story| Xie Yihui, Contributing Reporter
photo | Kanako Sugawara, Ning Yiran
As a young institution, Yale-NUS College has more students who are siblings with other students than one might expect. With at least 14 siblings pairs and two trios, students have speculated that the Admissions Team favors siblings. In an interview with The Octant, Jasmine Seah, Director of Admissions at Yale-NUS, refuted these rumors, saying that siblings are not favored in the admission process.
While prospective students do indicate if they have a sibling in the school in their application to Yale-NUS, Ms. Seah said that this information does not factor into the Admissions Team’s consideration of the applicant. She emphasized that each applicant is considered as an individual and the team does not make any assumptions about the relationship between siblings.
It is, however, natural to expect applicants to turn to family members, coaches or even close friends for help with College applications, which some siblings acknowledge. Ning Yiran ’23, who was admitted along with her twin sister Ning Xinran ’23, said that her sibling was a source of practical and emotional support.
“We supported each other during the application period and when the university started, we provided each other unconditional support. As it takes time to develop a support network in a new environment, it’s very nice to have my sister around,” said Ning.
Sakuko Sugawara ’22, agreed that entering a new environment can be daunting, especially for international students, and that the presence of her elder sister Kanako Sugawara ’20 was emotionally reassuring.
The elder Sugawara emphasized that she could not provide significant assistance for her sister’s application. “I could lead my sister to certain sources such as relevant Octant articles talking about what it’s like to go to Yale-NUS, but this is information that is already accessible to all applicants and many applicants do read The Octant too,” she said. Sugawara added that she did not have any connections with the Admission Team or professors that may give her sister an edge.
Some speculate that the Admissions Team might prefer siblings as they could be more likely to accept offers to attend Yale-NUS, since both the admits and their parents would understand the school better, and elder siblings can potentially be a source of support. Ms. Seah denied this possibility, stating that the Admissions Team has no way of telling whether or not a student is likely to accept an offer.
While Ms. Seah said that she is glad that many siblings have chosen to attend Yale-NUS, she indicated that whether to include sibling preferences or legacy admission is a matter of institutional philosophy. “As a young institution, we are in the process of evaluating our institutional goals, philosophy and beliefs…Sibling preference has never been discussed and there is no intention to practice it,” she said.
“The bottom line is that we are looking for students who demonstrate qualities that show that they are the best fit [for the College],” Ms Seah said.