Eligibility criteria and the selection procedure
To be an eligible candidate for UWC through the Senegal NC, one must:
- be a Senegalese citizen
- be aged between 15 and 18 years
- be in tenth grade at the time of application
The selection procedure
In September of every year, the Senegal NC receives scholarship offers from the UWC International Office. These offers are subsequently confirmed by the different United World Colleges.
It is important to note that the scholarships offered are not necessarily full scholarships. There are opportunities for half paid fees and even some offers with no scholarship at all. Other conditions, such as gender, can also be taken into consideration in the offers, based on logistical and other requirements of the colleges.
Our selection process consists of two stages:
- An academic performance based stage
- An interview stage
The academic performance based stage
The National Committee of Senegal, together with the Ministry of Education, starts the selection process when the first semester grades of the tenth (10th) grade classes are available. The Ministry of Education invites all schools within the Senegalese schooling system to send their two (2) best students in the natural sciences. The Ministry communicates the information to the "Inspections d'académie" (local education authorities), which then forwards it to all the schools within their district. The schools are to submit, for all candidates, the grade transcripts from the sixth (6th) grade to the first semester of the tenth (10th) grade. These grades are then averaged and ranked.
Ps: if you are interested in UWC but do not know whether your school will be sending applications, we recommend that you reach out to your school principal early during the school year and make your interest known.
The ministry receives varying numbers of applications every year. The selection committee, in order to ensure that the candidates will not experience overwhelming academic challenges once in the academically rigorous UWC environment, has come to the consensus that students with an average grade of at least 16/20 over the five-year period reviewed will be invited to an interview. This consensus, however, may be revised (usually up) to ensure that the number of candidates to be interviewed is manageable. The final ranking determines which candidates will be invited for an interview.
The interview stage
After the pre-selection process has been finalized, the Ministry of Education is tasked with notifying all pre-selected candidates (usually between 20 and 30) that they have been invited to take part in the next round of the selection process, the interview, which takes place in April of every year.
Interviewing is the core part of the selection process. It is a great opportunity for us to get to know our candidates and to assess their potential for being a part of the UWC movement.
The interview committee is usually made up of about 15 officials, some from the Ministry of Education and the rest from our NC.
During our interviews, we do our best to put our candidates at ease and to encourage our them to relax so that they can authentically represent themselves. Our discussions with them give us a sense of who they are, what drives and motivates them, what challenges them, etc. The ultimate goal of the interview is to gauge whether the candidate will fit into the UWC environment.
On the day of the interview, candidates and their guardians are given a brief introduction by the National Committee President. This introduction covers:
- A brief explanation of what UWC is (the mission statement, key features of the model, roughly the number of colleges, national committees operating in the world), and the significance of the interview process.
- A brief outline of the profile of the student the committee is looking for.
- Icebreakers and a brief Q&A session.
Candidates are then invited one by one, to meet with the selection committee for the interview. These usually last anywhere between 15 - 30 minutes and vary in content from candidate to candidate based on their interests and background.
Here are some of the things we look for in an ideal UWC candidate:
- Extracurricular involvement
- Intellectual curiosity
- Resilience, personal responsibility, and integrity
- Motivation for UWC
At the end of the interviewing process, we select the final students who will be attending a United World College. This decision is based on the candidate's performance during the interview as well as the types of offers we received from the different Colleges.
After we receive the colleges' final approval concerning our choice of students, the NC tasks the Ministry of Education with notifying the selected students in May.