The complete NUS Hall guide: Cultures, Fees, FAQs
When someone says the word “university experience”, I’m sure images of staying on campus pops into your mind. We have all probably heard the claim: “It’s hard to make friends if you don’t stay in hall / RC!”.
How true is this statement? What exactly constitutes the NUS hall / RC culture?
To complement the NUS freshmen guide, this article is the first of a two-part series on residential stay in NUS. It lists only the student halls available on the NUS campus, their cultures, and answers some frequently asked questions.
Check out the second part of the series where we walk you through the NUS Residential Collegess and Student Residences.
As someone who decided to stay on campus for half of her university life based on a last-minute decision, I hope that this guide is useful for those looking for information about staying on campus. (Although there’s no shame if you decided on a whim as I did.)
Alternatively, if you are still contemplating which university to apply to, you can refer to our university guide.
What’s the difference between NUS hall, RCs and student residences?
Confused about the numerous halls and RCs? Not to worry, for we have compiled a basic introduction to guide you through the different hostels.
There are 3 different kinds of campus housing available at NUS: halls of residences (halls), colleges (RCs) and student residences.
NUS halls are typically known for their culture and talents; for instance, Eusoff Hall is known for their sports, while King Edward VII Hall is known for their performing arts.
Staying at a hall requires participation in hall life. Depending on the activities or interest groups you join, you are awarded points that determine whether you get to continue staying in the hall.
RCs are known for their cultures, and modules you have to take under their academic curriculum. Staying at an RC is contingent upon whether you have passed the relevant RC modules and attended compulsory talks or forums.
Student residences are less strict because you do not necessarily have to actively participate in interest groups or take compulsory modules to maintain your stay there.
However, there are some rooms that student residences reserve for certain students (i.e. those from varsity teams or pursuing specific degrees), so expect increased competition for the rooms. Nonetheless, students can still apply for a room.
How do we apply for NUS hall?
NUS Hall application process
You can apply to NUS campus housing via the portal.
To apply to stay in an NUS hall, one usually has to write about how they would contribute to the hall through sports, culture, leadership etc.
(Do note that application processes are subject to variation across the different halls!)
What are the NUS hall fees?
The fees listed below are for Students matriculated from AY2020/2021 Special Term Part 1.
Staying in a hall means you have to pay for a meal plan on top of your usual fees.
The dining hall meal plan will provide you with breakfast and lunch, with a variety of cuisines ranging from vegetarian to Western.
Sourced from CAPT|NUS
Sometimes, the dining hall will even serve themed dinners according to the holidays. Below is a picture of local cuisine served for residents on National Day 2019.
Should the fees be too overwhelming, students can apply for financial aid. Each of the colleges’ websites will also indicate the option for financial aid or scholarship.
NUS Hall / RC Life and Culture
Stumped about the differences between the individual halls? We will now provide a guide explaining each hall’s unique culture.
If anything, this article proves that the opportunity to identify and form relationships with like-minded individuals is one that is extremely precious.
Should you choose to stay on campus or not, we sincerely hope that you find communities you trust, and safe spaces you can grow in.
Eusoff Hall Culture and Information
Eusoff Hall is typically known as a sports hall. Just look at all the sports CCAs they offer in the image below!
Sourced from Eusoff hall | Instagram
I reached out to A (pseudonym used), someone who stayed in Eusoff for 2 years. She reminisces that while Eusoff has a strong sports culture, in recent years, they have shifted to focus on other aspects to be more well-rounded.
Some of A’s favourite aspects of Eusoff are its convenience and community. Located next to the Kent Ridge bus terminal and the famous supper stretch, Eusoffians can frequent various shops for supper after a long day of lessons and training.
Sourced from Pham Quyen Vietnamese Street Food | Facebook
Sourced from NUS blog
A shares that one of the downsides was the small size of the community; gossip tended to spread fast as a result (though this might also apply to other halls / RCs with a small population!).
Nonetheless, A was able to find a close-knit community in Eusoff and formed close friendships with people that she could rely on.
Kent Ridge Hall Culture and Information
Sourced from Kent Ridge Hall
Sourced from Kent Ridge Hall | Instagram
An example of KR’s hall productions is included in the image above.
B shares that he has made close friends in KR Hall, and the ease of meeting them is “good for mental health”.
He highlights that one has to be disciplined to manage their hall commitments on top of their studies.
King Edward VII Hall Culture and Information
Le, a third-year student who has resided in King Edward VII Hall since his freshman year, voices that KE Hall is known for its vibrant arts scene.
While KE offers a variety of performing arts such as band, choir and dance, Le was ultimately drawn to apply to KE for dance.
Sourced from King Edward VII Hall | Instagram
Now the captain of KE Dance, Le shares that the interest groups receive “reasonable budgets and […] support from the office team”.
He also states that most IGs are beginner-friendly; he acted for the first time in KE Hallplay, and even choreographed for the first time in KE Dance.
Le says that a downside to KE would be that there is no lift, so it is not accessible for those who are injured or disabled. Furthermore, being surrounded by nature, one might find “bugs and lizards visiting [their] room”.
Nonetheless, Le enjoys how the rooms at KE seem bigger than other halls or RCs (from what he has observed). He also states that KE is in a conveniently located area; being near Kent Ridge MRT, Medicine and Science.
Prince George Park House Culture and Information
C (pseudonym), who is currently staying at PGP House, shares that it is rather “chill” and “homely”.
PGP House, unlike the other halls, does not require residents to take up a lot of CCAs to earn hall points. Residents can instead choose to take up leadership roles for hall points.
C appreciates the convenience of PGP House; you can walk to Supper Stretch from the back gate, or even hop on bus 183 to get there. Burger King, Subway and Starbucks at One@KentRidge is also a quick walk away.
One of the downsides would be that PGP House is still undergoing renovation, so some amenities are not yet available for residents to use.
C strongly recommends that those staying nearby should try Al Amaan’s at Supper Stretch.
Sourced from Al Amaan Restaurant Pte Ltd | Facebook
Raffles Hall Culture and Information
Sourced from NUS Raffles hall
Marcuz, who stayed in Raffles Hall for three years, shared that they are known to be a “hall of opportunities”, where anyone has “the chance to try out new hall CCAs”.
He adds that they are generally “very accepting, as long as you have the interest and passion”.
While the RH rooms are “pretty old” and “surrounded by nature”, Marcuz views this positively.
He thinks this creates a more “kampung and relaxed kind of lifestyle” where you can even spot “roosters and their families roaming around”.
Sourced from NUS Raffles hall | Instagram
He also enjoys the “prime and central location” of Raffles Hall, near UTown, the University Sports Center and Yusof Ishak House.
There is even a straight bus to Clementi, adding to the convenience of Raffles Hall.
Sheares Hall Culture and Information
D (pseudonym used), who is currently a fourth year residing at Sheares, shares that NUS Sheares Hall is known for their “strong community that bonds people together with fun, cultural CCAs”.
Sourced from NUS Sheares Hall | Instagram
She shares that Sheares provides residents with “many opportunities” and “student-led activities” which they can join, exposing them to new skills.
There is also an abundance of avenues to interact with other people.
One of the downsides of hall life would be that of the busy schedule it creates; some might feel pressured to join more activities to avoid missing out, and those with bad time management might end up overexerting themselves.
This is a possibility that is common in most NUS halls and RCs, so it would be best to learn how to prioritise your own well-being should you apply.
SH is located near supper stretch, the FASS canteen, and the PGP canteens, making one spoilt for choice.
Temasek Hall Culture and Information
E (pseudonym used), who stayed at NUS Temasek Hall for 3 years, shares that they are known for their sports and cultural activities.
The interest groups are beginner-friendly; there are “many opportunities to try new things”.
E voices that Temasek Hall is a “good place to make friends”, where living together with familiar friends makes it easy for them to “chill” together.
However, having a packed NUS hall life has its cons too. If you are someone who “FOMOs” easily and ends up joining too many activities, you might tire out quickly.
Although staying on campus allows one to hone their time management skills, E advises that one should still be careful with their time,
Temasek Hall is relatively near the FASS canteen, the Deck, as well as supper stretch. E recommends those new to TH to try Formosa Delights’ laziji (mala chicken)!
Sourced from Wikimedia
NUS Hall Guide: Concluding Thoughts
Although it is not compulsory to attend hall orientation camps, I highly recommend it since it increases your chances of making friends.
Participating actively in NUS hall is also not compulsory.
However, if you are not active enough during your stay, future stay beyond freshman year will not be guaranteed.
Even if you choose not to stay on campus, there are still several opportunities to make friends, such as joining various CCAs as outlined in our article on surviving NUS as a freshman.
I hope this guide to staying in an NUS hall is helpful for those contemplating staying on campus. Thank you to everyone interviewed in this article for taking the time to answer my questions!
Check out the second part of the series where we walk you through the NUS Residential Colleges and Student Residences!
Note: This is not an exhaustive and complete guide to each NUS hall. More in-depth research should be done about the fine details of campus living.