NUS Open House: More than 7.7m visitors drawn to action-packed hybrid showcase over 10 days

NUS Open House 2023 saw a strong showing by visitors eager to find out about the University’s academic programmes, as it returned in hybrid format from 25 February to 6 March. Some 7.71 million visitors attended the physical and online showcase which involved 3,071 faculty and staff, students and alumni.

Kicking off the 10 action-packed days were the informative virtual talks, webinars, and social media sessions. The on-campus event on 4 March saw packed crowds at the programme booths, talks, special classes, campus tours, student life performances and residential venues despite the heavy downpour. Prospective students gained valuable insights from faculty members, explored the University’s extensive global opportunities, as well as its diverse entrepreneurship platforms and lifelong learning courses, giving them a comprehensive overview of what NUS has to offer.

“I really enjoyed meeting the professors and students who are from the courses I'm interested in as I gained many insights from them on life in NUS and the various possibilities that are open for exploration,” said prospective student Karthika Warrier, an alumna from Raffles Institution who is considering applying to NUS Computing or the College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS).

Jasmine Chiam, an alumna from Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) who is interested in applying to CHS and NUS College, agreed. “The programme was well-run despite the fact that it was raining,” she said. “I felt that it was well-curated for students with different interests.”

A draw for many prospective students were CHS, the newly launched NUS College, and the College of Design and Engineering (CDE) – the University’s recent interdisciplinary pathways aimed at meeting the evolving demands of the workforce.

Addressing shared challenges with the humanities and sciences

CHS, which provides an enhanced undergraduate experience for students of the Faculty of Science (FOS) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to pursue breadth and depth across academic disciplines, showcased its Common Curriculum throughout the Open House.

Currently accepting its third intake, it held talks on hot topics such as sustainability, food science and technology, and mental health to demonstrate how students can apply various perspectives to address complex real-world issues.

The panel entitled “Why Sustainability and Climate Change Matter” saw speakers from the Geography, Japanese Studies, Anthropology and English, Linguistics and Theatre Studies departments weighing in on the topic from their respective disciplines. Another session by the Department of Food Science and Technology explained how its programme applies principles from chemistry, biology, engineering and nutrition to address issues such as food safety and security, as well as the careers its graduates can pursue.

In the same vein, the panel “What Mental Wellness and Health Means in the 21st Century” saw speakers from the Social Work, Sociology and Psychology departments discuss perceptions of mental health in society. Dr Lee Jungup, an Assistant Professor in Social Work, pointed out the close relationship between social work and psychology. “Many of our Social Work students consider a double major with Psychology,” she said, noting that social work emphasises the practical while psychology is more theoretical and clinical in nature.

Jasmine, the NYJC alumna, said the various informative talks reaffirmed her decision to apply to NUS. “The NUS College tour as well as the CHS Common Curriculum sharing were particularly informative. They made the programmes seem quite appealing and I am looking forward to applying for both,” she said.

For some like Christian Chua, an alumnus from the NUS High School of Math and Science, attending the Open House talks helped clarify the career options available for the different programmes.

Christian, who is currently considering the Medicine, Pharmacy, and Pharmaceutical Science programmes, attended the Pharmacy talk and booth, where faculty members of different specialisations touched on the various career pathways and the collaborative practices of the discipline.

“It was useful that they discussed the different careers that Pharmacy graduates had gone into so I knew a degree in Pharmacy wouldn't just limit me to community or hospital pharmacy but also to the R&D, drug approval side, or the business side as well,” he said.

Shaping the future of design and engineering 

Meanwhile, there was action aplenty over at both the online and in-person Open House by CDE, which is accepting its second intake. Officially launched in November 2021, CDE was a merger of the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design and Environment, ramping up the distinctive interdisciplinary experience at NUS.

From the Common Curriculum and the multidisciplinary education model, to the Student Exchange Programme and future career prospects, CDE faculty and students shared their insights on a plethora of topics with prospective students.

The talks, such as the one on Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, also provided valuable information. Prospective students learnt how undergraduates are exposed to a range of interdisciplinary topics with global-scale applications in class, and how NUS engineers are taking on the world’s biggest challenges, such as clean energy.

The talk on Architecture, Industrial Design and Landscape Architecture also saw a large turn-out. Discussing the breadth and depth of CDE’s curriculum, it touched on how students will be equipped to face the 21st-century challenges through their education in CDE.

Kaisyn, who is graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic this year, said, “I appreciated that they covered the basic skills and activities done throughout the curriculum. It allowed me to confirm that the Industrial Design course is relevant to my study and career plan.”

The in-person Ask-Me-Anything sessions with student panels also allowed participants to get their burning questions answered.

Tee Jia Hong, a graduate of Anglo-Chinese Junior College who intends to apply to Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) and attended the student sharing, said, “By listening to the experience from the ISE senior, I am able to get the hang of the academic and co-curricular prospect of being an ISE student.”

Over at CDE’s Rise of the Robots campus tour, participants were given a look at the Advanced Robotics Centre, which displayed projects such as an autonomous wheelchair, an artificial robotic arm, and a haptic feedback machine.

Robert Lim from Singapore Polytechnic, who attended the tour, said, “It was a memorable experience . . . I was able to learn more about what the courses have to offer and what undergrad students have accomplished in NUS.”

Exploring experiential learning

NUS College, Singapore’s first honours college, offered a glimpse of its flagship experiential learning programmes during its online and physical showcase. Faculty members highlighted the Impact Experience programme, where students develop solutions to real-world issues with community partners, and the Global Experience programme, which immerses them in global cities for specially curated courses and field visits based on specific themes.

The college, which is accepting its second intake, also held special classes for prospective students to get a feel of its small-group seminar-style lessons. Dr Ang Yuchen’s special class introduced his field course Biodiversity and Natural History in Singapore, which combines scientific concepts with the visual and language arts and environmental philosophy.

“I found the sample lessons useful in helping me not just get a sense of how lessons are conducted over at NUS College, but also how my potential Profs are like as teachers and facilitators,” said Eugene Teo, an alumnus of Raffles Institution, explaining that small, collaborative discussions was better suited to his learning style. Attending the Open House “also gave me a better understanding of the people I will be interacting with and the environment in which I would be studying in upon entering university life”, he added.

Interactivity was a prominent feature of the Open House. NUS Nursing offered visitors a chance to try basic wound treatment and resuscitation, while NUS Law held moot demonstrations at its Bukit Timah Campus.

Aqirah Bte Azam, who will be graduating from Temasek Polytechnic in May, had the chance to see the Nursing students in action and attended a talk by its alumni. “Hearing their experiences in NUS and their careers have given me the courage to pursue my aspirations in nursing”, she said.

Smorgasbord of student life

Visitors also got a taste of the vibrant NUS student life on display. Student clubs and societies, as well as the Hall and Residential College (RC) interest groups, put their best foot forward at the Student Village.

Visitors were wowed by the striking moves of NUS Wushu, the energetic cheerleading displays of King Edward VII Hall’s KE Titans, and the snazzy K-pop dance moves of the Korean Cultural Interest Group. They were also treated to renditions of catchy tunes from Mandopop group NUS CAC Voices, acapella group NUS Resonance, Raffles Hall rock and jazz band RHockerfellas, and many more.

Representatives from the RCs, halls, and houses were present to offer prospective students the inside scoop on the on-campus experience. Complemented by A-Day-in-the-Life videos and 360° virtual tours, the booths, talks, and Ask-Me-Anything panels by student leaders gave participants a sense of the residential options at their fingertips.

“The House Life talk was the most enjoyable and informative event to me since the masters and students really explained to me what living in houses was like, while keeping us engaged through jokes and videos,” said Jia Hong.

Charlotte Toh from Singapore Polytechnic, said the Halls talk helped her better understand the hall culture and admission criteria.

Guided in-person tours of the various halls and residences, such as King Edward VII Hall, Tembusu College, Ridge View Residential College, and Residential College 4, opened a window to the close-knit community of residential life.

Samuel Liu, who graduated from National Junior College, said, “The well-guided tours and booths set up for each RC that I visited gave me a good indication of which RC would be most suitable for my character and goals.”