Using Diploma as a Pre-U
Published on: Monday, June 10, 2019
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We have been looking at many types of Pre-U, such as STPM, Matriculation, A Levels, Foundation Program, SAME, etc.

Pre-U is a qualification that helps you to enter a University. Other than all these Pre-U, there is another entry qualification called the Diploma. 


What is a Diploma and how is it different from other Pre-U

A Diploma course is offered by a University, College or Polytechnic.  A Diploma is not a degree. A Diploma is lower than a degree.

It focuses on practical and industry-specific skills and knowledge to train you for the working world. 

Courses are usually offered for specific areas, such as Culinary Arts, Computer Science and Aircraft Maintenance.

Diplomas are usually 24 – 36 months long, and you can enter this programme directly after SPM.

Once you’ve completed a Diploma, you can choose to either start working or pursue a related Degree beginning from Year 2.


How Is Diploma Structured?

A Diploma course is designed to give you exposure to specific topics in your chosen area of study.

For example, a Diploma in Information Technology will involve topics such as Object Oriented Programming, Systems Analysis and Internet Technologies, while in a Diploma in Culinary Arts, you will learn things like Cuisine Techniques, Food & Beverage Service and Plated Desserts.

Some programmes may require you to choose electives or specialisation modules to enhance your skills and knowledge in a particular area.

The assessment structure will vary depending on the programme and university. 

Typically, you should expect a combination of coursework and final exams. 

In addition, most universities will require you to undergo a semester of internship or practical training in order for you to gain hands-on experience.


Why should you do a Diploma? 

(1)    Gives you the opportunity to enter the workforce early. 

A Diploma programme is the perfect choice for you if you want to gain some work experience or save up some money before pursuing your Degree. 

Many companies accept Diploma graduates for entry-level jobs, so you can head straight out to work after just 2 – 3 years of studies.

(2)    Learn practical and hands-on skills

Diplomas are very focused on getting you trained and qualified for a particular area or trade. 

In certain jobs and career paths that require more practical skills rather than academic knowledge (e.g. Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Culinary Arts), it may even make sense to pursue a Diploma compared to a Foundation.

(3)    Lower entry requirements

If your SPM results are not encouraging, don’t worry. 

Most Diplomas require only a minimum of 3 – 5 credits at SPM or equivalent. This means that you still have a chance to go to university. 

(4)    Eligible for PTPTN loan

With the cost of education rising, many students are turning to PTPTN loans to help ease the financial burden of education. 

While Pre-University courses (e.g. A-Level, Australian Matriculation) and most Foundation courses are NOT eligible for PTPTN loan, a Diploma course is eligible for PTPTN loan. 

If you have financial constraints, then go for a Diploma instead of a Pre-University course.


Who should take the Diploma? 

(1)    Students who have decided to pursue an industry that requires practical & hands-on skills.

(2)    Students who want to start working quickly, or want to gain work experience first before pursuing a Degree

(3) You have financial constraints and require financial aid to further your studies after SPM

(3)    Your SPM results are very weak to enter university.


Where can you study for a Diploma?

Diploma courses are offered by Government Polytechnics, Community Colleges and Training centers.

 Scholarships and financial aid is also offered to qualified students.

Private colleges and universities too offer Diploma courses. 

Upon completion you can enter degree programs too. If you need financial assistance, you can apply for PTPTN loan.


Career Tips

Usually after completing a Diploma program you can continue to do a degree in the same field. For instance if you do a Diploma in Art and Design you cannot switch to do a degree in Electrical engineering or Dentistry. S

o, before you do a diploma in a particular field you must understand that you can only do a degree in the same field. 

You cannot switch courses. 

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