This article is for students who were unfortunately not accepted into a local university for computer science this time around. Computer Science is a competitive field with a lot of good job prospects, so nonetheless, good job for trying your best! 

So, what should you do if you are unable to qualify for computer science locally? 

You might have other options in mind that you are passionate about, so spend some time exploring those options too! 

If computer science is the only thing that you are passionate about, consider applying to overseas courses! If not, take a gap year and try to reapply.  

If your rank points can be increased by retaking an H1 examination, for example, H1 Economics, you can also consider retaking the subject, or the whole A levels examination. 

All about applying overseas

Applying for computer science overseas is also competitive because there are limited spots for international students and the fact that you have to compete with international applicants all over the world. Not to mention, the total school fees for the whole course can go up to S$100,000 or more. Contrary to Singapore, the duration for computer science is usually 3-4 years, depending on whether you want to graduate with only a bachelors or spend an additional year to complete your masters.

If you are interested in applying for the UK schools, the UCAS application deadline will be in October and you can start filling in your application form as early as 18 May 2022. Do check with your JC if they still offer help to alumni for their UCAS application. If they are able to help, you can apply together with your juniors when the application opens. However, if they are not able to help, you may want to ask an agent to help you with the UCAS application. Regardless of whether you are applying through UCAS with or without help from your JC, you should contact your Civics Tutor (CT) or Maths teacher and ask them if they are willing to help you write a reference letter for your UCAS application. Make sure to prepare early and check with the teachers way before the deadline as most teachers have very tight schedules and may not be able to provide you with the help you need on short notice. Do also make sure that you meet the English Language requirements. If you do not, the university should provide information about the ways to meet the English Language requirement besides using your O Levels/IP English or A-Level General Paper grade. Failure to do so will result in immediate rejection. On top of that, you will be required to write a personal statement. Since there are a couple of months before the UCAS application cycle starts again, make good use of your time and commit yourself to intern, volunteering, learning some programming during your free time and understanding your motivations to do computer science better. 

If you are interested in applying to Australian universities, you have to apply with your A-Level results. Different schools have different deadlines and different application processes, so it will be advisable to seek an agent. Not to worry, there is no agent fee. International applicants will be selected solely based on their A-Level results. Do also make sure that you meet the English Language requirements. If you do not, the university should provide information about the ways to meet the English Language requirement besides using your O Levels/IP English or A-Level General Paper grade. Extracurriculars are not taken into consideration for the selection process. There is also no need to write a personal statement or ask someone to write a recommendation letter for you. 

If you are interested in applying for US schools, you will have to apply through the CommonApp, which is similar to UCAS. Be sure to check what are the requirements that your desired US universities require, for example, SAT or ACT scores. You will have to register and take those tests. You will also need to prepare a motivation letter and a writing sample if required. 

Other alternatives

On the other hand, you do not have to do a degree in computer science to land a job related to computer science. You can consider doing a Bachelors in Information Systems and gain 2 years of IT experience before applying to take your Master of Computing – Computer Science Specialisation. More information can be found here

Taking a gap year to reapply into computer science

Over the years, the notion of taking gap years has become increasingly popular, as it gives students a second chance to reapply into their dream course, retake their examinations or spend time exploring future career options. There have been many prospective computer science students who took a gap year, and eventually landed a spot in computer science locally. However, that being said, it depends on how well you utilise your gap year, and even if you are able to stay productive, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted upon reapplication. Competition is still intense, or even more intense, as gap year students will be expected to do something fruitful with their extra time. 

Here are some things that you can do while taking a gap year to reapply for computer science. You can pursue an internship related to computer science, volunteer, network with other programmers and professionals in the same field, as well as prepare for a backup plan, just in case, your reapplication is unsuccessful. You may also wish to retake an A-Level subject at H1 level to improve your rank points, or give the whole A-Levels another shot. This will require a lot of discipline and it is advisable that you spend time thinking about your abilities and mental capacity should you be taking A Levels again. Taking a gap year may be hard, especially when you watch your friends leading slightly different lives from you. You should spend some time learning more about gap years and deciding for yourself if you are ready to take up this challenge. Should you need help, you can always reach out to GapyearSG, a Singapore-based organisation started to provide assistance and opportunities to prospective and current gap year students. 

With that, we wish you all the best with your reapplication and if you would like to find out more about applying to computer science, do lookout for our upcoming workshop Career Pathfinder 2022, a University & Career Series for Young Adults (aged 15-19) which provides you with a better-informed decision-making process when selecting a degree and university!  The workshop will be on 12th March (Saturday), from 9 am to 1 pm, online via zoom for only $19.90.