Picking a Pre-U Programme - Part 4
By now you should have at least two pre-U options in mind. Or maybe you have decided on one, but you're still unsure if it's the right one for you. Don't fret- it's time for the checklist crunch. Chances are you'll be more certain after this.
The checklist crunch
Internal or external- Does it matter if you take an internal or external programme? Some pre-university programmes are more widely accepted across different regions around the world. As such, if you have yet to decide where (which country) to study, you may want to choose a programme that gives you more versatility later. Conversely, if you have decided on where you want to pursue your tertiary education, then you can choose a pre-university programme that matches the country or region of your choice. For example, the A-levels and IB programme are widely accepted internationally. In contrast, certain matriculation or pre-university courses are recognised mainly in a particular region, e.g. Australia and New Zealand; or the US and Canada. In addition, some internal programmes are recognised only by the partner-universities of the PHEI in Malaysia. Don't forget- if you plan to apply for scholarships, many would require an internationally recognised external qualification.
The timing of the intake- While some pre-university programmes have several intakes in a year, others have only one or two, at most. This means that in order to enrol in a programme with only one intake that takes place before SPM results are announced (e.g. January or February 2015), a student will have to wait an entire year (January or February 2016) to begin that programme.
The duration of the programme- Students who begin their semester later (i.e. March) will have a shorter course duration which could translate into longer hours per day (or week) in their schedule. As an example, students who begin their studies in January have 10-11 months to study for the examination in November. Students who begin in March have 8-9 months in comparison. Are you up for a shorter, more intense course? It would be a good idea to find out what a typical schedule looks like from the college you're interested in.
Choice of subjects- this may largely depend on the type of course you plan to pursue at bachelor's degree level so do find out if there are any pre-requisites before deciding on your choice of subjects. Also, each college offers a slightly different choice of subjects, and the subject combination may also be less flexible at certain institutions.
Assessment method- are you the type who prefers to sit for one exam at the end of the programme; have a combination of course work and examinations; or is continual assessment throughout the programme more suited for you? Don't think for a minute that continual assessment is the easy option. It requires a consistency that many students may not be prepared to give.
Tuition fee- the fee of pre-university programmes can vary significantly- some courses are more affordable than others, however, choosing a programme where you spend less does not have to mean compromising on the quality of the university or your study experience.
College location- is the college near enough home that you can commute daily? Or are you coming from out of state and would require accommodation? Be sure to check out accommodation options if you need it, and of course, make sure it is all accounted for in your budget for living expenses.
Your friends- you went to secondary school together, you hang out at the mall together, you should go to college together, right? WRONG! Don't misunderstand. We're not telling you to ditch your BFFs and bosom buddies but they should not be the reason (or not) why you choose a college. Believe it or not, you might just make the best new friends ever in a completely new place.
Good luck and don't sweat- college will be fun!
If you missed parts 1, 2 or 3, read them now to find out which pre-U programme is best for you.