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Time is of the Essence

Published by Afterschool.my on Jan 28, 2014, 03:45 pm

Prompt action essential for SPM students to ensure students make right decision regarding higher education route, says Nilai U President.

“Do not waste any time after SPM! Students may feel that the hard work has already been done with the conclusion of the exams but it is only the beginning of their academic journey,” counsels Datuk Dr Megat Burhainuddin Megat Abdul Rahman (Nilai U Vice-Chancellor).

Nilai U Vice-Chancellor Datuk Megat_0 

Datuk Dr Megat Burhainuddin Megat Abdul Rahman (Nilai U Vice-Chancellor).

“Too many students take their foot off the pedal as soon as the SPM exams are over. It’s fine to take a few days off to recharge their batteries but not weeks and months. Time is of the essence to ensure they know which programmes are best suited to them and that they apply for a place in their preferred institution.”

Dr Megat Burhainuddin is keen to stress to these students that their post-SPM spare time can be best utilised preparing for the next step of their academic journey. For starters, it would be great for students to start thinking about what they want to do. “I am talking about identifying what these students themselves want to pursue, not what their parents or peers are suggesting,” he says. The first step is to browse the internet for information on the programmes that have piqued the students’ interest. With so much information available online, it is not too difficult for students to determine which areas appeal to them. Having identified the areas which they want to pursue, Dr Megat Burhainuddin says that the next logical step would be for these students to understand what each programme entails and whether they have the aptitude to complete the programme. “For instance, Nilai U receives many applications for the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programme. It is indeed an exciting field with great career opportunities. But what applicants need to realise is that to succeed in this programme, they will need to be strong in both maths and physics.”

Personality Tests

Nilai U Vice-Chancellor strongly advocates that students use the downtime after exams to visit the campuses of the institutions that they intend to apply to. By visiting the campuses, they will get a better feel of the environment and also understand the logistics involved such as travelling time from home, availability of accommodation, parking, public transport and various other issues which can have a huge impact on their varsity experience. “Some students enrol in a city campus not realising the daily commute and parking woes can become a massive headache,” says Dr Megat Burhainuddin.

“At Nilai U, none of these problems exist as there is ample parking and a great network of public transportation.” But the most important thing is that when students visit Nilai U (during Open Days or through scheduled appointments), students will be given a personality test to help determine which areas they are best suited to. With the guidance of Nilai U’s experienced counsellors and lecturers, students can narrow their choices and make an informed and educated choice on their next step.

“I cannot stress how important this is as their decision will have a major impact on their future,” underlines Dr Megat Burhainuddin. “Students who do this can avoid the hassle and disappointment of choosing a programme which is entirely unsuitable for them. Such missteps are costly and time consuming.”

Scholarships & financial aid

Private higher education can be an expensive affair. Students should act quickly by finding out what scholarship and financial aid schemes are available to them. “Scour newspapers and the internet for relevant information in this area. Media corporations offer a number of scholarships each year as do organisations such as the British Council. Many private institutions also offer scholarships as incentive to attract the cream of the crop,” explains Dr Megat Burhainuddin.

In this respect, Nilai U is no different with a High Achievers Scholarship rewarding exceptional students with 100% waiver on tuition and accommodation fees. But what sets Nilai U apart is that it also offers extra-curriculum excellence award for students with exemplary achievements at state, national or regional level. Students who have been active in leadership and extra-curricular activities can also apply for the Enrichment for Life award which allows for substantial discounts. There is also a Merit scholarship which offers a sliding scale of discounts for students who have done reasonably well in their examinations. Nilai U also offers the Education for All financial aid scheme which allows students to commence their studies with just RM650. This is for household with a monthly income of below RM4,000. Tuition fees will be covered by full PTPTN loan (any shortfall will be waived).“All these schemes offer students the chance to fulfil their potential through higher education without huge financial burden. But students must realise that these awards are over-subscribed and they must act quickly if they wish to benefit from them,” says Dr Megat Burhainuddin.

Alternative Route

For those who qualify based on their forecast result, it is advisable to apply for the Foundation Programme be it Business or Science. From this the entry into a degree programme is clearly defined. Moreover the Foundation Programme would help them get to know the degree programme much better through interactions with the academic staff and senior students. “Usually the top students who are expected to do well will be busy looking for scholarships and applyfor places in the preferred programmes. What about students whose forecast results do not meet the minimum entry requirements for their preferred programmes? I wish to communicate to these students that higher education is still available to them and it is imperative they make the right choices,” he stresses.

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Nilai U campus (aerial view)

For students who wish to obtain a degree but do not have the necessary credits to enter a pre-university programme, they can opt for the diploma route. By entering a diploma programme straight after SPM, they will have several benefits. Firstly, these students will be entitled to credit exemptions and can later join the relevant degree programme in the second year. Secondly, diploma students will be better prepared for the degree as they will have undergone similar subjects or modules. For instance, engineering diploma students will adapt better to the degree programmes than their pre-university counterparts as they will have greater in-depth knowledge in the area. Thirdly, such students will graduate with two qualifications and also have the option of working after gaining the diploma, making the slightly longer completion period seem neglible.

“In today’s education landscape, every effort is made to be as inclusive as possible. There are vocational courses and polytechnics offer a wide variety of programmes. Students can opt to get a certificate as a means to enter the diploma programmes later on,” counsels Dr Megat Burhainuddin.

“What I want to say to these students is to not give up hope. There are still avenues for them to attain higher education qualifications even if their forecast results are less-than-stellar. However, the bottom line is for all SPM students to act immediately after their examinations are over. This is to ensure they have all the right information and are clear about their own strengths and capabilities. Once they do this, they can make the best decision possible on their futures.”

Nilai U was established in 1997 and is rated Setara5/Excellent by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency. For more information, please go www.nilai.edu.my or search for ‘Nilai University’ on Facebook. To make an appointment to visit Nilai U’s campus or speak to a counsellor, kindly call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336 / 03-70603

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