Starving for an education  

Note: At the time of posting, Alvin painted a scenario of an aspiring engineer rejected admission to a university. Since then, this premise has been heavily disputed. He apparently willfully misrepresented himself. If those are the facts, he has mislead many people who genuinely supported him.

That said, I’m leaving the post up in the name of openness.

Oh the drama.

Hello, my name is Alvin Wang, and I’m 21 years old. Recently, my application to pursue a degree in Computer Science at National University of Singapore was rejected.

I truly enjoy developing applications using Java, C#, Visual Basic, Javascript. Apart from school, I have also taught myself how to design interfaces in Photoshop, craft websites using web standards in HTML, CSS, PHP, and have been at it since I was 13. I am currently delving into iOS development with Objective-C.

I am starving for this opportunity.

In short, an engineer with a huge potential is rejected by Singapore’s most well regarded university - the National University of Singapore (NUS). Unable to give up, he started a web page to appeal for his reconsideration.

Here’s my theory:

NUS has a record, on the surface at least, of encouraging students to go off the beaten path. They were the first to have a work-exchange program in Silicon Valley to encourage entrepreneurship. They were the first (locally) to have an iOS development course. So it’s ironic that they are still that rigid. But I’m not surprised. As we often see, great intent can be destroyed with bad execution.

While Alvin’s attitude warmed my heart, I’m still left discouraged. Like Silicon Valley, Singapore is starved of engineers. As I’ve mentioned before, solving the problem of talent during education is crucial. Local institutions must play their part.

I’ve experienced this lack of talent first hand. While running Startup Roots, I made it a point to find engineers with exceptional potential among the Singapore’s students. That involved screening through countless resumes.

And Alvin’s repertoire reads better than 90% of them.


If NUS continues to remains blind, don’t be disenchanted. There are always other schools.

Or enter the world of startups. Start a company. Join a startup. Others have done it. We’ll welcome you with open arms.


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