Summer Opportunities FAQ

Summers at university offer an exciting opportunity for personal development and reflection. They are a time for you to broaden your horizons and try new experiences. Students’ desires are unique and each student will gain something different from any given opportunity. Recognising this, CIPE strives to offer a diverse array of opportunities to match the diverse aspirations of the Yale-NUS student body. Here are some frequently asked questions about our various offered summer programs. We hope they aid you as you consider how you would like to best make use of your summer. As always, please feel free to contact your CIPE advisor with any further questions or proposals you might have.
CIPE Summer1

General

Will first-year students be favored over second and third year students for placements?

Selection for all CIPE opportunities is based on merit and potential for growth. In cases where we are working with third party organizations their stated needs and specific criteria will also drive selection. There may be instances when specific requirements may favor second or third year students, who might have more experience or skills, but this can just as easily be true of first-year students who have aptitude in certain languages or have had experiences or skills a partner organization may find compelling.

Is it possible to do two CIPE-sponsored activities in the summer?

In general, the answer is no. CIPE positions are competitive and intended to be accessible to as many students as possible. We also believe that immersing oneself in an experience and having time to prepare for and reflect about the experience are important aspects of learning. Our policy of sponsoring only one experience per student per summer is designed to encourage students to make the most of their opportunities and focus on the quality of that experience rather than encourage a higher quantity of shorter duration experiences. That said, there may be cases where a student engaged in a long-term summer opportunity may also be eligible for a week-long opportunity (such as NGO Bootcamp or a LAB).

Can I do the same programme two summers in a row?

As with most answers, this depends on the program. For some programmes, having already participated in the past will make you less desirable as a candidate. For others, it’s not a problem or might even be beneficial. We and our partners look at overall merit and fit of students, in addition to considering what you stand to gain from participation. If we think participating in the same programme two summers in a row offers even more opportunity for growth, of course we will recommend it, but the answer must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

What if I get accepted to another programme before my first-choice program? Can I defer acceptance?

There will be many occasions where we will need to make decisions with incomplete information. You might be accepted to an internship programme two weeks before you expect to hear back about your dream position and you’ll have to make a decision to either accept the first position or risk losing out on both. The same is true of CIPE programs. Most of our programs have varying deadlines and you will be accepted to some before others. Accepting a place in one programme typically requires withdrawing your application to another that is still pending a decision. If you find yourself in a position of having to decide with incomplete information, talk to your CIPE advisor or another CIPE staff member to weigh the pros and cons of the situation. Facing these decisions now will help you make more serious difficult decisions later in life.

If I find my own programme not already in CIPE’s programming, can I still get funding from CIPE?

As of now, only opportunities offered by CIPE are funded. Our funds are limited and partnership programs that we have vetted take precedence. However, we recommend you speak with your CIPE advisor about the non-CIPE programme you are interested in. There might be a way to integrate it within CIPE programming. If not, this is not a statement on the usefulness or integrity of the programme and we certainly encourage you to pursue it if that’s where your interests lie, even if it means securing your own funding for it.

Internships

What is the general application process for CIPE-coordinated internships?

  1. Students submit resumes, cover letters, and any additional supporting documents to Symplicity, starting in mid-January.
  • All students are required to have attended a Resume/Cover Letter workshop offered by CIPE. The next workshop will be offered in early January 2017, and past attendance in 2015/16 fulfills this pre-requisite.
  • We recommend working with your CIPE advisor to ensure that your application materials are strong. A strong application* is one in which your skills and talents connect with the job description.
  1. CIPE will forward all qualified applications* to the internship organization. After reviewing the student’s application, the organization will contact the student directly if they wish to offer an interview.
  • Students can typically expect to hear from the partner organization within 3-6 weeks after application materials have been submitted. This wide range in timelines is due to the different internal processes of each organization.
  1. Students who successfully interview and receive offers will have about 5 business days to accept or decline the offer. Students who are not selected are encouraged to request feedback from CIPE on how they can strengthen their candidacy for future applications, and to review their alternative options with their CIPE advisor.

What are the advantages of applying through CIPE for internships?

Many organizations have very competitive internship selection processes, and may receive over 100 resumes from students of both local and overseas universities. These are usually seen by a single university recruiter, who usually takes just 20-30 seconds to skim through each resume – this means a high possibility of good candidates being crowded out. To circumvent this, CIPE works with our partners to secure interview opportunities for students recommended by CIPE. This offers a more direct route for students to the interview stage, even if the organization may still sometimes choose not to proceed with an interview.

The close relationship that CIPE manages with our partners also helps us prepare students to put their best foot forward when customizing their application materials and interviewing with the organization. At the same time, these partnerships imply that CIPE has to consider multiple factors, including students’ growth and partners’ needs when managing the process.

When does an internship usually take place? Are students able to do internships during the school year?

Currently, CIPE only offers internships during the break from May to July. A period of 8-12 weeks over the summer would better allow student interns to have a more meaningful learning experience; employers would also be able to adequately train interns and assign them meaningful projects.

What is the application timeline for CIPE internships?

Internship details and application deadlines will be posted on the CIPE website on a rolling basis starting in early January. Corresponding rolling deadlines would usually be 3-4 weeks after the details are published. We expect to keep posting internship descriptions until as late as mid-April.

How long will it take to receive a decision about my internship application?

We expect that decisions will be made available any time from 3-8 weeks after each rolling application deadline. This wide range in timelines is due to the different internal processes of each organization. All applicants will eventually be notified about the result of their application.

How will students be selected for internships? What is the general application process for internships?

Internship applicants will have to submit a resume and cover letter and may have to go through up to 3 rounds of interviews with the partner organisation. We recommend working with your CIPE advisor to ensure that your application materials are strong. A strong application is one in which your skills and talents connect with the job description. While CIPE may in many cases be asked to give our recommendations, the final decision to hire a student intern will be made by the partner organisation.

Can I apply to more than one internship opportunity, and would this decrease my chances of being selected for any one of them?

You are welcome to apply to any number of internships you like, but once you accept an internship offer, you will have to withdraw all your other applications to CIPE opportunities whose timeline would overlap with that of your internship, including language study programmes, summer LABs, research attachments, etc. The number of applications that you submit has no effect on your chance of being selected. However, keep in mind that your applications will likely be stronger if you focus your efforts on a few opportunities rather than try to cast an overly wide net.

Will applicants with previous experience in a particular field have an advantage over applicants with no prior experience (e.g. programming for Google, finance for banks, etc.)?

While the selection committee will take previous experience into account, they will also consider the overall strength of the application, the level of the applicant’s interest and the needs of the partner organisation. There is no guarantee that an experienced applicant will definitely secure a specific internship. In general, at this stage of one’s college career, one’s potential is greater than one’s actual experience of achievements, so while skills can matter in some cases, partners are much more likely to evaluate you on things like interest, opportunity for growth, enthusiasm, maturity, critical thinking and analytical skills, written and oral communications skills, etc.

Will Week 7 LAB selection results impact internship applicants in any way?

No. All internship applications will be considered solely on merit.

Can CIPE help me prepare for my internship application?

Yes, of course! We will hold workshops and provide opportunities for one-on-one practice interview sessions to ensure that you are well prepared when you apply for your internship. Please reference the CIPE Fortnightly Newsletters and our Career Events page for the latest information on upcoming workshops.

Are CIPE internships paid?

Stipends for CIPE internships will vary depending on the partner organisation. Many NGOs or Public Interest Organisations offer a relatively small stipend. Most of our corporate partners offer stipends. On a case-by-case basis, CIPE will provide some additional financial support to ensure that finances are not a concern in deciding whether a student should apply for a specific opportunity. As a general rule of thumb, please note that internships are primarily meant to be an opportunity for professional and personal learning and development, rather than a revenue-generating opportunity.

Can CIPE provide financial support for an unpaid internship that I secure on my own?

Students who are interested in funding for internships not coordinated through CIPE should apply for Self-Sourced Internship Funding, a highly competitive program. More information is available on Symplicity.

Where will I live while I am doing my internship?

If you are a Singaporean student doing a Singapore-based internship, we will expect you to live at home. If you are an international student on a Singapore-based internship, you will be able to stay on campus for the duration of your internship (subject to certain conditions) and depending on stipend you are receiving, you may be asked to cover the cost of the housing. If you are going on an overseas internship, CIPE can provide you guidance and resources in securing suitable accommodation there.

When should my internship end?

All CIPE internships should finish in time for students to move-in on their assigned move in day and attend the first day of classes. No CIPE-coordinated internships will result in a late start to classes.

I am very interested in the Mystery Internship. How is it different from other internships in terms of the application and selection process? Is there any difference in terms of the actual work experience?

The mystery continues… We could tell you, but then it wouldn’t be as much of a mystery…

Is Symplicity an internship aggregator or simply a platform for posting Yale-NUS internships?

Both. There are partners that would like CIPE to collate all the applications on their behalf while others will want all applications to be done at their own portals. In the case of the latter, CIPE will still post these in Symplicity for 2 reasons – 1. Create awareness of these internships and 2. Encourage students to seek CIPE’s support review the application materials first before they actually apply.

What has happened to the internship partners announced at the college’s inauguration?

The internship partner relationships established at the start of the college have evolved over time, as many partners have implemented new internal policies or undergone organizational restructuring. We understand that these changes have impacted their original commitments to us, and have hence been building relationshipswith many more leading organisations in Singapore, the region, and the world. CIPE works with students to prepare for the competitive applications process and to navigate complexities involved with recruiting processes.

Is there a difference between a Yale-NUS internship and an NUS internship?

Yale-NUS internship opportunities are cultivated by CIPE after conversations with the employer assessing fit and suitability. Internships publicised by the NUS Centre for Future Ready Graduates (CFG) cater to a much wider spectrum of the student body and are often designated by faculties and/or degree programmes. Students are welcome to apply to internships offered by NUS with CIPE’s support, but will be competing with a much larger pool of students.

Why do some internship applications go through a filtering process by CIPE?

CIPE works with Yale-NUS students to help strengthen application materials for competitive processes. On some occasions, selected employers have requested that CIPE be involved in the selection process. We are moving away from this practice nowadays as in many instances, our application numbers are small enough for our partners to manage their own screening.

NGO Bootcamp

What is NGO Bootcamp?

NGO Bootcamp is a 5-day intensive training programme designed to equip students with the skills necessary for work in community development settings, in particular to prepare them for public interest internships.

Who can apply to NGO Bootcamp?

NGO Bootcamp is open to everyone, regardless of whether you plan on doing a public interest internship or not.

What are the NGO Bootcamp dates?

NGO Bootcamp will be offered after classes end in early May.

Summer Study Abroad

Do I get academic credit for the classes I take over the summer?

Courses taken during the summer are just as rigorous as those taken during the semester, and summer study abroad through Yale Summer Session is credit-bearing. Students earn 5 MCs for each Yale credit earned (most students will earn either 1 or 2 Yale credits), with a maximum of 10 MCs allowed during each summer. Students participating in non-Yale Summer Session study abroad programs may also be eligible to earn academic credit. This will be awarded through a petition process. For more information, please click here.

Will the classes I take show up on my Yale-NUS transcript?

Credits earned through summer study abroad will show up on the Yale-NUS transcript, along with the name of the institution where they were earned. The grades and the names of the classes you take will appear only on the transcript from your host institution. If in the future you need to submit your college transcripts (for graduate school or fellowship applications, for example), you’ll submit both your Yale-NUS transcript along with the transcript from your study abroad host institution(s).

Will my grades factor into my CAP?

Grades earned during summer study abroad will not factor into your CAP, though transfer credit will not be granted if a passing grade (as determined by the host institution) is not earned.

Can I study abroad on a programme other than Yale Summer Session?

Yes! For the upcoming summer, CIPE is pleased to offer the Summer Academic Scholarship (SAS) and Summer Arts Scholarship as well. And independent from that, we encourage you to explore and attend other programs on your own, beyond CIPE’s offerings. If you wish to earn credit for a programme that has not been pre-approved, you will need to go through a petition process; see “Do I get academic credit for the classes I take over the summer?” above.

Summer Language Study

What languages can I study over the summer?

Summer is a great time to develop and strengthen language skills, and CIPE is offering three kinds of scholarships to support summer language studies. Chinese, under the auspices of the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF); Spanish, with funding from Banco Santander; and all other languages, under the Summer Language Scholarship (SLS). In short, you are free to pursue studies in any language!

Do I get academic credit for my summer language study?

Summer language study on pre-approved programs is credit-bearing. The number of MCs earned varies based on the duration and intensity of the programme and the amount of material covered, but students can typically expect to earn 5-8 MCs for a summer language course. Students participating in programmes that are not pre-approved may also be eligible to earn academic credit. This will be awarded through the petition process.

Which languages are there existing pre-approved summer programmes?

At present, there are pre-approved summer programs in Chinese and Spanish. “Pre-approval” means that certain programs have already been vetted by Yale-NUS faculty and administrators for academic rigor, facilities, support, and safety (among other things), and that the credits you earn through these programs will transfer to your Yale-NUS record without you having to petition for it.

Will grades from summer language study appear on my Yale-NUS transcript?

Credits earned through summer study abroad will show up on the Yale-NUS transcript, along with the name of the institution where they were earned. The grades and the names of the classes you take will appear only on the transcript from your host institution. Grades earned during summer study abroad will not factor into your CAP, though transfer credit will not be granted if a passing grade (as determined by the host institution) is not earned.

Can I attend a summer programme that hasn’t yet been approved?

Yes! We encourage you to explore other programs beyond CIPE’s offerings. If you wish to earn credit for a programme that is not pre-approved, you will need to go through the petition process. Do keep in mind that non-CIPE sponsored summer programs will not be funded by CIPE.

What are the criteria that a potential language programme will be judged on?

Students applying for Summer Language Study (for languages other than Chinese and Spanish) must select two programs of interest for their proposed language of study. Programmes are judged on criteria like academic rigor, depth of local immersion, duration, end date (it should allow one to return to campus before the new academic year starts), etc. Alternatively, for reference, you could search for programs that Yale students have attended before at https://cie.yale.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.SimpleSearch. Though there is no necessary connection between this database and what Yale-NUS faculty and administrators will eventually approve, the programs listed here are well worth checking out and can be a great starting point for your search.

How do I apply to these programs? Do I apply “through CIPE”?

For CIPE-sponsored summer language study, the first step will be to apply for CIPE sponsorship. Details about this application process will be provided in the coming weeks. Students wishing to study on a language programme will also need to apply to the programme itself, and language programme applications are external to and independent of Yale-NUS. You need to apply to them directly, and each has different application requirements and deadlines. The deadlines range from mid/late January to late March. If you know that you’d like to study a language over the summer, we recommend that you start researching programmes early.

To which should I first apply: the scholarships or the programmes themselves?

If you are sure you want to – and know you are able to – attend a summer programme regardless of whether or not you receive funding through CIPE, please go ahead and complete and submit your applications to summer programs ASAP, ahead of the individual deadlines. But if you will only be able to attend a summer programme on the condition that you receive funding, then in courteous consideration of your recommenders’ busy schedules (most programs require a rec), it’d be wiser to wait till you receive notification of decisions from CIPE around January before you inform your professor of your need for a rec and apply to the programs directly. For tips on how to request a letter of recommendation, click here.

Summer Research Programme (SRP)

In which disciplines are research opportunities available?

Faculty-led projects are available in the sciences and social sciences. Specific subjects vary year-to-year, depend on participating faculty. Student-initiated projects can be in any discipline.

I have previous experience or knowledge in a given discipline. Will that give me an advantage when applying for a faculty-led project in that discipline?

Prior knowledge and experience are helpful, but not always. For example, experience writing biology papers would not be very useful for a biology research project that requires programming skills.
However, a seeming lack of relevant experience should not deter you from applying. Summer research is about learning and exposing yourself to new experiences; research work also involves many possible activities, including literature reading and reviews, coding, fieldwork, working with test subjects and handling equipment. Even if you haven’t studied a particular subject, skills you have picked up in other ways could still be relevant and useful.

I have no prior research experience. Does this affect my chances when applying with a student-initiated research project proposal?

Student-initiated project proposals are typically submitted by students who already have some research experience (preferably a year or more). If you have an interest but little or no prior experience in research, consider applying for a faculty-led research project through the SRP or the Student Associate Programme, or approaching a faculty member directly for potential research opportunities.

Are there any academic requirements (CAP, major) when applying for the SRP?

The Summer Research Programme is open to all majors.
Faculty-led opportunities are open to only first- and second-year students. Student-initiated project proposals can be submitted by first, second or third-year students, and academic standing is one of the evaluation criteria.
Certain faculty-led research projects may require a specific skill set and therefore favor candidates with a particular background – e.g. in biology, psychology or computer science.

Do I choose my research supervisor, or do supervisors make positions available?

Faculty-led SRP opportunities are posted by individual faculty supervisors on the Symplicity system, similarly to CIPE-coordinated internships.
If you want to pursue a student-initiated project, you must approach and secure a research supervisor – a faculty or another professional with relevant expertise. You must discuss the project with your supervisor at least a month in advance, and gain their feedback and informal approval for your proposal before submitting it to CIPE.

Will it hurt my chances to apply to more than one faculty-led research project?

We encourage you to apply for up to two projects, unless there are very compelling reasons to apply for more. This allows you to focus your efforts and ensure that your applications showcase your best work.

What funding support is available for participants in the SRP?

The level and type of funding support varies depending on the location and the type of project (faculty-led vs student-initiated). Please refer to the SRP page for details.

Where are summer research opportunities based?

Faculty-led summer research projects are based mainly in Singapore. Student-initiated research projects could be based in Singapore and/or overseas.

What is the application timeline for the SRP?

The Summer Research Programme deadline is in mid-February. Results are announced in mid-March. You will be notified via email from CIPE.

I’ve been offered a spot in the SRP! What happens next?

You will have a week to decide whether to join the programme. You will be expected to reply in writing via email to either accept or decline the offer.

The deadline to confirm my spot is approaching but I won’t be able to reply by then. Can I get an extension?

CIPE can only grant you an extension in exceptional circumstances, such as a sudden illness or a family emergency. We cannot grant an extension if you want to see the results from all your other applications before making a decision, since the delay in your reply holds back other students from a spot in the SRP.

May I pursue any other CIPE opportunities if I have committed to the SRP?

Once you have confirmed your spot in the SRP, you will be expected to withdraw in writing from all other application for CIPE opportunities. You may pursue other external (non-CIPE) opportunities, as long as they do not clash with your SRP dates.

Can I work on two research projects simultaneously while on the SRP?

Typically, you will be working on one project with one faculty supervisor. With faculty permission, you can also work on a joint project with two faculty members. We advise against working on two completely separate projects, as it affects your focus and the amount of learning you gain from each individual project.

What programme activities are available during the SRP?

For students pursuing research projects in Singapore, CIPE organises discussions, field trips, workshops and social events to help develop a better understanding of various kinds of research, share stories and impressions and learn to present your work in an accessible manner to non-specialists. If you have ideas for other activities, please share them with the SRP programme coordinator.

Am I allowed to take a break while on the SRP?

When you commit to the SRP, you also commit to being present from the entire duration of your research project. In most cases, that entails 8-10 consecutive weeks of research. If there is a break in the project schedule (due to faculty supervisor commitments, etc), you are welcome to arrange personal travel during that time. Please inform CIPE of any planned interruptions in your programme schedule, since that affects your programme support.

Will I be graded on my research work during the summer?

The SRP aims to promote skill and knowledge building, sustained interest and deep immersion in research, and reflection on whether it is a good career fit for you. You will not be graded on your research work or on your symposium presentation after the SRP.

What happens after I complete the SRP?

All SRP participants must complete a post-summer survey about their programme experience and give a poster or multimedia presentation about their work at a research symposium in Semester 1.
After completing the SRP, you may be able to continue your research during the school year as a Student Associate appointment or as an independent study. CIPE may approach you for help to mentor future SRP participants.

Writing Fellowship Programme

I don’t have any portfolio-worthy pieces from the past year or more. Will that make my application less compelling?

You are welcome to submit earlier works. However, the strongest applications will demonstrate a consistent, serious commitment to improving your writing, ideally including a Yale-NUS writing course that you have taken or plan to take.

If I have already participated in the Writing Fellowship Programme, can I apply again?

The Writing Fellowship Programme is only open to students who have not been on the programme before.

Social Impact Fellowships and Travel Fellowships

What is the difference between a social impact fellowship and a travel fellowship?

In general terms, social impact fellowships aim to serve the community, both in Singapore or abroad, and travel fellowships aim to offer students academic insights they cannot experience at Yale-NUS College or in Singapore. Exact parameters for the two grants can be found here:
Social Impact Fellowships
Travel Fellowships

Is there a budget limit for social impact fellowships or travel fellowships?

There is no set budget; however, grants generally range between SGD$1000 and $2000.

Summer LABs (Learning Across Boundaries)

When will the details for Summer LABs be available?

The details for Summer LABs are usually posted in February. Check the LABS page for more information.

How do I apply for Summer LABs?

More details will be available when the Summer LABs are posted.

Is there a co-pay for Summer LABs?

Yes, there will be co-pays for Summer LABs. Please check each LAB webpage for its respective co-pay. Financial aid and merit-based grants to cover the co-pay will be available.

On-Campus Housing

What is the general process for applying for housing on-campus during the summer vacation period?

If you are in need of housing in Singapore this summer, please apply for Yale-NUS Summer Housing at https://goo.gl/forms/aM2GitM8r2wGdS6v2. Priority for on-campus summer housing will be given to international students, and available at a weekly rate of S$200/week (Sunday – Sunday). Interested students should apply online as soon as they have confirmed details with their programme organizer, including start/end dates.

Do students participating in a CIPE-coordinated internship get accommodation or are they expected to pay for it through their stipend?

Students participating in CIPE-coordinated internships are expected to contribute to the cost of housing, if the stipend they receive from the employer is greater than $600/month ($150/week). $150/week is the minimum amount that Yale-NUS has allocated for living expenses during an internship in Singapore.

What level of internship stipend will qualify a student for financial support?

For internships coordinated through CIPE, we have budgeted support for students who are being paid between $0-150/week by the employer (or $0-350/week for international students requiring on-campus housing). Below is an example, for illustration purposes. For verification of how much support you can expect from CIPE, please contact the CIPE Programme Manager who has been in contact with you about the opportunity.

I sourced an opportunity on my own but am not getting paid enough by my employer. Can CIPE help me pay for housing?

As with many organizations, CIPE sets a budget every year where we plan to allocate expenses based on programs in our horizon. We created the Self-Sourced Internship Fund (SSIF) to financially support students who are sourcing their own opportunities. If you did not apply for the Self-Sourced Internship Fund, we encourage you to look into alternative accommodations that fit within your budget constraints (see below).

Can I receive financial support from CIPE but decide to live off-campus?

Students who receive financial support from CIPE are expected to stay on-campus during their summer programme.

I am Singaporean but my home is very far from where I will be working this summer. Can CIPE support me to stay on-campus during the summer?

Housing is a large expense for students and CIPE-alike. Singaporean students are welcome to apply for on-campus housing, but will have to cover their own expenses, if you choose to stay on-campus.

Are Yale-NUS students able to apply for NUS housing options for the summer?

Yale-NUS students may apply for vacation housing directly with the other NUS residences.  More information about summer housing at NUS is available on their website. Please note that students receiving funding from CIPE need to stay on-campus at Yale-NUS during their official programme dates.

What happens if students only secure a CIPE internship much later after they have applied for the summer housing?

Students will not be expected to pay for summer housing until May (earliest), when placements are confirmed. CIPE and the Finance office will work with individual students on special cases, for as a delayed start date.

Who should I contact if I have more questions about on-campus housing during the summer?

Please contact the Dean of Students office (deanofstudents@yale-nus.edu.sg) or the CIPE Programme Manager who has been in contact with you about the opportunity.