Is extracurricular participation common or an expectation at Yale-NUS?
To be honest, the culture at Yale-NUS is fairly extracurriculars-oriented, in that almost every is part of at least one co-curricular activity (CCA). This is especially the case amongst freshmen in their first semester, who are excited by all the opportunities available to them at the college and may end up taking more CCAs than they can fully commit to. In general, though, most students figure out what their limits are and drop CCAs accordingly, by the end of the first, ungraded semester at the latest.
It is important for students to establish a balance between CCAs and academics, and to figure out what they want to put more time and energy into. It is usually not advisable to take on a large amount of high-commitment roles at one. Sports teams, for example, take up a substantial amount of time with trainings, and can be quite tiring. Most students do not do more than one, sometimes two, sports.
As a result of considerations like these, there is a substantial amount of CCAs that are low-commitment or events-based, allowing students to take part without requiring too much additional work or functioning more as platforms for students to get involved in particular events. Groups such as the Japan Society and the Visual Arts Society function in this way.
Amongst upperclasmen, especially juniors and seniors, there is a tendency to just focus on and dedicate one’s energies to just one CCA. Executive committee members for extracurricular activities tend to be upperclass students. Some upperclassmen will even drop all extracurriculars for a time in order to focus on academics.