In an increasingly globalised world, the pursuit of international education has become a transformative experience for students. Singaporean students, in particular, have shown a strong inclination towards overseas education, with the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) being the top choices.
To shed light on the current trends and provide guidance to students, we interviewed Quinn Koh, the Regional Director for Southeast Asia at Crimson Education, a Singapore-based leading education consultancy agency.
In this article, we will delve into the key findings of a recent study conducted by Crimson Education and highlight the factors shaping Singaporean students’ educational choices.
Strong preference for prestigious UK and US universities
According to the study conducted by Crimson Education, Singaporean students have a clear preference for prestigious UK universities, particularly Oxford and Cambridge, with 27.9% of students expressing their inclination towards studying in the UK.
Quinn highlights, “The UK has a significant advantage for Singaporean students: the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree in just three years, compared to the four years needed in the US.”
This shorter duration appeals to students who value time and cost savings, enabling them to enter the workforce or pursue further education earlier.
US universities also remain highly sought after by Singaporean students, with 31.3% expressing their interest. Ivy League institutions like Harvard and Stanford capture students’ attention due to their reputation and academic excellence. However, the study indicates that 81% of Singaporean students lack knowledge about the application processes for both US and UK universities, indicating the need for guidance and support.
Factors shaping preferences
Quinn emphasises that both the UK and the US offer excellent educational institutions, but several factors contribute to the preference for the UK among Singaporean students.
Firstly, the availability of professional degrees such as law, medicine, and dentistry at the undergraduate level in the UK gives students a competitive edge by combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience through internships and placements.
Additionally, Singaporean students are drawn to the familiarity of the UK-Cambridge syllabus and the GCSE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level (O level and A level) examinations, which align with their educational background and ignite their passion for continuing their studies in a familiar teaching style.
Advantages and challenges of overseas education
Studying at top universities in the UK and the US offers numerous advantages for Singaporean students.
Students have the opportunity to work and study alongside world-class academic teams, engage in cutting-edge research projects, and build valuable connections. However, financial implications, including higher tuition fees and living expenses, are challenges that students need to consider.
Cultural adaptation and homesickness are also common challenges faced by international students. Quinn suggests building a strong support system, both within the family and among new friends and classmates, to overcome these challenges.
Addressing the complex application procedures
The study reveals that a significant portion of Singaporean students express a lack of understanding of the application processes for US and UK universities.
Crimson Education aims to bridge this gap by providing personalised guidance and support. Their team of experts, including Former Admission Officers (FAOs) and consultants, are well-versed in the intricate application procedures of top universities.
The Crimson App, a proprietary platform, offers various features such as a University Selection Algorithm, Sample Applicant Profile Database, and Application Tracker, to help students navigate the complexities and optimise their applications.
Emerging destinations and trends
While the US and the UK continue to be the top destinations, the study highlights the rising popularity of Australia and Europe among Singaporean students.
Australia’s appeal lies in its strong Singaporean community, streamlined application process, high standard of living, safety, quality healthcare, and post-study work opportunities. Interest in Europe, on the other hand, is driven by language immersion, travel opportunities and world-recognised education institutions with lower tuition fees.
Why Crimson Education?
Crimson Education is actively working to bridge the gap in understanding and awareness among students regarding the application processes and requirements.
“We offer a range of free resources, including e-books, infographics, YouTube videos, community channels, and blog articles, to provide comprehensive guidance and support. Additionally, webinars and school talks are organised to delve into in-depth topics related to Ivy League admissions and extracurricular activities for top universities,” shares Quinn.
Looking towards the future of international education for Singaporean students, Quinn explains that Crimson Education acknowledges the strong appeal of traditional destinations like the US and the UK but also highlights the emerging opportunities in European countries and Canada. The increasing prevalence of online and hybrid learning models presents exciting avenues for global education, providing more affordable pathways to success.
Quinn’s message to Singapore students considering overseas education
“First, start early and stay ahead by beginning preparations as early as Grade 8 or 9 to maximise academic and extracurricular potential. It’s important to look beyond rankings and consider factors, such as admission requirements and the overall student experience. Embracing the application journey as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth can lead to a standout profile”.
Finally, students should remember that they are not alone in this process and can benefit from the expertise and personalised support offered by Crimson Education.
While there are numerous advantages to pursuing overseas education, challenges like higher tuition fees, cultural adaptation, and homesickness need to be addressed. Building a strong support system and seeking guidance can help students overcome these hurdles.
Crimson Education stands as a leading education consultancy, committed to helping Singaporean students navigate the complexities of the application process and optimise their chances of admission to top universities. Through personalised guidance, expert advice, and their proprietary platform, Crimson Education equips students with the necessary tools to make informed decisions and succeed in their educational pursuits.
If you’re a Singaporean student considering overseas education, leverage the expertise of Crimson Education to make the most of your application journey. Visit their website at www.crimsoneducation.org and embark on a transformative educational experience today.