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Friday, July 29, 2022

Kolej Matrikulasi: often overlooked path to public university

Some parents asked me about matriculation and that is why I am writing this post. In this post, I won't be talking about the details about how to apply. There are many good sites which explain this which I will link to at the end of this post. This post is meant for parents in secondary school who are planning the further education path for their kids in particularly the path to public universities in Malaysia. It is okay if your kids are still in Form 1 or 2, it is never too early to plan. I am also writing from the point of view of a non-bumi. For non-bumi who wish to go on the matriculation path, you need to instill in the kids the value of working hard because good results opens more doors for you. 

Pathways to Public Universities

There are a few paths to public universities:

  • STPM
  • Matriculation College
  • Assasi 
We all know about STPM. Assasi is the foundation course of a specific public university meaning it leads directly to the University you apply to. Matriculation is a foundation course of public universities in general so after you complete it, you still have to apply to a public university and course of your choice. It is also accepted elsewhere but we won't go into that in this post. This post focus only on public universities in Malaysia.

For more information on these and other pre-u courses, you can read this:
Know your pre-university programmes

FAQ, Application and List of Matriculation Colleges

This is the list of all the matriculation colleges in Malaysia. 

Application is easy and done online. It is based on 90% academic performance and 10% co-curricular activities. Read this post to find out which subjects will be taken into account for calculation of your academic performance: Everything you need to know about matriculation in Malaysia.

Here is the FAQ about Matriculation from the KPM (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia). This will give you more detailed information and a better idea.

Streaming in Matriculation Colleges

There are a few streams you can apply for namely:
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Professional Accounting (for bumiputera only)
The course is either 2 semester or 4 semester. 4 semester course is for bumiputera only.

The 2 semester course is 10 months in duration and open to 10% non-bumiputera students.

If you are interested in this route, you should find out what are the subject requirements to get into the stream of your choice. Then aim to get A+ for the relevant subjects, not just A or A- but A+. Co-curricular activities is important too as it carries 10% weightage. If you do not get in the first round, appeal. There are some students who get in after 2nd or 3rd appeal because some students do not take up the offer either due to distance of the college offered to their home or they prefer to take up a scholarship offer at a private college instead.

Cost of Matriculation College

You only need to pay the registration fee. Example: The cost of the 2 semester science stream is RM12k. This is fully funded by the government. Accomodation is free of charge. This is a fully residential course so students are required to stay in the dorms within campus at all times except outing days on weekends where parents may also visit. The registration fee for the 2 semester science stream is RM599.60. You have to pay this fee after you receive an offer from the college. This fee actually covers the cost of lab coats, student cards, MUET exam fees etc. 

MUET or Malaysia University English Test is required for university admission in Malaysia. You will be required to sit for this test even as a student in a private college going to a private university. Some private universities do not cover the cost or program for MUET so you will have to study and sit for it privately though you may choose to do so at your college or university if it is one of the MUET test centers.

In addition, at the time of writing, if average of both parents income added together is less than RM10k, your child will receive an allowance of RM250/month for 10 months or the entire duration of the course.

Pros and Cons of Matriculation College

  • students will get to mix with other students of all races from all over Malaysia
  • students will learn to be independent and experience university life
  • students will learn soft skills and leadership skills as there is a lot of focus on co-curricular activities
  • the course is short and intensive and students need to be disciplined and manage their time well
  • you may not get the course or university you applied for after matriculation. once you receive an offer, you may not appeal for a change, only those who did not receive an offer may appeal
Additional Info

Once you receive an offer, you may not change the college location except for specific reasons eg. medical, sibling in the same college or switch from East to West Malaysia or vice versa. 

Why go this route? Apart from the obvious factor of cost, there is another reason. For very competitive or high demand courses in public universities, this route may give you a better chance of entry. However, note that you should aim to get a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 4 or be a 4 flat student scoring perfect 4As. You should also aim to get 100% co-curricular activities marks as applicants for public universities are selected based on 90% consideration for academic performance and a 10% bonus for co-curriculum activities.

There will be core subjects and compulsory subjects. Compulsory subjects are not included in the calculation for 4 flat. Students are assessed based on a combination of class assignments and end of semester examinations. Medium of instruction is English for Math and Science subjects.

There is a myth that matriculation is easy and will not give you a good foundation. However, it is not exactly true. The course structure is just different that is all. It is intensive, so good time management is a must. It is fully residential, so students must learn to be independent. There will be a lot of co-curricular activities which will teach students soft skills and leadership skills. All in all, a good place for students to get a good experience to transition from high school to universities.

Recommended Reading
Below is a video of the various matriculation colleges in Malaysia.

Tip: You can search for  many videos about matriculation as most matriculation colleges have their own channel. There are also useful tips from matriculation students. In addition, you can find useful information from student bloggers or vloggers. They will give you very good insight from the students themselves. Here are some examples of what students have to say. These are from a few years back but I believe most of them are still relevant today.


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