What to expect as an incoming University freshie in Singapore! (part 1 of the Back to School series)

What to expect as an incoming University freshie in Singapore! (part 1 of the Back to School series)

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Hi there! I am The Buttery Croissant, joining Rice on his journey to share more on various topics relating to financial independence. My first article will be on my personal experience after completing my first year as a Business student at University! 

Firstly, congratulations on making it to University! As we all know, education is one of the most important tools we will require to achieve our goal of financial independence. Hence, I hope that my experience will help you all incoming freshies better prepare for University and better adjust to its demands! In this article, I will go over the rough timeline you can expect in a single academic year at University. Let’s begin!

(Heads up, everything written in this article is based on my personal experience and might not apply to everyone!)

Photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash


  1. Orientation camps

For most Universities, the academic year is split into 2 semesters. As a freshie, the weeks leading up to your first week in University will be filled with various orientation camps and mixers. These camps are optional but highly encouraged for one to better know one’s potential classmates and even groupmates! While that is the consensus among most seniors you hear from, this senior will disagree. Based on my experience, given the size of the school cohort (unless you are in smaller cohort courses like pharmaceutical science or in smaller Universities that take in fewer people such as SIT), the chances of you being in the same tutorial class as your orientation mates, let alone being in a group with one of them is slim to none. Additionally, given the fleeting and brief nature of interactions at orientation camps, chances are that it would be more awkward and boring than fun. 

  1. Arranging your timetable

At the start of the semester, you will be preallocated various modules but you will have to bid for your desired tutorial time slots. This process works differently for every University and an instruction manual or PDF will be sent to you so don’t worry about the technicalities of it! 

Most people would recommend that you try to fit your physical tutorials and lectures all in a few days so you have more “rest days” to revise and fulfil other obligations. While you technically have fewer school days, the jam-packed schedule on those few days of school can be highly draining and ineffective. Thus, the applicability of this advice should depend on whether you can handle having back-to-back classes for those few days. If not, no shame in going for a timetable that spreads out your tutorials over more days! 

  1. CCA fairs and recruitment process

CCA fairs and recruitment usually start during the first few weeks of school as well. For most CCAs, there will be some kind of selection process (eg. interviews or trials) you have to pass and it might drag out over a couple of weeks. While you can wait for the CCA fair to find out which CCAs you might be interested in, it is best to research the options available at your school and search their websites or Instagram pages to find out more! 

One thing to take note of is that the CCA selection deadlines vary from CCA to CCA so do remember to check the dates of the CCAs you are interested in. 

  1. Start of tutorials

By the second to the third week of your first semester, things should have settled down and your timetables would already be finalised. During this period, you might feel an immense pressure to jump back and hard into the familiar grind of studying, be it from your self-expectations or after having seen your classmates over-enthusiastically taking notes and preparing for tutorials. While being attentive and doing your due diligence to prepare for class is crucial to doing well at school, you need not overdo it! After all, pushing yourself too hard at the start can drain your motivation prematurely. 

  1. Midterms

Midterms usually take place the week after your recess week (a one-week break after week 6/7). For most modules, the weightage for midterms can range from between 15-30% of your overall grades. As it can be a rather grade-heavy component, please study for that!

  1. Group work

For certain courses, in particular Business, group projects can be a huge component and are usually due your midterms week or the weeks after. Based on experience, I have found 2-3 weeks before the deadline to be the optimal time to start on your projects. 

  1. Finals 

Lastly, the biggest hurdle of the semester is finals. Finals usually span across several weeks after week 13 (the last official school week of that semester) and are usually the largest component that makes up your final grade. 

Picture of a person holding a pen.
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
  1. Semester breaks

Much like any other school holiday you had in the past, university holidays are not much different for the most part. Most seniors, particularly, those in their second and third years dedicate their holidays to internships to boost their resumes. Year one students would usually be involved in organising various orientation camps for the incoming batch of freshies such as yourselves! 

Also, another point to note is that results will be released on your respective school portals a month after the end of the semester!


Well, that sums up the rough timeline of major “checkpoints” you will encounter throughout your first year at University. Hopefully, this outline will help reduce your anxieties and worries leading up to your first day! In any case, do stay tuned for the next part of the “Back to School” series! 

Stay safe and eat well everyone!


The Buttery Croissant

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