AFTER SPM! WHAT NEXT? THE COMMON QUESTIONS AND THE COMMON ROUTES.
The common questions after SPM are:
a. What to study? Foundation studies, A-Level, STPM...
b. Where to study? Government schools/colleges, local private universities/colleges...
c. What options do I have? Study, work, take Kit-Kat (take a break), don't know.....
After SPM, many students are in dilemma and do not know what to choose. This is the time when big decision is to be made in order to chart your next course of study that will eventually determine your next life cycle.
The common routes after SPM are:
1. Foundation Program
The fast track way to gain direct entry to a specific bachelor degree program compared with other P-U courses. Students must be made known that some foundation programs (regardless of arts or science stream) might not be accepted by local or abroad universities as Pre-U entry requirement. So leaving you no other options except to stay put with the same college where you did your foundation. In Malaysia, many local colleges offer attractive foundation program to tie up students to continue with them for a degree program. You should consider foundation courses if you already have an idea of your career path.
2. Cambridge A Level
One of the most recognized Pre-U program in the world. With this qualification, basically you can apply to any universities around the world except public universities in Malaysia. The choice of your degree program will depend on what subjects you take in A-Level. Duration of the course is usually within 15 to 18 months depend on intake date you join. A-Levels is suitable for those who want to keep their study options open and enjoy a ﬂexible but challenging syllabus.
Suitable for those students who prefer to gain employment experience before continue their degree course.A diploma course is suitable for those who have decided on an industry which requires speciﬁc skills or vocational training. Other than equipping yourself with industry-related skills and knowledge, you can also opt to continue your studies or enter the workforce early. This course takes about two or three years to complete, depending on your subject.
4. Local Matriculation
The most secured Pre-U program to gain direct entry into local public universities in Malaysia. My perception is students with local matriculation qualification will be given priority consideration compared with students with STPM qualification. Moreover, only 10% of the total seats are allocated to non-bumiputra students so you need to have a competitive result to gain admission to local matriculation program. (Government Matriculation)
STPM regarded as as of the most difficult Pre-U program due to its long duration and wide syllabus. Its qualification considered equivalent to the GCE-A-Level in the UK. Students who opt for STPM will need to wait about 32 months (study for 18 months and waiting period for 12 months after finished SPM) before can gain entry to a bachelor degree program into many countries around the world. Students who opted for STPM were usually aim to gain admission into Malaysia public universities. This is the cheapest Pre-U program as tuition fee is basically free. A gender reminder for those who wanted to aim to gain admission to local public university, be prepared for not getting the degree course of your choice despite with the perfect score in STPM. This predicament happening each year in Malaysia since my time or before. It is like "Sad movies always make me cry".
6. Others - Australian Matriculation, American Degree Program, Canadian Pre-U.
If you still don't know and unsure what to do, you’re not alone. Don’t beat yourself up. Students at this age are still discovering themselves, so take your time. If you think a certain job sounds appealing, talk to people who are already working in the industry. Ask your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and people your age for their opinions. Go on the web and read blogs of people who are doing interesting stuff. Does taking time off to row down the Amazon River sound appealing? Or explore educational websites to find out what courses are available, the type of universities you’d like to go to (a city university or one by the beach), the country you’d prefer to live in or read reviews of students who have been there and done that.