UWC Application Process

I found out about UWC in late November 2013, by pure coincidence. A Facebook friend of mine had “liked” UWC Norway‘s Facebook page. I clicked on the link, wondering what the initials stood for. A couple of hours later, I had decided to apply, and had downloaded the application form. (I later found out that most people applying to UWC had known about UWC for several years and had been planning their applications for almost as long.)

I started filling out my application straight away. I started with the easy bits (i.e. address, D.o.B., etc.) but soon found myself stumped by the more difficult part (writing about five activities I thought described me well, and writing an essay of up to 750 words about my background, personality, what engages me and my motivation for applying to UWC).

After several weeks of writing, erasing and editing (with the help of my Mum and some lovely friends), I was happy with my five activities and my (only) 668 word essay. In the mean time I had also managed to research the schools UWC Norway sends students to. I decided to state my preference for Li Po Chun United World College because of the subjects the school offers, the wide range of CAS activities (at LPC, they call CAS activities “Quan Cais”) and because they have China Week in addition to Project Week. My application ended up being sent in four days before the deadline.

A few weeks later, I received a letter from “Fylkesmannen i Vest-Agder” telling me that I had been called in for an interview. I was ecstatic – it mean that my chances of being accepted had increased from 45% to 61%!! Lisa (Waterford Kamhlaba, Swaziland ’16) and I travelled to Oslo together for our interviews. Most of the people being interviewed on the Monday were from Bergen, so Lisa and I met several other lovely people (including Fanny – Atlantic College ’16 – and Nora – UWC-USA ’16).

I was very nervous before my interview. My interview was the third last interview of the day, and all my friends from Bergen had been interviewed before me. The interviewers turned out to be really nice and welcoming, and you can find a post of interview/application tips here.

After we all got home, the Bergen girls started chatting. About how badly we all felt our interviews had gone, all the stupid things we’d said, the clever things we should have said instead and about what we were going to do if we weren’t accepted. We decided to go out together a week after the interviews to chat and calm down before we got the results. The results actually turned up the day we were supposed to go out. After Lisa called me, telling me she’d been accepted to Waterford Kamhlaba, I waited anxiously by the post box for my letter, mentally preparing myself to be rejected.

I was relieved when I saw the brown letter (brown letters + UWC = good news), and couldn’t wait to open it. Being accepted to my first choice was not something I had been expecting, but it was definitely the best news of the year.

***

Jeg fant ut om UWC sent i november 2013, ved en ren tilfeldighet. En Facebook-venn av meg hadde “likt” UWC Norge sin Facebook side. Jeg trykket på linken fordi jeg lurte på hva UWC stod for. Et par timer senere hadde jeg bestemt meg for å søke og lastet ned søknadsskjemaet. (Jeg fant ut senere at de fleste som søkte til UWC hadde visst om UWC I flere år og hadde lagt planer om å søke flere år før meg.)

Jeg begynte å fylle ut søknadsskjemaet med en gang. Jeg begynte med den lette delen (adresse, fødselsdato osv.) men fikk litt problemer når jeg kom til den vanskelige delen (å skrive om fem aktiviteter jeg følte beskrev meg på en god mate og å skrive en stil på opptil 750 ord om min bakgrunn, personlighet, hva som engasjerer meg og min motivasjon for å søke til UWC).

Etter flere uker med skriving, utvisking og redigering (med litt hjelp fra mamma og noen fantastiske venner) var jeg endelig fornøyd med mine fem aktiviteter og min stil på (bare) 668 ord. I mellomtiden hadde jeg klart å lete opp noe informasjon om skolene som UWC Norge sender elever til. Jeg bestemte meg for å uttrykke spesiell interesse for Li Po Chun United World College på grunn av fagene de tilbød, det brede utvalget av CAS-aktiviteter (på LPC kaller de CAS-aktiviteter for “Quan Cais”) og fordi LPC har China Week i tillegg til Project Week. Søknaden min endte opp med å bli sendt inn fire dager før fristen.

Noen uker senere mottok jeg et brev fra Fylkesmannen i Vest-Agder der det stod at jeg hadde blitt kalt inn til intervju. Jeg var ekstatisk – det betød at mine sjanser for å komme inn hadde økt fra 45% til 61%!! Lisa (Waterford Kamhlaba, Swaziland ’16) og jeg reiste sammen til Oslo for å gå på intervjuene våre. De fleste som ble intervjuet om mandagen kom fra Bergen, så Lisa og jeg møtte mange andre fantastiske mennesker (blant annet Fanny – Atlantic College ’16 – og Nora – UWC-USA ’16).

Jeg var veldig nervøs før intervjuet mitt. Mitt intervju var det tredje siste intervjuet av dagen, og alle mine venner fra Bergen hadde blitt intervjuet før meg. Intervjuerne viste seg å være veldig snille og imøtekommende. Du finner et innlegg som inneholder intervju- og søknadstips her.

Etter at vi alle hadde kommet hjem, begynte Bergensjentene å snakke sammen. Om hvor ille vi synes intervjuene hadde gått, alle de dumme tingene vi hadde sagt, de kloke tingene vi burde ha sagt i stedet for og hva vi skulle gjøre dersom vi ikke kom inn. Vi bestemte oss for å dra ut og spise middag ca en uke etter intervjuene våre for å prate og roe oss selv ned før vi fikk vite om vi kom inn eller ikke. Resultatene dukket faktisk opp dagen vi skulle ut. Lisa ringte meg, helt i hundre fordi hun hadde kommet inn på førstevalget sitt, Waterford Kamhlaba. Jeg ventet ved postkassen på brevet mitt mens jeg forberedte meg mentalt på å ikke komme inn.

Jeg ble lettet når jeg så det brune brevet (brune brev + UWC = gode nyheter), og gledet meg til å åpne det. Å komme inn på førstevalget mitt var ikke noe jeg hadde ventet meg, men det var definitivt de beste nyhetene av året.

17 thoughts on “UWC Application Process

  1. Hi Emma,
    I am currently in the process of writing my UWC application. I have completed the simpler parts, and have all relevant documents. The issue I am having is with the personal essay. What types of extracurricular activities do you suggest I choose to write about? Furthermore, what should I try to specifically focus on and communicate through the personal essay?
    Thank you very much in advance. I greatly appreciate any help at all.

    Have a nice day!
    – Is.

  2. Hi, I am also currently writing my application and having the same problem as the user above. I do not know which activities I should write about, or focus the most on. Should for example activites such as reading, or music be mentioned?

  3. Hi Emma

    As well as the other users, I seek help and advice. Yesterday, I received an email from UWC welcoming me to a final interview. 40 applicants are going to this interview (individually) and we have all written the application plus participated in a selection-day. I will be going by Sunday to Copenhagen (I am a Dane) and already today (by Tuesday,) I am very excited and can not concentrate.
    Therefore, I hope you will take the time to write down some tips and advice – I believe, I really would benefit from this and make me more calm about the situation. As you see, the Danish selection process may be different from the Norwegian, but this interview is a 20-minute long conversation with representants from the national committee. (I think you have got similar in Norway.)
    Thank you for sharing your adventure on this blog 🙂
    Best regards,
    Laura Karas

    • Hi Thalison – I make it a point not to share my essay, because each National Committee has different ways of assessing students and I would not want prospective applicants to think that a successful essay looks anything like mine. Everyone should write in their own way and be assessed on that. I would also encourage students to not rely on another person’s essay too heavily or plagiarise, because the NCs will inevitably pick up on it and it would reflect badly on the applicant. Best of luck!

  4. Hi Emma,
    I’m currently writing my application to UWC. Unfortunately, I’m not Norwegian, I’m Turkish but our committees’ questions are somewhat similar and I wanted to ask how personal and how formal we should be in our applications.

    • Hi Ceren! When I wrote my application, I tried to keep it on an appropriate level where I was avoiding using too many contractions (e.g. I used “I am” instead of “I’m”) while at the same time avoiding using too many big words and trying to sound too smart. Through the application, they are really just trying to get a sense of what you’re really like – and no one (NO ONE) goes around using big words all day. I believe that the more personal and informal you can keep it while still giving the sense of being an application, the easier it is for the reader to understand you.

  5. Hi Emma,
    I am currently filling the application for UWC , what do i need to contribute to the uwc community?
    please give details.

    • Hi Maiwand,

      Unfortunately, I am not able to advise on what you need to contribute to the UWC Community, as the question concerns you personally, and which attributes you have that lead you to believe that you will positively contribute to the UWC Community. You should look at the UWC website and speak to your National Committee about what they are looking for in their candidates if you are in doubt.

      All the best,
      Emma

  6. Hello Emma,
    Thank you for sharing such valuable information about your UWC Application and Interview with us.
    Alike other users, I too seek help and advice for my application essays. I am clear about what I need to write, like ways I could contribute to the UWC committee, but I am having a lot of problems with the structural component of the essay.
    Thank you in advance. I would greatly appreciate any help.
    Have a nice day!
    -Komal

    • Hi Komal,

      Thanks for your comment! I’m so glad you have a clear idea of the content you’d like to include in your application.

      My best advice for the structural component of the essay would be that you should create an essay plan where you include your content and think about how you will introduce each topic and ensure that the essay flows smoothly and logically from each paragraph to the next. In other words, make sure that there is a ‘red thread’ running through your essay! I find that the easiest way to do this is to 1) write a draft of my essay in line with my essay plan, then 2) evaluate each paragraph against the essay question to ensure that what I have written a) is answering the essay question and b) conveys the information I wanted it to in the plan.

      I hope this was helpful!

      All the best,
      Emma

  7. Hi Emma,
    I got to learn of UWC when I received an email that contained a pdf of UWC. I’m really startled by how immense this opportunity is towards my education. Sadly, I have failed to get the national committee of UWC from my country (Uganda) and I was wondering if there is any way you can enlighten me on how to get them. An email would be helpful and thank you for the information above.
    -Nathan

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