Gone are the days when polytechnic students would head straight to work after graduation. Instead, polytechnics say most of their students would now get a degree before finding a job.
Still, some are bucking this trend, even though they can easily win a place at one of the six local public universities.
Take Nanyang Poly graduate Charmaine Ong, 23, who has an above-average grade point average (GPA) of 3.91. She wants to work first while most of her friends are going to university.
"I want to take a few more years to see where my strengths are before deciding to continue this as a degree," said the social work graduate.
Ms Ong is looking for a job that would let her work with at-risk youth. She said: "What you study in class are theories, but it's really a whole different ball game when you try to apply them in the real world."
Getting work exposure is also the top concern for Mr Indra Faridzuan, who studied landscape architecture at Singapore Polytechnic.
The 20-year-old, whose GPA is 3.993, won the Tan Kay Yong Gold Medal, given to the top student in design and creative arts.
"People are studying most of their lives. A university degree is important as it's an entry requirement for some companies. But a portfolio matters in the design industry," said Mr Faridzuan, who is working at a design firm where he was an intern last year.
More than 25,000 students, including Mr Faridzuan and Ms Ong, will graduate from the five polytechnics from next week.
Poly officials say many will head for university right away or after serving national service. Up to 80 per cent of them will further their studies - locally, abroad or part-time.