Singapore

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  • Singapore has four national universities. Then there are polytechnics which offer tertiary education through diploma courses, which are practical courses with plenty of group work. Diplomas are offered in Tourism, Biotechnology, Digital Media, Engineering, Business Studies, Mass Communications, Accountancy, and Hospitality Management. The five polytechnics of Singapore are Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. 

 

  • For international students, Indian Standard 12 marksheet acts as the qualifier for entry into undergraduate courses, whether it is CBSE, ISCE or State boards. Admissions are based on academic merit as well as competition among all eligible applicants. In addition to fulfilling admission requirements for the international student category, Indian students are also required to fulfil the subject prerequisites for the courses which they are applying for. For example, if you are looking for admission in Business Administration, then you need to have passed Mathematics in your 12th standard or at some other higher level. Or if you are considering civil engineering, then you need to have passed Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry atleast on the school level.*

 *These requirements differ from every institute. Some polytechnics may not have these requirements while universities might have them. Please check with the institute of your choice before applying.

 

  • College Fit: At the higher education level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university. Although there are agencies that attempt to place colleges and universities in rank order, the concept of “fit” is also important. The GPA* of admitted students are important, but majors offered, location, number of students enrolled, and campus culture are all factors in a prospective student’s decision.

 *GPA means grade point average. It is the average of all grades received.

 

  • Popular student destinations: The top universities in Singapore are Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Management University (SMU), in no particular order.International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, Information Technology, Management, Finance/Accounting and Engineering are a few popular courses Indian students pursue in Singapore.

 

  • Safety in Singapore: Singapore has a well-deserved reputation for being safe and relatively crime-free. Major crimes like murder and rape, are dealt with severely and swiftly. The government has also made it known that extremism originating from religion or race has no place in Singapore, and it will not hesitate to take action against any extremists or terrorist groups or individuals.

 

  • Weather: Singapore's weather is warm and humid, ranging from an average of 31°C during the day and 24°C at night. It rains throughout the year with heavier rain during the monsoon season, which lasts from November to January.

 

  • Lifestyle tips

Singapore is a multi-cultural society where Malay, Chinese and Indian traditions coexist along with the western cosmopolitan outlook. According to the Asian cultural norms, older people are treated with respect. However nowadays wealth and status are considered more important than age distinctions. A social superior or an authority is treated with formality and respect. Singaporeans claim they are an egalitarian society like the western countries, yet they have strong hierarchical relationships like those between parents and children, teachers and students, and employers and employees

 

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Accommodation

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to live in university managed accommodation, or with a private landlord. Choosing university managed accommodation can also give you a catered or self-catered option. Catered accommodation offers the benefits of your meals being cooked for you and a degree of certainty with meal costs.

If you have an idea about what you prefer, the accommodation office at your university will be able to tell you what accommodation they have available – so that’s the place to start. If you are thinking of renting from a private landlord or if your chosen university can’t offer you anything in its own residential facility, the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of private properties and landlords in the area.

Wherever you choose to live, you should make sure that you know your contractual rights and responsibilities. In most cases you will be asked to enter into a tenancy agreement, which you should read thoroughly before you sign.

Orientation

Orientation week is mandatory for international students so you want to be sure that you arrive before it starts. This is the time where you will be introduced to the university and its services, as well as enroll in your classes. It is essential that you read your guidebook, which is provided by the college. The guide explains each part of the admission process.

Activities

Along with sports facilities, colleges offer extra-curricular activities which able to offer students a wide range of experiences – intellectual, cultural and relaxing. Music, drama, science and literary societies are offered in all colleges, and there will be opportunities for outdoor education and other leisure activities. Visits to theatres and concerts, to places relevant to the courses of study such as art galleries and museums, religious centres or historical sites, scientific companies and projects are all part of college life.

 

Where to stay in Singapore:

 

Hotels: 

There is a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from budget to modern, ultra high-class hotels; note though that ‘budget’ in Singapore terms is significantly more expensive than in many other countries in the region. At the top end the hotels have extensive facilities, including swimming pools, health clubs, several restaurants, full business services and shopping arcades.

It is advisable to make advance reservations particularly at peak times, notably during the Formula One when prices increase dramatically but rooms can still be hard to find. All rooms are subject to 7% tax and 10% service charge; if a rate says ‘++’ then this has not yet been added. For further information on accommodation in Singapore, contact the Singapore Tourism Board.

If you arrive at Changi airport without a reservation, and don’t want to walk the streets looking for something, then it’s worth consulting the Singapore Hotel Association desks which are in each terminal. They cover a wide range of prices and, unlike some similar services, they do not charge tourists for the service.

Grading: Some hotels are designated as being 'International Standard' with all modern conveniences such as swimming pools and air conditioning. However, there is no formal star system of grading. Expect a Singapore hotel advertising itself as five star to be considerably more luxurious than many of the European equivalents.

Bed and breakfast: 

The majority of the guest houses are situated in the area around Bencoolen Street and Beach Road in the Colonial District. Although considerably cheaper than the main hotels, guest houses tend to offer less value for money. Discounts are sometimes available when staying a few days.

Camping: 

The few campsites which exist in Singapore are inconveniently located, making camping a difficult option. Campsites are: Changi Beach Park, East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park, Sembawang Park and West Coast Park; permits are required to camp on a week-night. In addition, it’s possible to camp without a permit on Noordin and Mamam Beaches on Pulau Ubin; they aren’t among South East Asia’s finest by any stretch of the imagination, but Mamam is the better of the two.

Other accommodation

Backpacker hostels: There are numerous hostel-style establishments offering communal dormitory accommodation to cash-strapped backpackers; the average price for a night's accommodation is S$20, but the dorms tend to be packed. The cheapest places are in Little India and Kampong Glam, although Chinatown also has some good options. There is one YMCA International hostel in Singapore, in a great spot on Orchard Road.

Apartments: Although they are not designed for short stays, Singapore also has plenty of serviced apartments suitable for medium- and long-term visitors. There are few bargains to be found, but the best places to start looking are on expat websites and in the Straits Times newspaper.

Resorts: You’ll never get completely away from civilization in Singapore, but the islands do offer a little breathing space particularly during the week. There are several resorts, most of them on Sentosa but also on Pulau Ubin and St John’s Island. Generally, though, it would be better to go to one of Malaysia’s islands – Desaru is popular with Singaporeans as the easiest to get to, although Tioman is not so much further away. The Indonesian island of Bintan is another possibility.

 

Education System in Singapore:

 

Controlled by the Ministry of Education, education in Singapore is described as ‘World leading’. The government put a lot of emphasis on education and dedicates around 20% of its annual budget to education alone. Students in Singapore have to attend Junior colleges/Pre-University Institutes/Polytechnic Institutes which provides education up to 2-3 years. After, completing the pre-university education, students can get enrolled to a University offering education up to PhD level.

 

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Application Procedure

Student Pass Applications


Applicants are advised to submit their student pass applications at least 2 months before class start date. 

Please visit the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website for more related information.

New Applications


New applications are to be submitted at least 2 months and not more than 6 months from the course commencement date. 

Applicants are not required to be present in Singapore while their applications are being considered. Hence, applicants are advised to apply for a Student’s Pass before arriving in Singapore as no extension of stay will be granted while the applications are under processing. 

Applicants are advised to enter Singapore to complete the formalities for the issuance of a Student’s Pass only after their applications have been approved. 
They will be issued with Student’s Passes within one month from the course commencement date.

Requirements

These vary between study programmes and levels. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement. Along with that a minimum academic record of 70% and above in Class XII will be required, if looking at getting admission to a government university. For private institutes and polytechnics, students who have secured below 60% can also get admission. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree programme.

It is important to note that these numbers are just for reference purpose, the actual numbers may differ from university to university.

The following documents also need to be submitted:

  • Attested copies of mark sheets of Standard X, XII, and the Bachelor’s degree (if applicable)
  • At least, two Academic reference letters from professors who have taught you most recently.
  • If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation (LOR) from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Resume
  • Photocopied score reports of GMAT / IELTS / TOEFL
  • Portfolio (in case of students applying for art and design courses and architecture programmes)
  • Others (Certificates / achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
  • Proof of funds

 

SOP: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well.

Essay: Essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school.

LOR: A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third party could be a professor, direct manager etc.

Intake seasons

Singapore government universities generally have two intakes i.e. August and February, with the private institutes offering multiple intakes in January, February, July, August, September and October. The intake season for polytechnics is usually April and September. You should start your admission process around six months before the application deadline. Typically, applications for admissions open in October. You should be done with your language and aptitude tests by three months before the deadline, if mentioned otherwise. The last three months should be dedicated to filling out the application form properly.

 

EXAMS

Language exams

International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardised language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission to colleges. These follow different formats, structure and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways but many colleges ask for any one of the results. So it's up to the student to decide which exam to appear for.

Repetition of exams: IELTS can be taken unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. Same with PTE, it can be taken as many times as desired. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test.

Time to apply: Ideally, if you are aiming at the January intake you should appear for these exams by June, so that you can apply before the first deadline. The universities you will be applying to will mention which exam results they will accept. But if they give a choice to go for either of these, then the choice depends on you. The time required to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL/PTE would depend on the existing English language proficiency. You may require two to four months of preparation before the exam date.

Score requirements: For undergraduate courses, you should have scored at least 6.5 in IELTS and 80 in TOEFL.In case of a postgraduate course, you need to have scored 7.5 in IELTS and 90 in TOEFL.

 

General exams

GMAT – The Graduate Management Aptitute Test is used to measure the abilities of the potential MBA aspirant to undertake higher education in the field of business or management. It measures mathematical, English, and reasoning skills of the student.

GRE – The Graduate Record Examination is another test required to be taken by students applying to graduate schools to pursue MA or MS. Increasingly many business schools are also accepting GRE scores for the purpose to granting admission for MBA.

Repetition and Fee: You can give GMAT unlimited number of times, subject to five times a year and a gap of 30 days between two tests. The cost of GMAT is Rs 16,000 and GRE is Rs 12,000.

Average Scores: The average GMAT score accepted across universities is 520 and above 600 for the top colleges. Average GRE score is 145 for Verbal, 160 for Quantitative and 4.0 for Writing.

 

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Cost of Education in Singapore

The education of education in Singapore is quite low as compared to other study abroad destinations like UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. The cost of study in Singapore varies according to the institute, course and duration of the course. You might end up paying S$5000 to S$ 20000 approximately for 6 months to 2 years Diploma course, S$ 24000 to S$55000 approximately for 2 to 4 years Bachelor Degree course and S$ 18,500 to S$ 30000 approximately for 1 to 1.5 years Master Degree Course. If you are studying 5 years Medical and Dental courses in Singapore, you might end up paying subsidised tuition fee with an obligation to work for 3 years in Singapore under The Tuition Grant Bond. 

 

Cost of Living in Singapore

 

Like cost of education, living expenses are low in Singapore as compared to other study abroad destinations but it has high standard of living. Your cost of living while studying abroad in Singapore will include your expenses on accommodation, food, groceries, books and travel. While studying in Singapore, you can opt for following accommodation options:

Type of Accommodation

Estimated Cost for Accommodation per Month

University’s Halls of Residence

S$ 155 - S$800 approximately

Boarding School

S$ 6,000 - S$15,000 approximately per academic year

Private Hostel

S$750 approximately

Room in Public Housing

S$300 - S$600 approximately

Whole Unit in Public Housing

S$1000 - S$2000 approximately

Room in Private Housing

S$800 - S$1,200 approximately

Whole Unit in Private Housing

S$1,000 and more approximately


Public Housing in Singapore refers to government-subsidised flats (HDB flats) developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Hence, an average cost of living in Singapore is S$750 to S$2,000 approximately per month.

 

Health Insurance for Studying Abroad in Singapore

 

While studying abroad in Singapore, medical or health insurance is compulsory for the students. The cost of health insurance will be S$45 approximately per year and it will cover all your medical expenses while studying in Singapore.

However, cost of education is low in Singapore as compared to other study abroad destinations but you can get financial assistance from Government and Universities of Singapore through various scholarships and fellowships.

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Singapore Visa and Immigration


Students planning to pursue studies in Singapore and whose application is accepted by educational institute (valid for 2 weeks) are required to get Student’s Pass. Students who require Singapore Visa are required to apply for Student’s Visa to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) 2 months before the commencement of the course.
 

Passport


Students applying to Singapore colleges should have a six month's valid passport after the duration of the course as well as a valid Singapore visa.


Documents Required
 

• Form 16 (Student’s Pass Application Form), Form V36 (Additional Information on Applicant for Application of Student’s Pass) and Form V39S (Sponsorship Letter) duly signed by applicant and local sponsors.
• Two recent Passport- Sized Photographs (Colour/ BW).
• Applicant’s Birth Certificate in English.
• Applicant’s mark sheets and certificates.
• TOFEL and IELTS score certificate whichever is applicable in concerned educational institute.
• Banker’s Guarantee of SGD 5000 from cashier’s order or established bank in Singapore.

 

Singapore Visa and Passport Requirements

Passport required

Return ticket required

Visa required

Australian

Yes

Yes

No

British

Yes

Yes

No

Canadian

Yes

Yes

No

Other EU

Yes

Yes

No

USA

Yes

Yes

No

Passports: 

To enter Singapore, a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of departure is required by nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas: 

Visas for Singapore are not required by nationals referred to in the table above, if they are visiting for social reasons; instead a visit pass is issued on arrival and is usually valid for up to a month.

Visa note: 

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Singapore.

Types and cost: 

Entry visa (for those who do require a visa): £15.

Validity: 

Visa validity varies by nationality.

Transit

If a transit visa is required, it will be issued on arrival and have a validity of 96 hours. This allows passengers to leave the airport; bus tours of the city are available for passengers with sufficient stopover time.

Application to: 

Consulate (or consular section of embassy/high commission). In certain countries applications may be submitted online.

Temporary residence: 

A long-term visit pass can be issued for the purpose of visiting family, seeking employment or accompanying a child studying in Singapore. There are long lists of requirements available on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website.

Working days: 

Visa processing time varies by country, with two tiers: one takes an average of three working days, the other an average of two weeks.

Sufficient funds: 

Sufficient funds are required either for a visa or visit pass, although ‘sufficient’ is not explicitly defined.

Entry documents: 

Yellow fever certificates are needed if you are coming from an infected area.

Extension of stay: 

You can apply online for extensions to the visit pass up to 89 days beyond your date of entry. You must have at least two days remaining on your current visit pass when you apply. Extensions to visas depend on nationality. 

 

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Job Prospects In Singapore

 In Singapore, if you accept a job offer before you complete your studies then the employer needs to apply on your behalf for the employment pass. If you do not secure a job before the completion of the course, you can apply for an ‘approval in principle work visa’ which allows you to stay for a limited time while looking for a job simultaneously.

An employment pass is valid for only a few years (between three to five years). The visa is linked with the job that you are doing, so long as you are gainfully employed by the employer the work visa is in effect.


Being considered as the financial and service hub of South East Asia, Singapore is equally prominent as any European country. The country homes people from all over the world making it a favourable place to live. Also, being a global hub, the companies in Singapore seek open minded employees.

 Doing business in Singapore 

English is widely spoken in business circles. Appointments should be made and punctuality is important. Chinese people should be addressed with their surnames, which are the first part of their names. Malays normally use their personal name followed by bin (son of) or binti (daughter of) and then their father's name; common abbreviations include Mohd (Mohammed). Many Indians do not use surnames but instead place the initial of their father's name before their own.

English is the official language of business in Singapore and business is conducted very much on a Western model. However, Asian (and especially Chinese) business ethics often prevail. Business cards are exchanged on every social and business occasion and it is common courtesy to give or receive them with two hands (as with any piece of paper, including money).

Corporate entertaining is high on the agenda and long lunches are often taken, with lavish buffets a popular option. Smoking is prohibited in many places and is not always socially acceptable, so visitors should check before lighting up. Business dress is fairly formal, though a jacket is usually dispensed with apart from at official meetings. Women wear skirts or trouser suits. Some organisations have adopted casual Fridays, although only those departments with no client contact tend to take advantage of this.

Locals and expats alike work long hours; the official working day is roughly 0900-1700 but much longer hours are quite common. There are 11 public holidays a year, the most significant being the Chinese New Year which is in January or February. This is the only occasion when almost everything shuts down - locals spend time visiting their families and expats leave for a long weekend away. During other public holidays, like Christmas Day, banks and offices close but shops stay open.

Office hours: 

Mon-Fri 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00, Sat 09:00-13:00 if open.

Economy: 

The Singapore Model combines extensive state intervention in matters such as housing and labour with a strong free market ideology. Since the late 1970s, the government has promoted export-oriented and service industries with the intention of making Singapore a regional economic hub.

Today the country relies on entrepôt trade in particular, as well as shipbuilding and repairing, oil refining, electronics and information technology, banking and finance and, to a lesser extent, tourism. The country has weathered recent global economic conditions well and in 2011, Singapore came out at the top of the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index.

Singapore's only significant natural resource is its natural harbour, which is the busiest in the world. This accounts in part for the high level of Singapore's re-export trade, which accounts for almost half of all trade. There is a little agriculture, with the cultivation of plants and vegetables, and some fishing; however, most foodstuffs and raw materials have to be imported.

Singapore is the top convention city in Asia and ranks among the top 10 meetings destinations in the world. There are many hotels with extensive conference facilities, including the latest audio-visual equipment, secretarial services, translation and simultaneous interpretation systems, whilst Raffles City, a self-contained convention city, can accommodate up to 6,000 delegates under one roof. Other popular venues for larger conventions and exhibitions include Suntec Singapore and Singapore Expo.

Full information on Singapore as a conference destination can be obtained from the Exhibition & Convention Bureau within the Singapore Tourism Board. The bureau is a non-profitmaking organisation with the dual objectives of marketing Singapore as an international exhibition and convention city and of assisting with the planning and staging of individual events.

GDP: 

US$264 billion (2011 est.)

Main exports: 

Machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals and mineral fuels.

Main imports: 

Machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, food and consumer goods.

Main trading partners: 

China (PR), Hong Kong (SAR), Japan, Korea (Rep), Malasiya and USA.

 

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