SUTD credits outreach for record student intake
THE Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will take in 467 students this year, a record high for the institution.
The figure, a 20 per cent increase from last year's 386, is closer than before to its capacity for 500 per intake.
Previously, its intakes had ranged from 280 to 340, raising questions about whether it was being too selective.
SUTD, which took in its first batch of students in 2012, said then that it was going for "quality, not quantity" because of its rigorous curriculum developed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
It received 3,055 applications this year, an 18.4 per cent increase from last year.
About 40 per cent of its intake this year are females.
Besides having good grades, applicants also need to write a 500-word essay about themselves. They are also invited to submit portfolios, videos and personal blogs to support their applications.
Short-listed applicants then face a panel interview.
SUTD president Professor Thomas Magnanti said he was "heartened" by the record number of students.
"We look forward to nurturing them over the next three and a half years into becoming holistic engineers and architects who identify and solve society's problems not just from a technological aspect but also with an eye for design, relevance and usability."
An SUTD spokesman said it looks for "bright and well-rounded students with a passion for technology and design". She said the rise in applications may be due to a greater awareness due to its outreach efforts like school visits and workshops.
SUTD, Singapore's fourth university which partners MIT and China's Zhejiang University, offers specialisation in four areas: architecture and sustainable design; engineering product development; engineering systems and design; and information systems technology and design.
Some students joining the university said they were attracted to its broad-based approach which requires students of all disciplines to take common subjects such as physics and humanities.
Leong Hei Kern, 22, who graduated from Singapore Polytechnic in 2013 with a grade point average of 3.99 out of 4, said the common curriculum helps students to understand each other's specialisations.
"Your classmate could be an architect or engineer in the future," said the Public Service Commission scholar.