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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2014, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve
Default Local University Student - College Hacks

Very useful read...

4) Donít be afraid to ask for favours

A lot of Singaporeans fear failure and rejection but my advice is, donít be afraid to ask. I achieved a few things because I was willing to ask.

When a tutorial I wanted was full, I would register myself in name for another but ask for permission if I could turn up for the one which had a more suitable timing for me.

When the public policy faculty started their new major ďPublic Policy and Global AffairsĒ, the minor name remained unchanged. I wrote in to the dean to ask if he could and explained the ways the name change will be advantageous to both the school and students. It was approved and now I have a more marketable sounding minor than ďMinor in Public AdministrationĒ

I realized that American universities would allow students to claim extra credit for internships. So I asked the school if I could do so. I knew that those who were up there within my faculty were either educated in USA or from the USA so they would be very familiar with this and accepting towards this new idea. As a result, I managed to clear 8 UE from my summer internships in Year 1 and Year 2. This did not count towards my S/U and enabled me to freeze my gpa and build up my portfolio at the same time.

Bottom line is: don't be afraid to ask, at most you would get a "No" and life goes on!


7) Donít take double majors.

I strongly advise against double majors because they require a lot of work and have very little returns on investment. I simply donít understand why people would want to delay their graduation or overload each semester for a double major.

A lot of students have this misguided formula for being impressive: Difficult Course/Activity Load ==> Impressiveness ==> Interesting Job and Grad School Opportunities ==> Enjoyable Life

However, the truth is people are more impressed by your ability to be a star at something than they are by your ability to juggle lots of hard things. Ability rules. No one cares about your diligence. Everyone is hardworking in Singapore. It is nothing special and a basic requirement.

Taking a double major comes at an immense opportunity cost. You can use this time to write a book, start a business, launch a project, do a part time internship at a good firm etc and all these will be more impressive than a student with double majors.

8) This brings me to my next point that School activities are overrated.

If you are passionate about what you are doing and looking to receive intrinsic rewards, school CCA is unimportant.

Many undergraduates are still having the jc mentality that taking more than one CCA is good for them in university. They take up multiple roles in hall, within their school and organize this and that. The point of extracurriculars are to DIFFERENTIATE yourself from the competition.

However, school-based extra-curriculars do not really differentiate you much. Every club has a business manager, a vice president and a sports secretary. For instance, if the school has 50 clubs, there will be 50 people with the same post as you. Since Singapore has six universities (including private), there will be 300 people with the same position as you in a mini school club. Besides, school-based extra-curriculars are very very time consuming and you will have little control over your time. Events are often held every year, it is nothing special to put on CV.

I would advise students to tap on the opportunities available outside school with real world organizations or start your own projects. These things have lesser barriers to entry, take up less time but appear much more impressive on your CV than a mere time consuming inefficient school club would.


Good grades and cca would get you a scholarship in JC but not the best job after college.
read the full post -
Jeraldine's Blog (

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 13-03-2014, 05:18 PM
Posts: n/a

Read the full article. Basically it's a cheat sheet telling people how to score well enough to graduate with good honours, and the importance of network. You missed out on her points 1 & 3 on how to avoid "pulling your CAP down" due to hard modules.

Street smart, yes. Useful, no. Give an example. I know of people who studied Life Sciences, but deliberately avoid taking any immunology modules as they know these are the killers. So they managed to scrap a 2nd upper. But when people start to talk to them about biomedical issues, they scratch their head (as they don't understand), leaving these people bewildered at how they gotten their degree. Reason being you can't talk in depth about biomedical stuff without touching on immunology.

Conclusion, foundation will not be strong if you constantly choose the easy way out. Good universities design their curriculum in such a way that you get the best out of it. And there you have people trying to play the system. Time will be your test to see if you're geniunely good, or just good at smoking.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 13-03-2014, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by warning View Post
Very useful read...

read the full post -
Jeraldine's Blog (
Good grades and CCA in JC will get you good scholarships. Being a scholar means your career path is mapped out for you, and you're going to climb up the corporate ladder faster than your peers. Isn't that what most Singaporean students are clamouring for? Taking PSC scholarships could also imply future political/senior official posititions. Wealth plus power and status.

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2014, 03:33 AM
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"I know of people who studied Life Sciences, but deliberately avoid taking any immunology modules as they know these are the killers. So they managed to scrap a 2nd upper. But when people start to talk to them about biomedical issues, they scratch their head (as they don't understand), leaving these people bewildered at how they gotten their degree. Reason being you can't talk in depth about biomedical stuff without touching on immunology."

I think that the point you raised here is more applicable and valid for technical skills and hard subjects. However, for softer subjects like Communication Studies and Social sciences which Jeraldine is taking, the courses and projects don't really help one that much in their future professions.

As such, I would say follow Jeraldine's advice if you are taking soft subjects. But don't heed some of them if you are in IT, engineering or science.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

However, what matters the most to employers is really the hands-on experience gained during college. This is the most critical hiring variable of all.

So if you want to develop your minor into something you can really do as a career, go build relevant experience in that second field - join competitions; build your portfolio; gain internship experience or better, do something that requires a combination of both skills.
Jeraldine Phneah | Singapore Lifestyle Blogger: Should you pursue a Minor in college?

3. The school you attend matters much more than your academic record...

They felt students from better schools were smarter and had more foresight
According to this logic, the more prestigious a school, the higher its "bar" for admission, and thus the "smarter" its student body.

In addition to being an indicator of potential intellectual deficits, the decision to go to a lesser known school was often perceived to be evidence of moral failings, such as faulty judgment or a lack of foresight on the part of a student.
4. Extracurriculars matter...

Employers preferred those who take on activities motivated by "personal" rather than "professional" interest. Those who participated in activities that were primarily academically or pre-professionally oriented were perceived to be "boring," "tools," "bookworms," or "nerds" who might turn out to be "corporate drones" if hired.

This is true even when activities were directly related to work within their industry (e.g., investing, consulting, legal clinic clubs) as employers believe that these extracurriculars were believed to serve the instrumental purpose of "looking good" rather than evidence of genuine "passion," "commitment," and "well-roundedness."
Jeraldine Phneah: How do the best firms hire?
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