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Study in Singapore

Overview

Singapore is an ideal destination for international students wishing to pursue higher education. The island country proudly boasts of housing high, state-of-the-art standards for education. With a solid focus on the research base, and the proclivity of the Singaporean universities to encourage talent without discrimination as well as the exceptionally nice standard of living accords to the country an attraction that few international students can resist.

The country uses the Singapore Dollar or the SGD as its official currency (SGD 1= 50.91 INR).

The well-built educational system and open job market makes studying in Singapore an obvious choice, both the former and the latter being a matter of priority to the government. Further, the journey is easier for a prospective Indian student as the island country of Singapore has a large student base of Indian students. Also, the English language is widely spoken and is even one of the four primary languages such that international students would not find communication gap to be a difficulty. While it would be stating the obvious it must be said that Singapore’s climate—though warm all year round—is pleasant and beautiful. One must not be put off by the size of the country as the development within its borders more than makes up for it.

Education System

The PISA assessment tool from the OECD helps to compare the standard of education in Singapore to that in your home country. While India has not been added to the list to compare its education system to that of Singapore's an inspection of comparison with other countries would reveal that Singapore is an ideal education destination. You can apply for higher studies in Singapore after your secondary/post-secondary education. This may include Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate.

Singapore's basic education system comprises of the primary, secondary and the post-secondary stages. Singaporean education falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Education or the MoE which commands a strong education policy.

The Singaporean education system is largely operated in the English language, it being one of the four languages most widely spoken in the country.

The higher education in Singapore would include prestigious and some of the oldest universities offering excellent courses, scholarships and subsidies for those in need (international students), truly amazing quality of life, among others.

Top Courses

Popular courses to study in Singapore:

Singapore is famous for offering courses in the fields of :

  • Business & Management, IT
  • Architecture
  • Medicine
  • Arts
  • Engineering & Science
  • Mass Communication
Applied Geographic Information System
masters
Course Duration - 12 Months
Political Science
bachelors
Course Duration - 48 Months
Architecture
bachelors
Course Duration - 48 Months

Admission Process

The application process in Singaporean Universities differs according to the level one wishes to gain admission into. Primarily there are three levels international students are interested in after schooling: the Bachelor’s, Master's and Doctorate.

In Singapore the educational institutions are divided into six public institutions, five polytechnic institutions, about two art Universities and more than a dozen private Universities. These institutions accept applications from local students as well as international students.

Visit the official university website:

First and foremost, the primary step that must be taken to begin the application process in a University of your choice is to visit the official website of the university (mostly the application process is available in an online format). The online application process for a University is clearly given with easy instructions to follow. This is advisable when you are sure of your goals and are aware in which University you want to be in. Most online application processes will ask you to select your degree of choice and have ready all the documents that would be required for verification and administration purposes.

Note-worthy: Mostly government Universities in Singapore accept online applications. Private institutions are known to require offline applications as well from international students.

Language Proficiency tests required to study in Singapore:

If you are not a native speaker then it’s best to begin with brushing up on those English learning lessons. On the same not, remember to check if the University of your choice has an English proficiency test requirement, in which case you must also have the results of your TOEFL/IELTS tests handy (make sure you have the latest scores; usually six months after the taking of the test is considered to be the margin). This depends upon your University of choice. The Universities in Singapore are known to accept the results of the C1 Advanced exam also.

Added to that, the official languages of Singapore include Malay and Tamil languages besides English. Make sure to check if the University you are interested in has a policy which requires you to be proficient in any of the above mentioned languages other than English, or with combination with it.

Academic Profile/ GPA:

On a separate note, the results of your school or pre-University college also matter significantly in your application process. Have a strong GPA base ready by the time you are ready to apply.

Documents required to apply to Singaporean Universities:

It is essential that you double-check the required documents when you are applying at an international University. The documents that you will be required to submit might include-

Personal contact information
Academic qualifications reports
Certificates showing your extracurricular and co-curricular achievements
Other documents which would be asked for may include-

Identification documents
Academic transcripts/statement of learning/record of achievement. Acquiring the latter often takes time, especially if the office of your institution is closed. Be sure to possess them—duly stamped by your previous University on their letterhead—well within time.
SOP
LOR

University Application Process for Singapore:

Be aware that the actual application process for University begins much later than the preparation for it does.

The online application process would look something like this:

Visit the official website of the University and look for the ‘Apply’ tab
Fill in your login/sign-up details as may be
Fill up the form with authentic and correct information
Have the required documents ready in the prescribed format
Upload the required documents


The offline application process for universities in Singapore:

In case you are applying offline, you would have to print out the application form and then deal with the hassle of couriering your documents with the application to the admission offices of the University of your choice. More often than not the Singapore University would have a concerned office in India or consultant offices; this is where your offline applications would go to. While some prefer the offline application procedure more it is always better to opt for the online application process when given a choice as that is largely error-free and can be dispensed with in one sitting within the comfort of your home.

University Application fee:

The application process is accompanied by a fee. It may differ according from University to University. For example, the latest rates for applying to the National University of Singapore lies between SGD 10.45 to SGD 20.91 (532.27 INR to 1065.65 INR).

After paying the fee, get a receipt if available. Keep checking the status of your application. It could be found online on the website of the University you have applied in. Keep an eye out for the deadlines. If you are not careful you might miss out on the University of your dreams. As long as we are on that point, you must ensure that you apply to more than one University. There is no certainty that you will get into the first University you apply in, unless your GPA is exceptional and so are your extracurricular credentials.

Remember, your SOP, LOR, Admission Essay, CV, Singapore Student Visa and education loans are an integral part of your application process. Prepare for the same multiple times, see the examples of previously submitted SOPs, etc. to understand the game.

Cost of Attendance

Singapore is an expensive nation by anyone’s standards. However, the small island nation prides itself on providing exemplary education to the students that manage to get admission into their system—both local and international. High end facilities and an ever practical syllabus make for an ideal atmosphere for education.

The question would arise regarding the cost of such facilities. A report published by HSBC—which is a British multinational financial services company—sometime in 2014 suggests that Singapore follows Australia in being among the topmost countries in the world in terms of expensive higher education for international students. Among the top Universities in Singapore which also have the honour of being recognized as being among the best in Asia are the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

On an average, the cost of studying in Singapore has been found to be around SGD 25,000 and S$40,00 or approximately 20 lakh INR. The cost of studying; tuition fees, living expenses, other expenses, etc. would depend upon the programme you have chosen, the duration of your academic pursuits, the University you have enrolled in, etc. As an example, the National University of Singapore which is considered to be among the top tier Universities in Asia, not to mention the world, and which offers various courses in fields such as Medicine, Music, Business, Dentistry, etc. charges a sum of SGD 27,050 or nearly 14 lakh INR for international students wishing to pursue law at an undergraduate level. A breakup of the tuition charges for the various courses offered by the NUS can be found here. The University also charges a separate amount for facilities which is not covered by the tuition fees for academics—as is the practice among the majority of Universities—and this amount is covered under what is called the ‘Miscellaneous Student Fees’ which includes healthcare services, cultural programmes, maintaining the in-campus network and other related services within the campus premises. Information about the miscellaneous fees for NUS may be found here. This largely varies from university to university so it would be best if the individual websites of the universities are visited for information.

There is also the option of applying for scholarships for the in-need students. Find more information regarding the same here. Furthermore, there are several other roads open to Indian students for financial aid.

Coming to the point, however, Singapore is an ideal destination for Indian students, often frequented by them in pursuit of higher education if the statistics by organizations such as the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education or OEBD are to be believed. The primary reason behind this is undoubtedly the closeness the country shares with India making it a much preferable to-travel option for prospective Indian students as compared to the United Kingdom, the USA or Australia. Moreover, the country’s education system is rife with opportunities and state-of-art facilities. Hence, there will hardly be complaints about the quality of education.

Courses such as Medicine, Dentistry, Business and Law would naturally demand a higher cost for tuition by their very nature. The tuition fees for these courses for an academic year ranges in between S$37,000 - S$154,000.

An admired step taken by the government of Singapore for the benefit of international students can be recognized in the Tuition Grant Scheme or the TGS. The scheme requires you to contract to work in Singapore for at least 3 years post-graduation in exchange for which you would be beneficiary to a subsidized tuition fee.

The cost of studying in Singapore would also primarily include the living expenses which would include food, accommodation, healthcare and travel expenses. The secondary expenses would include luxury and entertainment spending.

While compared to its Western counterparts which are also education hubs for international students Singapore is cheaper as far as tuition fees go, but the city demands a higher cost of living than most due to its cosmopolitan nature, ever-increasing economy and steady development. For instance, the accommodation rent for a public room in Singapore would round off to a figure of about 800 to 1000 SGD which is equivalent to 35,000 INR at an average. Bigger apartments or private rooms would demand a much higher rent.

As far as transportation in Singapore is concerned, it is relatively cheap and affordable. A sound piece of advice would be to avoid splurging on private modes of transportation and avail the services of the public transports—like the rail and the bus system—which are comfortable as well as extensive in their reach.

Food costs for students in Singapore come up to be around 500 SGD or and the healthcare/insurance policies for students depend on the University they have enrolled in. For example, you can refer the medical insurance policy of the SMU here. For international students it is ideal to pick a private health insurance policy which will enable them to access the medical services in the country. On an average such schemes would come at a cost of SGD 50,000 or 25 lakh INR.

Best student cities

Some of the best cities to study in Singapore are:

  • Kampong Glam
  • Jurong East
  • Bukit Batok
  • Pasir Ris

Some of the attractions in Singapore include various outdoor activities, nature and parks, cultural attractions, etc. Some famous places you might visit are Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Cloud Forest, Marina Bay, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Universal Studios, etc.

Visa

Application process for a student visa begins for an international student after his or her application has been accepted by the University of choice.

Following is a step-by-step list with information for student visa application for international students in Singaporean Universities:

  • Receive the letter of acceptance from the University of your choice.
  • Studying in Singapore requires a Student Pass, the applications for which must be submitted via the SOLAR + or the Student’s Pass OnLine Application & Registration + system. This is a must unless you possess an immigration exemption order, or have been the recipient of a short-term visit pass at a Singaporean checkpoint for attending a short course. A student pass may have different requirements
  • The official website for the same, the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority has information for the same. Go to the ‘I am a Pass Holder’ tab and select the ‘Student Pass’ button. The window that will open will give out any details that you might require to apply for a student’s pass.
  • Start gathering the following documents and then proceed to the application process:
    • Passport with validity extending post three months after your intended stay in Singapore.
    • Filled out application forms designated for Student Visas, namely the Form V36 and ICA Form 16. Also see.
    • The receipt of the fee paid for the issuance of the Student’s Pass which amounts to approximately SGD 60 or about 3000 INR; there is also an application fee that has to be paid to apply itself which amounts to around SGD 30 or 1540 INR. The fee is not refundable.
    • Keep your passport size photographs handy (make sure they are not older than three-six months).
    • The record of your bank statement showing proof of your capability to pay for your tuition and living expenses.
    • Your FD (fixed deposit) receipts and bank loan sanction letter may also be required, though they are not always asked for.
    • Your school transcripts/degree/certificates, etc. or any other certification of excellence.
    • Other test results that may be asked by your University are the TOEFLGRE, C1 Advanced, IELTS or GMAT.
    • Documentation showing proof of your academic or financial position.
    • Statement vouching for your tuition, living and travel expenses (if necessary).
  • Now you must begin with the actual application process which begins with the submission of the application for Student’s Pass which you should set about doing about a month before your course commences.
  • The University is responsible to register you through the SOLAR + system with your necessary personal information before you submit your application as an international student.
  • As soon as you are registered the next step is to log in to the SOLAR system to fill in the eForm 16.See the instructions for filling the form here.
  • Print out the filled-out form and submit it to the ICA for the completion of the process for the issuance of a Student’s Pass.

Note that if your age is 19 years or less your University applications will be subjected to the perusal of the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority or the ICA itself if your intention is to enrol in a full time course at a private organization. If, however, you are over and above 19 years of age and want to join commercial, language, vocational or other fine arts non-graduate or postgraduate degree courses you would be expected to have an interview with the Embassy.

If you are scheduled for an interview then your University will be made aware of the same via electronic mail within a month of the submission of the application through the SOLAR + system. For knowing the exact interview date you must be in touch with your prospective University. Post interview a processing time of approximately one to four months is expected.

Visit the official website of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information in this regard.

Top Scholarships

Given below is a set of universities, third parties and government institutions that offer scholarship opportunities to international students wanting to pursue their studies abroad.

List of scholarships for Study Abroad for Fall/Spring 2020.

  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship
  • Science & Technology Undergraduate Scholarship
  • College Scholarship
  • School Scholarship
  • Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Scholarship
  • NTU-University Scholars Programme Scholarship
  • Nanyang Scholarship

Work Opportunities

Singapore is a country known for its welcoming climate, low rate of taxation and comparatively reasonable cost of living. The country is pretty warm around the year. Singapore is also a mostly safe and peaceful city. Because of the state-of-the-art facilities and the many opportunities in the island country a lot many people desire to be a part of the city’s population and workforce. Fortunately for such ambitious dreamers, the hiring market is steadily on the rise in the Asian country. Industries are growing, expats are expanding the market to their liking and there are start-ups ever on the build.

International students have a good chance of getting a job in Singapore as talent is accepted and there is no visible trace of discrimination. Before getting muddled up in ideas, however, you must make certain whether you are up for it or not. That is to say, one must be aware about his or her eligibility before applying for job opportunities in Singapore. This is dependent on the type of permit you get, which are of certain different kinds and are based on the position of your qualifications.

Who are the professionals or specialists or newbies that get the most benefit from the Asian market in Singapore? Financial experts are the ones who get the most exposure in Singapore, be they related to audit, securities or any other. Besides these opportunities, job seekers in the fields of information technology, digital marketing, technology & e-commerce, tourism, compliance specialism, CS, hospitality, HR leadership, etc. might also find Singapore city to be welcoming to their talents.

It is of great importance to choose which industry you will be interested to work in depending on its lucrativeness and your skills. It is a fortunate thing that Singapore is so welcoming towards expatriates.

Next, you must be hoard information regarding things such as the pay, the training that may or may not be required, the number of working days, if the leaves are paid or not, the hours you would be expected to work, what the contract expects of you, and other valid things. These things are important to be aware of as they would give you a reasonable idea about how the atmosphere in a foreign country will—or will not—suit your daily lifestyle.

Summer jobs in Singapore:

To earn some money and cut down some costs, you can look out for summer jobs. Singapore is a tourist hub. One can easily find jobs in hotels, restaurants and bars, etc.

Singapore Work Holiday Programme:

This is a government platform specifically meant for the international students to find jobs online. Students who are between 18 and 25 years of age are eligible to apply through this programme.

Teaching jobs:

As the official language of education in Singapore is English, students who are eloquent with the language can look out for teaching jobs. TEFL qualification is a must if you are planning to teach in a public school. The eligibility criteria varies from company to company for teaching jobs.

Internships in Singapore:

The students need to be very proactive and hunt for internships as they are a very important part of any student’s education life. Many internship opportunities in Singapore are not advertised and are at times available offline. Therefore, hunt internships thoroughly!

FAQs

Is TOEFL required for Singapore?

Singapore Universities accept the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), also (IELTS) is a commonly accepted.

Is Singapore safe for students?

Singapore is a safe country. Though even with a low crime rate, great universities & spotless pavements, students will find it difficult to adjust to their culture.

Do universities in Singapore accept year gaps?

Yes some Universities do accept year gaps, however a student with a year gap and relevant work experience is given more priority as compared to a years gap with no experience.