Singapore Institute of Technology, or SIT. Many of you might have heard, but might not know much about it. Creating much hype when it became public, is SIT the university for you? Well, let me help you answer that question. Here is a list of things that I came up with to tell you all you need to know: Courses, Student Life, Finances, Scholarships, CCAs and Job prospects! So sit tight and let’s get started!
Part I: Academic Matters
1) No. We are not SUTD and neither are we SIM
This is the biggest misconception many of us Singaporeans have. SIT was officially made the 5th public university just like NUS and NTU by the government in 2014. SUTD or Singapore University of Technology and Design is a niche university and was the 4th public university. UniSIM or the local offering of SIM is the 6th.
2) Both SIT degrees and OU degrees are offered
SIT offers its own degrees as well as degrees from its Overseas University (OU) partners. Many of these OUs are top 100 ranked universities or a niche in their own subject matter offered.
3) Our OU degrees are campus blind ones!
One really important thing for you to take note is that the degree certificates given upon graduation are the exact same ones you would receive if you were a student in their home campus! No mention of SIT whatsoever on the certificate.
4) Where is the Campus located?
The most frequently asked question. SIT has its own campus in each of the 5 polytechnics, which can be a good and bad thing for you. Good news being it could be at a location near you. Bad news well, I’ll explain further in the article. These 5 poly campuses are for the OU partner degrees and SIT’s own degree courses are run at its main campus in Dover (next to AYE). However, all of SIT and its OU courses will shift to a main campus in Punggol around 2021.
5) Poly peeps, your time is now.
Graduated from poly? this is your calling. Many courses offered in SIT are perfect as upgrades to the diploma program you studied in poly. What are you waiting for?
Of course, JC students are welcomed too.
6) Not everything is Applied Learning.
SIT prides itself on being an applied learning university, the first to introduce such a model in Singapore. Well, you may be disappointed. In my opinion, most of the OU degree courses do not have much hand’s or applied learning exposure. Since many of them are honours degrees, a huge emphasis is placed on your FYP report theory and results. So the only chance to apply what you have learnt might be during FYP or design projects/practicals. SIT offered courses, on the other hand, follow the applied learning model more closely with many projects as well as the IWSP.
7) IWSP (SIT Courses only)
There is one big difference between SIT’s own degrees and its OU partner degrees. Only the SIT degrees have the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). This is where students will do an internship with a relevant industry partner. The IWSP is compulsory and is graded.
8) Overseas Immersion Programs (OIP)
SIT OU partner degrees require an OIP module in their curriculum. Students get the chance to visit their OU’s home campus. The period ranges from 1-3 months and the projects undertaken there are usually graded. So you could be visiting the Statue of Liberty or planning your own Euro trip. However, you have to pay for your own airfares, accommodation (provided by school) and expenses. Budget wisely. PSEA and bursaries are available for students.
9) Industry-focused degrees
Food Technology, Infrastructure Engineering, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Radiography seem weird to you? Don’t worry, I feel the same way. SIT offered degrees are supposed to be industry ready. This means that the degrees are offered because of a demand for such qualifications in the market.
10) We pay public uni fees (NSMen fees are pegged)
Just like a public university, the fees are government-subsidised. For NSMen, the fees are pegged to the year you applied for the course.
11) Long way from the big three
Being a new university has a fair share of its disadvantages. NUS, NTU and SMU especially already have an established and reputable name. So if you were to compete with someone from these 3 universities with the same course, chances are the employer would go for them. However, if you do get an interview opportunity, bank on your more practical orienteered learning. This point is more valid for the OU degrees as many SIT courses are unique and not offered by others.
12) Our employment prospects are reasonable
Having said that, if you are an SIT degree graduate your employment prospects are reasonable. For one, you could be hired by your IWSP employer. Furthermore, with the industry ready programmes offered, chances of you being snapped up fast is high, compared with NUS, NTU or SMU.
13) Get hired before you graduate!
Well, this is more for students who have the IWSP in their curriculum. Impress your bosses and your internship company might offer you employment after you graduate just like many of my friends.
14) Career Services
SIT has its own career services branch. It organises Career fairs as well as courses on preparing you for employment. My strong advice for you is to keep in close contact with your assigned career coach as well as professors. Networking is the mantra.
15) We have scholarships too
With many industry partners, SIT has a wide range of scholarships, from companies, councils as well as scholarships by the school itself. Bursaries and financial assistance are available as well for those who need them.
16) Some of our exams are pegged to the OU’s local time to prevent cheating
This is such a pain in the ass. If you are enrolled in an OU degree chances are your exams are during tea-time or rather when you wanna have an afternoon power nap. The reason is that you will take exams at the same time as those in the OU’s home campus do, to prevent any questions being leaked across the seas! So better buy some Starbucks before the paper, that’s what I usually do.
17) Wanna learn Korean or Japanese? No problem
VAP or Value-Added-Programmes are a huge favourite at SIT. It’s available to all students and many students sign up for the range of VAPs offered. Yes, they include learning Korean and Japanese as well. Apart from languages, there are many other programmes such as coding or photography!
18) You think only MasterChef has a solid kitchen (CIA kitchen)
Culinary Institute of America, or CIA, is touted as the world’s most prestigious culinary academic institute. Guess what? It’s a partner OU of SIT. It comes as no surprise then that its pantry and kitchen are quite a big deal – or so I have heard.
19) CIA students can give MasterChef a run for their money
Have a thing for cooking? The Culinary Institute of America runs a Culinary Arts Program. But CIA students are rarely seen at SIT wide events. Some of my friends say that cooking there is literally as tough as MasterChef, and one can be pre-occupied the whole day. So unless you’re in sync with cuisines, think twice. But employment prospects are great. After all, we are a food nation!
20) We have the Harvard of digital technology at our doorstep
DigiPen is a SIT OU partner. Regarded as the Harvard of digital technology, it offers courses here from Computer Science to Game Design. However, these courses aren’t exactly a piece of cake. I asked a friend how long it would take for him to graduate and he said that depends on how many modules you fail per sem. You would have to keep re-taking them till you pass. So it could take you 4 years to complete the course instead of 2.5. Another friend said classes can run from morning until night. Daily.
21) Ever wanted to be a CSI agent? (Criminology)
The University of Liverpool offers this cool course. Many of its students have signed on with the SPF. Hence, the CSI reputation. You get a chance to visit the Anfield stadium at Liverpool too. I prefer Old Trafford but, that’s just me.
22) Deg. in Food technology
Apparently, food production technology is a booming industry in Singapore that requires a particular skill set. This course is honestly one that underlies SIT’s policy for identifying industry ready degrees.
23) Skip right to your masters (MSc. programmes)
There are a couple of SIT degrees that lead to a direct Masters. 4 years in length and are industry relevant as well. However, read the course brochure carefully and make sure these courses are the right ones for you.
24) Accreditation (courses are accredited by industry bodies)
SIT degrees are MOSTLY accredited by relevant industry bodies. NOT ALL. Most OU degree courses are accredited by their home country bodies and require 1-2 years after you graduate for your graduating batch to be accredited. So make sure you find out about accreditation at open houses and during interview opportunities.
Part II: STUDENT LIFE AND CCAs
25) Best place to rack up them CCA activities record
TAKE NOTE! If you wanna have a good CCA record, then this could be the uni for you. You see, SIT is a young university with a growing number of CCAs. So form a group of friends and start your own! However, there is a stringent process where you have to make a case for your CCA to the Student Life Department (SLD) before you’re on your way.
26) Our beauty pageants and Orientation camps are less provocative…
We haven’t caught any flak from the press for having provocative camps and I assure you the SLD keeps a watchful eye over the camps. But the beauty pageants is where we kind of lack. We have no bikini contests in our pageants and frankly, the word of mouth is that our pageants are boring.
27) #SITMasalaboys and #SITSettlesquad
The 2 hashtags that have made waves for a year or so in SIT. The students who are associated with these hashtags have graduated, but ask anyone from the SLD and they would be happy to share. What I am trying to say is, create your own story in university, be it SIT or not, and leave a legacy behind for yourself. Besides, the hashtags are great for Insta pictures.
28) Football or Futsal
SIT is the only university to have a futsal team for both men and woman. Started by a passionate group of students, it has grown into a club with more than 50 members and we have Coach Jasper. Coach Jasper is the only Asean Football Confederation Certified Futsal Coach in Singapore and also the National CP team assistant coach. So if you wanna choose between futsal and football, SIT has you covered.
SIT Futsal Club
29) Cross faculty and OU interactions are encouraged
Well, one of the huge disadvantages of campuses being spread across the island is that there isn’t much interaction between faculties. As such, the SLD always tries to get its CCAs and student bodies to organise activities that involve the different OU degrees and SIT degree students.
30) SIT Chill Out
Every once or twice a year SIT Chill Out occurs at all the 5 different polytechnics. This is SIT’s way of reaching out to the OU partner students. This event includes games with prizes, musical performances, free food etc. But, to be honest, most of us are there for the free food.
Chill Out at SIT@SP
31) We have Easter breaks just like in the UK
Now if you are looking into one of the UK OU partner courses here is something for you. The UK OUs in SIT follow the UK university calendar. School starts in September till December. Here you will have a 2 week Christmas break. Then the 2nd semester starts till April. In April you get a 1 MONTH EASTER BREAK!!! But trust me guys, you will need every bit of that 31 days as once it’s over, it’s straight to exams week. GOTCHA!
32) All our OUs have their very own student liaison committees
University of Glasgow (UofG), Newcastle University (NU), Technical University of Munich (TUM), these are some of the OUs that have partnered SIT. Each of these universities has their own student committees to liaise with SIT as well as their OUs on matters pertaining to student welfare to organising events.
33) We have our own annual beach event too!
SIT Beach Fiesta was inaugurated this year as SIT’s first ever beach event. Organised by 4 sports clubs, the event included sports such as Frisbee, rugby, soccer and captain’s ball. The event is set to be an annual event and is set to add new sports in its next edition.
34) Most of us have 2 important Mail accounts
This is one of the biggest pains for the OU degree students. Not only do we have an SIT email account, we also have an email account from our OU. Both emails are equally as important as your SIT professors send their course notes and instructions through the SIT email, while the OU professors send it through the OU account. Best to sync your phone with all accounts and let it buzz away.
35) Our professors come from different institutions
Our professors are either from SIT, our OUs or from the polytechnics. Guess you can have the best of 3 worlds?
36) SIT@SP has a great view
With a view over Biopolis, Fusionpolis, NUS and a huge park, SIT’s SP campus has a good view to take a break from the books. Not sure about the other campuses though.
37) Our DR doors are built for war
Ask any SIT student what their pet peeves about school might be and the Discussion Room doors might be top on their list. Hitler would have trouble blasting through these heavy doors for rooms, students use to hold their study or project meetings. They are so heavy to open, and what’s worse is that they are accompanied by an ear-shrieking alarm every time they open.
38) Punggol, our new home
Yes, a new campus in 2021 at Punggol. In the midst of an integrated housing and industry development, this would give us the chance to be close to our industry partners as well as being a uni for the heartland. However, I struggle to find where the space for a football field or sports complex might be….
Future SIT Punggol campus
39) Waffle Galore at SIT@dover
If you get a chance to visit or study at the main campus, check out the waffle shop at the food court. It has a slew of waffles from chocolate to butter-cheese.
40) Best discounts on eyewear
SIT students have their cards that come with their student cards including Charles & Keith. But the many discounts at optical shops might be a little weird.
41) Travelling around Singapore is natural
A natural pet-peeve and a strong influencer of CCA choice. You see each CCA calls a certain campus as their “home base”. For example, the SIT Outdoor adventure Club (DARE) has its base at NP. So if you are one who studies at the TP campus and you are a member of DARE, then travelling for meetings or events might be a turn-off.
42) Each campus has its own unique lounge!
Each SIT campus comes with its own unique lounge facilities. Some better than the rest though. Typically, however, you would have beanbags, lounge sofas and tables, a kitchenette and a gaming console.
43) Graduation is always fun! (Different OU graduation ceremonies)
As an SIT student, you are bound to have friends from different OUs and when its graduation time, you get to experience different graduation traditions of different OUs.
44) Lend your hand in helping less fortunate communities overseas
Project Cambodia and Phoject-V are the 2 most favourite overseas community programmes at SIT. A group of students would get the chance to go on 2-3 week trip, to a developing country to extend a helping hand to a school in a less fortunate locality. There they would help to improve facilities as well as to conduct basic lessons.
45) We are a big deal. (LHL feature during NDR)
Well, our PM featured a section of his NDR last year on SIT. Well that’s gotta count for something.
46) Be a part of something new and fresh
It is refreshing to see a different university qualification on a resume. A new and fresh university, I honestly have no regrets choosing SIT. Besides, you would have more chances to be involved in new CCAs and programs.
47) #ImWithSIT (the universal sit hashtag)
Go to any SIT event and there would be an Instagram opportunity or contest. The hashtag #ImWithSIT would almost always be required for you to enter the contest. You definitely would have seen it once in your SIT friend’s Instagram profile.
48) Football everywhere!
Ouh yea, there is one common thing in every SIT lounge. Foosball tables. Be sure to chop your places at the table quickly as they are hugely popular and there is an annual SIT Foosball tournament.
49) Library still under development
If you are looking for a cool fully stocked library, well you will be disappointed. SIT does not have a good reference library. However, it does have a well-stocked E-library for your thesis dissertations. What’s more, if you are an OU partner student you have full access to the OU’s library database!
50) Is SIT for you?
Choosing a university is a hard choice. If you are looking for a well-established international university and you have the grades for it, I strongly suggest you go for NUS, NTU or SMU.
But for those of you who might not have done well enough in poly to try for those 3 unis, for those of you who are seeking a second chance to succeed in the industry you chose in poly, for those of you who want a fast-tracked degree, for those of you who want a quality curriculum, SIT and its OU partners provides you with these options. Trust me, I have done it and I have no regrets.