Saturday, March 24, 2007

To improve its yield, a college needs to

...make its target prospectives feel valued.

Local Universities vs Overseas Universities

...What delicious irony. Our local institutions NUS and NTU have great aspirations to become world-class institutions. At the same time, our brightest young minds have great aspirations to avoid studying at our local institutions NUS and NTU.

Take for example the admissions offer letters from a Local, British and American university. (Note: These are all from the late 90s, so things are likely to have changed since then. Hopefully for the better, for the local institutions after their semi-privatization.)

As you can see, the NUS letter was badly drafted. To the incoming freshman, it had a threatening tone (certificate of suitability? section 42 of the Internal Security Act, Cap. 143?), with relics from the communist insurgency of the 1960s. The legalese can be found here, and the relevant section if you search "42". Worse, if you have any queries regarding your admission, you are told NOT to make any telephone equiries but to submit one in writing. I assume snail mail, and with only a one-month time window before the submission deadline.

On the other hand, the overseas universities were keen to do whatever they could to answer the accepted students' questions. Be it through email, the phone or postal mail.


The same theory applies at the graduate level. The student may not end up enrolling at your institution for Grad School, but in the world of academic research networking is important. I am grateful to have been given such opportunities, especially when competition for such coveted paid undergraduate summer research internships is fierce. More so for non-US citizens/PRs who are ineligible for NSF sponsored REUs.

The above came about when I was combing through my documents in order to complete the pre-employment forms.


L'oiseau rebelle said...

I did an REU as an undergrad. My dept found other sources of funding for me, even though they had a serious budget crunch that year.

Speaking of trying to attract students, one of the departments in a major American research university gave their prospective grad students an inch thick stack of quals during visiting weekend. Seriously...

takchek said...

Try applying to a REU at another university. It's even more competitive (when it's one of the research intensive AAU members). You get paid to travel there too.

On the other hand, I read this:

hokkienpeng said...

So you went to Penn State for college? It's a terrific school and I'm sure you've found the experience rewarding. Why so insistent on sending your sister to the ivies?