SINGAPORE - Yale-NUS College, which took in its fifth batch of students this academic year, has its largest intake to date - 248 students.
At this number, the liberal arts college, a tie-up between United States Ivy League university Yale and the National University of Singapore, comes close to its original plan to grow its annual class size to 250 students. It took in under 200 students for the first three years and increased its intake to 225 last year.
Singaporeans make up the largest pool of students this year, college officials said on Thursday (Aug 3). The 129 Singaporeans come from 28 schools across the island, including polytechnics.
They are joined by students from 44 other countries, with most coming from the United States, India, China and South Korea.
Females make up 54 per cent of the incoming cohort, which will start classes in about 10 days.
Yale-NUS said the students were selected from 8,773 applicants from around the world, based on a holistic admission process, which takes into account the students' academic and extracurricular achievements.
Yale-NUS director of admissions Laura Severin said of the incoming class: "The drive and passion for learning that we have seen in the incoming class, combined with their diverse skills and experiences, will enrich the lively exchanges of ideas in the Yale-NUS community of learning."
Some members of the new class are following in the footsteps of their siblings who joined Yale-NUS earlier.
One of them is American Boden Franklin, 19, whose sister Anne Caroline Franklin recently graduated.
He said he was encouraged by his sister's "transformative" experience at Yale-NUS.
"She returned with stories of her numerous experiences that introduced her to new ways of thinking, living, and interacting," Mr Franklin said.
Yale-NUS officials said many incoming students are deeply involved in the community. One of them isMs Wong Cai Jie from Meridian Junior College.
Ms Wong, 19, is fluent in sign language and volunteers with the Singapore Association for the Deaf. She hopes to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf communities.
"I've learnt to better understand and appreciate my privileges as a hearing person and I hope to use these privileges to amplify the voices of the disenfranchised, instead of speaking over them," she said.
Another student fired up over causes is Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate Terence Choo.
Like Ms Wong, the 24 year-old, who studied business and social enterprise, learnt sign language to help the hearing impaired.
He said that part of the attraction of Yale-NUS was the opportunity to learn with students of diverse cultures and different perspectives.
"In the polytechnic, I had the opportunity to go on stints to three different countries, and I gained a lot from being exposed to different cultures and perspectives."
Ms Janelle Natasha Job, 20, who also came through the polytechnic route, said she was drawn to the broad-based education at Yale-NUS.
She said she is interested in politics and working in government.
"At Yale-NUS, I hope to combine the study of law with psychology. I can also take up other subjects and, over the years, gain an understanding of a whole range of issues that impact societies."
Yale-NUS offers a distinctive curriculum and residential programme that emphasises broad-based multidisciplinary learning in the full range of the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences.
In a survey in July, the college found that 74 per cent of its pioneer batch of 119 graduates had secured jobs, fellowships or university places to pursue graduate studies.
Most of the job offers were from the education field, at 25 per cent. Twenty-one per cent were from the consulting sector and 17 per cent were from the public sector. Offers from technology firms and start-ups made up 10 per cent.