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Should I go to JC or Poly?

Before you even complete your O levels, or perhaps as you are starting your last year of secondary school, you may have already started wondering about this question: Should I go to JC or Poly afterwards?

In the past, Poly was the less popular choice and was viewed as an alternative for students who could not get into JC. But this is definitely not the case in recent years. The requirement to get into Poly is getting harder, and there are more and more O level leavers who choose to go to Poly over JC. Continue reading for comparisons between choosing JC or Poly to make a more informed decision for your future!

a group of students studying together

Duration and Cost

One of the most obvious differences between JC and poly is the duration of the study. When you go to JC, you would be studying for 2 years before sitting for GCE A level examinations at the end of your second year. The exception would be if you choose to go to Millenia Institute which offers a 3-year programme, but all other JCs would have a 2-year course duration. In poly, you would go through a 3-year course and obtain a Polytechnic Diploma at the end of your study.

For Singapore citizens, JC School fees are generally affordable, about $200+ a year including miscellaneous fees. The exception would be Independent JCs that cost about $3,600 to $4,800 yearly. On the other hand, the Poly tuition fee is $2900 yearly (for students enrolled in AY 2021/2022).


JC is like an extension of secondary school. The structure is pretty similar, where students are still required to wear uniforms to school, attend classes every day and participate in CCA after class. This is completely different from poly or university. If you prefer this kind of structure this may be another plus point for you to favour going to JC.

On the other hand, Poly students have more freedom in terms of their schedule. They have more free time in their schedule, depending on the classes/modules they take that semester. But Poly students typically have more projects they need to work on over the semester. Moreover, the grading system in poly is based on cumulative GPA (Out of 4.0). Poly is more similar to university in the sense that Polytechnic students are expected to learn and manage their time more independently. Hence, students would need to be able to be responsible to schedule your study independently.

Student studying independently

What You Learn

JC is more academic-focused. You will select certain subject combinations and it is meant to train/drill your analysis skills which will be useful when you eventually go to university.

Whereas in Poly, there is a wide range of courses that are offered. These are meant to teach you skills that are more practical and prepares students for the job market. Poly also offers internship opportunities that will be a good experience to add to your portfolio.


In JC, you could expect a heavy academic workload. On average, JC students spend 40 hours a week studying. Polytechnics are less rigorous in the academic approach. On average, poly students spend around 25 hours a week studying. Although there are certain courses that may require more hours per week, in general, Poly students tend to have more leisure time.

University admission

In the past, JC is viewed as the preferred route for students who eventually want to go to university. More than 70% of JC graduates continue to university to further their studies as compared to 20% of Poly graduates. But in recent years, there is an increase of poly graduates who further their studies to university, accounting for 30% of poly graduates last year.

If you have already know what you want to do/study in the future, you may prefer poly over JC, as you can have more hands-on practice and even an internship opportunity related to the course of your interest. Whereas if you are still not sure what course you want to do in university, you may prefer to go to JC and be exposed to a variety of subjects to position yourself better academically when you eventually go to university.

There are definitely pros and cons to choosing either JC or Poly over the other. But eventually, the deciding factor should be which path will be more suitable for you.

Hope this helps you in making your decision. All the best and do click here for more useful articles and study tips!

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