DSA, or Direct School Admission, is a scheme where your child can gain straight entry into a secondary school of their choice by applying through DSA. Getting admission into top secondary schools in Singapore remains a top priority for many parents and children. While entry into secondary school via the national Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is still viable, you might want to consider gaining admission via DSA, as it gives you an attractive alternative for fast forward entry into these elite schools.
Entry into secondary school via DSA is also competitive, and it provides an opportunity for children who not strongly academically inclined to get into school based on their strengths, which could be dance, sports, music, etc.
Talented Kids – Music, Performing Arts & Dance
If your child has a flair for music, performing arts, or dance, applying to secondary school via DSA is a good opportunity for them to have a shot at getting into one of the elite secondary schools. Prepare them for applying via DSA by engaging professional mentor, taking exams, obtaining certificates and other proof of performances, such as video clips. You can take your child to a music, dance and performing arts school, such as Kids Performing Academy of the Arts, where your child will be advised and mentored and guided on the path to achieving their dreams. These schools also give your children testimonials and certificates as attestations to your child’s abilities.
Standards that schools look for in order to give your child admission include:
• Attained at least Grade 5 for Piano
• Represented his/her school in SYF Arts Presentation
• Won a minimum of Silver Award or Certificate of Accomplishment at the SYF Arts Presentation
• Proof of participation in any competitions is a bonus, and winning them is an added bonus, whether they are for clubs, schools, or national competitions.
Applying to a sport through DSA is also a good way to gain admission into some of the top secondary schools in Singapore. Participating in these sports will increase your chances in your DSA applications:
• Athletics – track and field and cross country
• Table tennis
Other sports that are highly considered are:
Standards schools look out for in students that apply to their schools via DSA are:
• Member of top 4 teams in National Inter-school Championship
• Member of Top 2 team in the same championship
• Quarter-finalist in the National Age-Group Individual Championship (or any major championship organized by the Singapore Primary Schools)
• Proof of participation in other competitions
A Strong Academic Fort
Being academically strong is a good point in your child’s favour when applying via DSA. If your child is good in their academics, it would be wise to build a strong portfolio of academic results, and it must include results from these years:
• Primary 4 end-of-year results (SA2)
• Primary 5 end-of-year results (SA2)
• Primary 6 results (SA1)
• Participation and achievements or accomplishments in competitions in the talent areas related to Art, Mathematics, Science, and Languages look good in your child’s portfolio.
• Enter your child into academic competitions such as the Math Olympiad. These competitions add worth to your child’s DSA application: winning these competitions is a major bonus.
• If your child is in the GEP program, this grants your child instant eligibility for DSA.
Character and Leadership Positions
Support your child and encourage him or her to go for leadership positions in school, in sports, or in CCAs. Having proof that you held a leadership position in the school adds value to your child’s portfolio.
Things that schools look out for in DSA applicants are:
• Must have held a position as a prefect, a position on the Student Council, or the CCA while in primary school
• Should have held a position in CCA in primary school
• Was a member of a Uniformed Group (Boys’ Brigade, Red Cross, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts) in primary school
• Received at least school level recognition and was awarded for contributions as a student leader.
Build Your Child’s Resume Early
Once you notice your child’s talents or skills in any field, start building their resume. Gather their awards and certificates and keep them all in one place, so that you can submit them along with their DSA application to the school that you are considering. To get those awards and certificates, encourage them to participate in competitions and to be active in sports; take them to attend dance and art classes and arrange for them to get music lessons.
Put Together Your Child’s Portfolio
Assemble all of your child’s important awards and certificates in a file or folder, including whatever fields or skills they have excelled in, such as Math Olympiads, Commonwealth essay writing, etc. Make copies of subjects you are proud of and place them in your portfolio. Get your certificates to be certified true copy (CTC) in preparation for those schools that will require.
Prep Your Child for DSA Interview
Prepare your child for a DSA interview by searching for lists of interview questions, helping answer these so that they can build their confidence and know what to expect from the interviewers. If your child is applying for sports, dancing, music, or the performance arts, they will have to audition for the school representatives to show off their skills and talents. Hence, practising interview questions and audition is very important.
To obtain a direct route to secondary school, applying through DSA is the best bet for your child. When preparing your child for the DSA application, you need to know what areas they need to be experts in so that they can apply for what they are the best fit for. If your child is into dance, drama and music, encourage them to hone their talents by taking them to classes, entering them into competitions and hiring a personal mentor. The same goes for sports and academics, and ensure that you have the awards and certificates to prove that your child is qualified for the DSA application.
As to whether your child is suitable for DSA, we have the right article for you: Deciding To Opt For Direct School Admission?