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Managing Student Selection Process for Skill-Based Schools

Why is this important?

  • Skill-based vocations require students to use their hands or bodies to do something such as in performing arts or in culinary arts. For students to be admitted to such skill-based courses, academic pre-requisites alone are insufficient. Students must have the potential and interest to succeed not only in the skill-based course but also in the vocation after they graduate.
  • Proper selection will ensure that bona fide students would be able to benefit from the courses with higher rates of successful completion and better student outcomes and satisfaction as a result.

What are the specific requirements?

  • Under the EduTrust Guidance Document Item 5.3.2, the private education institution (PEI) is required to have procedures to manage the student selection exercise. The exercise must include the following areas,

            o    Verification of applicants’ suitability for the course and that they meet course admission requirements;

            o    Verification of the originality of supporting documents submitted by applicants; and

            o    Approval of shortlisted applicants by the Management and the relevant external university partners (if applicable).

What was the situation before the Good Practice?

  • PEIs receive applications from potential students who may meet the minimum admission criteria but may not have the passion or strong interest in the field of study. Some of them may not be suitable to even start the course.
  • Some of the PEIs do not have sufficient criteria or have irrelevant minimum admission criteria for these skill-based courses.
  • As a result, there were students who signed up on courses that they could not or did not want to complete, resulting in withdrawals and transfers. This led to not only loss of revenue for PEIs, but also more administrative work and disputes with students.

What did the school decide to do?

  • PEI X realised the importance of getting bona fide students with the right talent and passion for these skilled-based courses. It introduced an entrance test to assess the students’ aptitude and talent in addition to the minimum academic entry requirements.
  • Furthermore, the Principal personally interviews all prospective students to assess if their passion and talent match the requirements of the courses.

How did the school benefit?

  • The PEI successfully selected the right students for its courses which met their needs and at the same time ensured that the students fulfill the admission criteria set for the courses.
  • With a better match, the students were generally more satisfied with the PEI and were able to finish the course. This led to a lower student attrition rate.
  • Satisfied students tended to perform better, not only in the PEI, but also in their jobs subsequently. This increased the reputation of the PEI in producing good graduates for the industry.