- The application window is open till Dec 24. Students cannot choose their preferred Hall, room type or choice of roommate due to limited places, said the school
- While some students were eager to apply, others were disappointed at the lack of choices, citing financial and location concerns
- The announcement follows the Students’ Union announcement on Dec 14 that the school had not updated them about Hall application dates
By Emma See Wenwei
Photo courtesy of Rachael Lim
Updated 11:05 AM, Dec 18
On Dec 15, Soapbox reported in this article that Hall allocation will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. It has come to our attention that this is untrue and we have removed this error after clarifying with our sources. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Full-time undergraduate students can now apply for residential Hall accommodation in NTU for Semester 2, ending months of waiting for the application window to open.
Unlike previous years, students cannot choose their preferred Halls of Residence, room type and their choice of roommate, due to the limited number of places amid the Covid-19 situation, stated an email to students from head of housing and auxiliary services Alvin Chin and deputy associate provost (residential education) Valerie Du Toit-Low on Tuesday (Dec 15).
The application period is open from Dec 15 at 9am and will close on Dec 24 at 5pm.
Successful applicants will be notified by Dec 30 and will be required to check in within three working days from the date of the offer, according to the application form.
The announcement comes as a surprise for many applicants, as preferred Hall and roommates could be indicated in previous application exercises.
The University said: “The demand and supply of hall places for this academic year has been significantly affected due to the pandemic, leaving only a limited number of places available in Semester 2 for new applicants.
“As such, the University may not be able to accommodate all students who apply for housing. Due to the limited number of places, students will also not be able to select their preferred residential Hall or room type.”
The school advised students who do not urgently need on-campus housing to consider living off-campus.
To assist students who travel to campus using public transportation, free shuttle bus services from Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang and Tampines MRT stations will continue to operate during Semester 2 on weekdays. Seats will be available on a first-come-first-served basis, the email added.
The increased frequency of Campus Rider shuttle bus services from Pioneer MRT station to NTU on weekdays will also continue during Semester 2. Campus Rider services will operate along a longer route on weekends, said the school.
In the email, the housing office wrote: “We recognise that many of you have awaited news about the Semester 2 residential housing application for some time now.
“The original timeline slated for mid-November was affected by the fluid Covid-19 situation and additional time was needed to verify the maximum occupancy permitted for Semester 2, to be in line with the latest Ministry of Education guidelines.”
End of waiting
Some international students, like Muskaan Goyal, 21, have been eagerly awaiting the reopening of housing applications so they can secure a place to stay in Singapore. Muskaan moved out of her room at Hall 14 to return to India for the holidays.
The final-year business student said: “Until I have confirmed accommodation in Singapore, I can’t fly back. I have no other housing or family in Singapore. I’ll have to take a leave of absence.”
Without Hall stay last semester, Mechanical Engineering student Lau Ka Yan, 19, said she had to endure three hours of commute daily to travel to school from Yishun — sometimes for just one hour of tutorial in class.
The freshman, who did not apply in Semester 1 due to concerns of the coronavirus, said: “After long hours of dance practice, I found myself travelling home on empty trains at 11.30pm, only reaching home at 12am, hoping to wake up for an 8am class the next morning. The entire semester was very draining.”
While relieved that she can now apply for Hall, she was frustrated that she cannot choose the type of room to stay in.
“As someone who has financial constraints, not being able to choose room types is very concerning because I simply cannot afford to stay in a single room,” said Ka Yan.
She added that she will still apply for a room, but will not stay on campus if allocated a single room.
Students’ Union updates
The opening of applications was announced a day after the Students’ Union informed students in an email yesterday (Dec 14) that the Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS) had yet to update students on the status of Hall applications.
SU President Cheah Guan Ying told Soapbox she sent many emails to school authorities to reflect the student body’s unhappiness with the lack of information regarding Hall stay.
“The reality is, we do not have an answer because HAS did not inform us about anything. Whenever we don’t know something, we will quickly check with the relevant departments. Though the school is still in discussion with the Ministry of Education and their departments, it’s always good for them to update on the progress,” she said.
Guan Ying said the Union could not give an answer to many students who approached them for help with Hall stay as HAS did not keep them updated.
“I’m glad that something has been done, and students have an explanation now,” said the third-year Sociology student.
“I hope that it won’t happen again and the school will know that communication is important because students have the right to be informed,” she said.
To apply for Hall stay, click here.
On Dec 15, Soapbox reported in the article “Hall allocation for Sem 2 now open on a first-come-first-served basis: No choice of Hall, room type or roommate” that Hall allocation will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
It has come to our attention that this is untrue and we have removed this error from our article after seeking clarification with our sources.
The inaccurate claim was added into the article by myself when I was personally given the information from my sources.
On behalf of Soapbox, I apologise for any inconvenience or panic this may have caused, and for falling short of our reporting standards. Our team and myself will strive to better.
Osmond Chia, Chief Editor of Soapbox