UWC & THE IB
What are the United World Colleges?
The United World Colleges movement is a non-profit group of 18 international schools located all around the world. It is dedicated to promoting international understanding through education. The President of the UWC movement is Queen Noor of Jordan.
What is the environment at a UWC usually like?
UWCs are intentionally located in small communities where students can interact with the locals; however, its typical size of 200-300 students means that it is usually a close-knit, intense environment. Students come from about 160 countries, so there is plenty of diversity. While UWC is not utopia, most students quickly find support groups and enjoy close ties with the faculty and staff.
What’s the difference between UWC and any other international school?
Without making any generalisations, UWC is definitely one of the most diverse communities in the world. It is not just a boarding school, students are constantly challenged to juggle their time between studies, activities, special events, trips, daily life and most of all, to discover other cultures without forgetting their own. Students are very much seen as the representatives of their countries and cultures, and share these with others on a daily basis. They are constantly empowered to make a difference in their communities, and in the world.
What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
The IB is a two-year pre-university program, equivalent to A-Levels and other equivalent courses. Students take 6 subjects spanning languages, sciences, mathematics and the humanities. Community service, sports and creative activities are compulsory under the Community Action Service (CAS) requirement. IB candidates also submit a 4000-word Extended Essay at the end of the programme in one of their subjects. The IB is administered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO): for more information please see the IBO website.
How do the UWCs differ?
Other than location and local culture, UWCs also differ in the subjects offered, Community Action Services (CAS) activities, class sizes, facilities, activities and special trips differ from UWC to UWC. While selected scholars will be able to state a preference, the final decision rests with the Selection Committee.
Why haven’t I heard about any of this before?
The non-profit nature of the organisation usually does not allow for much active promotion of the colleges. In Zambia, students prefer to head to university after grade 12 and tend to try for other scholarships that offer such opportunities. It is not widely known as places are limited, and sponsorships are mostly from overseas. Suffice to say, UWC has been in partnership with the International Baccalaureate Organisation since the 1960s, producing over 60,000 quality graduates from the colleges.
What is the UWC scholarship?
It is a two-year scholarship offered by the UWC Movement for students to pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma at United World Colleges overseas.
What does the full UWC scholarship cover?
It covers tuition, food and boarding fees, and most textbooks.
It does not cover: a. Air tickets from Zambia to the country. b. Travel cost during long winter and summer breaks. c. Pocket money. d. Visa application. e. Medical insurance and medical examinations. F. Graduation fee (applicable only to certain countries). g. Room deposit (usually refundable, some colleges only). h. Miscellaneous other expenses.
Who should apply for a full scholarship?
BE HONEST IN YOUR APPLICATION. UWC full and high partial scholarships are aimed at those meritous applicants from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. All applicants are chosen on merit, regardless of ethnicity or religion. However, with the opening of new colleges across the globe, the funding for full scholarships is spread more thinly. Applicants from private and international schools will not be considered for full scholarships or high partials, unless there are extenuating circumstances. UWC aims to provide access to more students from across the socio-economic spectrum, and consequently, the National Committee wishes to see the UWC ethos resonate in all applicants and their families. If you can afford to make a partial or full contribution to UWC, you are advised to indicate such on the application form. The individual colleges and the National Committee may initiate financial assessment on the grounds of demonstrated need. Non-disclosure or false statements have resulted in the withdrawal of places in the past. While the family contribution should not cripple the family financially, it must represent a financial prioritisation of the student’s education over other discretionary expenses. The family contribution should be significantly higher than the family might be able to contemplate spending travelling with the student to College or visiting/holidaying with the student, and the family might contemplate on (the optional) spending on transport for the student to travel home during the shorter New Year vacations.
Is a scholarship necessary to get admitted into UWC?
There are different models of UWC, with varying policies. Some UWCs accept full fee-paying students, others will only accept students on fully sponsored scholarships and will not accept any parental contribution towards the fees. Colleges may offer either full fee-paying places or partial scholarships to Zambian students in any given year.
(Please note: being able to afford a full fee-paying place does not guarantee entry to UWC).
Am I eligible to apply?
You must be a Zambian citizen. You must have completed grade 12. You must be between the ages of 16 and 19 years as of 1st September in the year of entry to UWC.
How do I apply?
You can apply online during the application period, the link will be shared on the APPLY page. Our application is online. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by email for an interview.
What is the application time-line like?
Due to a change in deadlines from UWC International, all candidates will apply with Mock/Trial or Predicted/Forecast exams results, but if accepted, your acceptance is conditional on your final grade 12 ECZ or GCSE/IGCSE reports.
The Application period opens in December and ends in February. Individual interviews will be conducted in March and the new generation of UWC students will be announced by the end of the month. Exact dates will be posted on the website (under Selections), so check often. Application forms should be available for downloading in December.
After the application form submission deadline, successful candidates will be invited for individual interviews. The final shortlist will be drawn from these candidates who will be invited (by email) to the final round of group sessions; discussions and activities.
When do the colleges start the academic year?
All UWCs, with the exception of UWC Waterford Kamhlaba (Swaziland) begin the academic year in August / September.
Since the intake for almost all UWCs is in August/September, would I have to enroll for some other pre-university programme first?
It is advisable to have a contingency plan in case you are not successful. Many UWC scholars were previously enrolled in A-Levels or equivalent programmes before obtaining their places at UWC.
If I am not successful in being offered a place at UWC through the Zambian National Committee selection, can I apply directly to the colleges?
UWC is a single application organisation.
If you are eligible, you MUST apply via the Zambian National Committee selection.
If you are not successful and you are not offered a place, you cannot apply directly to ANY of the UWC colleges. Please note, the colleges always check with the National Committee if they receive any direct applications.
When does my UWC education end?
The academic year is from August/September to the end of May. Therefore, graduation takes place at the end of May two years after commencement of the program.
Will I be able to get scholarships for university?
There is no guarantee that a UWC scholar will get scholarships or financial aid for university. However, many students who perform well academically and in extra-curricular activities are often successful in obtaining both. Most of these successful Zambian UWC students attend university in the USA, UK and Canada upon graduating from UWC.
If I enter UWC, how and when will I apply to universities in Australia/the UK/US?
University applications are still very much the responsibility of the student. For applicants to the USA, SATs are usually conducted at the college but there are no preparatory classes for this and other standardised/entrance exams. Unless one takes a gap year, students are still eligible for the fall intake in most Australian/US/UK universities. Be sure to check the intakes and requirements of the universities that you are interested in.
How internationally recognized is the IB?
The IB is extremely well-recognised worldwide. Some universities in North America and Canada even offer advanced credit to students who have done exceptionally well in the IB. However, it is always safe to check with the schools that one wants to apply to.