NTU Student reveals why top SG students study in the US/UK when NUS/NTU are highly ranked

NTU Student

Ever wonder why a whole bunch of elite Singaporean students would rather get a degree from Universities in the States and UK? Even though NUS and NTU are so highly ranked (in terms of QS ranking)? Aren’t NUS and NTU students the best in Singapore?

Well, Daryl Tng, a student from NTU, has recently shared about the “open secret” on Quora. And it makes total sense.

Here it goes.


Daryl begins by describing that this reason is what some alumni have already mentioned.

I’ll let you in on an open secret.

I think some alumni of Singapore’s “highly regarded local universities” have mentioned this already somewhat, but I’ll just repeat it using layman’s terms.

By “highly ranked”, I think you are referring to the the annual world university rankings published by a handful of educational consultancy firms.

QS World University Rankings 2018


He then described that QS rankings are heavily influenced the number and quality of research citations published by the faculty. And of course, these papers are not released by freshies who are still having fun at orientation camps.

NTU NUS difference between undergraduate postgraduate UG PG

Now, being in my freshman year in NTU, I’m not very familiar with the criteria in which Universities are ranked, but I’ll share my observation.

There is a stark difference between the undergraduate, and and post-graduates.

If I recall correctly, the QS World University rankings are heavily influenced by the number and quality of research citations published by the faculty.

To that end, NUS/NTU excel.


And continues to list down some project initiatives that cost millions. Now we know where all that funding is going to… Definitely not used to keep monitor lizards, wild boars and snakes away!

NTU Project initiiatives

There is no shortage of funds and collaborative projects directed to both universities by both the Singapore government, as well as private corporations.

Moreover, there are generous benefits given to foreign professors to encourage them to take up faculty positions in these universities.

NTU, Alibaba to set up artificial intelligence research institute

Rolls-Royce, NTU launch new $75m laboratory

Unsurprisingly, these 2 universities fare rather well if they are being judged via this somewhat narrow criteria.


Oooouch! The harsh truth.


Hard Truth NTU NUS


In the realm of undergraduate education, our 2 local universities cannot escape from their raison d’être, which is to input a large portion of our high school leavers (Polytechnic, Junior College), and in turn output workers for the local economy.

It is a small, and extremely tight labour market.

For that reason alone, it cannot afford to be as selective in admission criteria compared to numerous other institutions that are ostensibly inferior.

Such as Yale, Seoul National, and Tsinghua, just to name a few.

Admission to these univerisities is far more selective than NUS/NTU, I guarantee it.

They can afford to be selective, as USA, Korea, China has numerous other less prestigious universities to fulfil that more mundane role of being economic drivers.

Singapore, does not.

Due to that same reason as well, you will find no shortage of students with lackadaisical attitudes, who have no idea why they are pursuing a degree, who skip lectures so they can sleep in, so on and so forth.


Conclusion of elites going to uk us

They got in by virtue of their Singapore passport, by being subject to far less stringent entry requirements than foreign students.

In fact, many foreign students from China, India and ASEAN, after coming to NUS/NTU, realise that they have been sold a lie.

The local student body here, as a whole, is nowhere near as driven and resourceful as they have been led to believe.

Genius students do exist, but I would say they number in the minority.

For Singapore’s best and brightest young students, they would not be challenged and stretched to their fullest potential if they were to pursue a degree locally.

In that pursuit, the Ivy Leagues and Oxbridge still provide a far greater plethora of opportunities for them.


The post has since gotten over 66.2k views in just two weeks, with over 500 upvotes. Some NUS and NTU graduates/alumni also commented to illustrate more on the point of Lackadaisical.

Zhun-Yong Ong

To be fair, I would say that courses in NUS/NTU were often quite badly taught during my time. This is likely to have a significant effect on the motivation of the students.

I say this as an NUS graduate who has spent some time in universities in the US and UK.


Jeremy Lim


What are your thoughts? Let us know!


NUS/NTU Student Related:

IPPT? To Passing And Beyond.

Can or cannot: 24 ways Singaporeans use the word “can”

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: The Best reactions

This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))



  1. maricelalanning

    October 9, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and
    I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  2. jurgenbussey

    October 11, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Great goods from you, man. I have remember your stuff previous to and you are just
    extremely fantastic. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the best way wherein you are saying it.
    You make it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it sensible.
    I can’t wait to learn far more from you. This is really a terrific web site.

  3. pansy_statton

    October 11, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Thank you for some other informative web site. Where else may just I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal means?
    I’ve a project that I am just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  4. dylancerutty

    October 22, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Every weekend i used to go to see this web site, for the reason that i want enjoyment,
    for the reason that this this website conations really good funny information too.

  5. barneypetrie

    October 22, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Hi everybody, here every one is sharing these knowledge, so it’s
    nice to read this blog, and I used to go to see this web site every day.

  6. sandra_stockton

    October 23, 2019 at 5:02 am

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this
    web site is truly good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top