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1,500 apply for 200 places in full-time degree courses at UniSIM

Flexibility, work stints draw many to varsity's first full-time degree courses
The Straits Times - May 30, 2014
By: Sandra Davie Senior Education Correspondent
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1,500 apply for 200 places in full-time degree courses at UniSIM Ms Ng Wai Ling will study accountancy and is attracted to the work attachments that UniSIM offers. Mr Tan Jun Han will study marketing and looks forward to taking courses with working adults. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

It may be offering full-time degree courses for the first time, but SIM University is proving a popular choice among young people.

The university drew 1,500 applications for the 200 places it has in accountancy, marketing and finance, and shortlisted 900 applicants for the four-step selection process which included interviews and essays.

Close to six in 10 of those who applied were polytechnic diploma holders, while the rest had A levels, said UniSIM.

The median grade point average for the polytechnic graduates offered places was 3.4 out of 4, putting them in the top 20 per cent of the polytechnic cohort.

Students have up till June 2 to accept the offers. So far, close to 150 have already confirmed they will be enrolling.

The three new courses are the first full-time undergraduate courses being offered by the university, which runs more than 50 part-time degree courses for working adults.

UniSIM officials said that course flexibility and emphasis on work attachments have proven to be the main draws. For instance, it will allow students to reduce a four-year course by a year, if they choose to take more modules and go for evening classes.

Those who land a job while studying, on the other hand, have the option of switching to part- time studies, and can take up to six years to earn their degree.

UniSIM will also partner companies to develop and supervise a 24-week work attachment. Unlike traditional internships, its attachments will be longer and more substantial, requiring students to take on work which other employees actually do.

Final-year students will have to complete a project based on a work-related issue and will have to spend at least 80 hours organising a community service project.

UniSIM provost Tsui Kai Chong described the response as heartening and said students will likely take advantage of the flexibility to mix and match courses.

"Students see the advantages of taking some classes in the evenings with working adults as they can learn from them about working life and the industry they want to go into," he noted.

"They realise that with so many university graduates, they will need an edge, and the intensive work attachments that we will provide will give them that advantage."

He added that UniSIM will recognise online and certification courses that students take up.

"We are preparing them for a future where the boundaries between part-time and full-time and work and study will not be clear-cut."

National serviceman Tan Jun Han, 23, who will be studying marketing at the university, said: "I think that it will be valuable to take some courses with working adults because you get to network and see what opportunities there are in the industry."

Former Temasek Junior College student Ng Wai Ling, 19, chose to study accountancy in UniSIM although she had two other offers from local universities. One reason she chose UniSIM was the work attachments.

She said: "With more university graduates in Singapore, I have to think about how I can stand out. I feel that the work attachments provided by UniSIM will help me land jobs more easily when I graduate."

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