How Does the University Application Process Look Like for a UAE Student? |

How Does the University Application Process Look Like for a UAE Student?

Applying for university soon as a student from the UAE? Read one Swiss International Scientific School graduate's first-hand experience!

Posted on

31 May 2021

Last updated on 13 June 2021
University application process for students who graduated from the UAE

From researching colleges to admission results...

Hi! My name is Riya Singhal, and I am in G12 following the International Baccalaureate program. Considering it’s my final year I recently applied to universities and have been actively engaged in the university process for almost a year now! I am here so I can share my experience with you!

Firstly, I would like to say that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to change your mind, it’s fine if you don’t want to do something anymore. Making college decisions it’s a crucial part of your life and the process can be rather exhausting.

I remember when I was in the early years of high school, I used to get so excited listening to my seniors talk about college, but I could never fully resonate or understand them till the time my university process began. I started my research at the very start of grade 11. From the start, I knew which major or career I wanted to follow, which was definitely an advantage.

Looking back at the start of G11, I was very overly ambitious but let me just say it’s completely okay to do that! Honestly, it’s important to dream big and nobody should ever tell you that ANY university is out of your “league”. I started my process by first deciding the countries I wanted to apply to, the US and UK.

Applying for university as a UAE high school graduate

Then, I went ahead and created a very detailed chart of things that I wanted in the Uni that I will go to, I added details like SAT scores needed, predicted grades, acceptance rate, student to faculty ratio, sports, and more.

I made 2 excel pages one for all the UK universities and one for the US. At first, I added all the universities I probably liked within a glimpse, I had like 20 US universities in the beginning. But then I researched deeply into each university and decided which ones I liked, had the major I wanted, were in a quieter city, and more.

Using this method, I ruled out quite a few universities, but this process can be very difficult because it’s not only about what you like but if that university is realistic and matches your goals. This was hurtful because some universities I always wanted to go to as a child were no longer on my list, but I realized that it’s okay and now I have universities that would be a good fit for me personally.

I think one of the most important things I learned during this whole university exploration process was how unpredictable life can be and the importance of having an open mind when applying.

"It’s completely okay to change your mind from time to time, it’s a part of the process!"

You can say that maybe I had this feeling because of the Pandemic but to be honest it was more than that. I remember since a young child I always wanted to go to the US for my higher education, and I applied to a bunch of universities there but then somehow after applying and even getting in, I just realized that I am no longer sure If I want to be so away from home.

Applying for university as a UAE high school graduate

This is why I started considering UK more than I ever had. In the UK since you can only apply to 5 universities, I decided to apply to 2 universities as a backup in Ireland, and I didn’t expect to get in, but I did! And now I am considering and valuing my offers from Ireland more than the ones in the US, even though, the US was my childhood dream.

This taught me that it’s completely okay to change your mind from time to time, it’s a part of the process! Overall, I know each and every student will get into a university that will be the best fit for them! So, I am sure you will be fine, just like I was eventually!

Riya received a number of offers, but is hoping to be able to accept her first-choice offer to study Law at Bristol University.

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