It's not all about grades for poly admission

My first Newspaper Article

Published Aug 31, 2015 in articles, dpa

This was my very first newspaper article with Lim Yuan Jie written and interviewed by journalist Liew Hanqing titled “It’s not all about grades for poly admission”. This article was almost 7 years ago when we were in our first year at Temasek Polytechnic and we were also the pioneer batch of DPA students admitted into Temasek Polytechnic.

This article brought back a lot of good memories. Yuan Jie and I had became good friends ever since. Yuan Jie and I were the first batch and also the pioneer batch of DPA students back in 2008. This was also the first that we were featured on a local newspaper. Well, a short summary was the disparity between Yuan Jie and I.

Yuan Jie was a brilliant student who did very well for his O-levels and I was the opposite who didn’t do so well in school. However, I ended up doing well in my O-levels and both of us who were from different backgrounds ended up in Temasek Polytechnic through the DPA Programme. Mine was a testimony of how great my God is, as well as the hardwork I had put in to achieve the results that I desired. It wasn’t exactly an easy journey especially for those who have been through with me, know. I wasn’t and have never excelled in academics, but I had one thing, that was, passion.

Passion in Information Technology (IT), passion in doing the things I enjoyed and love, I displayed tenacity, fortitude, courage and determination to do the things beyond my imagination. Academics wasn’t exactly my strength, but I remembered taking up a challenge with the Course Manager back then, that I would work doubly hard to get below 20 points, I should be given that opportunity into the school. Beyond my imagination, it was the biggest bet in my life, and was the biggest risk the school had to take, that trust in me to do well.

My life changed ever since I studied, and graduated from Temasek Polytechnic. Many doors and opportunities were opened for me, the opportunities to learn, to explore, to discover, to be one of the best, the experiences gained, all these were streaming in since the first day of school.

I remembered some of my Secondary school teachers saw no value, no future in my life. They told me that I would have no future because my grades were the worst. I proved them wrong. Well, that was valid because I didn’t really did exactly well back in Secondary school. Every year when I got back my report book, it was highlighted in red with the alphabet ‘F’. Otherwise in some cases it would be a borderline pass, ‘E’, etc. No teachers or parent wouldn’t be concerned over these grades definitely.

On the other hand while at Temasek Polytechnic, my lecturers saw value in me, they saw a young man with limitless potential, they saw the passion in me to drive the future, hence, there were so many opportunities by the grace of God, I had the chance to soar like wings of an Eagle. It gave me many opportunities to shine. I participated and represented the school in various kinds of competitions, I had the opportunity to be part of Microsoft Student Partners Programme, and eventually interning at Microsoft. The various experiences provided a really strong foundation in my learning, accelerated my learning process out of school context, increased my experiences, and now I enjoy doing likewise to my juniors by mentoring them, helping them excel and helping them exceed their potential. There is nothing more fulfilling than to see your works and efforts in raising new generation of leaders, technology enthusiast, and young people with really good applications that would change the world through innovation.

I had never looked back ever since, instead, my story became a testimony, a story which I consistently used to encourage, mentor and lead the younger generations whenever I had the opportunity to speak in front of the younger batch of DPA students, which I did. Ever since I founded TP DPA back in 2008, I have seen through 3 batches of DPA, leading and guiding them along, sharing my journey and encouraging them never to give up when you are beaten down to the ground, you get up.

With the many experiences, competitions that I had been through, I had gained many insights as well as experiences from past mentors that I am now able to better consult, advise and mentor peers, juniors, and many teams in achieving a feasible, flexible, extensible, maintainable, resuable, scalable, etc., application that caters for the market or their business idea.



Invited as Guest Speaker at PPP Closing Ceremony. This picture was taken on the 6 April 2015 during DPA PPP Closing Ceremony.

It was a privilege to be invited back as guest speaker to speak to these young ones, freshies of AY15/16 DPA students at PPP closing ceremony. As a former TP alumni, pioneer batch of DPA student and the founder of DPAIG, it is my honor to contribute back to my ala mater, sharing my experiences to inspire the next, and finally grooming leaders to groom future leaders. It definitely brought back many memories during my time in TP and the endeavors I pursued, raising batches of leaders and finally seeing my fruits of labor today where DPAIG had finally become independent and strong.

This is the full story writeup.

It’s not all about grades for poly admission - Source

WITH his stellar O-level results (L1R4 of 3 points), 16-year-old Lim Yuan Jie could have had his pick of any junior college.

On the other hand, Kenneth Ham, 18, had 38 points for his preliminary examinations and just about managed 14 points for his O levels.

What do both these boys have in common? They entered a polytechnic under the direct admission scheme last year.

The scheme allows polytechnics to select students on criteria other than examination results. Application for this year’s batch of students begins tomorrow.

Yuan Jie, who studied at North Vista Secondary School, had his heart set on getting a diploma in information technology at Temasek Polytechnic (TP).

A multimedia design enthusiast, Yuan Jie said his interest in a polytechnic education was piqued after he attended an elective module at TP when he was in Secondary 3.

He said: ‘It gave me a first-hand taste of what poly life would be like and I enjoyed it.’

He also wanted to start school as soon as possible, in January instead of April, and the direct admission scheme gave him that early start.

Apart from his good grades, Yuan Jie also showed his interest in IT by being the administrator of his secondary school’s website. He still works on it occasionally even now.

After having spent more than half a year in TP, Yuan Jie said that he enjoyed project work in school because of the ‘sense of accomplishment’ that came from solving problems.

This year, Yuan Jie won both the MS Word and MS Excel categories of the 2008 Microsoft Office Academic Skills Challenge Competition in Singapore and will represent Singapore in the international version of the contest in Hawaii next month.

Classes aside, he is also a member of a mentorship programme, where poly students tutor underprivileged primary school students.


As for Kenneth, a former Dunman Secondary School student, the chance to qualify for a diploma course at Temasek Polytechnic looked uncertain.

But he decided to apply for admission under the direct polytechnic admission scheme because of his passion for information technology.

He said: ‘I enjoy programming because it allows you to do something for other people.’

He has written several software applications, including a simple notepad program and an application that allows users to organise file directories.

But an impressive portfolio aside, poor grades stood in the way of his admission.

He said: ‘It was frustrating because every time I got my report card, my parents would be upset and I would wonder how I would ever make it to poly.’

However, Mr Lim Kok Hwee, information technology course manager at TP’s informatics and IT school, issued him a challenge: Score 15 points or below and get admitted.

Kenneth recalled: ‘I worked very hard - I’d go home every day and start studying right away.’

The hard work paid off - he scored 14 points for his O levels and was became one of TP’s pioneer batch of direct polytechnic admission students.

An avid musician, Kenneth has a grade 8 in piano and was a member of the school band in Dunman Secondary. He also started TP’s 25-strong Judo club.

This year, he came in third in the MS Word category of the 2008 Microsoft Office Academic Skills Challenge Competition.

He hopes to pursue a career in banking, specialising in transaction security.

‘Eventually I hope to start my own IT company - it’s always been my dream,’ he said.

This article was first published in The New Paper on July 8, 2008.

I hope to inspire, encourage and lead the younger generation to be better than they were yesterday.


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