Singapore’s Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is traditionally seen as THE way for students to determine which secondary schools they can qualify and apply for. However, did you know that there is another popular way to get into good secondary schools in Singapore?
A small portion of primary students enter a secondary school through the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme, which can guarantee them a place in their desired secondary school even before their PSLE results are released. The DSA route judges students not just on their academic abilities, but specific talents such as sports, music, art, or particular subjects like science or math.
Why choose DSA?
Why might someone choose the DSA route over just waiting for the PSLE results like everyone else?
DSA can offer opportunities in schools with better systems in place to develop that particular talent. For example, if a school is accepting students who are talented in science, chances are, the school has talent programmes in place to nurture these students.
For some, it is a matter of security. DSA can get you a place in a school of your choice even before you sit for the PSLE. In that sense, there will be less pressure on the child to perform well for that one exam, and less risk to hinge everything on those few days of examinations.
How can I apply to a secondary school via DSA?
If you decide that you want your child to try out for DSA, there’s no time to lose, as applications start very soon!
Before applying, think about the areas your child has displayed talent and aptitude for. This could be their CCA, an academic subject, or even in terms of their leadership skills.
Then, use MOE’s SchoolFinder to browse through the schools offering DSA places, narrowing down the ones that are applicable to your child’s area of talent.
Once you have decided on a few schools you want to apply to, you can submit your application through MOE’s DSA portal. More information on how to apply can be found here.
Timeline for application for DSA-Sec 2022
The DSA application process consists of a few steps, beginning with the call of applications starting in May. This is followed by a few weeks of interviews and auditions held at the respective schools. After the schools have made their decision, they will release offers to successful applicants by the middle of September. Parents and students have until late-October to select their choice of schools by ranking their top 3 preferences.
2022 Application Period: 5 May 2022 (11am) – 1 June 2022 (3pm)
Note: At the time of writing, only the dates for 2022’s application window has been released. Please check MOE’s website for the latest updates on the dates for release of offers and school selection.
How can I improve my child’s chances of getting in via DSA?
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: In 2020, out of the 11,900 pupils who applied to at least one school via DSA, only 3,600 students were ultimately admitted into a school through the scheme. That’s 30%!
If you want to be in the lucky one-third, then – well – perhaps you can’t just rely on luck.
We recommend only applying if you are confident that your child can effectively demonstrate their talent. In other words, don’t just apply for fun! After all, interviews and auditions can be quite time-consuming and strenuous on your child.
On the application form, make good use of the section where you can report your child’s non-school based achievements. For example, if you are applying in the area of Music, you can list their music exam certifications. Or, if you are applying in the area of Math, you can list any awards they have achieved from Math competitions or contests.
The most important thing after that is the audition or interview. Preparation is essential if you want to stand out amidst the competition! Your best bet is to speak to fellow parents whose children have gone through the same DSA application before, and find out what the format of the audition or interview is likely to be. From there, you can then prepare accordingly by practicing, studying, and rehearsing for it!
Increase your chances further with Future Academy’s DSA prep course
For students planning on applying for Math or Science DSA, there’s one more thing you can do! Future Academy provides Math and Science DSA prep courses for DSA applicants, which can provide you with insider tips on how to excel at your DSA interview and test!
- Go with a plan
We provide advice and consultation services to parents who have questions about how the DSA process works. From guiding you on how to make your application stand out, to training and practising for the interview/auditions, you won’t have to feel lost throughout this whole process. With expert advice and a clear game-plan, you can have more confidence in your chances for DSA!
- Get insider knowledge
Our DSA coaching team consists of ex-MOE teachers from highly over-subscribed DSA schools, and former teachers who have set questions for DSA entrance tests before. They understand the schools’ perspective on what makes an attractive DSA student, including knowing what top schools like RGS and RI are looking for in applicants. As such, we are in an excellent position to coach students on the type of questions to expect, and the skills they need in order to do well in the test.
- Stand out from the competition
Apart from academic training, we also provide interview training and advice to help students face their first major interview with confidence. Compared to a student who is completely unprepared, our DSA trainees are better equipped to answer common interview questions while presenting themselves well. This immediately gives them an edge over their competitors, and allows them a better shot at passing the auditions.
- Gain skills that will serve you beyond DSA
We can’t guarantee that any of our students will definitely get in to their desired school through DSA. However, the skills they pick up at our DSA prep course are highly valuable 21st century skills like critical thinking and creative problem-solving, which they can take beyond the DSA and make them better learners and thinkers in general.
Don’t shortchange your child’s chances of being successful in your DSA application. With the right preparation method, they can give their best without regrets! Enquire today to find out more about our course.