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UAE Schools Fall Short on University Guidance

UAE schools are falling short when it comes to providing their students the information and know-how they need when it comes to university choices and applications, according to the finding of the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com 2014 University survey.


Respondents gave UAE schools an average of 5/10 when asked to rank the provision for university advice and insight, help with application and personal statements, and the facilitation of visits from local and international universities.

Help from schools with applications and personal statements was marked the lowest with an average rating of 4.95. The facilitation of university visits ranked a fraction higher with 5.03, while the provision of university advice achieved one notch higher with a score of 5.05.

Success rates in applications to universities can be greatly helped with specialised knowledge that some schools are able to provide.

Advice can take the form of student guidance as to which universities to apply to, based on a student’s specific talents and abilities (in some cases specific university colleges where a school has a relationship or understands which specialize in what subjects), while help with personal statements comes in the form of proofreading, identifying where a statement may need strengthening, or if a university is known to look for something in particular, suggesting a focus on specific areas within the statement.

University visits to schools not only helps a student identify which universities feel right for him or her, but also provide insights into the admissions process. In this regard, UAE schools being far from the target destinations of many their students, are at a disadvantage when it comes to their European, US or Asian peers.

If you are a student in the UAE, find out if your school offers similar kind of help as this school in the UK:

“All students are given subject mentors who advise them on their personal statements in conjunction with their tutors and advise on wide reading.


“Students are given advice on their personal statements by their tutors, subject mentors and the Head of Sixth Form.

“Departments run University Preparation Classes, helping students to broaden their subject knowledge beyond the confines of the syllabus and to prepare those expecting interviews through suggested wide reading.

“The school offers an Interview Preparation Club to give students interview practise.

“Students who expect to be interviewed also have mock interviews conducted by external interviewers.”

Note: Educators in the UAE believe schools do a much better job at providing this information than the other surveyed groups. For example, Educators give schools 5.65 on average for university guidance while students give schools only 4.75. This is likely to a mix of unrealistic expectations of students, in combination with schools failing to benchmark their actual delivery in any meaningful way.


Sources for information


Weak university guidance by schools is reflected by the fact that the primary source for information on universities for students in the UAE is the web. Respondents ranked online sources of considerably more value than school guidance services (6.33 versus 5.29).

Note: This trend was reversed only for British students, presumably attending British schools. For British students, school guidance services marginally edged out web sites.

Other sources of information for students are Education fairs such as GETEX which comes in third (4.92), and newspapers which come in a distant fourth (4.19), on a par with discussions with friends.

Discussions with family registers a very distant sixth… Parents – you need to do more research.

The Survey:
UAE Universities Fail to Make the Grade
Students Failed Before Arrival at University?
UAE Schools Fall Short on University Guidance
University, and Parent Fears
University: Parent’s Pay, But Don’t Decide

About the Survey
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com ran its University survey through the month of February, and collected just under 250 responses from educators, students and parents.

WhichSchoolAdvisor’s research team runs surveys regularly on its web site. If you have an idea for a survey you would like us to consider, please contact editor@edu2021.com.


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