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Many Yale hopefuls try Yale-NUS as well

A third of nearly 30,000 Yale aspirants apply to new college here. -ST
Sandra Davie

Fri, Jan 25, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Yale University has received a record number of applications for this year - despite the controversy surrounding its new liberal arts college in Singapore.

Nearly 30,000 people from around the world applied to join the American Ivy League school.

Significantly, about 9,200 of them asked for a copy of their application to be sent to Yale-NUS, the new college being set up in partnership with the National University of Singapore.

This appears to contradict fears that prospective students would be put off by the resolution passed by Yale academics in April last year expressing concern about political and civil rights in the Republic.

Mr Jeremiah Quinlan, the Yale-NUS dean of admissions and financial aid, said he was thrilled that so many top performers from around the world had applied to the Singapore school as well. There are just 150 places here for the school's pioneer batch.

He said: "Even though the college will open its doors for the first time this coming fall of 2013, my colleagues at Yale-NUS have been overwhelmed by the high level of interest and quality of students from every continent."

Yale allows those wanting to sign up for its courses in the United States to ask for a copy of their application to be sent to the Singapore college for consideration.

This is entirely separate from Yale-NUS' own admissions processes, meaning students who apply for both institutions may end up with an offer from each.

Last Tuesday, the Ivy League university said it has received 29,790 applications - 800 more than last year.

But the number of students it will admit remains roughly the same, at 2,000.

This means there will be greater competition for a place.

The university, which is based in Connecticut, did not say how many applicants were Singaporeans, although it is known to admit only a handful of people from the Republic every year.

The Straits Times reported last month that Yale-NUS received 1,800 applications in its second admissions exercise.

Sixty-five people have been offered places and have until May this year to accept.

The first exercise, which closed in the middle of last year, attracted 800 applicants, 60 of whom have since taken up places.

Mr Quinlan said the final deadline for students wanting to be part of the pioneer batch this August had been moved forward from April 15 to April 1.

This is to give the school enough time to send out all decisions by mid-May.

Junior college students who get their A levels in early March will still have about a month to put in applications.

Yale-NUS has previously said its applicants are of a high calibre, with some weighing offers from big names such as the University of Chicago.

Singaporeans offered places include students from leading schools like Hwa Chong Institution.

Officials expect the majority in the pioneer batch of 150 to be Singapore citizens.

The Yale-NUS tie-up has attracted controversy and debate in the US.

Last month, the American Association of University Professors issued an open letter expressing concern about academic and personal freedom at the college.

Officials at Yale-NUS said it was already drafting personnel practices that protect academic freedom and promote non-discrimination.

A Singaporean full-time national serviceman who applied for both Yale and the new Singapore college said his first choice is still to land a place in the US.

The 20-year-old, who declined to be named, said: "I want the exposure overseas but if I don't get a place there, then Yale-NUS curriculum sounds attractive to me as well."

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