Xav: Experiences between SUSS and JCU

Welcome to Part 2 of the individualised experiences of Singaporean Psychology students. If you haven't read Part 1, do check it out here. For now, we shall move on to today's post- a comparison between SUSS Psychology and JCU Psychology from the personal perspectives of their Psychology students.

Disclaimer: The following opinions are not generalizable as they are individualized experiences of a few students from SUSS Psychology and JCU Psychology. Please reach out to more people and do more research while deciding between the different courses. Good luck!

Like in the first post, I asked:

“How has your experience been so far?”

Year 2 SUSS Psychology students, Nelson and Claudia mentioned that their experiences have been pleasant so far. Year 1 student, Jessica* agrees, although acknowledging that there are challenges involved in balancing part-time studies in SUSS. 

On the other hand, JCU Psychology students are generally neutral with their JCU Psychology experience, with graduated student Sandra* finding the experience "so-so" and Year 3 Jun Rong finding the experience "decent. Students like Year 2 Lina* and Sandra agree that the workload in JCU is reasonable, with understanding and knowledgeable professors, with a friendly school culture. 

However, JCU students also critiqued the disorganisation of the administrative system, which resulted in Sandra facing challenges while preparing for her Honour Year thesis. The students also mentioned that opportunities 

Next, I asked:

“What do you think of the modules offered?”

SUSS students found the modules useful as they are able to adequately build their foundation in their specialised areas of interest. Claudia mentioned that there are specific student tracks that students can adopt, which allowed her to take modules she truly felt passionate about. 

Additionally, SUSS students collectively agree that the process of obtaining modules is relatively straight-forward and easy, even with its challenges.

JCU students, including Year 3 Gwen came to consensus that JCU offered a good and interesting range of modules in Psychology, thus offering a "holistic" education through their modules. Sandra and Lina also mentioned that JCU trains their students a lot more in statistical knowledge and skills. 

JCU students also mentioned that the process of bidding for their modules is easy and smooth-sailing although it can be stress inducing at times. Furthermore, Lina stressed the importance of planning the modules one wishes to take ahead of time to ease the process of bidding for desired modules. 

Like mentioned in the previous post, research is a crucial skill aspiring psychologists need to possess. Therefore, I questioned:

How much research experience does your school offer?”

SUSS students acknowledge that since SUSS caters to the working population, research experience offered may not be as extensive, although there are modules available that expose students to the process of research. However, these modules are available only in the later years of university, and Nelson mentioned that as a Year 2, he has "very limited experience with research experience". Claudia agreed with the lack of exposure, and said she has to find part-time research positions outside of modules to gain research experience.

For JCU, most students raised the issue of the lack of research opportunities available outside of modules, unless the student manages to get into honours. However, Lina and Sandra carried on about the availability of Research Assistance roles offered by the lecturers, even if they may not explicitly offer these positions. Sandra however, said that these positions are usually given to the more academically inclined students. 

Lastly, I asked about the career exposure opportunities offered:

"What kind of career exposure opportunities related to Psychology does your school offer?"

As mentioned before, SUSS caters to the working population. Therefore, like research opportunities, career exposure opportunities offered may not as as extensive. Nelson however, recognised that there are information of openings provided by the school. Additionally, he is sure that if a student is willing to approach the faculty or lecturers, SUSS will try their best to offer suggestions and recommendations. 

On the other hand, Claudia and Jessica feel that there should be more career exposure opportunities offered even if the course is a part-time course.

For JCU, there are varied responses. Few students brought up the fact that JCU organisations career fairs where students can make inquiries to employers on available positions. However, other students do not see this as a career exposure opportunity, with Jun Rong mentioning that JCU does not have job portals for career opportunities given his knowledge. Sandra also acknowledged the difficulties in being exposed to careers due to the trimester curriculum the school has adopted.  

Year 2 student Anna* and Year 3 student Bernice* thus concluded with their inputs that the career exposure opportunities offered are mainly for research- such as the research assistance positions mentioned in the previous question. 

In summer, interviewed SUSS Psychology students generally have a pleasant experience with their school, and enjoy the modules offered by SUSS. JCU Psychology students on the other hand, are generally neutral about JCU, while enjoying the various modules offered by the school as well. With regards to research opportunities and career exposure opportunities, SUSS may have fewer compared to JCU. However, students from both universities claim a generally lack of exposure to research and psychology-related careers in their universities.

*names have been changed to ensure anonymity

Special thanks to Nelson, Claudia, Jessica*, Lina*, Sandra*, Jun Rong, Anna* and Bernice* for making this post possible!