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How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students


Studying or working abroad is an opportunity of a lifetime. If you are looking for the path to self-actualization, fulfilling dreams and aspirations in a new place with new friends and new knowledge of culture and community may be what you need.

So in this guide, we’ll be showing you a few important things you need to know if you’re looking to study in Singapore as a foreign student.

Singapore: An Overview

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign StudentsPhoto credit: Wikipedia

Let’s first start with a short introduction of Singapore.

Over the past decades, Singapore has been known as a progressive and modern nation with strong cultural heritage and diversity. It has become a great place for people from different countries and cultures to gather together. In such a country, you’ll definitely find yourself learning from both natives and non-natives of their ways of life.

Of course, Singapore also offers impressive career opportunities. A lot of courses train and help students with practical and hands-on experience which will serve as an advantage in employment search upon finishing your degree/course.

Singapore also upholds a strong foundation on their educational institutions, another reason to study in this country. The school system gives emphasis to research, innovation, and development that, in turn, contributes to high universities rankings in the top world university rankings. Some of these universities are the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU).

Lastly, English is a common language of communication in Singapore so it will not be difficult for anyone to fit in.

Due to the above stated facts, Singapore is labelled by many as a ‘global schoolhouse’ and the country upholds its standards similar or higher to the international schools and educational systems in other countries.

A Step-by-Step Guide: How To Study In Singapore for Foreign Students 

Here is a step-by-step guide for you to follow if you are planning to study in Singapore as a foreign student.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 1: Choosing your place.

To start, you need to choose a location in Singapore where you like or feel you can adjust or get used to. Of course, this depends entirely on your own preference. You can choose to live in the quieter side away from the city or indulge yourself to live in the center of the bustling city.

You need to consider factors such as geography, population, cost of living, and etc. Do your research before applying to any schools.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 2: Choosing your course.

Next, know what subject, course, or degree you want to pursue. You may be planning to study in a specific school but may doubt your choice if the course you want to pursue is not offered there. So before fixing on a university, be certain of the course you want to take.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 3: Applying for a University in Singapore.

After knowing which course or subject you want to take, look for the universities that offer it. To apply, go directly to the university website for information such as application procedure, visa requirements, information about your course, and the fees you’ll need to prepare.

You will be subjected to tests, interviews and other assessments provided by the university. Upon approval, you will receive an offer through a letter of approval. Your acceptance to the university is subjected to your results, and in some cases, an assessment of your English proficiency. Information about IELTS exams is available here.

The university will assist you with the issuing and securing of your student visa as long as you review and pass the visa requirements. You will also need to apply for a student pass from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) within two weeks of being accepted.

Take note: Students who need a visa should complete the application for a student’s pass in their own countries.

Online Application for Student Pass via SOLAR 

Fill in the information required in the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration System (SOLAR) from ICA. The school will provide you with the login details. You will also need your passport details, a few personal information, your university address, your email address, and your recent photo. In most cases, the student pass allow holders to work on school holidays and a certain amount of hours per week. Learn more about Work Pass Exemptions here.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 4: Fly to Singapore! 

After your online application, it’s time to fly to Singapore! Here, you need to make an appointment with the ICA and present the following:

  • Disembarkation/embarkation card given upon entry into Singapore

  • Passport-size photo

  • A printout of the completed eForm 16 (from SOLAR)

  • A copy of your letter of approval (or proof of acceptance offer from university)

  • Recent medical record

Expect that you will be spending around $60.00 or more for the application.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 5: Financing your studies through a grant or bond.

International students can apply for tuition grants through the Singaporean Ministry of Education after getting an offer from university. Some grants will include a bond that will require students who have graduated in their study to work in a Singapore-registered company for a minimum of three or more years. In some courses, such as dentistry or medicine, it might take five to six years for the completion of the bond.

Of course, there are different terms for every tuition grant, depending on various factors such as your university and course. Read more about available Scholarships in Singapore here.

How To Study In Singapore: A Guide For Foreign Students

Step 6: Planning your career—and enjoying every step!

Let’s look a little further and upon graduation, you’ll be entering professional workplaces soon, especially those who were offered tuition grants and signed a bond. It won’t be easy but along the way, a lot of people will be helping you to achieve your dreams! You will have made friends while studying and the university is also available to provide advice when you seek them!

Today, just focus on entering the school first and you’ll know your way around by then. In the meantime, learn more about getting ready for your career here while you enjoy school and what Singapore has to offer.

Application Guide

Works as Management Team at Our School and Us