5 Practical Tips When Applying For College

Choosing the right course and college is not an easy task. Here are some practical tips when deciding which pre-university course to study, and identifying the right college that’s best for you.

Updated 19 Jun 2019

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So, you're ready to embark on the next phase of your life — college.

After years of having everything decided for you — from which classes to take to what clothes to wear — you now have the privilege (and the responsibility!) of deciding what you should do for the rest of your life.

Sounds daunting? Fret not!

Here are some practical tips for you when deciding which pre-university course to study, and identifying the right college that’s best for you.

#1. Understand the programme structure

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Have you found out everything that you needed to know about A-LevelAustralian Matriculation (SAM / AUSMAT), Foundation in Science, Diploma, etc.? Each programme has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Make sure you fully understand the exam structure, fees, intakes, duration and university options that are available to you when you choose a course. You don't want to be caught by surprise and only realise at the last minute that it's not the right course for you.

Can't decide? Try our Course Recommender for some suggestions!

#2. Research about your preferred colleges

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With so many colleges in Malaysia, it can be quite overwhelming to decide.

Some things that you may want to consider when doing your research:

  • Do they offer your preferred subjects?
  • If you're doing a Foundation, do they offer the degree you intend to study?
  • What is their track record in terms of past-year results?
  • Do you have financial constraints? Some colleges are more generous than others when it comes to offering students scholarship and financial aid.
  • Is the college's programme accredited by MQA?

For easy comparison, check out our A-Level, Foundation in Science, Foundation in Business and Australian Matriculation pages, which lists down all the key information that you need!

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#3. Get your family involved

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Being independent is great, but your parents will bring a different perspective and a wealth of experience. Bring them to college open days and education fairs, as they may ask questions that you may not have thought of.

Check with your older siblings or cousins too, since they can offer good insights based on their own experience. Making your own decisions can be overwhelming and confusing, but speaking to others who have gone through it before may help you make an informed decision.

#4. Don't miss the forest for the trees

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Many SPM leavers stress and obsess over the little details, such as whether they should study Petroleum Engineering or Chemical Engineering.

The truth is, you don't necessarily have to decide your exact degree in order to take your next step after SPM. In fact, it can be quite premature to make up your mind so early, especially when you haven't been exposed to the many options that are out there.

You can always keep your options open by choosing Pre-University courses that are more broad-based, like A-Level, Australian Matriculation or Canadian Pre-University. Choosing the right combination of subjects for Pre-University will allow you to pursue a wide range of degrees once you've successfully completed the course.

#5. Prepare your documents

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Once you have decided on which course you want to study and the college, start preparing as early as possible. Usually, you will need these supporting documents:

  • Certified true copy of your latest SPM results
  • Copy of your Identity Card (IC)
  • Passport-sized colour photograph

To get your SPM results certified, all you need to do is head to your school's office to get a stamp and a signature.

Applying for college can be overwhelming and confusing, but by breaking it down into steps, you will find that it isn't so daunting after all.

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    Loh Sue May

    Loh Sue May

    Editor and writer. When I'm not busy putting words onto pages, I'm messing with spreadsheets and playing air guitar.