for your O-Levels.

Attend RP EAE Webinar on May 20, 7pm to find out how you can:

  • Hear the latest EAE information by the Registrar
  • Make a successful application
  • Gain useful resources for interview & portfolio preparation

Register here today.


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