A,B,E

I read the forum page this morning and I am flabbergasted. A mother was writing in to ask why her daughter’s grades of A,B,E and C(GP) was not good enough for the 3 local unis. She claimed ” My daughter is an above average student. She has met all the criteria for entry to a local university. Is being eligible not enough? Must one now get extraordinary grades to be granted a place in university?”

“Local universities are publicly funded. Isn’t it about loyalty and kinship that citizens are given a chance to study there as long as they are eligible for entry? ”

” My son who is 27 years old and has A level grades of A,B,C graduated with a second upper class honours degree in the Arts and Social Science Sciences at NUS. ”

Nothing like such a forum letter to let me get rifed up early in the morning (after major motion sickness which left me puking and giddy- if only i can sue SBS)

Let me put my thoughts here.
E is a bad grade. Period. The mother claimed that A,B,E with a C6 in GP are grades achieved by an above-average student. I serious begged to differ. Here i am trying to flunk the assumption that people who gets A,B,E are above average. People who obtained the grades above should seriously be worried when applying to the local universities. People whom I have heard of getting B,C,Ds are worried about repeating a year to get better results to get into Universities. A,B,E is way off esp the damn E which is staring at me straight in the eye. And C for GP is bad,bad,bad. I know parents have better perceptions of their children but thinking their child is above average when their child is average and even below average, calls for some judgment.

“She has met all the criteria for entry to a local university. Is being eligible not enough? Must one now get extraordinary grades to be granted a place in university?” And I love this line. The answer is YES YES YES. Of course being eligible is not good enough. If being eligible calls for a place in University, I am worried for the standards of the Univerisities. The eligibility is actually a requirement put for formality sake and most of the time, no one even looks at it. Stretching my argument a tad far, if being eligible for the medicine and law faculty meant that I have met all the criteria for entries into these 2 facs and should deserve a place, then why the hell so many of us are rejected year after year and no one complains that he/she has obtained the minimum requirements to study the med/law courses. Because “welcome to reality in singapore.” No one owes you a living and no one owes you an education.

Will a student with debatable results be given a place compared to someone who did ostensibly better? No NO NO. Universities of course are aiming for the best students to take in, and why should you be disgrunted about this?

“Local universities are publicly funded. Isn’t it about loyalty and kinship that citizens are given a chance to study there as long as they are eligible for entry? ” With due respect Mdm, refer to my doc, law argument and stop thinking about loyalty and kinship. These 2 qualities are not going to feed anyone. If everybody who are eligible for entry gets into universities, then i will suggest to the universities to raise the bar and up the requirement entries so that we can stop responding to forum letters like these. But seriously, yes local universities are publicly funded, but there are limited space and facilities. NUS,NTU and SMU only has limited vacancies and they are giving local students to have a chance to study there. Last time i checked local students are still in universities. However with a limited number of vacancies, they have the higher bargaining power and are able to chose the students that applied. Needless to say, we know whether they chose outstanding students or students which make the eligible requirements.

” My son who is 27 years old and has A level grades of A,B,C graduated with a second upper class honours degree in the Arts and Social Science Sciences at NUS. ” Sigh oh Sigh. A difference of 5-9 years of entries marks a world of difference between the entry grades. I was able to get into accountancy with BBB and an A2 in Gp, 1420 in SAT 3 years ago. WIth my grades today, I will be worried about the courses I can take. The number of A students every year seemed to be increasing every year and comparisions across different years will prove to be inaccurate.

Enough ranting and ignore the bitchiness in the above paragraphs. The lesson here is ” do not let your mom write a forum letter.” But more importantly, how do you secure a position in the universities if you have less than stellar grades eg ABE

1) Understand your bargaining power. With less than desirable grades, do not waste your chance and apply for the popular courses. Apply to the courses which people are seldom interested in to shift from a low bargaining power to a higher bargaining power
2) And so what are the popular courses? Business and Accounting courses are out. Law, Med too. Certain engineering courses are popular (chem engine) while others are unpopular. So do your research and hunt for the unpopular ones
3) What if I really dislike the courses i am left with? Re-evaluate your choices. In that case, are you willing to retake A levels? If not, are there other private institutions in which you can take a professional degree eg ACCA for accounting students?
4) Be realistic. What you are learning in universities may/may not be the jobs you will worklater. I am not going to be an accountant or auditor (unless no job). Engineers do not necessary be engineers when they graduate. Alot of them go into the banks.

So good luck and I hope you manage to get into a university.

2007-05-29

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