Five things you need to know about Direct School Admission (DSA) for your school-going child

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PSLE scores need not be the final determining factor for your child to enter a secondary school of his choice. Find out how the direct school admission or DSA exercise can help.

direct school admission

If your child has an aptitude or talent in a particular area, he can apply for his secondary school of choice, before the release of the PSLE results.

Besides the thought of the gruelling exams, the Direct School Admission-Secondary (DSA-Sec) programme may be on your mind if  your  child is sitting for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year.

DSA-Sec is an opportunity for Primary 6 students to be guaranteed a place in a secondary school  prior to the release of the PSLE results. This exercise provides an opportunity for Primary 6 children to be selected for admission into a school of their choice based on talent and outstanding achievements in a particular area.

Here are five things you need to do to help your child manage the DSA process.


direct school admission

Having outstanding achievements in sports like badminton can help your child clinch a place in a choice school.

1. Ensure your child’s talents match the choice secondary school’s niche area

The aim of the DSA programme is to provide kids with an opportunity to demonstrate a more diverse range of achievements and talents in seeking admission to a secondary school, going beyond just the PSLE score.

Some secondary schools have a niche area, be it in academic achievements, sports or in other aspects like character development and leadership or music. You would need to scout for a school that offers DSA based on your child’s strengths or talents.

For example, if your child excels in badminton and has participated in zonal or national level  badminton tournaments, then try for DSA(Sports) at schools like Saint Joseph’s Institution (SJI) or Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Secondary.

If your child is exceptionally talented in drama, he may apply to Xinmin Secondary School or Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) (Barker), through the DSA programme.

2. Get records organised and ready for DSA application

The school of your choice would need you to support your DSA application with some evidence of your child’s abilities. The supporting documents that you would need to submit for DSA to the school of choice would depend on the school and the type of DSA programme your child is applying for.

Generally, if your child is applying for DSA-Instructional Programme, or DSA(IP), which is based on your child’s exceptional academic achievements in a particular subject, then he would most likely be required to submit his Primary 4 and 5 End-of-Year examination results, as well as his results for the Primary 6 Mid-Year examinations.

In addition, he may need to submit documents showing participation in national competitions. For example, if your child has an aptitude for Mathematics and is applying for DSA (IP), he may need to produce records of his participation in the Maths Olympiad competitions.

Similarly, if your child is applying for DSA based on his strong leadership ability, then records of his holding key leadership positions like Head Prefect have to be included. Testimonials from the school and recommendation letters from his primary school teachers would also boost his chances.

If your child is not in Primary 6 yet, it would be a good idea to find a way to keep certificates and records of your child’s achievements in an organised manner, so that you can access it easily when it is time to apply for DSA. It would also be wise to ask his primary school teacher early in the PSLE year to help to write a letter of recommendation for your child as teachers would be very busy during the DSA application period, accommodating requests for letters from many parents!


What is the next step if your child is shortlisted after the first round of selection? Find out on the next page.

General Primary School Education