In case you didn’t already know, polytechnics have an early admissions exercise (EAE) open to graduating O-Level, final-year Nitec and Higher Nitec students.
To make the shortlist, schools will consider an applicant’s strong interest in a specific course, as well as non-academic talents and other outstanding accomplishments. Students are also required to submit a write-up highlighting their strengths, interests and achievements.
So, what do successful write-ups look like and what types tend to impress evaluators?
We asked Republic Polytechnic (RP) for snippets of some of the best personal statements they have received.
#1: Don’t just say, show how interested you are
It’s not enough to say that you have an interest in a particular course. It is more important to show how you have pursued this interest, especially outside the classroom, by joining relevant external competitions and activities.
For this statement in particular, RP said they liked that this Media Production & Design applicant could relate their interests (videography) to the diploma (media production):
“I have always thought about how the media communicates to audiences… Firstly, serving as a videographer in church fuelled my passion for media production as I captured moments of the atmosphere live. Secondly, editing my own short clips enabled my visual style to be delivered across.
I aspire to be a film-maker, editor, hoping to secure a place through EAE.”
Another example here from an applicant relating one’s interest to the Biotechnology diploma:
Competing in various competitions like the Scientific Thinking Programme (STP) in 2018 and Scientific Inquiry Research Experience (SIRE) in 2019 further developed my interest in research and experiment. The adrenaline rush of being able to have successfully concluded an experiment is truly exhilarating.
It is crucial to build a collection of work samples documenting your passion. This is because portfolios can help to boost your EAE applications.
#2: Highlight your strengths and how you can contribute based on your previous experiences
As a student, it is understandable if you have not chalked up significant life experiences.
Hence, what evaluators are looking out for are transferable strengths, and experiences that may serve as an indication of relevant qualities.
An example would be this personal statement involving an Integrated Events Management diploma applicant who highlighted relevant event planning experience. The student not only participated but also took the lead in such projects (initiative is a definite plus).
According to RP, this personal statement by an Integrated Events Management applicant has also “shown maturity” by being aware of and open to tackling future challenges in the industry.
I volunteered to be a Sec 1 Orientation Group Leader and was also a vital part of the Student Leadership Camp. I also led and executed my class VIA project at SilverAce. I enjoyed the process of conceptualising and carrying out events, and I look forward to the future challenges of events management post-Covid.
Also consider highlighting an aptitude for particular subjects, which are highly preferred in the field you are applying for. This would put you at an advantage compared to applicants who do not possess similar talents.
An example from an applicant for Aviation Management:
My keen interest in airplanes has inspired me to become a pilot one day. Along with my strong aptitude in Physics, I have faith that my dreams will take flight through the Aviation management course.
Highlighting tangible achievements also goes a long way. (EAE applications, for instance, should be supplemented with awards and testimonials.)
#3: Other talents
It’s not just about doing well academically. Personal statements that showcase a range of talents also add colour to an application by showing what you have chosen to spend your time on when you’re not attending classes.
For example, this Arts & Theatre Management applicant was not only involved in the school choir, but also expressed an interest in acting and stage work.
RP is the only school I applied for EAE as I learned about its small class size and nurturing teachers. I chose Arts & Theatre Management as art allows me to express myself. I joined the school choir and love it. I enrolled for an online acting workshop by HCAC to explore my interests and enjoyed myself as well. When I watched RP Riley’s Rain, I was fascinated by how they went the extra mile to create an enjoyable performance for those with special needs. Although I will not be performing on stage throughout this course, I want to be a part of this stage work to help the performers deliver a successful performance.
RP also said that this statement showed that the candidate did research on the school, and displayed a commitment to pursue his/her passion in the arts.
For EAE applications in particular, showcasing non-academic talents and achievements outside of school are not only considered, but highly encouraged.
#4: Show how you have learnt and grown from your failures
While it may be tough to talk about your shortcomings, failures are actually a great opportunity to share how you cope with setbacks.
This not only highlights positive qualities such as resilience and adaptability but could also showcase a formative experience that has contributed to who you are as a person.
One applicant for Sport & Exercise Science, for instance, candidly shared his/her own experiences with injury in relation to sports competitions, and how he/she has grown as a result of this.
A career in sports science appeals to me as I wholeheartedly believe in character development through sports. My own experience as a track and field athlete mirrors this belief. Competition has hardened me, transforming me from a socially awkward preteen to a confident athlete. Injury has humbled me, shifting my worldview from idealistic to one grounded in reality.
#5: Talk about a problem you would like to solve eventually
Personal statements should also give evaluators an idea of a goal you’re working towards and where you see yourself in the future.
One way to highlight this is to talk about a problem you wish to solve after accumulating knowledge and skills in a particular field.
Take for instance this personal statement from a Biotechnology applicant, which ties pursuing research to the goal of treating diseases and helping others:
The study of life and organisms have always intrigued me and I aspire to continue studying it for life… With this course and the Biologics specialisation track, I would not only be pursuing my interest in research but my aspiration of helping others in need by learning how to treat diseases.
More information about RP’s EAE
The EAE is an aptitude-based Admissions Exercise, offering students the opportunity to apply to any of RP’s diploma courses, even before sitting for the O-Level examination. The EAE offer is conditional.
There are certain requirements to be met in order to confirm placement. These include:
- Obtain a net ELR2B2 aggregate score of 26 points or better; and
- Meet the Minimum Entry Requirements (MERs) for the selected course
According to Republic Polytechnic, successful EAE applicants “will need to highlight their strengths, talents, and achievements and prepare a portfolio on these aspects.”
Applicants have to also submit two write-ups, 600 characters to show interest in a course and 1,000 characters to showcase other achievements, as well as any supporting documents such as testimonials, awards or portfolios.
Applications will open from June 24 to June 30. Successful applicants may then be selected for an interview from July 5 to August 31.
Join RP’s EAE Webinar on May 28 and learn useful tips on how to secure a conditional offer for your dream course even before sitting for your O-Levels.
Interested students can find out more here.
Top photo credit: Republic Polytechnic.
This is a sponsored article by Republic Polytechnic.