Monday, December 19, 2016

Direct entry to poly via the PFP – a student’s perspective

After I dropped to NA (Normal Academic) in Secondary 2, the PFP (Polytechnic Foundation Programme) was at the top of my wishlist.

The PFP is a direct route into the poly after the N Levels. It meant that I could skip Secondary 5 and the O levels. Everyone in NA wanted to qualify for PFP and I was no different.

Thankfully, my results were good enough, and I was admitted into NYP’s PFP course in 2015.
Think of it as the bridge between secondary school and polytechnic. During the year-long course, we take a mixture of secondary 5 subjects and modules that prepare us specifically for our chosen diplomas.

Before my PFP year started, I confess I had expected it to be a rather easy and carefree time where I could just sit back and relax. It was not the case!

And I had definite highs and lows.

For example, we had to take Language and Communications which was very much like English in secondary school. It was probably my favourite module! From the blogging to filming and roleplaying, I had tons of fun with the different people I worked with. I really enjoyed the many presentations we had to do, and it was here that I discovered how much I enjoyed public speaking. (Even though I still remember how nerve-wracking my first ever polytechnic presentation was).

Today when I stand before a crowd, my hands shake less and my voice booms loud and strong. I look back at the many presentations I had to do in my PFP and I can say for sure that it really prepared me for what was to come in the next three years.

But I also had to do math in semester one and two. I considered my math to be fairly decent in secondary school, but I struggled with it in my PFP year. One of my lecturers did mention that the math we did is actually more difficult than the O levels standard – probably why I was at the brink of pulling my hair out.

During my PFP year, I realised that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. We might have excelled in majority of our subjects in secondary school – bringing us to PFP – but we cannot be good at everything under the sun. I realised math was not my forte and PFP opened my mind and led me to the path I truly belonged. It made me realise what I wanted to do in life and where I wanted to go after graduation.

(PS: I might have hated math but I still did my best and passed PFP with reasonable grades).

The PFP also exposes us to working in groups. As much as there was group work in secondary school, it was nothing compared to what you need to do in polytechnic and the level of complexity. As cliché as this may sound, PFP taught me how to work well in a group, understand and accept each other’s differences, preparing me for the many more group projects to come in the next three years.

The year flew by. And before I knew it, I, along with my PFP mates were sitting in the auditorium to collect our graduation folder.

So; maybe I can put it in simpler form:

1) What was the PFP to me?

It was the stepping stone to my polytechnic journey, ones you would call baby steps – tedious at the start but necessary and a milestone in my life.

Did I regret choosing the PFP route? Not at all. PFP had thoroughly prepared me for poly life and I was more than ready to begin my Year 1 studies.

2) Was PFP what I envisioned it to be?

Not quite, it was not “slack” like what my seniors made it out to be, but I do miss how the modules didn’t contribute to my Grade Point Average (GPA). All I have now is three big letters “GPA” haunting me constantly at the back of my mind.

3) Will I recommend PFP to secondary 4 NA students?

If you are sure you want to take the polytechnic route, and if you believe you have the capacity and ability to excel academically in polytechnic.

Do not aim for PFP only because you want to graduate as soon as possible (like I did back then). Aim for it if you want the foundation year to prepare yourself for your diploma course. Many people did make it to PFP, only for them to realise it did not suit them.

Two of my PFP classmates are valedictorians and another, the top student in SBM.

I graduated with much pride in my PFP class. Thank you to my personal mentor, lecturers and classmates for the exciting and eye-opening year.

Quoting my PFP classmates, Gerard and Aznur, the valedictorians for the PFP batch 2015-2016: “From the laughter we shared to the friends we made, this bond will last a lifetime.”

*Received your N level results? Interested in the PFP?

If you qualify, you will be invited to apply for PFP. Application is open on the day the O level results are released. See you in NYP soon!

NYP offers 47 interesting diplomas across multiple subject areas: You can learn about banking and finance, be a part of the aeronautical industry, design intelligent buildings, combat cyber criminals or start your journey to become a social worker. 

By Germaine Leow, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Alongside her interests in writing and photography, Germaine aims to provide the best campus updates during her 4 years in NYP. With a Mass Media Management Diploma waiting for her at the end of her polytechnic journey, she promised herself to never forget the importance of hard work, for God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.

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