JAE 2018: Choosing the Polytechnic Diploma of Your Choice

'O' Levels results have been released yesterday on 12 January 2018!  Hope all of you have received the results you wanted!

Here is the list of diplomas (and their cut-off points) offered by the polytechnics in Singapore:
SPApplied Drama and Psychology (Cut-off: 14)  /  Human Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 12)
NPPsychology Studies (Cut-off: 8)  /  Child Psychology and Early Childhood (Cut-off: 13)
NYPSocial Sciences (Social Work) (Cut-off: 15)
RPHuman Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 17)  /  Consumer Behaviour and Research (Cut-off: 19)
TPPsychology Studies (Cut-off: 9)

However the main question you might have is:

Which diploma should I take?

To better guide prospective psychology students taking up the polytechnic route, this post is written in the Question-and-Answer format with questions that students may actually ask.  Disclaimer:  This post is written with the assumption that you are eligible and able to enter the local programs with your current results. 

Question 1:
I am really interested in psychology, but I am not sure if I should go to a Junior College or Polytechnic first?
Answer:
This is not the main purpose of this post, but students with this questions, you may refer to the below posts to get some thoughts on this question and/or some comparison from seniors who have gone through both routes:
1) SGPsychStud: Diploma or A levels? A post for the secondary schoolers
2) Majoring in Psychology in Uni: Polytechnic vs Junior College Route

Question 2:
I am not too sure if I should be taking up psychology.
Answer:
Obviously you are interested in psychology, otherwise you will not be at this blog! Here are two posts that you can use to consider that thought:
1) SGPsychStud: Should you be taking up Psychology??
2) SGPsychStud: Seriously?? Psychology??

Question 3:
What do I study in Psychology Studies at a diploma (or even degree) level?
Answer:
These are two posts you definitely must read:-
1) So what am I going to study in Psychology? (Diploma/Bachelors)
2) SGPsychStud: Stereotypes vs Reality - Psychology Major

Question 4:
I am only interested in learning psychology and no other programs.
Answer:
Simple question.  You have two options: Diploma of Psychology Studies either at TP or NP, both under their respective Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Question 5:
What is the difference between the TP and NP Diplomas of Psychology Studies?
Answer:
From our knowledge, we only know that the TP diploma has a very strong inclination towards research, while the NP diploma has a strong inclination towards working in the community.  Otherwise they should be very similar.

Question 6:
What are my choices if I would like to try psychology with something else?
Answer:
For those also interested in the application of psychology in business and human resource, you have diploma options such as:
  • SP's Human Resource Management with Psychology
  • RP's Human Resource Management with Psychology
Make sure to read Effective Human Resource Management and Psychology for more information about the field.

For those interested in the application of psychology in communication, human behaviour, and the arts, you have diploma options such as:
For those interested in the application of psychology in psychology-related fields, you have diploma options such as:
  • NP's Child Psychology and Early Childhood
  • NYP's Social Sciences (Social Work)  -  You may wish to read Challenges in the Social Work Field for more information about the field.
Question 7:
What degrees are available for me after the respective diplomas?
Answer:
It has already been answered previously here:  SGPsychStud: What’s Next? The Polytechnic Edition

Last Question:
How do I know whether which psychology/psychology-related diploma at which polytechnic is best for me?
Answer:
This is the most difficult question.  As we have learnt in psychology that humans are very complex and each of us a very different person, there is no standard answer to this question.  Each of you may be choosing the diploma and the polytechnic for different reasons.  I would advise that you seek the help of your secondary school's Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Counsellors, or the polytechnic's ECG Counsellors if they are available at the JAE exercises in the polytechnics, for their opinions as well.  You should also find out more about the respective diplomas from their websites as well as the lecturers available this week at the JAE exercise.

Good luck!!

JAE 2018 Update: Academic requirements for local psychology diplomas and degrees

Image Credit: https://ktu.edu.gh/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Resultsout.jpg
The 'O' levels results are coming out soon on 12 January 2018, which has resulted in the polytechnics having their Open Houses this week and the JAE exercises from 12 to 17 January 2018.

As mentioned previously, the cut-off scores are the scores of the lowest ranked students who entered that program, and is only a general indication of the next year's intake, and hence does not guarantee that you will be given a spot even if you get that similar score.

Here are the cut-off for psychology and psychology-related programs from 2017 for your application in 2018:

For the diplomas:
These cut-off points are based on ELR2B2: (Please refer to the respective websites for more details)
EL=English Language; R2=Two relevant subjects; B2=Any two other subjects excluding CCA

SPApplied Drama and Psychology (Cut-off: 14)  /  Human Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 12)
NPPsychology Studies (Cut-off: 8)  /  Child Psychology and Early Childhood (Cut-off: 13)
NYPSocial Sciences (Social Work) (Cut-off: 15)
RPHuman Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 17)  /  Consumer Behaviour and Research (Cut-off: 19)
TPPsychology Studies (Cut-off: 9)
The results are also available here (http://www.polytechnic.edu.sg) for more general information.

For the 2018/19 admissions for the degrees: 
This are represented by their current year entry students' 3H2/1H1 and polytechnic GPA grades and stated by 10th % - lowest minimum; and 90th % - safest to be confirmed percentile

NUS  (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:  10th - ABB/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.73, 90% - 3.94
(Additional criteria - Students must obtain at least a B-grade in each of these modules during their first year of the program: PL1101E and PL2131)
NTU  (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:  10th - ABC/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.69, 90% - 3.94
SMU  (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:   10th - BBC/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.71, 90% - 3.96
The indicative grade profiles of the 2017/18 cohorts are not being released by the universities.

For last year's academic requirements, please view here!!

Good Luck for your 'O' Levels results and your polytechnic and university applications!!!

3 Ways of Carving Your Psychology Career during University

A model was proposed during the recent SPS Student Forum 2017 at Singapore Management University during the opening talk, and it discussed on how one can discover your psychological specialisation.  It is achieved mainly through these steps:
1.  Learn
2.  Explore
3.  Experience
4.  Network

Sounds Easy??
Actually it is relatively easy if you know what to do and have the means to do it.

These steps are actually the same as our topic for today:  Carving your Psychology Career during University, but I will be providing you with more resources, as well as a new opportunity that SG Psych Stuff has decided to pilot for 2018!

When you are doing your university (and other tertiary) education, this is the best time to try out different things, because as a student, a) it is socially accepted to discover and try out new things and still fail at the same time, and b) you have lesser obligations and commitments than a working adult, which results in more time to try out new things.  Starting to plan and carve your career earlier is better, with reasons as stated in 3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Psychology Career During University, and it helps to increase your value even before you finish your degree.

So here are three things I would advise you to do before you graduate:
1.  Network
2.  Internship or Volunteer (or any experience)
3.  Find a mentor

With regards to Networking and Internship/Volunteer, SG Psych Stuff has already written multiple posts on their benefits and why you should partake in them as much as possible.  Here are the posts to read before you start anything else:

Networking: (In chronological order)
Power of Networking
Jobs (Part 8): Summary + Major reason for expanding your network
Interactions of Psychology Students in Singapore
Networking on Social Media

Conclusion: Always remember this phrase from Jobs (Part 8):
Expanding your network = More (future) job opportunities

Internship/Volunteer: (In chronological order)
Importance of practicum/work experience/internship
V.I.P. (Volunteering/Internship Project), leading to Why the internship/volunteering plan did not work
5 Things Students can do during the Holidays

Links for volunteering opportunities:
Career Planning for a Psychological Career (Part 3)
Organizations in the Mental Health Scene in Singapore

Finding a mentor was a idea that is relatively new that has only been discussed since November 2016, hence here is the only post:  Having a Mentor for Your Psychological Journey
Often, a mentor is someone that you know through your existing contacts (hence Power of Networking again), whom you can discuss your career thoughts and issues in the hope to better direct yourself in the path that you wish to move in your psychological journey.  This navigation in your journey is not easy, hence it is of utmost important to find a mentor who is willing to guide you, as well as challenge you to become a stronger person.


ANNOUNCEMENT:

Throughout our years in SG Psych Stuff, we have tried and implemented many projects to help students gain better knowledge.  Here is our latest project for 2018:

SG Psych Stuff will be taking in a total of 8 students for our pilot mentorship program. We are currently only accepting Year 1 and 2 students who are studying the major of Psychology from local universities in Singapore (as of Jan 2018).
Please click THIS LINK for more details and registration for the program!  Registration for the program will close 14 January 2018.
Interviews may be done in end January or early February to see the suitability of the students to the respective mentors. Stay tuned!

Last advice of advice from Using the "COW" in Building Your Career:
"Whatever you are doing, it is for your future career."

3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Psychology Career During University

So you’ve worked hard to get the results you’ve needed to get into that psychology course you’ve always wanted to enter, but... 
What’s Next?
For most university students, it is very easy to get caught up in the seemingly never-ending array of tasks required by the course.  This leads to a cycle that doesn’t end until you’ve finally graduated, but then you suddenly realize that your psychology degree does not allow you to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing, such as a clinical psychologist or educational psychologist or counsellor?  This can be a harsh reality check for many undergraduates who have been so focused on their academic pursuit during their undergraduate years that they’ve forgotten to plan for their future careers.  Not fully convinced?  Here are a few reasons why it’s useful to start planning your career as a psychology undergraduate:

1. Many specialist psychology fields require a postgraduate degree
Image Credit: https://www.popularity.sg/do-you-need-a-postgraduate-degree/
To be recognized a practicing psychologist within most fields (the exception being perhaps organizational psychology, although in most cases you still need a postgraduate degree, but this differs from company to company), you need at least a master’s degree or in some cases (e.g., lecturing at the university level) a doctoral degree.  This means a minimum of 2 to 3 years of waiting and studying before you are able to start practicing in those respective fields. Given that most fresh university graduates have little to no practical experience in these fields, it would be even more challenging for one to be able to find a job, even if it was an entry level position, to do a job related to the field they wish to pursue (e.g., research assistant or associate psychologist). 

2. Tougher Competition
Increasingly, the amount of people with the basic qualifications and who possess the same knowledge as you is constantly getting larger, but the amount of available positions in postgraduate courses and psychology related jobs remains the same.  This leads to a situation where if everyone knows the same things and has the same amount of experience;  how are potential schools/employers going to assess the best candidate or candidates for the limited positions available?  The answer may seem obvious, but as harsh and unfair as it may be, sometimes it boils down to the people you know.  
Often people assume that knowing people helps you to win a position because of that person’s influence within the field you are preparing to enter, and this may be the case sometimes, but in general, having someone in the field vouch for you shows the effort you’ve made above and beyond just ensuring you attain the minimum requirements for entry into it.  It shows potential schools/employers that this is an individual who has long known what they’ve wanted to do and is someone who has taken the required actions to increase their chances at doing so. 

3. Networks Do Not Form Overnight
Lastly, and perhaps mostly importantly, networks do not form as quickly and easily as most people think they do.  A professional network is very similar to a social one, it requires effort and commitment to growing it.  This can be especially tedious for undergraduates who may already be struggling to balance their academic and social commitments.  But just like any other network, people will not remember or consider you a part of their network if you do not make the effort to be part of it.  At this point, some of you may be thinking:  "So what if I don’t have an active professional network during my undergraduate years?"  The answer is pretty straightforward and is directly related to the second point.  Having a professional network allows you to meet and learn from people who are already in the field you wish to join.  This allows you to get a behind-the-scenes look at the field and to know how best to increase your chances of becoming part of it.
 Stay tuned to the next segment: 
3 Ways of Carving Your Psychology Career during University!

SGPsychStud: Reflection on choosing a Counselling Framework Certification

Image Credit: http://seanheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/whats-next.jpg
In the last two years when I had a short career switch stint, I asked myself:
"What do I want to improve now?"
I knew my answers instantly, and it was to improve my counselling skills.  Hence I went on a search to better understand the respective frameworks being taught in Singapore.

This website explains it quite well with the therapies being categorised into:
  • cognitive and behavioural therapies, 
  • psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, and 
  • humanistic therapies
What I wanted to learn more of was humanistic therapies (and this had been always been the same throughout my own psychological journey).

I had a criteria when researching and selecting for these certification courses:
The course has to allow me to be certified and recognised as a practitioner of that counselling framework.
Reason:  There are actually many training courses out there that gives out certifications at the end of the course.  However, the worth and value of these certificates are almost close to nothing, if I am not able to use them in my career or work.  (This is regarding the same question when students ask me if certain degrees are 'recognised'.  My answer is that the industry / employers must "recognise" them in order for the certificates to have value to you.)

I managed to find two institutions that provide such certificates that met my criteria.  Even better, they are quite widely acceptable by the counselling and social work circles, even within the education system and other public services.  They are respectively:
So how did I come to my decision?
I really considered it quite intensely with the below factors:
1)  Price - cost of training can be an issue, considering that I have bills to pay
2)  Duration - How fast I can finish the program, with full-time work
3)  Alignment to my own framework - this is the most important factor for me.
With my psychological training mostly focused on CBT and my preference for Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) and Person-centred Therapy, it is important that I am able to integrate this new training and framework into my existing ones.  Hence I did my further research on these frameworks and asked both of the institutions many questions before I finally made my decision after a few months.

My choice?  Currently, I am doing my CTRT Stage 4: Advanced Practicum, working my way to the final Stage 5: CT/ RT Certification, where I will receive the designation of Choice Theory/ Reality Therapy Certified (CTRTC).  Fingers crossed!
Image Credit: http://www.wgi-kuwait.org/index.php/ct-menu-item-5