1 October 2019: Prospective applicants get a taste of life as a Yale-NUS student

By Akanksha Madan

Photo provided by Admissions & Financial Aid.

During the week of 9 – 13 September 2019, Yale-NUS College welcomed over 100 prospective applicants to experience life as a ‘Kingfisher for a Day’ (KFAD). In its second edition this year, the programme gave participants the opportunity to spend time with a current Yale-NUS student and immerse themselves in student life for a day.

Offered by the Admissions & Financial Aid Office with the aim of giving prospective Kingfishers an alternative visit day option and create a better awareness of our liberal arts curriculum and residential living, the programme paired a current student with one to three prospective Kingfishers for a day. Participants accompanied their student hosts throughout the day – attending classes, conversing over meals in the dining hall, and participating in other extracurricular activities.

Kingfishers For A Day participants joining in a class with their hosts. Photo provided by Admissions & Financial Aid. 

Ng Jia Jun from Nanyang Polytechnic decided to register for the programme because he “wanted to experience how lessons were conducted as a student at Yale-NUS and ask myself: do I really want to study humanities at university?”. He said his experience as a participant, enriched by the insightful classes and his host’s informative advice, has led to a positive response to the question he had hoped to answer for himself.

On the other hand, Andy Chan Lisheng, who is currently studying at Temasek Polytechnic, was sure of his interest in the liberal arts, which support “various fields of exploration in the human condition” and offer “analytical and critical methods of thinking”. He decided to experience life as a Kingfisher so that he has a “really good window into this liberal arts experience”.

Hosts show participants the student suites, as Yale-NUS is a fully residential campus. Photo provided by Admissions & Financial Aid.

As Kingfishers, participants received the chance to participate in seminars – intimate classes with 16 to 18 students that facilitate interaction with faculty. Jia Jun appreciated and was even “pleasantly surprised at how receiving the professors were in entertaining my questions and ideas, as odd as they might be”. Similarly, Andy welcomed how the lecturer opened the floor for discussion and enjoyed students’ willingness to be vocal and share their thoughts with their peers during the class.

The programme has been equally memorable for the student hosts. Ryan Yoong Ka Jun (Class of 2020) acknowledged that when he was looking into various universities, the one thing he would have appreciated was an insider look into the college.

“I think the KFAD programme did help students in this way and I knew I wanted to be a part of creating that experience for others”. On a similar note, May Wang (Class of 2022) hoped that by sharing the happiness and growth she has been able to experience at Yale-NUS, she showcased the College in the fairest and best possible light, helping prospective students make a more informed decision regarding their future college experience.

Participants and hosts share a meal at the Dining Hall. Photo provided by Admissions & Financial Aid. 

Having been a part of two KFADs now, Ryan finds that the experience is still fresh and he enjoys listening to the stories that these prospective students bring with them. As a final-year student, being a part of the programme deepens his appreciation of some of the best times he has had here.

“As I am conveying these small nuggets of experiences to the prospective students, in a way, I relive them myself and that gives me a great sense of joy,” he shared.

The experience of being a Kingfisher for a Day offers prospective students the chance to interact with a current student to learn for themselves what a liberal arts education can be like and experience a snapshot of student life. The Admissions & Financial Aid Office hopes to grow the programme in the coming years, hosting it with greater frequency and welcoming more students.