Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to Get into Malaysia Public Universities (IPTA)?

Posted by Chong

As most of the previous year exam candidates are still waiting for their STPM and SPM results to be officially released in March, I would like to share with you the four typical ways to get into local public universities. Getting into local public universities is tougher nowadays especially the oldest University of Malaya when its vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon announced recently that the critical courses such as medicine, dentistry and such would require a maximum of Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.00 while Arts courses needed 3.50.

The four typicalways to get into local public universities are:
  • SPM > STPM / Form 6 > Degree at public universities
  • SPM > Malaysia Matriculation > Degree at public universities
  • SPM > Diploma at public universities > Degree at public universities
  • SPM > Polytechnic > Degree at public universities

STPM / Form 6

This is the most popular option as the majority of undergraduates at local public universities are former form 6 / STPM students. Students will be offered form six automatically (without the need to apply) when their SPM results meet the sixth form minimum requirements. Also specified in the offer letter is the stream (either Arts or Science) offered.

Do check out the minimum requirements of the degree course you wish to pursue at the university to make sure you carefully choose the right subject combination for your STPM. For instance, you might need to take STPM Physics if you plan to do an engineering degree later. Choosing the wrong subject or stream might lead you to unnecessary surprises and regret when you apply for a placement at local public university.

STPM / Form 6 is way more affordable compared to other pre-university programmes like A-Levels and other foundation programmes at private education institutions. Also, it is the best option for those who are still undecided about their fields of interest or ambitions.

Former form six students will usually tell you that they have no regret in choosing STPM / form six, thanks to the invaluable personal growth they experienced during the one and a haft year “hardship”. Also, they like to comment that form six is very hard and much harder compared to other pre-university programmes. Form six / STPM is difficult or not, however, is very subjective as they are actually many students who enjoy studying form sixth.

Malaysia Matriculation (Program Matrikulasi)

Matriculation is the most famous option among bumiputera as it is a one-year programme (hence Matriculation students get into university one year faster compared to STPM / Form 6) and students get monthly allowances on top of very cheap fees. Currently, there are 12 Matriculation Colleges (Kolej Matrikulasi) in different states in Malaysia.

Government imposes quota for non-bumiputera to get into Matriculation. As result, it is highly competitive among non-bumiputera and non-bumiputera who score good results in SPM and are from rural area (luar-bandar) stand a higher chance to be shortlisted.

Diploma at public universities

Some local public universities offer diploma courses to SPM result holders. However, the choices of diploma courses are limited. The duration of diploma is longer compared to form six / STPM but those from the diploma can skip to year two of degree programme when accepted. So at the end of the day, those taking form six / STPM and those choosing diploma will graduate in the same year for the same degree course if they took SPM in the same year.

The main benefit of taking diploma is students start learning knowledge and skills in their specific fields as the diploma courses are very specific. Do take note that once graduated from diploma, students need to compete with STPM / form 6 results holder and other applicants to get a placement in their desired degree course.

Vocational Programmes at Polytechnics (Kolej Politeknik)

There are currently 24 polytechnic colleges and institutes in Malaysia, which focus on skill trainings and working knowledge. Polytechnic students get allowances on top of very cheap fees. Those graduated from polytechnic can choose to work or to further their studies at degree level at local public university.

There are other lesser-known ways to get into local public universities such as A-Levels (although very rare) and university matriculation at Pusat Asasi Universiti Malaya (PASUM). Do consider your own interests, personality, family financial background and other relevant aspects when choosing the best path for yourselves!


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