Tough competition: Harder to get into Singapore’s Yale-NUS than all the Ivies in US

students, university, Yale
Students of Yale University move around their belongings at the campus in New Haven, Connecticut. The 316-year-old university has an acceptance rate of 6.2 percent in 2016 and 6.9 percent in 2017. Source: Shutterstock

Yale-National University of Singapore (NUS) College recently made their admission rate for last year public, revealing the Asian campus now surpasses its Ivy League counterparts in the United States in terms of difficulty of getting in.

According to Quartzthe school’s global admittance rate is five percent, in the first reveal of this data last week in response to inquiries from Yale’s student paper. By contrast, Harvard’s admission rate for both 2016 and 2017 is 5.2 percent.

Singaporeans make up the bulk of the class of 2020, with students from the US, India and China as the top three countries of origin in this batch.

The college received more applications for the class of 2020 than for the class of 2019, “confirming the strong interest in Yale-NUS College”, director of admissions and financial aid for the Singapore-based college Laura Severin told Yale News.

The college’s acceptance rate also makes it more difficult to get into than the 316-year-old Yale University in the US, which has an acceptance rate of 6.2 percent in 2016 and 6.9 percent in 2017.

Institution No. of students
accepted in 2017
Acceptance rate (2017) Acceptance rate (2016)
Brown University 2,722 8.30% 9.00%
Columbia University 2,185 5.80% 6.04%
Cornell University 5,889 12.50% 13.96%
Dartmouth College 2,092 10.40% 10.52%
Harvard University 2,056 5.20% 5.20%
University of Pennsylvania 3,699 9.20% 9.40%
Princeton University 1,890 6.10% 6.46%
Yale University 2,272 6.90% 6.27%

Source: Business Insider

Yale-NUS College is a joint project between Yale University and the National University of Singapore, to meet the demand for “critical thinking” in the Asian city-state with a poor history of respect for civil and political rights.

The contradicting values between the school and its host country have remained a point of controversy since its proposal, the most jarring flare-up being when the school showed a banned film that was deemed a threat to national security.

Yet, the college says it continues to attract a growing number of interested applicants from a diverse range of countries.

In an August 2016 press release to welcome its new student cohort last year, the college said the Class of 2020 was made up of “more than 200 students from 40 countries, the highest diversity of student nationalities in a single intake”.

“With the new class, the Yale-NUS student body now comprises more than 700 students from 53 countries across six continents.”

The school did not provide its admissions data this year, including total application numbers and admit rates, unlike previous years. Yale-NUS also did not share the breakdown of student enrolment by country like Yale did, but instead listed the different nationalities of its students.

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