Student Success



In Forces: Rasyiqah Binte Abdullah

In Focus: Sean Mahendran

Sean Mahendren may seem like your average guy around campus. Yet the twenty-four year old is set to represent Singapore in the World Open competition on 28 June after clinching 2nd place together with his dance partner in the 16th Singapore National Dancesport Championships held at NTU recently.

Sean, who is currently enrolled in UCD’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Marketing, participated in the highest Grade A event as a representative of Kaplan in the national competition and has truly done us proud. Having taken up dance-sport during his polytechnic days, Sean said: “I missed representing my school for competitions as that was how I even started. I am honored and glad that I am able to represent Kaplan. Dancing provides me an all round fulfilling experience rather than just focusing on the academic.”

Juggling dancing and school comes with its challenges but this does not faze Sean who has consistently scored high distinctions and distinctions for various modules. “I had 2 competitions sandwiched between economics and human resource management exams last month. Moreover, I am also teaching Latin ballroom for the past 2 years.” Sean admits that it can be tough at times especially when exams and competitions coincide. “I have to carefully plan my schedule so that I can allocate equal priority to training, studying and teaching without compromising too much on any one area.” 


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Story of Irwin

Recalling the moment when I received my GCE O-level results, I thought I was doomed. My results were poor, managing only two credits (C6 for English, B3 for Chinese and D7 for both Math and Science). Knowing for sure that I will not get a place in the local polytechnics, let alone Junior College, I only had limited choices in mind: one would be to enlist for NS (National Service) first and think about my studies later or the other would be to retake my O-levels. The third option was to look for a reputable private school to continue my academic education. 

Eventually, I decided on Kaplan and enrolled in a Diploma in Banking, Securities and Investment Management program, accredited by Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), a well-known professional body in the UK. Friends working in the banking industry highly recommended this course as it actually allowed me to gain five recognised certificates concurrently (a Kaplan Diploma, 3 CISI certificates and another certificate from the Singapore College of Insurance) upon graduation. 

With the help of my lecturers, I did well to obtain a high distinction, five distinctions and two good credits. The results were a remarkable achievement for me. Kaplan’s lecturers not only taught theories but also imparted their real-life experience to students. This actually helped students to better understand the theories involved, allowing them to communicate more effectively with financial professionals. 

Soon after I graduated with my Diploma in Banking, Securities, and Investment Management, I enlisted for NS in May 2013. Not long after, I applied for permission to further my studies while doing my NS. Having had a pleasant experience at Kaplan as a diploma student, I subsequently enrolled for the Bachelor of Science (Hons) Management with Accounting program offered by Royal Holloway, University of London in November 2013. I believe that what is most important when it comes to choosing a school is not only the provider but its university partners. Kaplan works with many prestigious universities such as UCD and RHUL that both rank among the top 1% in the world. For me, the plus point for choosing RHUL is that the qualification and modules taught by the university’s lecturers are exactly the same as for on-campus students in London.

Going through the tough times as a recruit in Pulau Tekong has actually toughened me up mentally and my mindset towards my future has changed totally. As an Air Operations Specialist at Changi Air Base, I am required to think on my feet and act fast. Nothing comes by luck. Just like what my superior always says to me, “Safety happens not by chance, but from the hard work you guys put in to defend our country”. This theory applies to education as well. 

Working and studying part-time simultaneously has not been easy but I am lucky to have the understanding of my superior. Discipline is the key to success when it comes to studying for a part-time degree. At times I have thought about giving up as it is physically draining to have training in the day and classes at night. Yet, the thought that I will be able to graduate with a prestigious honours degree from RHUL by the time I finish my NS motivates me to keep going!

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