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Planning to study in the UAE?

Here's what you need to know

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Raj Sampat (centre), a BBA student at AUD, feels the application process in the UAE is smooth and easy

There are a number of reasons for pursuing further education in the UAE rather than flying West or for expat students to their home country. Going to university in the UAE allows a student to stay at home, saving a significant sum on accommodation and travel costs.

Local educational institutions also offer work placements at companies operating in the UAE; these have shown to be one of the best paths into a multinational organisation. 

Several Western universities have established campuses here, allowing students to graduate without the associated expenses or visa hassles of studying abroad. Middlesex University Dubai is one of these.

GN Focus asked Dr Cody Paris, Deputy Director of Middlesex University Dubai, what he likes to see in an applicant. “Our admissions process is focused on the student and making sure they have the support to make this decision — and it is a major decision, deciding where to go and what programme to study.” 

While most applicants to the university’s undergraduate programmes do not need to go through an interview, some do, such as those trying to get into its graphic design programme. But Dr Paris says it’s important not to worry too much about the interview process.

“While the entire application process can at times feel stressful, it’s meant to be supportive. When we have interviews with undergraduates, a lot of it has to do with trying to find a programme that’s the best fit.”

It’s often about clarifying things within the application, so one thing would be ensuring all the documents are correct. There might be a question about transcripts, for instance. “Just be aware of what was included in your own application.”

Raj Sampat is pursuing a bachelor’s in business administration with a major in finance at the American University of Dubai and will graduate next month.  “The application process was simple,” he tells GN Focus. The 21-year-old Indian expat finished high school at Gems Modern Academy in 2014. “I just had to get my high school transcripts attested from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, submit them and take an Accuplacer for maths and English. The whole process was smooth.

“Some of my [high-school] peers struggled in not being able to decide whether they wanted to study here or abroad, hence some of them missed the application deadline. Students often face a tough choice on whether to pursue further studies here or abroad, but I feel it all comes down to where they want to settle.

"If a student plans to settle in the UAE, it is more likely that one is going to pursue further studies here and the same goes for pursuing studies abroad.
“To students who are in the final year of high school, my advice would be to concentrate on your exams and start the application process within a month or two after the final exams.”