Despite the diminutive size of Singapore, officially known as the Republic of Singapore, it is an economic behemoth. The most modern city-state in Southeast Asia for more than a century. The city combines the cultures of many countries that surround it. You can spot Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and even English traditions seamlessly blended in this country. Singapore has been a veritable pot of cultures from around the world because of its easily accessible ports and shipping prowess. The country includes the island of Singapore as well as around 58 smaller islands.

The country has flourished over the years because of a government determined to make and maintain Singapore’s flourishing economy. The country excels in trade and tourism and is a model state for developing nations. The capital city of the country covers over a third of the area of the main island. It is situated only slightly north of the equator and enjoys a tropical climate that is perfect for business and leisure travellers through the year. The country has amazingly modern infrastructure and visitors to the country can enjoy a safe, clean and incredibly modern public amenities.

The city has one of the best public transportation facilities in the world and almost eliminates the need for buying a car. Many people also prefer to walk around the city to better soak in the sights and sounds of this unique nation. The train systems are diligently maintained and are clean, fast and hugely efficient. Singapore is also the central cruise centre for Southeast Asia and has a state-of-the-art cruise terminal. For travellers the city has all its major tourist spots easily accessible by tour bus. Rainfall is distributed evenly across the year and the weather is warm all year round. Singapore also has a large amount of nature parks, nature reserves, as well as bountiful tropical greenery.

The city is home some spectacular historical treasures, ancient buildings and traditions of a bygone era that survive shoulder to shoulder with modern day amenities. The core of downtown Singapore is the Colonial District, with each enclave having its own distinct flavour and appeal. The Singapore Zoological Gardens are a brilliant endeavour to preserve the rich flora and fauna of the area and a worthwhile area to visit and spend a day at. The Sentosa island amusement arcade is one of the more popular day-trip destinations in Singapore.    

Over the centuries Singapore served as a stopover for travellers hoping to enter Asia. This has given the region a unique identity of its own and an understanding of development unlike any other country. Because of the lack of any natural resources Singapore’s prosperity was entirely based on a robust free trade policy that was implemented back in 1819. This was put in place by Sir Stamford Raffles who first to establish a British trading post here. Industrialization gave a further impetus to the country powering it to the powerful economy it is today. Today, the Singapore port the world’s second busiest port after Rotterdam. The country sees minimal unemployment and an infrastructure that is the envy of far larger countries. From its trading post roots, the country has now become a sought after destination for businesses and industries around the world over and above becoming a highly prominent vacation destination.

The country has a per capita income of $12,000. Over and above this another indicator of the country’s prosperity is the fact that a majority of the country’s population lives in modern flats and apartments. The overall amenities provided by the country are second to none, and this includes the education system put in place by the Singaporean authorities. Education has played a key role in the development of Singapore and the country offers courses in a variety of fields across the spectrum. The country, in a nutshell, offers a blend of modern day comfort, cosmopolitan culture, and international standards of education along with increasing job opportunities.

Singapore has set its sights on becoming a global schoolhouse by offering a diverse and distinctive combination of education and services. The fact that Singapore offers a cosmopolitan culture a comfortable environment and a high standard of living only makes this ambition that much more achievable. Singapore is considered to be the prime education destination in Asia and offers courses with a broad curriculum and some of the most modern technology to support it. It provides students exactly what they need to compete in the global marketplace including the qualifications and training.

The country, because of its many amenities, culture and being at the heart of Asia’s trade and business, has attracted a number of educational institutions from around the world. There are more than 16 leading foreign universities that have set up centres of education and research in Singapore. The country offers some of the best colleges and universities to conduct research, among other courses. There are also a lot of quality private education institutions that offer students a wider array of options.

Singapore charges far more nominal fees than many other developed nations. The country has made a habit of awarding meritorious students with educational opportunities, which has worked very well for the country. The colleges and universities here also offer a number of scholarships, bursaries and financial support to help them pay the tuition fees they may not be able to afford. Considering the country’s high accessibility with the world, especially Asian countries, it is the first choice of education destination by students around the world.

Singapore is also home to over 7000 multinational companies and over one lakh small and medium enterprises. Many companies choose Singapore’s strategic location as the perfect Launchpad for their company to tap into the highly profitable Asian markets. Students are offered an unlimited number of opportunities to reach out and apply their talents with these companies to secure themselves a job and further their career.

To promote Singapore as an education hub around the world, an agency called the Singapore Education was launched. This multi-government initiative established in 2003 is aimed to promote Singapore’s education infrastructure around the world and to help international students make an informed decision to study in Singapore. Led by the Singapore Economic Development Board and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, as well as the Ministry of Education among many other organisations, is making serious headways in promoting Singapore as a top education provider. The country’s multiculturalism coupled with the many job prospects it throws up for fresh graduates makes it a wonderful prospect for international students.

Singapore goes to great lengths to make sure that the interests of the students are kept intact and their welfare is maintained through stringent quality standards. The Education Excellence Framework put in place by the government makes sure of this by undertaking important initiatives. The Case Trust for Education formed by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) for Private Education Organisations (PEOs). The scheme is designed to ensure that students are provided quality welfare and have the highest protection practices and standards. Private organisations that have obtained the Case Trust of Education status are allowed to admit international students to their programmes in Singapore. The Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organisations, (SQC PEO), is the industry standard for organisation excellence in the private sector.

There are a variety of private schools that offer a number of programmes to international students. The country has over 300 private commercial, IT, Fine Arts, and language schools in Singapore. The courses range from certificates to postgraduate levels. The country has established partnerships with prominent universities from countries like Australia, UK and USA. These partnerships offer students the opportunity to gain an international certification while working in a relatively familiar environment. Institutes from around the world have also undertaken tie-ups with campuses in Singapore to provide cutting-edge programmes in a variety of niche areas.

A number of these private institutes and colleges offer degrees in partnership with popular universities. They give degrees and certifications and help students learn through internationally renowned programmes. Admission requirements for postgraduate degrees in private institutes differ from course to course. The duration of these courses can last up to 16 months. Bachelor’s degrees are offered for almost all courses. These programmes can last for 3 to 4 years. It must be noted that for post graduate courses GRE or GMAT scores may not be required. Similarly, for bachelor’s degrees SAT, TOEFL, or IELTS scores may not be necessary.

Singapore’s public universities have three specific type of programs on offer – graduate diplomas, master degrees, PhDs. Graduate diplomas are a qualification course and provides limited professional training in a particular subject. This is a preferred course of students who want to gain extra exposure in an area of their choice. These type of courses last for about a year. Master’s courses are designed to ensure that the students are prepared to enter their profession. Degrees like MA, MBA, MFA, MS etc. are considered as master degrees. Masters programmes usually demand a good bachelor’s degree and some work experience. Students whose medium of education has not been English need to score well in IELTS or TOEFL. Those applying for degrees in science related fields may also need to appear for GRE examination just like business courses may also need GMAT scores.

All the doctoral, or PhD, programmes offered in Singapore are research based. The duration of this course can be 3 to 5 years depending upon the university and various other factors. An admission to the PhD course can only be obtained after concluding the master’s degree. Students will need to appear for their GRE/GMAT and English proficiency examinations to gain admission in these programme. The country also has a wide variety of choices from polytechnic courses. These range from engineering, business studies, mass communication, design and communication. Polytechnic courses also offer a lot of specialised courses for students. These courses usually last for about 3 years and the degrees are awarded on the basis of credits accumulated through the semesters of study. These courses are open for students who have finished their tenth or twelfth standards.

Most of the universities and colleges in Singapore accept applications only online. Private universities, however, may accept paper applications from students. If you are applying online to a university or college of your choice, go to their apply section and create a username and password and fill in the form available there. There are quite a few universities that offer the option of uploading all your documents online. Universities that request your documents in physical copies may ask you to courier the application form along with validated copies of your documents via courier. At Rao Consultants we make sure that your applications are not missing a single piece of information to better facilitate your admission procedure.

It is advisable to submit your applications at least a couple of months before the deadline. Postgraduate courses in public universities usually have two intakes, in January and in August, while undergraduate students have only one intake, i.e. August. Private universities, however, have intakes every month, making admission processes far easier for international students.

It is important to note that students who are applying to Singapore universities need to be present in Singapore while their applications are being considered. It is important that the students apply for a Student’s Pass before coming to Singapore as extensions are not available when applications are being considered. The passes will be issued to accepted students within a month of their applications being approved.

Depending upon your university and programme you may require to give IELTS/TOEFL as well as GRE/GMAT. It would be wise to make sure that you know what the prerequisites are for your course and university and give the necessary exams with adequate preparations. You will also need to have all your documentation like school certificates, bachelor degree certificates for each semester, a copy of your passport and assorted documents ready for submission.

Despite the high quality of education and lifestyle offered by Singapore, it can cost the student a pretty penny. Although, despite the cost of education being higher than average around the world, it makes up for it by offering students an unparalleled standard of life and career opportunities. The country’s multiculturalism ensures that international students don’t feel like outsiders and equips students with degrees that are sought after by companies around the world.

Diploma courses can set a student back by 6000 to 8000 Singapore dollars annually. These courses can last from 1 to 2 years.

Bachelor degrees can cost about 9000 to 15,000 Singapore dollars annually and the courses last for 2 to 4 years.

Master’s degrees can cost around 16,000 to 24,000 Singapore dollars annually and these programmes can last for 1 to 1.5 years.

Living expenses are also fairly substantial when you choose to study in Singapore. Most universities offer hostel facilities for international students, but students will need to apply for it in advance. Getting a hostel, however, will depend entirely on the availability of the same. University hostels charge anywhere between 200 to 700 Singapore dollars per month. This cost does not include meals. Rented private rooms off-campus can cost around 800 to 2000 Singapore dollars, students can explore off-campus hostels which charge more than university hostels, around 400 Singapore dollars, but offer great facilities. Housing Development Board flats are also available on rent in most places and are relatively cheap if you are willing to share them with others, they cost around 250 to 1000 Singapore dollars per month.

The monthly costs for students for food can be around 300 Singapore dollars and transport can be around 100 to 250 Singapore dollars. 300 Singapore dollars every month will cover other ancillary personal costs for the month. While Singapore is one the most expensive destination for a student to study at, it more than makes up for it in terms of the sheer number of opportunities it provides a student.

It is important to note that all new applications have to be submitted at least 2 months before the course is supposed to begin. The earliest you can apply for a student visa is 6 months before the course commences. Since the applicants are not expected to be in Singapore while their applications are being considered, extensions on their stay will not be considered while their applications are being processed.

Once your applications have been approved you are allowed to enter Singapore to finish the formalities associated with your visa. Students are issued Student’s Passes a month before the beginning of their courses. Each student needs a local sponsor for a Student’s Pass. The sponsor must be a citizen of Singapore or on a PR in the country above the age of 21. The school where the student is enrolled can also act as the sponsor, companies, however, cannot act as sponsors.

A student is expected to submit at least two copies of their form 16, V36 and V39S signed by the student and the sponsor. Passport sizes, around 2, need to be pasted on the form 16. A copy of the student’s official birth certificate, highest education certificates and transcripts of the results as well as a copy of the passport are also required. Additional documents may be required if your parents/step-parents or spouse are Singapore citizens or hold a PR there.

The processing time for the Student’s Pass can take up to 4 to 6 weeks after receiving the receipt of your application. Your school and sponsor will be notified of the arrival of your Student’s Pass. A student will have to pay the security deposit only after receiving the Student’s Pass. You may to have to undergo a medical test if it is requested by the ICA.

If you are a full-time student at a university in Singapore you are not allowed to work for any more than 16 hours every week when the school is in session. Students are allowed to work full time during the vacations. If your work hours are within the permitted limit you do not need to apply for an additional permission from the Ministry of Manpower. It must be noted you are eligible for these rights only if you are enrolled with an institution which is registered with the Ministry of Manpower.

Singapore also offers a Tuition Grant Scheme under which you will have to compulsorily for a Singapore company for 3 years. It is important to change your Student’s Pass status as soon as you graduate in order to avoid complications. Once you have finished your graduation you can apply for the Long Term Visit Pass which can allow you to stay in Singapore even if you do not have a job. Singapore, despite its size, has a number of lucrative jobs available in a variety of sectors including construction, tourism, retail, manufacturing, finance and healthcare among many others. Getting a job, however, will also depend a lot upon your own initiative and you will need to spend a lot of time screening jobs in newspapers and online portals. Once you get a job you need to apply for a Work Pass

Some universities also offer Industrial attachment programs, or internships. These are pivotal in helping the student gain a better understanding of their field of education by gaining practical experience. These internships can last for about 5 to 6 months, but if you play your cards right they can also lead to an employment offer. These internships are also usually paid and do not require a Work Pass. Mid-level, skilled foreigners can also apply for something called an S Pass. Even students are eligible for this pass. To be eligible for this kind of a pass you need to show that you have a job offer with a fixed salary of no more than 2200 Singapore dollars. Other criterion for this are your education qualifications and relevant work experience.

Are there any particular benefits of studying in Singapore?

Singapore is a premier education center that offers students an international perspective and a host of options to further the scope of their career. Singapore offers the highest standards of education in Asia, affordable tuition fees and cost of living. Moreover, it is the biggest business hub in central Asia and is extremely well connected to the rest of the world through air, sea and telecommunication networks. The country is also very close to India, making it a great place to study if you don’t want to go too far away from home.

Is private accommodation easily available?

Most big universities offer accommodation to first-year international students, however, this is a first come first serve service and is limited. Private student hostels, apartments, and home-stay options are widely available in Singapore. Make sure you find accommodation before you arrive in Singapore to make things easier for yourself.

What is the EduTrust Certification?

According to the laws of the Singapore Government, only those institutions that are recognized by the Council of Private Education and accredited by the EduTrust can admit international students. The students are protected by something called the Free Protection Scheme which makes sure that the students get complete value for their money. We at Rao Consultants that students are only applying to EduTrust certified institutions.

What are the best courses for getting a job in Singapore?

Information technology, hospitality and tourism, banking and finance, supply chain management, logistics, art and design, construction, electronics and telecommunications are the most popular sectors among students. Business programs are also quite popular among Indian students. Bachelor students prefer more engineering and economics related courses, while masters students go for more out-of-the-box options.

I am yet to finish my studies (college/school) can I still apply to study in Singapore?

A student can apply up to one year in advance. Some courses and universities are incredibly competitive to get in to and one needs to apply at least 3 to 6 months in advance. The student needs to submit all their current study details to obtain a provisional admission offer letter. Once the student submits their course submission details they get a full offer. Applying for an early admission allows you to have time for examinations like IELTS, GRE and GMAT and to get your documentation in order.

What are the post-study work options for international students in Singapore?

International students in Singapore who want to stay back and work usually receive a visa extension of 1-3 months, depending on the institution. Once the student is employed they are issued an S pass by the ICA. Government institutions, polytechnics, as well as select foreign campuses usually issue Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) that is valid for 1 year. The students can use this time to search for jobs in Singapore.

Do Singapore universities accept year gaps?

Yes, some universities do accept year gaps, however, year gaps with relevant work experience are always given more priority than year gaps without work experience.