Whenever I told people I was studying at The University of Newcastle, Australia (UON) in the past, they would always have a few common stereotypes of private school students — it is expensive and only those who come from a well-to-do background can afford it.
I found that many of my classmates challenged this stereotype. As for me, because I came from a lower-income family, I felt the need to do proper research and weigh out my choices before embarking on my degree studies.
With my polytechnic GPA and working experience, I could’ve easily applied to relevant courses in a local university. Yet, I chose to do a Bachelor of Communication (Double Major in Public Relations and Journalism) at UON.
So, what were my considerations back then?
Based on QS World University Rankings 2021, UON is ranked 197, placing them among the Top 11 Australian Universities.
Admittedly, many Singaporeans still think that private education institutions are inferior to local universities in Singapore, so my top worry was whether I would be able to secure a job before graduation.
As it turns out, my prospective employers hardly asked about my school life during interviews and preferred to know what I can offer the company.
2. Course Structure
I appreciated that UON emphasises on practical skills useful in the real working world and, thus, helpful in my interviews, rather than solely testing us about communication theories.
While exams are still the basis of evaluation for many courses and schools everywhere since it is the mainstream way of grading, I was glad to learn that UON’s Bachelor of Communication has no examinations. Instead, we were fully graded based on project work and occasional quizzes.
Throughout my studies, I only had to face three multiple-choice questions quiz, which only held 10-15% of my overall module grade.
3. Duration of Studies
The duration of communication degree in local universities would typically take three to four years, while a Bachelor of Communication at PSB Academy would only take two years and four months.
On top of that, as I had a relevant diploma from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I was granted module exemptions. Hence, I was able to complete my degree in two years.
The shortened duration is significant to me as I had previously already taken a gap year to work. Therefore, catching up with my peers was of utmost priority to me.
4. Scholarships and Academic Awards
Although private education institutions are more expensive than local universities, PSB Academy and UON offer financial help to its student through merit scholarships and academic awards, respectively.
I received scholarships and academic awards with monetary prizes throughout my course of studies, which aided me financially.
Since the classes were shorter and PSB Academy’s campus was located conveniently near the CBD district, I was able to take on freelance jobs to cover my school fees as well.
In conclusion, there are pros and cons to local universities and private education institutions. It’s most important for students to weigh the opportunities for each, rather than simply following the conventional path.
Several of my classmates enrolled in PSB Academy with the above-mentioned factors in mind as well — most of us are eager to enter the workforce with a degree, and we found that UON was the most reasonable way for us to do so.
Disclaimer: All views and statements expressed are solely personal opinions and do not represent those of PSB Academy or other people and organisations.