Even as the Direct School Admission (DSA) exercise received criticisms and underwent changes over the years, it is still one of the most sought after avenues for admission to secondary school and junior college.
The reason? DSA serves as an alternative route to get your child to the school of his or her dreams. Some students start preparing for the DSA as early as Primary 4. If your child is already in Primary 6 this year, don’t worry – it’s not too late!
About the DSA
The DSA is an opportunity for your child to be guaranteed a place in a secondary school, prior to the release of the PSLE results. Introduced in 2004, the DSA was established to promote holistic education by providing opportunities for your child to be recognised for a more diverse range of achievements and talents, such as in sports and arts, when seeking admission to secondary schools.
As you get your child ready for the DSA application, here are 5 things you need to do to prepare child prepare for the process.
The DSA Checklist
Has your child decided on his or her preferred school or DSA programme?
This first step is pertinent in deciding the next course of action. If your child is doing exceptionally well in his or her sports team or has a strong flair in performing arts, it would be useful to shortlist the schools with the respective niche areas.
Different secondary schools have different fortes, be it in academic achievements, sports or in other aspects like character development and leadership or music. You will need to scout for a school that offers DSA based on your child’s strengths or talents.
Once your child has selected a school of his or her choice, it is also wise to have 2 other alternative options before starting on your child’s DSA application so that his or her choices are not limited.
Have You And Your Child Obtained all The Relevant Information On The DSA?
If you and your child have decided on a particular school’s DSA programme, it is important for you to gather all necessary documents and take note of the deadlines in order adequately prepared for this exercise. Some easy ways include checking the school website, calling the school or even paying a visit to the school to find out more about their distinctive programmes, selection criteria, dates of trials, test and interviews.
Is Your Child’s Portfolio Ready?
The school of your child's choice would need you to support his or her DSA application with evidence of your child's abilities. If your child is applying for DSA-Instructional Programme, or DSA (IP), which is based on your child’s exceptional academic achievements in a particular subject, then he would most likely be required to submit his Primary 4 and 5 end-of-year examination results, as well as his results for the Primary 6 mid-year examinations. If your child has participated in national competitions such as the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad (SMO), you may also need to produce records of his or her participation.
Building your child’s CV is the most crucial step in your child’s DSA application process. If your child has strong leadership capabilities, then records of his or her holding key leadership positions like Head Prefect should be included. Testimonials from the school and recommendation letters from his primary school teachers would also boost his or her chances.
Is Your Child Ready For Trials?
If your child is applying for DSA (Sports), he could be required to attend trials where he would be assessed on his skill in the chosen activity. For DSA (IP), your child may need to attend a General Ability Test (GAT) - only if he is not in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) - to assess his intellectual potential and even interview with the selection panel.
Don’t forget to take note of trials and test dates!