participate in direct school admission

The Direct School Admission (DSA) exercise is a national school programme that gives students a way to get into a secondary school or junior college (JC) based on their different talents and interests.

When they get in, students can keep working on these skills in their secondary schools or JCs.

Parents and students are encouraged to choose schools wisely based on

  • the student’s aptitudes and strengths,
  • the school’s academic and non-academic requirements, and
  • the programmes available to develop the area of talent.

If your child qualifies, DSA might be the key to getting them accepted into a prestigious secondary school or specialised school.

Keep reading to learn more about the DSA exercise and how you can help your child excel on their education journey!

Why apply via Direct School Admission (DSA)?

DSA-Sec and DSA-JC offer an alternative entry route to well-known institutions, one that takes into account factors other than a student’s academic standing.

With the help of this exercise, students can gain direct entry to the secondary schools or junior colleges of their choice before taking the PSLE or GCE-O Level tests.

Meanwhile, for secondary school students who wish to apply for polytechnics, the Ministry of Education utilises the Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (Poly EAE).

Students apply based on their talent in sports, co-curricular activities and specific academic areas.

It goes without saying that it is a very popular choice for those with particular abilities or passions (known as DSA talent areas).

It does not mean that your child’s PSLE or O-Level score no longer matters. Your child must still obtain the eligibility criteria to enrol in the school.

Which talent areas are eligible for Direct School Admission (DSA)?

Students can apply for DSA based on a wide range of talents, including:

  • Sports and games
  • Visual, literary and performing arts
  • Debate and public speaking
  • Science, technology, mathematics and engineering
  • Languages and humanities
  • Uniformed groups
  • Leadership (for example, prefects)
primary school and secondary school dsa talent areas
However, depending on your child’s school preferences, each secondary school and JC will have different DSA talent areas or components you can apply for.

For instance, if a student would like to DSA through table tennis but school X does not provide table tennis, they will be unable to DSA to that school.

The selection process may differ based on the component you have selected for DSA. You may be asked to provide these documents:

  • A portfolio showcasing your talents and achievements
  • Primary/Secondary school results
  • CCA records
  • A personal statement
  • A character reference

Students may also be required to attend interviews, participate in sports trials, or auditions during the DSA selection process.

For accurate and additional information, you should visit the websites of the participating DSA schools.

The MOE also has dedicated resources for making your DSA journey easier, such as SchoolFinder, the DSA-Sec website, and the DSA-JC website.

What happens if my child has been successfully admitted to a school via DSA?

course specific aptitude

Students will be notified of the results of their DSA application.

If an offer is made, they must decide whether to accept the offer by a specified date before the announcement of the national examinations results.

Students who accept an offer of admission through the DSA-Sec or DSA-JC are committing to study and further their talent in the selected field there.

Furthermore, students who have accepted a DSA offer are not permitted to:

  • Participate in the Secondary 1 Posting Exercise (S1 Ex) or Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE). 

  • Transfer to another school; students must commit to their chosen school for the duration of the programme. 


If a student accepts a DSA-Sec verified offer, they are guaranteed a spot in that secondary school as long as their PSLE results fulfil the eligibility requirements offered by the school.

Students interested in the Integrated Programme (IP) track must meet the minimum selection criteria for entry to the Express course.


The GCE O-Level results of a student who accepts a DSA-JC offer must also meet the course requirements for admission to the JC:

  • L1R5 score of 20 and below
  • At least a C6 for the English Language
  • At least a D7 for A and E math
  • At least a D7 in Mother Tongue (Malay/Tamil/Chinese Language), E8 for Higher Mother Tongue and pass/merit in Mother Tongue ‘B’

Students who do not meet the subject requirements but meet the conditions below will still be eligible for conditional admission:

  • L1R5 ≤ 15
  • L1R5 from 16 to 20 and have grades of ‘A1’ or ‘A2’ in all the 5 relevant subjects

Can I still apply for financial assistance schemes if my child participates in the DSA exercise?

To ensure that kids from low-income households are not deprived of developmental opportunities, MOE offers financial help through a variety of programmes, including the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and Opportunity Fund.

Students who want to apply to Independent Schools (ISes) can also utilise the Independent School Bursary (ISB) and the Edusave Scholarship for Independent Schools (ESIS) to help cover the higher tuition costs at these institutions.

For qualified IS students from low-income homes, the UPLIFT Scholarship also offers an annual financial reward of $800. To learn more about scholarships, check out MOE’s page here.

Secure Your DSA Spot with SLC!

chinese language tuition (1)
While the DSA helps students secure school admission with non-academic requirements, students still need to clear the minimum PSLE and L1R5 score requirements.

The best way to do so is by building a solid base of language, especially English, as it is a core subject from primary to tertiary education.

And the easiest way to do that is by signing up your child for classes with SLC!

SLC is a trusted tuition centre in Singapore that ensures continuous improvements in your child using a more personalised approach compared to other tuition centres.

Each part of our learning strategies complements one another to help students build a solid foundation in language studies.

We also offer Chinese tuition, with dedicated Higher Chinese classes to support your child’s education journey.

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