I read this article https://qz.com/965680/yale-nus-in-singapore-is-now-harder-to-gain-admission-into-than-the-yale-harvard-or-any-of-the-ivy-league/ with astonishment at the level of self-entitled elitism that some Yale graduates put on display for the whole world to see.
In a provocative piece on Quartz magazine, which seems more like a place for random editorials rejected by the bigger papers to find their bed, reporter Amy X. Wang decided to feature a story on Yale-NUS in Singapore with the catchy headline: “Yale’s six-year-old Singapore campus is now harder to get into than the 316-year-old Yale” (I should have known this was click-bait.)
At first glance, the piece seemed promising. It talked about how the American Yale university’s acceptance rate of 6.27% and compared it to Singapore’s Yale-NUS accepting only 5%. Yet what followed is just random speculation and a half-hearted attempt to substantiate her unfounded opinions.
She writes, “While Yale-NUS’s student body is much smaller than Yale’s—the school has less than 1,000 undergraduates, compared to Yale’s 5,000—the fact that its acceptance race has dipped below its originator’s is significant for two reasons. First, it shows that Western universities’ preoccupation with opening branch campuses across the world, and particularly in Asia, seems to be paying off, at least in terms of brand growth.
“The second reason is more troubling.
“Between 2006, when Yale first considered the idea of international campus expansion, and 2011, when Yale-NUS was officially opened, a number of academics and education experts voiced concerns about Yale having a presence in Singapore in particular—a country whose political conservatism stands at odds with the idea of a liberal arts college. As many predicted, the school is now struggling to reconcile Yale’s individualistic values with the country’s restrictions on free speech; in 2014, it found itself in particularly hot water when it decided to show a film banned by the local government.”
Am I the only person who is lost on why this affects acceptance rates? Maybe the writer thought that she had to insult Singapore and its political system somewhere, it might as well be placed in the middle of the article where no one would notice and heckle her.
She continues by getting more assertive, but less grounded in fact.
“Yale-NUS has also been accused of delivering poor academic quality to students; one of the main criticisms is that its course curriculum is superficial and fails to deliver on the promise of meaningful, intimate seminars. If those concerns are well-founded, it raises the question of whether it’s ethical for a prestigious school like Yale to set up a campus in another country, lure students there with its brand name, and then offer a diluted caliber of teaching.”
She ends the article with that potentially libelous accusation.
Yes, you read right. Readers hoping for some proof or better explanation about what went wrong with Yale-NUS have been left hanging after reading that sorry excuse for an article.
From one Yale-NUS alumni to the next, here’s some writing 101:
1. No click bait just for the sake of it. If your article is going to be “Boo hoo, Singapore’s politcal climate is so oppressive” then man up and label it. Don’t just throw random shade into a potentially factual article and skip out on the facts.
2. Structure! Someone needs to go back to writing school and learn how to paragraph properly.
3. Yale may be a prestigious university, but it’s prestige is defined by the quality of its teaching and its respect for diversity. I thought that of all people, Wang should be cognizant of this, being a minority who attended one of the Ivy Leagues after all. So before you insult the only branch of Yale outside of the Americas, try doing a little research first.