An early start to university study
Consultancy offers unique foundation year enrolment
Most students here start their tertiary education either after getting a diploma or after completing the A levels.
But for the past eight years, local educational consultants Jack Study Abroad (JSA) have been offering a different path - one that allows students to take their first steps into university when they are as young as 16.
The home-grown consultancy company links students with foreign institutions to enrol into foundation year programmes, effectively bypassing the need for pre-university education here.
Division manager Reyn Teng told The New Paper that universities in Australia and the UK have started such programmes for students here because of Singapore's excellent education system.
Said Miss Teng: "Many institutions overseas realise Singaporean students have substance because our education system is very mature."
In addition to introducing students to these schools, Jack Study Abroad also helps students to find accommodation for their foundation year.
Students attend lessons that introduce them to basic concepts in their chosen field. At the end of the programme, the school examines the student's academic performance. If they pass, they can proceed to the first year in that university's standard curriculum.
"Most of the students we refer pass the foundation year requirement and continue their studies," said Miss Teng.
"It saves them time, they move on to university and get to graduate faster. For the boys, they can come home to serve national service first and jump straight back to where they left off in university."
But she said it was important for students to discuss options with parents.
Jack Study Abroad might offer spots in courses like law, medicine and business, but students have to be sure of their choices.
Miss Teng said what they choose is not just for the foundation year - it is a commitment for the next four to five years of their lives.
She added that parents play an integral role in this decision-making process.
She said: "Students need to be very clear when they pick their foundation programme. We help them decide what the right fit for them is but they should still come with their parents and discuss it with them."
Sending children to study overseas isn't cheap. Miss Teng said the tuition fees alone for an Australian university can fall between $19,000 and $31,000 a year.
Consultations with Jack Study Abroad are free, said managing director Kevin Li.
It makes its earnings from the universities that fund the company.
Miss Teng said that an average of 700 students each year have found a spot in a university, thanks to the consultancy.
She said: "There will always be a market because Singaporean parents value education highly.
"They will always want to provide the best for their children."