5 Ways to Benefit from UniPsych Symposium 2017

With the UniPsych Symposium less than 24 hours away, we hope you are as excited as us for it!  Here are five ways you can make the most out of attending the Symposium:

1.  Dress properly
You never know who you will meet.  The world is an exceedingly small place.  They say an impression is created within the first 7 seconds.

2. Come with an open mind
One of the perks about hearing from the people who are currently working in the field is that you get to hear about what it’s like.  What they share may surprise you, so abandon all your preconceptions and listen to real life experiences on the ground.  Learn about the day-to-day struggles and victories that you wouldn’t typically hear about!
Image Credit: https://media.giphy.com/media/3o7qDQNEs2CtC5AkZW/giphy.gif
3. Be prepared
While our speakers will be more than ready to share their experiences and advice with you, do come prepared beforehand in order to maximise your learning potential!  Interact with working professionals by doing a bit of research about the field/organisation you are interested in, and prepare a set of questions you want to ask them.  That way, you will get additional information on top of what the speaker has presented and also leave a positive impression.

4. Network
The majority of attendees all have come to together to learn more about the one passion we have in common:  Psychology.  Step out of your comfort zone, talk to everyone and anyone.  You never know, the person you encounter today may be your colleague, subordinate, or even superior in the near future!

5. Follow-up
The benefits of the Symposium do not just end after the event.  The Symposium will be the springboard to help you discover even more about your options in careers and future studies.  Armed with your newly learnt knowledge, continue to research on the different organisations/programmes.  With all the consolidated information, you will have greater insight into the field that you wish to pursue!

Image Credit: https://facebook.com/UniPsych-Symposium-2017-1928681934083021/
Disclaimer:  This guest post was written by the UniPsych Symposium and InPsych teams.

SGPsychStud: What’s Next? The Polytechnic Edition

Regardless of polytechnic students or university students pursuing psychology in their studies, their next move is always the same.
Image Credit: https://www.futurelmt.com/should-you-work-while-attending-massage-school/
However the strategies used by both groups of students are different.  The preferred choices may also differ.  For polytechnic graduates, more often than not, the preferred choice is most likely to proceed to university.
So what degree choices do you have?
Other than the local degrees that has already been discussed in this earlier post, there are also other degree choices that polytechnic graduates can pursue locally and overseas.  I have provided the links that the respective polytechnic students can check, based on their respective diplomas:
SP:  Advanced Standing Database
NP:  Further Studies Portal
NYP:  Upgrade (University Programmes for Graduates Enquiry) - only accessible by NYP graduates
RP:  Advancement Pathways
TP:  Diploma to Degree Pathfinder
Disclaimer: Do note that the above links are from the respective polytechnics, and do not belong to or updated or maintained by SG Psych Stuff.

As a polytechnic graduate from a psychology course, 
what work can I do and how should I proceed to find it?

The main issue with this question is that psychology is a general field of study. Psychology polytechnic graduates possess a myriad of soft skills, with some basic knowledge of psychology and other related fields.  This may not be enough to get you the coveted positions of a psychology clinic assistant, case worker, or research assistant.

It is understandable that polytechnic graduates may not possess a lot of working experience, however what Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other competencies (KSAOs) do you possess?


Through a better analysis and understanding of yourself, this understanding will give you a more informed view of the positions that may be more suitable for you, or the positions you may have a better chance of securing.  If you have yet to have that self-analysis, I would advise that you seek a consultation with your polytechnics’ ECG counsellors.  They can help you achieve that self-understanding.

To locate the ECG counsellors and their offices in the respective polytechnics:
NYP:  ECG@Central

Another thing you can do is to attend the UniPsych Symposium 2017 that is happening on 19 August! See https://unipsych2017.wixsite.com/main for more details and registration! Registration closes on 15 August 2017, 2359. Don't miss your last opportunity to grab your talks before they're all snapped up!! 

SGPsychStud: The Formula and Tips for Building Your Value

Some of you may be thinking this?
"What value do I have when I am only a fresh graduate?"

Everyone has some value. The question is from whose perception are we looking.
The Employers' or Yours?

Before we move on, I would like to ask you to read the below posts:
So what is your value?
During interviews, employers may ask this same question from another angle, with questions like:
  • Why should I employ you?
  • What can you or will you contribute to the company?
  • Have you done anything previously that may be beneficial to the company or this position?
So similarly you should ask yourself some questions:
  • What am I interested and passionate about that is part of a job position?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What skills do I have?
  • What can I do that will enhance my knowledge and experience about the positions or industry? 

Ultimately...

So what are some suggestions that you can do?  Actually I have already previously written about them, and here they are!

SGPsychStud: Using the "COW" in Building Your Career

Image Credit: giphy.com
Why am I talking about "COW" when the theme is #PsychologyCareerTips?

"COW" = Capacity + Opportunity +Willingness 

As per the article, these three factors are the dimensions of achieving work performance.  Additionally, these can also be used for your job search process as well as self-improvement towards getting the job.  In this post, I'll uncover the questions you can ask yourself on which you can do some evaluation and reflection:

Capacity:

1.  Do you believe that you have the capacity / capability to do the job? 
It is very common that undergraduate students think that they do not have capability to apply for jobs that require 1 to 2 years of experience, and hence they do not apply for the jobs.

2.  Have you done your research to find more about the jobs and companies?
Sometimes, the job description as advertised is more than it looks.  Make sure to do your own research (or network with people) and find out more about the jobs, the company culture, and other matters about the jobs / companies.

3.  Have you been doing anything to increase your capacity / capability and/or to upskill yourself?
One thing you need to know:  Your diploma /  degree alone does not get you the job!  Employers do not only employ you because you graduate from a certain polytechnic or university.  They also trying to evaluate that you have the skills (and more!) to do the job.

The next post will also discuss how you can increase your capacity!

Opportunity:

1.  What opportunities do you know?  Have you been actively seeking out opportunities?

You have to believe that opportunities are always out there.  Most job-seekers get discouraged because of job rejections and no replies from companies.  Do note that opportunities do not mean full-time jobs; they also include part-time jobs, internships, volunteer work, and even networking.

2.  What have you been doing to increase your chances and opportunities to get a job?
For most students, the answer is "Nothing"!  However, there are so many things you can actually do!

Here are some tips to help you increase your chances and possibilities to get a job!

Which door is going to open for you?
Willingness:
This is the third factor and may be the biggest obstacle for some.

1.  Are you willing to do the job?
With many jobs, you may have the capacity to do it and the opportunity to get the interview, but rejected the job in the end because you found out that the company is asking you to do more than what the job entails.

2.  What is your limit for willingness? 
You cannot accept every opportunity, offer and job that comes along.  You have to evaluate whether that opportunity is something that is beneficial for your future career.  This is especially important if you have more than one opportunity.

"Whatever you are doing, it is for your future career."

Majoring in Psychology in Uni: Polytechnic vs Junior College Route

Disclaimer: The invited writers are both students from NTU and may not be accurate about some claims about the other universities. This will solely be based on their perspectives and current experiences. Do scroll below for their profiles.

After receiving your 'O' levels results, one of the most commonly-asked questions is:
Junior College (JC) or Polytechnic (aka 'Poly')?

Image Credit: http://www.sgclub.com/self-improvement/studying/quiz-should-i-go-to-polytechnic-or-junior-college/
You might want to pursue Psychology in the polytechnics, but worry that it might not be the best route to get you into university. You are not that sure what you wish to do for the rest of your life, and decide that going to a JC could give you 2 extra years to ponder. You contact friends you haven’t talked to in a million years just to get their opinion. Somehow, you’re still unconvinced.

In order to ensure that O-Level graduates with a keen interest in Psychology can make a more informed decision, Min and Xavierlyn will share their experience of getting into university via the Polytechnic and Junior College routes respectively.

Points
Min (Poly)
Xavierlyn (JC)
Conclusion
Getting into University
Yes, it is no secret that it is much tougher to get into university via the poly route. In fact, I’ve only seen poly mates who have gotten Diploma with Merit (or scored really really well) around school.  
About 75% of my batch were offered courses into a local university.

Statistics by MOE have reflected a higher number of Junior College students across all courses in local universities.
JC
For a higher chance of entering local university, choose the Junior College route.
Transition into University
The transition from poly to university is not that huge of a change.

The poly curriculum is rather similar to the university curriculum, in the sense you’ll be taught to be self-disciplined and not be spoon-fed by your educators.

However, this is not to say that poly students will transition into university quite easily. My psychology course in the poly emphasized a lot on group projects, writing and applying knowledge into real world situations. There was little emphasis on exams, to the point whereby exams are just there for the sake of being there and lecturers usually explicitly tell you what chapters will be tested.

In university, I was unpleasantly required to memorise a whole textbook in 1 week and puking its contents out for a 2-hour paper.
To find out more, read my other post - From Polytechnic to University
In Junior College, timetables are created for you and practice resources are made easily available, just like in secondary school. University was thus a huge cultural change for me as you are suddenly required to be in charge of your own learning after 12 years (primary school to JC) of spoon-feeding.

Additionally, universities do not release past year papers for practice so you have to master your content well on your own.

While the JC curriculum trains application skills, most exam answers are based on memorisation or practice. This may differ from person to person but personally, I think you can afford to do a bit of last minute studying in JC.

On the other hand, in university, you have to be consistent as no one is going to remind you to hand in your assignments or check the progress of your work unlike in previous years of schooling. It may take quite some time getting used to balancing assignments and tests that may all occur in the same week.
Poly
Choosing the poly route does give you a taste of university life before it begins, but it is only a slight taste. Most poly students still need time to adapt to university life.

JC

Choosing JC where schedules are similar to secondary schools might make it difficult to adapt to university where there is a lot of independent learning.
Modules
In recognition that the poly curriculum offers electives and knowledge outside of one’s course of study, in NTU, eligible poly students are allowed to exempt 20 MCs worth of modules. In translation, this is about 4 modules, which can also translate to one semester’s worth of exemption. NUS FASS also allows module exemptions for students from polytechnics.

This is crucial because one of the consideration for going to poly or JC is the extra year one needs to spend in poly. But hey, if done correct, you’re just spending an extra semester.
In NTU, you have to fulfil General Education Module (GERPE) requirements. JC students have to take 5 modules while poly students can choose to take 3.

Poly
If you do not mind taking an extra semester while in the pursuit of your interest, poly is a considerable route to take.

JC
If you do not mind fulfilling more General Education modules and wish to save a semester worth of time, choose the JC route.
Skills
I’d say that poly psychology students do have a slight advantage in terms of course-related skills.

We come into university equipped with the ability to write 2000 words essay with APA citation in 1 week (some, the night before the deadline). We’ve had 3 years worth of psychology concepts drilled into us.

However, it does not put us in too much of an advantage. Coming to university, I realise that some of the things poly taught me are either wrong or insufficient.
Students have to take Project Work (PW). While this might train critical thinking, I did not learn how to write a proper research paper or the different writing formats (MLA, APA, etc). Even though there are compulsory writing modules available in NTU (I believe NUS has these as well) in Year 1, writing a proper research paper requires time, and practice which poly students already have exposure to.
Poly
If you prefer skill-based learning and/or want to have more exposure to writing proper research paper before university, poly would be a more suitable option.

JC
While in JC, you spend 2 years learning to remember and apply concepts. This would be useful when it comes to studying for heavy content subjects in university.

Advice from Xavierlyn:
For students hoping to take Psychology through the JC route, it is important to note that JC is not a one-way ticket to university. You still have to work hard for it.

Advice from Min:
For students who are interested in taking Psychology through the poly route, be sure to research extensively (SG Psych Stuff website is a good start). On several occasions, poly students may realise that Psychology is not what they had thought it was. If you’re certain that Psychology is what you want to do for the rest of your life and you’re confident that you can score well enough to get into university, poly would be a considerable route to take.
All in all, there is no right or wrong. You might think that poly is wasting one year of your life, but that one year might just be a year of gaining more knowledge. You might think that JC students would adapt to uni life more slowly than poly students, but the truth is that we all start from square one.
This is an invited post by Xavierlyn Tan and Min Khoo. Here's their profiles:

Xavierlyn Tan, NTU Psychology major
Hi I'm Xavierlyn (Xav for short!), turning 20 this year and I'm passionate about mental health and hope to work in the mental health sector one day. I enjoy volunteering at IMH every Saturday morning. I hope more youths would actively seek to disperse their stereotypes towards the mentally ill :)



Min Khoo Ming Gui, NTU Psychology Major
Min is a psychology undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University, holding an NTU Scholarship. She graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 2016 with a Diploma with Merit in Psychology Studies.

An active volunteer at AWARE Singapore, she enjoys cosplaying, harajuku fashion, photography and gaming. She sees herself as well-balanced between academics, hobbies, and real-world skills and experiences.