Suman, right, with Elysa Bryen of Hale Education Group after being admitted into NYUAD with a full scholarship Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: This is a heartening story that reaffirms how the UAE readily extends a helping hand where it is needed most. Just when a brilliant Dubai student’s dreams to pursue higher studies lay shattered after her father was diagnosed with cancer and rendered jobless, an Abu Dhabi university has come forward to extend her a $75,000 annual scholarship.

As Suman, a Pakistani student of Deira International School prepares to join NYU Abu Dhabi for the upcoming fall term, Anna Dechert, the university’s director of admissions, said, “We are very excited to have Suman joining us as part of the Class of 2022. She was selected as one of fewer than 500 students who will have been admitted out of a pool of over 12,000 applicants to NYUAD for September 2018.”

She said applicants are selected based on their academic excellence, outstanding extracurricular achievements and their personal fit with the university’s mission. “All admitted students who applied for financial support have their need met by the university. The maximum financial support awards may cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, meals, housing, and other required expenses - a total of nearly $75,000 per year. The awards are based on a student’s demonstrated financial need and are tailored to each family’s financial circumstances, ensuring that every admitted student can afford to attend NYUAD regardless of their family’s financial situation.”

Help from Hale

Suman’s application came to the NYUAD, thanks largely to her school counsellor and the educational consultancy Hale Education Group.

After it emerged that her crisis-hit family could no longer financially support her education, the school counsellor referred her to a consulatnt at Hale.

“The school counsellor had already nominated her for a scholarship in Toronto, but wanted to see if we could be of help. Suman, whose family was going back to Pakistan, visited us with her brother in early November. Suman was an outstanding student, so we went all out to help her take the big leap,” said Elysa Bryen, educational consultant at Hale.

She said, “Seeing her potential, we built a list of colleges where Suman could apply. Between November 2017 and January this year, she studied for her SAT and completed her applications to US-based universities. But she had told us NYUAD was a coveted choice, so we decided to apply to the university under Early Decision II,” said Bryen. This would make it mandatory for Suman to join NYUAD if she were accepted.

Bryen said Suman’s skills, especially writing, were exceptional, so she was a deserving student.

“She is the deputy head girl at her school, co-founder of the Essay Club, founder of the Yearbook Committee and serves on the Events Committee. She is also a part of the Young Entrepreneur’s Club. She is passionate about henna and provides henna design at many events around Dubai. She has designed an eco-friendly company at her school too.”

As it turns out, Suman didn’t have to wait too long to hear back from NYUAD. When she got the good news that she had been accepted with a $75,000 yearly scholarship last month, her joy knew no bounds.

“It’s such a surreal feeling. I am overjoyed about the scholarship,” said Suman.

She said although she will be getting into a degree course undecided yet on the stream, she is looking at exploring psychology and the neurosciences. Marketing and graphic design also hold interest for her.

Rare opportunity

“I have been in Dubai for the past 12 years and the UAE is home to me. I am so grateful for the rare opportunity provided to me.”

Ask her why NYUAD was her first choice she said: “For me, NYUAD offers diversity and is closer home and to my family. It provides great opportunities and has an amazing campus.”

Dechert said around 15 per cent of NYUAD students are Emiratis, while the rest come from different nationalities and high schools around the world.