The School of the Arts (SOTA) is Singapore’s first national pre-tertiary specialised arts school. It has a six-year integrated arts and academic curriculum under an International Baccalaureate (IB), Diploma (IBDP), or IB Career-related Programme (IBCP).
Students with love for Visual Arts, Theatre, Dance, Music, or Literary Arts join after their Primary School Leaving Exams (PSLE) to pursue this passion. So do you want to join SOTA? Here’s what you need to know.
There’s only one way to join SOTA: through their Direct School Admissions (DSA) programme, the Talent Academy (TA).
You need to visit the TA portal and submit your application. Once you have been shortlisted, you must upload your Primary 6 Mid-Year Exam (MYE) results slip. Then you need to attend various activities comprising of:
1. Individual auditions or portfolio presentations and interview
2. Group sessions
3. Panel Interview
4. Online questionnaires
Once you’ve completed this stage and received a confirmed offer, indicate ‘SOTA’ during DSA-Secondary Exercise School Preference Submission and wait for your PSLE results. Then just complete your registration, and you’re in!
During the application stage, you must go through two interviews, the audition and portfolio interview, and the panel interview. In order to guarantee your offer, you need to ace them.
Here are some tips to help you pass your interviews with flying colours:
1. Make sure you stand out
2. Go in with a positive demeanour
3. Dress professionally
4. Be punctual
5. Prepare answers to common interview questions
6. Give examples
7. Put all your past works into your portfolio (you could use an e-portfolio too!): drafts, competition entries, successful practice sessions, final pieces and performances.
8. Label all your works in your portfolio using: the name of work, event, date, and a brief description like why and how you created the piece.
9. Make sure your portfolio is also well designed (everything counts!)
Despite what many believe, SOTA is not just about the Arts. Yes, students spend much of their time honing and improving their skills in their chosen art form. But they also need to study academic subjects like Maths, Sciences and Humanities.
Throughout the year, you’ll have to complete tests and assignments for these subjects, and if you don’t do well, you risk retaining. You’re only allowed to retain twice. Any more than that, and you’ll be expelled.
Get Ready for Long Hours
Although SOTA’s timetables end at 1.45pm, many students stay back to work on their art forms. Not to mention all the exhibitions, showcases and assignments they need to prepare for, causing them to walk out of campus at 5pm, the earliest.
Many former students of SOTA recommend that you need to be prepared to work hard and work late. This means that you need to manage your time well, so here are some tips to help you:
1. Set clear goals and deadlines
2. Plan your schedule ahead of time
3. Create a routine
4. Prioritise tasks and distribute your time wisely
5. Start your assignments early
Get As Much Exposure and Experience
During your time in SOTA, you need to hone your skills and practise your chosen artform. One way to do that is to get as much experience and exposure. There are many exhibitions and showcases for you to participate and perform in, and many are optional.
So sign up for them! You can take part in in-school showcases, or you can sign up for public exhibitions. It is a great way to familiarise yourself with performing live, and it also helps to build up your portfolio! You can also go for showcases of other art forms since it’s open to everyone.
In SOTA, you have to dedicate much of your time to your chosen art form while still keeping your academic grades afloat too. So make sure you manage your time well and prioritise your work.
As long as you go in with an open mind and are willing to work hard, the experience will pay off, especially when you get to meet people with the same passions as you. Good luck!
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