Tips on how to survive's Diploma

Published/Updated on:
April 20, 2019
"Failure is not an option" — Apollo 13, NASA

Congratulations on taking a big leap into doing something that you truly love; fashion.

Before committing to the diploma, you might have already heard of all the horror stories about how tough the full-time diploma is, and how its not for the faint-hearted.

Below are some useful tips, with things you can before the diploma starts so that you not only survive, you thrive!

1) Coming back to the Fundamentals:

Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose and objective?

Ask yourself why you chose to embark on this journey. Where do you envision yourself in a year's time? What do you need these skills for? Buy a fresh notebook, brainstorm, and write down your thoughts, feelings and motivations.

If you are looking to get a job...

take a look a current openings on Linkedin or Glassdoor. Look at the job responsibilities and functions and see which positions resonate with you. If you have friends in those positions, call them to get an unbiased glimpse of that role. Look beyond the Singapore Market, and look under fashion employees working for prominent brands to understand how these employees brand and create their personal portfolios. Linkedin is a great platform to filter your searches based on cities or companies.

If you’re looking to start your own brand...

focus on a specific niche you would like to champion. Look at the top 10 successful and unsuccessful brands and learn why they succeeded (or failed!) so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

If you already have your own business...

think of how you can exponentially grow your business with automated sales processes and digital marketing.

In asking those questions, hopefully, you will form meaningful questions that you are able to bounce with your batchmates or trainers teaching the different specialized modules at

2) Block out all external commitments

Devote yourself fully to the programme

In order for you to reap the most benefits out of the 3–4-month programme, make sure to block out all your training dates so that you can commit to them fully with limited distractions. We would advise against deferring any modules, just so you can keep the momentum. During your period of study, participate in wholesome activities to keep yourself active and healthy; exercise regularly, eat fruits & vegetables and get enough sleep. :)

3) Prepare yourself for the course

Do as much E-learning as you can before the course officially commences

As the diploma is an intensive programme, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the amount of content and industrial jargon that you are expected to digest. No need to beat yourself up over it!

In order to pace yourself better, take advantage of the time you have before the course commencement to absorb as much E-learning content as you can. Be sure to have a physical notebook to jot down important pointers so that you can easily refer to them when you need them.

The first 2 E-learning modules & 3 sets of E-Course Notes will be released to you within 5 working days upon making the full course fee payment.The E-learning is available to you online, 24/7 and you can access them anywhere and at any time!

4) Consider taking some short courses first

Get a leg up before the Diploma starts

For those doing the Diploma in Apparel Design & Product Development, we encourage students to consider taking the 44-hour course on Basic Drafting & Sewing before the diploma starts. This helps you to better prepare yourself for all the sewing modules and expand your creativity further for the final module on ‘Develop Design Collection’.

5) Build your portfolio from Day 1

For those who are looking to get a job after graduation, documenting what you have done for each module can help your future employer better visualise the skills you have learned. Students are encouraged to take as many pictures of their practical-work as possible. For example, Fabric/Leather samples, screen-printing, pattern drafts, sewing outputs, and project work.

It is also good to spend 10-minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what you have accomplished, the challenges faced and the key takeaways. The content and photos will help you better draft your future portfolio and biography.

Here are some useful resources to help you out:

  1. The benefits of Morning Pages
  2. — How to get started
  3. Example of a Project Retrospective

6) Don’t fall for the trap of comparing yourself with the person next to you!

In a fast-paced class, there is a tendency for students to compare themselves with those around them.

Comparing yourself with others will only bring unnecessary stress and frustration.

Instead, the only person who you can compare yourself to and have a good chance of beating is the person you were yesterday. They lived the same exact life as you. They had the same advantages as you. You both started life at the same line, and you can get ahead of them by improving yourself today.

7) Be early and miss no classes

Most full-day classes start at 8.30 am in the morning. To respect those who came early or on-time, the trainer will start as scheduled. Attendance is typically taken within 15-minutes from the class start time. Anyone who comes after  the 15-minute grace period will be marked as absent.

Missing any part of the class means students have to spend more time and energy to catch-up with what they have missed. This would generally affect the pace of the class.

Because does not offer any make-up or replacement classes, it is important to come to class especially for the full-day modules. In the event that a student anticipates missing a class on certain dates, it would be best to try re-scheduling the event. If that is impossible, inform the programme advisor in charge of your course for further advice.

Set the frame right from the beginning by making an effort to come to class early from Week 1! Just imagine how much more the trainers will be able to cover if everybody made it to class early and on time! :)

8) Be Happy, and don’t forget to have fun!

Whether fuelled by an unfulfilled desire to pursue fashion or  a need to learn how to  create the apparel you love, it's key that you embrace and enjoy every aspect of the process. 

The diploma has been designed to meet the standards of the industry. There is no doubt that there is a steep learning curve, and has no intention of diluting our current content or compromising our standards.

Like most courses of study, there will be times where you feel stressed and challenged, and giving up seems like a viable thought. It is in these defining moments that we challenge you to reframe the situation, so it becomes something meaningful to you as opposed to something that’s just challenging.

One of the things that we know is that if you want to create the preconditions for having a meaningful moment, if it has this sense of awe, it’s more likely that you will remember that as having meaning.


“We Chose to go to the moon, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” — John F Kennedy
Matthew Ong

Matthew is no longer working with, but was the Chief Revenue Officer at He was responsible for all activities that generate revenue. As a CRO, he coordinated with marketing, sales and the customer success team to ensure that our prospects and students gain the most value and outcomes out of their time at During his free time, he enjoys going for runs and solving problems on a rock wall.

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