Not many people know, truth be told.
I was a borderline case of EM2 and EM3, my parents had to appeal for me to go to EM2.
I grew up believing I am stupid.
I did not do well enough to be in the "Express" nor "Academic" streams and was forced into the Normal Technical Stream for secondary school education.
I went into ITE, my only route to academic advancement and studied NITEC in Tourism. (Because I didn't complete a Higher NITEC, this is still considered a pretty useless certification for academic advancement, really.)
Entered LASALLE, did a foundation in Dance as a bridge over for BA courses, became the first and only student to successfully bridge from the foundation course to the BA in Musical Theatre, left school after a year.
With only a NITEC as my highest qualification, I was limited.
For several years, I taught dance and drama while I continued to search for ways to improve myself. Looked at a few courses, ranging from Mass Comm, Marketing, Design and Tourism; I could not meet every of their minimum requirement despite my years of working experience.
It was until about 3 years ago where my life began to change.
"In exceptional cases, in lieu of candidates without the prescribed Diploma, extensive practical experience in relevant fields may be considered on a case-by-case basis."
With my "extensive practical experience in relevant fields", I applied to NIEI's Specialist Diploma in Arts Education. I got rejected by the administrators as they sieved through participants who fulfilled minimum academic requirements.
I picked myself up and wrote a long appeal letter, gathered some testimonials, supporting letters and sent to all the relevant to department heads I could find on the NIE website. A few days later, news came, I got in. (Because of my appeal, several others who were rejected also got accepted into the course last minute through their exceptional years teaching experience.)
I am now a proud alumni of the Specialist Diploma in Arts Education course.
With hope and faith, I continued to search for a course where I can progress even further, as an art maker and an educator.
Middle of last year, Coventry University and Frantic Assembly (a world renowned physical theatre company) announced that they will be partnering and starting a new course, MA in Collaborative Theatre Making.
"Applicants should ideally hold a good honours degree 2.2 or above in a relevant academic discipline. However, applications from candidates with relevant experience will also be considered on an individual basis."
Without "a good honors degree 2.2 or above", I applied for the course. It was no surprise, I was rejected, again. I picked myself up, again, wrote another long appeal letter and sent it to the relevant people.
With excitement, they replied and arranged for a Skype interview. During the interview, the program leader thanked me for the appeal letter and said many other talented applicants would have been left unseen as she did not know that the administrators were only screening for people who have at least a honors degree 2.2 prior to my letter.
To cut to the chase, I got into the course, a Masters Degree program with just a Specialist Diploma, which I got last year.
The course will commence this coming January. Wish me luck!
Did you have to go through similar struggles?