Brendan Goh Hong Yi
Imperial College London
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My university application journey
I chose Chemical Engineering because I wanted to do something related to the Energy Industry or Pharmaceutical Industry initially, hence I decide to choose this course as I felt that it was the most fitting course to get into these two industries. The application process was long, as after I applied, I was interviewed 2 months later, then the results came another month after. After that you had to send your results slip my mail, the whole process was long and drawn out. For males you have the freedom to apply during NS, however for females, if you want to study overseas, it is important to apply early as applications close around december, even before your a level results are released, so you would need good predicted grades to apply.
Life after NYJC
Life in an overseas university will be very much different from that in Singapore. The degree I am taking is 4 years direct masters program, meaning that the curriculum would be more condensed, and hence a greater workload. Exams here are also different from that in local universities, while at local universities you have to bid for modules and are examined for them once you have learned the module, at Imperial College, things are more similar to A levels where we just learn content over the year and take and end of year examination which holds a high weightage to our degree. Generally, the grading of the first 2 years are more examinations based, and the 3rd and 4th years are more project based.
I also had greater freedom over my time here. Being along overseas, I was 'tied down' by less family commitments, your weekends are entirely yours, so it is up to you how you want to spend your time. As mentioned earlier, workload is heavy, so you will have to balance your time accordingly. That said, work should not be the only thing on your mind there. Budget flights across Europe is very affordable, and one should definitely take the chance to travel around Europe when studying there.
Food in London is also quite pricey, and it is not sustainable to eat out all the time. Another thing about student life in an expensive city like London is to manage your finances. A huge part of student life there is to cook your meals alone or with friends which can be quite fun too.
At Imperial, they have a program called Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programs(UROP), which allows you to work under the researchers there during your summer break, these researchers are the top in the field, and if you are into research in the future, the program is definitely the way to go.
My Future Plans
Even now I do not have a concrete idea of where I want to work eventually, but right now I know that I want to do something related to sustainable energy, which was why I chose this course. And as this course is a 4 years direct masters program from a renowned university, I felt that it would put me in a better position to work in the energy industry in the future.
Tips for Juniors
Personally, I only applied in the final year of NS. I feel that given the opportunity, you should definitely step out of their comfort zone and not be confined to Singapore alone. While local education is not inferior in anyway, studying overseas gives you the opportunity to see things in a different light.
Choosing to study overseas is a pricey decision. If you are aiming to do so, having 4 H2 subjects will play a huge role in you securing scholarship to study overseas. If take 3 H2 subjects, you could apply for a mid-term scholarship using your grades in schools, which would not be as hard, given that most Singaporean�s generally get a first class there. That said, if you are fortunate enough to be able to pay for your own studies, I recommend thinking twice before taking up a scholarship as most bonds for overseas study is about 6 years. Make sure it is something you want to do.