With the two polytechnics being in such close proximity, how would you choose between the both of them?
In this post, I will be covering some important factors to consider when making your decision.
This is 3 years of your precious life that we are talking about here. So I understand that it’s not an easy decision, and I will try my best to provide you with some objective opinions.
Let’s get started then!
Location & Accessibility
The next thing that you could consider is the travelling time and ease.
I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to have a commute so tiring — that leaves you breathless before you even reach class.
NP is located at 535 Clementi Rd, Singapore 599489.
The nearest MRT to NP is the Beauty World station, along the blue Downtown Line. You would have to head towards Exit C, and from there NP is approximately an 800m walk away.
You could take buses from the MRT (i.e. 61 from Opposite Exit C or 75 from Exit A), but I personally wouldn’t recommend it because it’s slower than walking.
If you are planning on commuting to NP by bus, you would have to keep a lookout for these bus stops:
- Opp Ngee Ann Poly (Stop ID: 12109)
- Ngee Ann Poly (Stop ID: 12101)
Here are the bus services that will take you there:
|52||Jurong East Int / Bishan Int|
|61||Bt Batok Int / Eunos Int|
|74||Buona Vista Ter* / Hougang Ctrl Int|
|75||Gali Batu Ter* / Marina Ctr Ter*|
|151||Kent Ridge Ter / Hougang Ctrl Int|
|154||Boon Lay Int / Eunos Int|
|184||Gali Batu Ter*|
As for looking out for bus timings, I have an app that I think is could be useful: SG BusLeh. It is mostly accurate and they could help you to plan your commute even before you head to the bus stop.
Another way to keep track of the incoming bus timings is to use the Bus Uncle Telegram bot. I personally find the bus uncle’s responses entertaining and quirky, with a dash of Singlish.
If you’re driving to NP, you can head into campus from either the:
- Clementi Road, or
- Upper Bukit Timah Road exiting towards PIE Tuas (Might not be open at times)
On the other hand, SP is located at 500 Dover Rd, Singapore 139651.
If you’re getting to SP by MRT, you would have to alight at the Dover station, located along the green East-West line. Once you tap out, you will be right at the entrance of SP’s Plaza.
Otherwise, if you’re heading there by bus, here are a few bus stops which you can alight at:
- Dover Stn Exit A (Stop ID: 19031)
This is the stop that is on the same side as SP.
- Dover Stn Exit B (Stop ID: 19039)
This is the stop that is opposite of SP.
There are a few more stations that you can alight at, you can check them out on the directions to SP page.
The above 2 mentioned SP bus stops are the most commonly known/used ones, offering bus services:
|14||Clementi Int / Bedok Int|
|74||Buona Vista Ter* / Hougang Ctrl Int|
|105||Jurong East Int / Serangoon Int|
|106||Bt Batok Int / Shenton Way Ter*|
|147||Clementi Int / Hougang Ctrl Int|
|166||Clementi Int / Ang Mo Kio Int|
|185||Buona Vista Ter* / Soon Lee Bus Pk*|
If you’re driving to SP, you would need to turn in from Dover Road, which is accessible from AYE, the nearest expressway, then:
- If you are visiting the Professional & Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy at T1A, enter through Gate 8 from Commonwealth Avenue West, you can park your vehicle at Car Park C or D.
- If you are visiting the Admin building, enter through Gate 1 from Dover Road and park your vehicle at Car Park A.
Diplomas offered & Cut-off points
Disclaimer: The diploma content covered by each school does vary, and the naming of each diploma might also vary.
First off, I’m going to cover the diplomas that each of the polytechnics offers.
The net ELR2B2 aggregate score that’s stated is only meant to be a reference.
|Biomedical Science||3 to 8||3 to 7|
|Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering||6 to 12||–|
|Environmental & Water Technology||6 to 16||–|
|Landscape Design & Horticulture||5 to 14||–|
|Pharmaceutical Science||4 to 9||–|
|Applied Chemistry||–||5 to 9|
|Chemical Engineering||–||3 to 13|
|Food Science & Technology||–||5 to 13|
|Perfumery & Cosmetic Science||–||5 to 11|
|Hotel & Leisure Facilities Management||10 to 18||–|
|Real Estate Business||8 to 14||–|
|Architecture||–||5 to 13|
|Civil Engineering||–||7 to 20|
|Facilities Management||–||11 to 19|
|Integrated Events & Project Management||–||5 to 16|
|Landscape Architecture||–||8 to 15|
Business & Management
|Accountancy||4 to 11||3 to 12|
|Arts Business Management||6 to 13||–|
|Banking & Finance||5 to 11||6 to 12|
|Business Studies||3 to 8||–|
|Common Business Programme||5 to 12||4 to 12|
|International Trade & Business||5 to 13||–|
|Tourism & Resort Management||9 to 17||–|
|Business Administration||–||4 to 12|
|Human Resource Management with Psychology||–||5 to 12|
|Aerospace Engineering||5 to 19||–|
|Automation & Mechatronic Systems||6 to 19||–|
|Biomedical Engineering||7 to 11||–|
|Common Engineering Programme||6 to 26||7 to 17|
|Electrical Engineering||13 to 20||–|
|Electronic & Computer Engineering||7 to 16||–|
|Engineering Science||5 to 12||–|
|Mechanical Engineering||9 to 20||4 to 17|
|Aeronautical Engineering||–||5 to 17|
|Aerospace Electronics||–||7 to 13|
|Computer Engineering||–||3 to 12|
|Electrical & Electronic Engineering||–||6 to 17|
|Engineering with Business||–||5 to 11|
|Mechatronics & Robotics||–||5 to 13|
|Chinese Studies||7 to 13||–|
|Community Development||3 to 13||–|
|Early Childhood Development & Education||8 to 21||–|
|Tamil Studies with Early Education||13 to 17||–|
Information & Digital Technologies
|Common ICT Programme||5 to 13||3 to 13|
|Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics||5 to 8||–|
|Data Science||5 to 11||–|
|Immersive Media||8 to 15||–|
|Information Technology||9 to 15||4 to 14|
|Applied AI & Analytics||–||3 to 8|
|Infocomm Security Management||–||4 to 11|
|Marine & Offshore Technology||16 to 25||–|
|Marine Engineering||–||7 to 22|
|Maritime Business||–||7 to 18|
|Nautical Studies||–||Offered under DAE|
Media & Design
|Chinese Media & Communication||6 to 15||–|
|Design||6 to 15||–|
|Film, Sound & Video||5 to 11||–|
|Mass Communication||4 to 11||–|
|Media Post-Production||5 to 12||–|
|Interior Design||–||4 to 14|
|Media, Arts & Design||–||4 to 12|
Both NP & SP focus on different strengths
As you can see in the tables above, there are similar courses offered in both polytechnics. There are courses that are offered in one, but not the other.
If your desired course is only offered in either of the polytechnics, I’d reckon that going for your interest would be a better choice.
The most obvious difference that stood out to me was that SP seems to offer more courses related to the Built Environment faculty. While NP offers more courses in the Media & Design and the Humanities faculty.
Though the module content might vary a little, the main concepts of each course are still being taught. Therefore, if the course that you’re interested in is offered in both schools, I suggest for you to scroll down for more comparisons to help you in your decision!
My Personal Take
So in my experience, while there are similar courses offered in the 2 polytechnics, it’s a little different from taking the same subjects in JC.
To explain it further, taking the JC path eventually leads all students across all colleges to take the same paper during your A-levels.
However, polytechnics don’t have the same system, and there is no standardised way to grade all polytechnic students on their knowledge of the courses.
Therefore, diplomas from different polytechnics, even if they have the same name, do not mean that the things that are taught are the same.
In order to ensure that you are aware of what you are signing up for, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the modules that are taught in the courses that you are interested in.
You might not be interested in all of the modules taught, but you can consider choosing the diploma that is most in line with your interest and passion.
For example, let’s take a look at the Diploma in Information Technology offered in SP (DIT – S69) and NP (IT – N54) Year 1 Semester 1 curriculum.
|NP Y1S1||SP Y1S1|
|Cyber Security Fundamentals||Front-End Web Development|
|Design Principles||Critical and Analytical Thinking (CAT)|
|Data Science Fundamentals||Fundamentals of Computing|
|Fundamentals for IT Professionals 1||Communicating for Project (Proposal) Effectiveness|
|Programming 1||Fundamentals of Programming|
|Education and Career Guidance 1: Personal Development|
You might be asking — What’s actually being taught in these modules?
You wouldn’t be able to make total sense of it from just the name of the course. You’ll need to dive in a little deeper to read each module’s description.
Both NP and SP offer vibrant CCAs that you can be a part of. In polytechnics, it’s not necessary for you to take up any CCAs, though it could be beneficial in helping to build your portfolio!
This system provides you with the freedom to explore what interests you, and what doesn’t. There’s no commitment to these clubs unless, of course, you want to.
NP has a wide variety of CCAs, split into a few categories:
- Arts & Cultural (B-boys, Concert band, Photography,…)
- Sports (Dragonboat, Floorball, Muay Thai,…)
- Community Service (Food Aid, Red Cross Youth Chapter, Environmental Rangers,…)
- Special Interests (Astronomy, Chess, Toastmasters,…)
If you don’t find a club that interests you, you can gather a few of your friends that have the same interests as you and create a new club by contacting the Student Development Office.
SP also has a great number of CCAs, split a little differently:
- Constituent Clubs (Community Service & Cultural Club, Current Affairs & Debating Club,…)
- Arts & Culture (Lion Dance, Stage Management, Deejays,…)
- Special Interests (Student Exchange Club, Entrepreneurs Club, Memory Sports Club,…)
- Service Learning (Sign Language Club, Rotaract, Mentoring Club,…)
- Sports & Adventure (Adventurers, Bowling, Darts,…)
Joining a CCA will certainly help to make your polytechnic life much more vibrant and enjoyable.
Overall, in terms of quantity, SP does seem to provide more CCAs. However, NP also encourages you to start up your very own CCA if you feel like your interest has not been represented yet!
This is one of the most important factors that I would look into when researching institutions. In my opinion, schools that are able to offer their students a quality environment and tools are the best way to show that they care about the well-being and quality of education that each student receives.
Starting off with the sports facilities that are offered by each of the polytechnics.
|Martial Arts Studio||✓||✕|
|Sports Care Centre||✓||✕|
|Rock Climbing Wall||✕||✓|
From the table, you can tell that both NP and SP have common facilities that you’d expect. Like the swimming pool, gym, variety of courts, and track-and-field facilities.
With some exceptions, SP has a rock climbing wall within the campus, and NP has a sports care centre that offers physiotherapy services.
Retail & Dining
Moving on to the food section, one of the staple experiences of poly life. Given that you might spend quite a few days in school, it’s important that there’s a variety of food options to choose from.
|Retail & Dining||NP||SP|
|Old Chang Kee||✓||✓|
|Coffee Bean Tea Leaf||✓||✕|
|Bubble Tea||Each A Cup||Tea Tree Café|
|Other Food Courts||Makan PlaceFood ClubMunch||Food Courts 1 – 6|
If you get sick of the food, both polytechnics have other food options that are within walking distance or a few bus-stops away!
- Bukit Timah Plaza
- Beauty World Centre
- Bukit Timah Food Market
- Food Street @ Cheong Chin Nam Road
- Star Vista
- Rochester Mall
- Ghim Moh Food Centre
I believe that in order for a school to properly nurture their students in their respective course of study, providing relevant resources and facilities is extremely important.
Over here, I’ll mention some of the academic facilities that are offered by both NP and SP.
Apart from the common computer labs, and classroom spaces, we have:
|School of Design & Environment|
Integrated Facilities Management Lab (IFML)
DE GalleryETC Lab
Integrated Building Technology Lab (IBTL)
|Architecture & The Built Environment|
Environmental, Geomatic and Geotechnical Lab
Facilities Management Lab
Architectural Design Studio
Landscape Design Studio
|School of Engineering|
Audio-Visual Technology Studio
DA40 Flight Simulator
Towing Tank Lab
Solar Technology Centre
|Electrical & Electronic Engineering|
A320 Flight Simulator
Electrical Installation Lab
Green Mobility Lab
Nano Fabrication Lab
|School of Health Sciences|
Nursing Skills Laboratory
|School of Business|
|School of Film & Media Studies|
Radio Presentation Studio
Green Screen Studio
Avid and ProTools Stations
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Mixing Studio
Sound Post-Production Room
Video and Audio Production, Editing and Post-Production Suites
Multi-track Studio Recording Studios
Electronic Music Laboratory
Visual Effects Labs
Cinema-Standard Preview Theatre
Integrated Newsroom, Campus Radio and TV Stations
|Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering|
Industrial Automation Lab
Machine Development Centre
Rapid Prototyping Workshop
|School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology|
Centre of Food and Sustainable Resources
Centre for Environmental Technology
Centre of Applied Biosciences
|Media, Arts & Design School|
|Chemical & Life Sciences|
Dough and Roll Studio
Energy and Chemicals Training Centre
Perfumery and Cosmetic Science Centre
|School of Computing|
Music Technology Centre
Motion Capture Studio
Visual Effects Studio
|Singapore Maritime Academy|
Engine Room Simulator
Maritime Business Centre
Integrated Simulation Centre
Just by looking at the table, SP does have more facilities than NP. However, it’s also essential to look into the facilities that will be relevant to you. After all, we might not have the chance to use all of them during our years of study.
Other than the academic side of things, you would also probably need some time off.
Apart from the usual study and hangout spots that both polytechnics offer, there are some facilities that are quite unique to each institution:
Studio27 is a jamming room for those that are interested in music. Grab a couple of your friends, book the space and feel free to let your creativity flow within the 4 sound-proof walls.
Dialogue in the Dark
Dialogue in the Dark was a very interesting personal experience because it gave me a glimpse into what a world without visual light would be like. The centre employs vision-impaired individuals as guides, trainers and motivational speakers.
Located just near Gate 2, this is a chill-out spot in SP. You would find the dance studios, jamming studios, karaoke room, games room, and cafe here!
Before reading my take on NP vs SP, I do have to let you know that I am from NP. I have tried to give objective takes, and another neutral party has also vetted this post.
So, who’s the winner?
In my opinion, I feel that SP is a great place for those who are looking to have a more comprehensive and hands-on approach to learning. I do reckon that they have the relevant facilities and resources to further your understanding of the course subject.
However, NP is perfect for young entrepreneurs to start out, in recent years, they have been trying to provide opportunities like overseas internships in startups, and hackathons to encourage young budding innovators.
Cliche ending, but yes each institution has its own strengths to play to. If you’d like to know more about my NP experience, feel free to connect with me on Linkedin!
Otherwise, you can check out this article that compares between SP and Temasek Poly here.
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