More about SOTA
Seniors' Answers

Brief description of SOTA

SOTA is Singapore’s first national pre-tertiary specialised arts school with a integrated arts and academic curriculum, leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or Career-related Programme. Its integrated arts and academic curriculum emphasises meaningful learning that provides for experimentation, expression, and discovery across both arts and academic disciplines. The curriculum stimulates students to be intellectually curious and equips them with the knowledge, conceptual understanding, life skills, reflective practices, and attitudes needed to be autonomous lifelong learners.On top of that, SOTA aims to develop their students into leaders with Humility, Integrity, People-centredness and Passion.

What is SOTA's school culture and spirit?

I think for SOTA, especially in the IB years, we have a “work hard together, play hard together” of culture. I guess it’s because the cohort sizes in our school are small (less than 150) and we’re all in the IB programme together which not a lot of other local schools offer, so we kind of bond through the pain of IB together :') Since our school population is small there is really a tight-knit feeling and every day after school you can just see year 5/6s sitting in the canteens studying until the security guards kick us out. For school spirit in general, I would think we don’t really have that as compared to other schools because we don’t really participate in any inter-school sports competitions (besides tchoukball) so we don’t really have that cheering culture which I see a lot in other schools?" ---Senior S

What are some special traditions/activities your school has? Which is your favourite?

In terms of school “tradition”, we have this yearly event called Fireworks Action! Basically we have like a school-wide gathering on the rooftop where everyone dresses up to a theme and lays out picnic mats and just chill with their friends! From late afternoon to late evening there’ll be people performing (perks of being in an arts school is watching insanely talented people perform) and it is really just a blast. Since it happens in august, at night there’ll be fireworks and you get a pretty good view from the school rooftop. Being an arts school, I think a significant activity is going to friends’ performances / exhibitions / concerts / productions. During performance season a lot of SOTA students will go and support each other’s shows and you’ll always see people buying flowers, candy etc. for their friends! Even though we have such productions every year, I think it’s really nice that everyone is so supportive and going for such shows always reminds me of how insanely talented my friends are, which you can sometimes forget if they’re not in the same art form as you are." ---Senior S

How is the academic rigour? Is it competitive? Is everyone fixated on results?

A lot of people don’t consider this when applying, but academics in SOTA gets really rigorous? when you get to year 5 and 6 because we take the IB. Based on conversations with my friends from other schools, I think the key difference between IB and A levels is that for IB there are a lot of internal assessments, essays etc. spread out across the two years as compared to A levels where everything comes down to the final exams. I guess this can be good or bad depending on the type of student you are, but IB really requires consistency for the whole 2 years and you can’t really just mug the month before the final exams and expect to do well. For SOTA specifically, balancing your art form and your academic subjects will be your biggest challenge. Since we’re taking IB, your art form weighs as just 1 subject out of the 6 you have to take, but you will definitely spend a lot more time on your art form (rehearsals, finishing up artworks after class etc.). A lot of time management will be needed as things can get pretty stressful and a lot of people in my cohort sleep past 12 everyday. In terms of focusing on results, it really depends on your cohort + your friends. I have met a lot of people who are really just passionate about their art making, and also a lot of people who focus a lot on academic results. There’s really no right or wrong, and I would say people here (or at least the people I’ve met) are all very supportive, whether that be compiling notes together or explaining concepts to each other." ---Senior S

Was the competition to get into a CCA tough?

We don’t have CCAs in SOTA, only CAS (creativity, action, service) projects. These are optional in years 1-4 but it is a requirement under IB that you partake in CAS and for SOTA there is a minimum of 1 long term project and 1 short term project. You can start a CAS project in practically anything you have an interest in (subject to approval from school) - I’ve had friends start book clubs, student publications, service learning projects, frisbee etc. We also have more “official” CAS-es in our school that require interviews to get in, like LeAd which is the equivalent of student council in other schools (the last intake is in year 4 though), as well as some long-running projects like TONES which is a music festival that is held at Scape yearly. I would say CAS is pretty flexible as compared to CCAs because you can pretty much try out anything you think is meaningful, and you commit as much time as you want. I know people who take up 2 smaller CAS projects, and some people who do the maximum of 6 projects, so it really boils down to how much time you want to invest into CAS and whether or not you will be able to cope with the workload on top of IB." ---Senior S