By Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)
It’s time for…CCA trials! A gasp of both excitement and anxiety sweeps across the room, and rightly so: while everyone looks forward to kickstarting their exciting CCA life, everyone’s stressed about getting into their dream CCA. Not to fear, Raffles Press gives you a rundown to know what to expect about CCA trials before the full storm really hits.
How many CCAs can I join?
While you can only be in either one Performing Art or one Sports CCA, you can also join up to a maximum of 2 CCAs if you also join a Clubs and Societies CCA (or for that matter, if you join 2 Clubs and Societies!) Taking 3 CCAs is something more of an urban myth: it requires a stellar academic record and special approval from the PE/CCA HOD (even so, rarely ever granted).
Be aware that some CCAs will have special requirements, especially pertaining to membership in Students’ Council (RISC). For example, joining Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC) means you cannot join RISC or enrichment programmes that require overseas trips (because ODAC has their own expeditions!). Joining Raffles Interact also means that you can’t join RISC.
Indeed, interest in applying for RISC should be factored into your choices during CCA trials. RISC is considered a CCA, but runs on a different timeline from CCA trials: council campaigning and elections only occur in April/May. As such, if you take up 2 CCAs at the start of the year, you should be prepared to drop one if you wish to run for RISC. Furthermore, joining RISC means that you will not be able to run for CCA ExCO in a second CCA. If you plan on eventually running for Students’ Council President or Vice-President, you must be prepared to have RISC as your only CCA.
Regardless of any special considerations, one should always be careful if CCA days clash. Most CCAs will need you to fulfill a session attendance requirement for you to even be recognised as a CCA member in school records. Also be clear on any CCA days apart from regular internal sessions: Service CCAs like Community Advocates or Interact will require you to commit weekly service days apart from the usual CCA day, which may end up unexpectedly clashing with a second CCA.
For full details on CCAs’ special requirements and CCA days, refer to Ms See Tho’s (2019 Assistant Department Head of PE/CCA) slides which will be uploaded after her CCA briefing.
When are CCA Trials?
For RP students, CCA trials are held during the January Induction Programme (JIP) (2019: 21st Jan to 1st Feb). For JAE students, there will be a second round of CCA trials after Orientation, before the full timetable begins for J1 classes (2019: 18th Feb-27th Feb)
How do you sign up for CCA Trials?
Following Ms See Tho’s CCA trial briefing for the respective RP and JAE batches, an online application portal will be released where you can sign up for trial slots.
You can trial for a maximum of 3 CCAs in each of the 4 categories of Performing Arts, Sports, Clubs and Societies, and ‘Auto-Accept’ CCAs. ‘Auto-Accept’ CCAs accept any students who indicate interest. They vary year-to year and will be reflected in the CCA trial portal. Some examples for 2019 are: Recreational Badminton, Malay Literary Drama Cultural Society (MLDCS), Indian Cultural Society (ICS) and Raffles Economics & Current Affairs Society (RECAS).
While some ‘play safe’ by applying to the maximum possible total of 12 CCAs, some are more selective due to having clashing trial dates or not wanting to stretch themselves too thin. On this note, avoid deliberately signing up for clashing trial slots as you will be depriving another applicant of that trial slot!
Some more popular CCAs will have their trial slots snapped up extremely quickly: for example, batch 2019 saw Street Dance slots being wiped clean in all but 5 minutes. While the specific ‘popular’ CCA differs from batch to batch, if you think the CCA you want to trial for might be such a case, be ready exactly when the portal opens!
Didn’t get a slot, though? Not to worry, you can still email the CCA teacher-in-charge to appeal for additional slots (though don’t take for granted that they can find additional time for trials– so email them nicely!)
You might also notice a column in the portal asking you to rank the CCAs that you have applied for. But not to worry, these rankings are not seen by any CCA teachers, and can only be accessed by Ms See Tho. This data is rarely used; if at all, it is only accessed for Ms See Tho’s admin work near the end of offer confirmation period.
What are the chances I’ll get accepted into a Sports CCA?
The most selective CCAs are usually non-developmental sports (eg Netball, Tennis, Badminton), which will require you to have prior experience, achievements and the ability to match the calibre of existing CCA members. This usually means that unless you have already played the sport competitively, you are unlikely to succeed in your trials for these CCAs.
However, there are some non-developmental sports that have had a track record of accepting students with no prior experience, as long as applicants display reasonable fitness and aptitude: Fencing, Judo, Track and Field, and Water Polo (if you can swim decently well!)
But not all hope is lost for those who want to join Sports CCAs: developmental sports are where opportunities are most open to everyone, whether RP Non-Sports or JAE. These are sports CCAs that are generally only offered at the JC level, and hence do not expect applicants to have prior experience.
List of developmental sports:
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Hockey (Girls)
- Soccer (Boys and Girls)
- Touch Rugby (Girls only)
Developmental sports are inclusive due to offer quotas. These CCAs must dedicate ⅓ of their offers to JAE students. Meanwhile, within the other ⅔ of offers to RP students, a further ⅔ of these are reserved for RP students from non-sports backgrounds. These quotas are to accurately represent a school population that is ⅓ JAE, ⅔ RP, with a further ⅔ of this RP batch from non-sports backgrounds.
Does being a JAE student affect my chances?
As a JAE student, you might feel worried of being shortchanged of slots since you trial later than the RP batch. But not to worry–all CCAs with quotas (ie. CCAs that have a set number of offers per year) must preserve the ratio of their offers as ⅓ to JAE students and ⅔ to RP students. This means that there is always a protected quota of offers reserved for JAE students, even if you trial later.
Again, this is to fairly represent a school population that is ⅓ JAE and ⅔ RP. You might have heard that some of your seniors’ CCAs have imbalanced JAE:RP ratios, but these are likely due to students rejecting offers, leaving the CCA, or not having enough applicants from either JAE/RP batches to give proportionate offers. Generally at the point of CCAs giving offers to students, they will be aiming to follow the prescribed ratio.
What if I’m not accepted into any CCAs?
There are a handful of people every year who feel dismayed that they didn’t get accepted anywhere, but don’t worry– there are plenty of people who have faced this yet are doing swimmingly now.
If you are an RP student, Ms See Tho will contact you automatically about joining the JAE round of selection, though in this second round you cannot re-trial for the same CCAs that you applied to before. If not, (or if that doesn’t work out), you can try emailing appeals to the CCAs you applied to, and they may reconsider their decision after seeing the acceptance rate of their initial offers.
Other CCAs, particularly some of the Clubs and Societies, might have the room to welcome you, so you could try emailing their teacher-in-charge for an appeal as well.
What if I have/want to have a CCA outside the school?
External CCAs are those with trainings and trials coordinated externally. Examples of external CCAs currently include the uniformed groups that serve with their secondary school or headquarters, Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO), Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra (SNYCO), Youth Flying Club, Taekwondo and Gymnastics.
To see if your external activity can be recognised as an external CCA, check if it is a sport recognised by the Singapore Schools Sports Council (eg. Archery) or by MOE (eg. SNYO). Some examples of external activities that are not considered external CCAs are such as weekly Meet-The-People sessions or external interest groups in Community Centres.
If you are intending to have an external CCA, you must still indicate your CCA choice on the portal, though any ‘trials’ will be conducted by the external organisation. Following which, you must submit proof of training schedules to PE/CCA HOD Mr Ortega
What considerations should I have in picking a CCA?
- Explore or develop? With such a selection of CCAs, you might feel spoilt for choice. You could first decide if you want to stick to familiar ground to what you did in secondary school, or try something entirely new in these two years.
- Time. CCA timings and frequency vary wildly: some may have ad-hoc sessions only when required, some once a week, while some others may train 3-4 times a week. Time not spent on CCA can be spent doing plenty of other things, and the first year of JC is no easy breeze either! Don’t feel like you have to pack your school week schedule, and commit to what you’re comfortable with.
- Culture. How does the CCA weigh the importance of skill versus effort, or how does it prioritise team achievement versus team bonding? Do seniors get along well with juniors or is intra-batch bonding more important? Does the CCA have a long history to fall back on or is it relatively new and open to change and experimentation? Perhaps not all of these things you can answer through just visiting CCA booths and going for CCA trials, but these are certainly just some questions you can consider. (Maybe reading Raffles Press’ CCA Previews could help!)
- Passion, or at least, genuine interest! When JC gets tough, the worst thing is for attending CCA to become a chore. Join something you know you’ll enjoy, so that your CCA and your CCA batchmates can become valuable support to weather you through the storms of JC.
Raffles Press wishes you the best of luck in all your CCA trials!