By: Siti Hajar Mohd Zulkifli
For many students in Malaysia, SPM (or its equivalent IGCSE, GCSE, GCE O-Level) is an important examination that defines one’s future. Parents and students view SPM as a stepping stone to a bright career. The first thing school-leavers would do after finishing SPM would probably be to throw their fists into the air. That’s all well and good, but what’s next after SPM?
One can choose from many pathways, from continuing your studies immediately after SPM to taking a break to discover your interests. There is no right or wrong path when it comes to this but, remember that whichever path you choose, you should ensure it fits your future plans.
If you don’t have a plan, deciding on a suitable path can be extremely difficult. Pursuing your interests in high school can take many forms, but each skill you learn and experience you gain will only help you build a stronger foundation for the future.
Pursuing your interests early in life lets you map out a clear path to a suitable college, degree programme, and career. Explore the things that make you happy and motivate you to do your best, and you will undoubtedly find the right career path that matches your skills. This serves as a reminder that there is no such thing as a wasted dream.
Follow your instincts rather than what others expect of you. Getting information from others is an excellent first step in determining your path, but do keep in mind that you are the one going on this journey and not them.
If you opt to pursue an academic career right after SPM, consider what ignites your enthusiasm. What excites you? Do you enjoy dealing with numbers? Is the fast-paced world of pop culture a source of stress for you? Perhaps you have a soft spot for young children and enjoy patiently answering their numerous questions. Remember, what you think you want to do is not the same as what you enjoy doing. Thus, you must list everything you enjoy doing in your spare time and reflect on them. At the same time, your result slip will also reveal your strengths and flaws. Concentrate on those and select a programme that allows you to perform in what you do best.
There are numerous universities and colleges in Malaysia that offer exceptional programmes. Therefore, finding the right university that can help you reach your desired goal is crucial. For instance, INTEC Education College offers students a variety of programmes. Below is a lists of various programmes students can consider if they are interested in furthering their studies there:
- A-Level German
- American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)
- SACE International (Australian Matriculation)
- Japanese Preparatory Programme
- Korean Preparatory Programme
- Diploma in Business Management
- Diploma in Public Management and Public Governance
- Diploma in Scientific Halal Practices
- Diploma in Accounting
- Diploma in Islamic Finance
- ACCA Foundation in Accountancy (ACCA FIA)
- The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA)
- Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB)
- Association of Chartered Accountants for Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) UK
After settling on your academic path, you may begin your scholarship quest. Tertiary education can be expensive, but you can alleviate your parents’ financial strain by applying for a scholarship to help cover the costs of your studies instead.
The avalanche of information available can be intimidating, so it’s critical to start early and conduct some research on the scholarships available based on the course or university you are interested in. Find out if your academic achievements, co-curricular achievements, or other specific needs meet the scholarship requirements before you start applying to avoid unnecessary disappointment. Applying early also ensures that you do not miss the application deadlines. This will give you plenty of time to prepare for an interview or compose a personal statement during your candidacy.
Most SPM leavers tend to get a part-time job after SPM. While that is undoubtedly an option to pursue, you can also begin something you’ve always wanted to do or learn, such as joining a dance class, learning a new language or enrolling in short courses in your field of interest. Taking language training can be advantageous because many organisations are always looking for applicants who have experience working in a multicultural and multilingual environment. Life is all about learning and experiencing new things; therefore, don’t be afraid to attempt anything new since it can be something spectacular in your life.