SmileTutor Blog General Singapore Education News Changes to Direct School Admission Exercise for Secondary Schools in 2019

Changes to Direct School Admission Exercise for Secondary Schools in 2019

Students applying for Secondary school through the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme next year will need to familiarize themselves with the changes the Ministry of Education has applied to the current process. The new changes to the DSA were announced on November 8, 2018 during the Arts Education Conference.

For those who are not familiar with the scheme, the DSA is created to help students apply to their desired secondary school before they take their PSLE. It also enables your child who are talented in sports, certain academic subjects and CCAs.

The scheme is regularly updated to ensure that your child can enrol to their school of choice without too much hassle.

For the incoming year, several aspects to the DSA will change to make the application smoother than before. We understand the changes may be confusing so to help you as a parent to understand what is new, we have listed them below.

Here are the changes for the DSA for the incoming year that every student and parent should know:

Common Online Portal for DSA 2019 Singapore

In order to make applications easier for both parents and students, a common online portal will be made available.

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The portal will have everything the student will need for the DSA scheme, from the updates to the scheme, application forms, to the list of schools included in the scheme.

Common DSA-Sec Application Timeline

With the help of the online portal, you only have to fill one online form and it will be the online form that would be submitted to the schools your child wish to apply for.

The portal will be the one to transmit the form to all the schools being applied for. Secondary schools will no longer accept direct applications during and after the DSA application period since the portal will be used for applications.

Application period would last for four weeks, starting from May 8 to June 4, 2019.

Schools would still be permitted to test each student and select them based on their respective admission processes and requirements. However, these schools will need to design their admission process based on the guidelines of the MOE as part of the scheme.

Application Form Simplified

The application form available through the common online portal will have all the details schools need to assess a student’s data: from their basic details, academic results, co-curricular activities, awards to other considerations.

With this in mind, your child does not need to collect hard copies of their transcripts or get testimonials from their teachers. The form would have everything the schools will need to assess a student’s background and it can be assessed through the portal. Save a lot of trouble for you!

Through the Portal is Free-of-charge

Normally, admission fees for schools are costly and affect students who have financial difficulties.

For those who used the DSA scheme before the change, they may have to pay DSA application fees for their applications to be considered by the school. As a result, students tend to change their school options even if the schools they were intending to apply for will be perfect for their academic needs.

However, starting next year, the DSA will enable these students to apply for their dream secondary school free of charge and encourage everyone to apply regardless of their background. Your child simply needs to apply through the portal with your SingPass details.

Not to worry if you do not have SingPass, you can approach your child’s primary school for help to get your child to submit the application through the portal.

Choosing Talent Areas

Every student who uses the DSA platform will be able to choose up to three schools and three talent areas for their applications.

Should they wish to only apply to one specific school, they can apply for two talent areas. They can leave the third school blank. If the student has a lot of talents, they can use two choices to apply for two different talent areas in one school.

The reason why the DSA now limits applications to three schools is that according to past data, at least 90% of students only applied for one or up to three schools. It also ensures that students will consider carefully about their DSA selection and try to do various DSA interviews and preparations without too much stress.

Should the student apply for two talent areas in one school and pass both, the school would select the talent area they believe the student would benefit most. If the student has yet to showcase their talents, schools can test the students’ potential through specialized tests as part of their admission requirements.

Worried about not getting into your selected schools?

Don’t be because the Ministry has revised the DSA selection process to help schools review each application. An increase in non-Integrated Programme applications limits was raise to accommodate admissions from the program.

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For P5 Students

For incoming Primary 5 students, additional details on the DSA procedure and other concerns will be provided to them through their schools for reference.

The details will also be posted at the official website of the MOE DSA-Sec sometime around April 2019 so they can prepare for their own applications once they reach Primary 6.

For students who wish to Apply to SOTA or SSP

If students wish to apply to the Singapore School of the Arts or Singapore Sports School, the application process is still the same. Students will need to apply to either school directly since their admission guidelines are different based on their specialities. As such, they are not part of the DSA scheme.

According to Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah, the DSA has a high admission rate. Last year, at least 3000 Primary 6 students were able to secure confirmed slots to their selected secondary schools through the program.


With the new updates to the scheme, it is the hope of the Ministry that more students will be able to apply and go to the school they like.

So, while you look into the secondary schools your child can apply for, review the new DSA guidelines so your child’s application would be flawless. Do remember to coach your child on the school interview to better increase their chances of admission.

To read up on DSA, here are some recommended articles:

Deciding To Opt For Direct School Admission?
Tips & General Guidelines To Secure Direct School Admission

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.