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    Admission to Singapore Universities: How to Apply, Eligibility, Deadlines, Requirements for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    Singapore is a country that offers high-quality education, and is considered one of the best education destinations in Asia. Two of the best Singaporean universities - the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University - are among Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings Top 100.

    Indians make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Singapore, so students from India will not find any trouble in adapting to the culture and language in the country. To get admissions with Singapore Universities, international applicants are required to fulfill additional criteria. Discussed below are the details of how you can ace your admission applications to Singapore universities.

    Timeline for Admission Process to Singapore Universities

    Month Details
    October 2020 Applications open
    January - July 2021 Interviews for shortlisted candidates
    March 2021 Applications close
    February - July 2021 Candidates are informed whether they are accepted or not
    June - August 2021 Orientation programmes
    August 2021 Classes commence

    How to Apply for Admission to Singapore Universities?

    Admission to universities in Singapore must be done through the individual universities’ websites; there is no centralized admission portal. Most public universities in Singapore have two intakes, that is one around August and the other in January. Private universities, on the other hand, have numerous intakes throughout the year.

    Start your application process by searching which course you want to study in Singapore. With a variety of courses available at your discretion, it is very important to choose the right type. Your choice, of course, would depend upon the following factors:

    1. You want to do Diploma, UG, PG or Ph.D.
    2. Future employment opportunities for the course you want to choose
    3. University Ranking, etc

    Zero-in on the course you want to study and start by filling the application form.

    Step by Step Application Process

    Candidates first have to decide which course and university they want to apply to, then find out the specific requirements from the university’s page. Undergraduate applicants to Singapore universities are broadly divided into six categories based on their previous educational qualifications:

    • Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ Level’
    • Polytechnic Diploma from Singapore
    • NUS High School Diploma
    • International Baccalaureate Diploma
    • Singapore Citizens
    • International Qualifications

    Since most students from India would come under the last category, the application process and requirements explained here would be pertaining to international students in Singapore.

    After identifying which criteria are applicable to you,

    1. Submit an online application (or a postal application, in some cases) to the particular university. You have to fill the form that is specific to international students, which is available on the university website.
    2. Pay the application fee, the amount varying according to university.
    3. Upload/send the required documents before deadline.

    Most universities provide an Application Checklist that you can refer and submit.

    Students will be informed well in advance if they receive an admission offer, so they will have ample time to make other arrangements before the semester begins.

    Application Deadlines 2021 for Admission to Singapore Universities

    University Application Deadline Intake Month
    National University of Singapore 31 March August
    Nanyang Technological University 19 March August
    Singapore University of Technology and Design 19 March August
    Singapore Management University 19 March August
    Singapore University of Social Sciences 31 March July
    James Cook University, Singapore 24 February March

    Please note that different courses, especially at the postgraduate level, may have different application deadlines.

    Eligibility for Admission to Singapore Universities

    Admission to UG Courses in Singapore Universities

    In order to join an undergraduate program, you must have the following minimum entry requirements:

    • You must hold an Indian Standard 12 certificate, which can be from CBSE, ISC or state boards. You must have good passes in 5 subjects, including English.
    • The Class 12 subjects may have to match the minimum requirements set by individual university programs.

    Students may be asked to take entrance tests to study in Singapore universities, to ensure that they are eligible for the particular course.

    Admission to PG Courses in Singapore Universities

    In order to join a graduate program,

    • You must have a Bachelor's degree or an equivalent from a recognized university.
    • You must have proof of aptitude to certain courses, which may include exams like GMAT and GRE.
    • University Entrance Examination (UEE) for eg. NTU conducts NTU Entrance Test
    • Course-specific entrance tests
    • Interview (in selective universities)

    Some courses require that candidates have a few years of work experience before starting the academic year. This is especially important if you plan on doing an MBA in Singapore.

    English Language Proficiency in Singapore

    Since most university programs are conducted with English as the medium of instruction, students need to show that they have sufficient proficiency in the language at the time of application. If you have completed 12 years of school education in India in English-medium, you are exempted from taking any other English language tests. If not, you will need to sit one of the English exams required to study in Singapore.

    The minimum score required for getting admissions with Singapore Universities are:

    • IELTS- 6.5 average
    • TOEFL results- 85-100 overall.
    • Malaysian University English Test (MUET)- Band 3, and the score is valid for up to five years.
    • PTE - 56-66.

    A majority of students prefer IELTS, and so do universities. The IELTS requirements at different academic institutions are as follows:

    University IELTS Score
    National University of Singapore 6.5
    Nanyang Technological University 6.0 - 6.5
    Singapore Management University 6.5 - 7.0
    Singapore Institute of Management 6.0
    Singapore University of Social Sciences 6.5

    Study in Singapore Without IELTS

    It is understandable if students do not want to take IELTS or other similar exams, as they can be expensive, costing INR 13,000 - 14,000. An alternative to this would be doing an English proficiency course in Singapore prior to your actual degree course. This can come in the form of:

    • Foundation / Preparatory programs
    • English certificate programs

    In most cases, this means an additional 6 months or 1 year of study in Singapore, and the programs are usually offered by the university you are enrolling in.

    There is also yet another option to study without IELTS, which is opting for a course/university that does not require IELTS. Fortunately, most popular universities do not make IELTS a mandatory qualification, so you can find plenty of opportunities.

    Entrance Tests for Admission to Singapore Universities

    Different programs require students to submit aptitude test scores, along with their academic transcripts, to show their ability in the particular field of study.

    The tests and score requirements based on the course you pursue are:

    • SAT is optional in Singapore universities, the minimum requirements vary.
    • Scores of ACT are also optional to get into universities. You can submit the same if the admissions committee asks for one.
    • GMAT: 650 for top business schools in Singapore
    • Universities ask for GRE scores of around 300 in the verbal and quantitative sections.

    Supporting Documents Required for Admission to Singapore Universities

    After the candidate has filled the online application form, he/she has to also submit the following related documents:

    • Scanned copy of application fees
    • Scanned copy of Passport details
    • Scanned copy of Student Pass (for non – Singapore citizens)
    • Scanned copy of past academic documents
    • Scanned copy of University details
    • Scanned copy of SAT and SAT Subject test scores/ ACT/ IELTS/ TOEFL / AP/ GMAT score
    • Scanned copy of Choice of courses (preferences)
    • Scanned copy of tuition grant
    • Scanned copy of financial aid
    • Awards/ Recognitions/ co-curricular activities/ extracurricular activities/ competitions
    • Criminal Offence records, if any
    • Medical report stating any disability or illness

    Payment of Application Fees

    After the candidate has filled the application form, at the end of it, he/she has to make the payment of the registration fees.

    Mode of payment

    • Credit Card only (through VISA or MasterCard): The amount of credit card differs from university to university. Debit card payments won’t be accepted. Cash payment is not allowed.
    • Bank Draft: It has to be made payable to the University with name and application number of the applicant at the back of the bank draft. The original bank draft has to be sent to the university by post.

    Visa Requirements to Singapore

    Once you have received an offer to a university, you can apply for a student visa to Singapore. You will need the following documents for this purpose:

    • Passport
    • Student visa application form, filled
    • Financial statements
    • English language test scores
    • Transcripts from your previous institutions
    • Offer letter from the Singapore university

    You will also need to present passport-size photographs and a medical certificate.

    Reasons for Rejection of Application to Singapore Universities

    Students’ applications may be rejected if the following documents, which are required to study in Singapore, are not up to mark:

    • Relevant academic transcripts
    • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
    • Letter of Recommendation
    • Passport validity
    • Medical insurance
    • Test scores
    • Detailed plan of finances

    At some universities, the interview plays a huge role in the selection process. A candidate’s conduct and social behaviour in the past is also examined, and those who have poor certificates of conduct, or have been subject to criminal conviction, are less likely to be accepted in case of both academic institutions and immigration services.

    It is imperative that prospective students thoroughly check the timelines of the admission process, so as to not miss out on any of the crucial steps. Different universities ask for documents that are relevant to them, so if you want to apply to NUS or NTU, make sure to read the fine print in each case before starting with the application.