With the new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system starting this year, more parents in Singapore are likely to opt for the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme.
It is a notably popular route for kids who are good at sports, music or any other vocational field. The DSA program may be his or her key to getting into an elite secondary school or specialised school.
This scheme also gives talented kids a chance to gain early admission to secondary schools and junior colleges even before they take national examinations such as PSLE or the GCE O levels.
So if you are preparing your child to take this route, fret not. From important dates of DSA, to how to help your child prepare for the interview, we have you covered.
Direct School Admission 2021: Important Dates
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The application process started from Wednesday, 5 May 2021 to 3 pm and will go on till Tuesday, 1 June 2021. It is generally divided into two parts and follows the given criteria:
- Getting a registration number
- Accessing the DSA-Sec portal with the given registration number.
- If your child is a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or International Student who is residing in Singapore and holding a valid pass, they may take part in this DSA-Sec.
- All International Students who are not residing in Singapore are not eligible to take part in DSA-Sec in view of the COVID-19 situation. But your kids can consider taking part in the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) for admission into mainstream secondary schools.
Kids who are good at the following areas can apply:
- Sports and games
- Visual, literary and performing arts
- Debate and public speaking
- Science, mathematics and engineering
- Languages and humanities
- Uniformed groups
- Leadership (for example, prefects)
In view of COVID-19 and the rising cases, this year’s selection period has been extended from 9 to 11 weeks.
Remember, different schools have different selection processes. If your child is shortlisted, he or she will have to attend e-interviews and e-auditions conducted by DSA schools at their primary school.
Selected students will receive DSA-Sec offers from schools by Monday, 13 September 2021.
Select Preferred schools
This step would require you to choose up to three school choices in order of preference using the DSA-Sec Portal by 3 pm on Friday, 29 October 2021.
By late November, your child’s DSA-Sec allocation results will be released along with the PSLE results. There are two possible allocation outcomes- successful or unsuccessful.
Here are few other things that you need to remember at the time of application:
- To participate in the 2021 DSA-Sec, your child must be born between 2 January 2005 and 1 January 2010 if they are Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents. If they are not Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents, they should be born between 2 January 2007 and 1 January 2010.
- Make sure that documents are valid at the point of registration and in English. If documents are not in English, there must be an accompanying English translation for the same.
Direct School Admission: Facts All Parents Must Know
The DSA program was first introduced in 2004 for students who are studying Primary 6 or Secondary 4. This program was to help them have a guaranteed place in a secondary school or junior college respectively.
- Another goal of this scheme is to allow secondary schools/junior colleges to have more autonomy in selecting their students.
- A student may receive “Confirmed Offer,” “Waiting List” or “Rejected” as an outcome.
Steps to Help Your Kids Prepare For DSA in 2021
It is very important to apply to schools that are aligned with your child’s values, personality, and abilities. According to educational experts, it is best to involve your kid when choosing the schools. As parents when you discuss it with your kids, remember to do it in a way that doesn’t make your child feel pressurised.
Here are some practical tips to help them prepare for their Direct School Admission interview:
Organise each answer
Teach your child how to organise his or her thoughts before answering each question. A well-structured answer reflects coherence and composure.
Avoid writing answers that are too brief. Instead, they should learn to package it well with proper history, facts, and without deviating from the main point.
Answer with honesty
Prepare your kid well for questions like-“Have you applied to other schools? If so, why are you applying to our school?” Don’t encourage your kids to lie, in case they haven’t.
Instead, these questions can be better handled with honesty. There is no harm in saying, “Yes, I have applied to other schools,” but then cite an honest reason for your answer. Advise them to answer confidently.
Encourage them to share personal experiences
Interviewers encourage originality and they love personal anecdotes. Tell your kids to share their personal experiences or stories if required during the interview. This gives them a chance to stand out during the interview.
The interviewer would love to hear anything that is interesting, offers a fresh perspective rather than just a mugged up answer from the textbook.
Help them deal with failures
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After going through selection trials and multiple interviews, your child could be in a situation where he is not selected for direct school admission in any school. It can be quite tough on them.
However, it is important to teach them to deal with rejection. Let them know that failures are a part and parcel of every life. Help them regain their lost confidence. In fact, as parents, you need to be careful to not show your disappointment in front of them.
You can make your kids understand that even if they have not been selected for DSA to his school of choice, there’s still a chance. They can always work hard for the PSLE exams.
As you decide to apply for the DSA scheme, go through the websites of different schools and talk to students and parents.
Here’s hoping the above information comes in handy while you search for the best schools for your child.
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