A successful college application requires a firm understanding of the expectations of the admissions decision makers, according to Mounir A. Ouanaimi, director of Admissions at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q).
Ouanaimi led a workshop, titled “A Decision Maker’s Perspective,” at NU-Q last Thursday to provide this insight to high school students directly from the source- admissions officers themselves.
“This workshop was an opportunity for us to bridge a gap in perspectives between college-bound students and other stakeholders, including university admissions offices,” said Ouanaimi. “This gap unsurprisingly persists because, for many applicants, what happens inside admissions offices remains unknown,” he added.
Dozens of students from across Qatar gathered to attend the event, which is part of NU-Q’s “Get Ready!” workshop series aimed at giving students the competitive edge in applying to university. International students also joined in using a webinar service, with one Qatari student participating from France.
“You are central to the process. You are the one who talks to sponsors, talks to teachers and your high school counselors. If you are not central to the process, chances of failure increase,” said Ouanaimi, to nods of agreement from the audience.
“Please stay at the center of it. It is your future,” added Ouanaimi as he explained how admissions officers are more inclined towards students who present an earnest effort in their application, reflective of who they really are instead of who they think admissions officers want them to be.
The NU-Q Admissions director also emphasized to students that good grades, strong recommendations, and meaningful extracurricular activities improve the chances for admission and make an application stand out.
“Admission to the universities in Education City is tough, so these tips are definitely helpful. Attending this workshop boosted my confidence as I feel like I now know a thing or two more than my peers because I took the time to attend this workshop,” said Haya Al-Qatami, a freshman student at Qatar University.
Parents were also positive about having taken the initiative to join their children at the workshop, at the verge of a transition to a new academic life.
“We were here to get advice on how to go about choosing the right university. And more than finding the right school, we wanted to know how to get into one,” said parent Manoj Kumar, whose son is currently a Grade 11 student at the MES Indian School.
The next Get Ready! workshop, titled “Discover Northwestern University in Qatar,” follows on Thursday, January 26, 2012, when participants will learn about Northwestern’s media programs in communication and journalism in Qatar, and the various career opportunities that are available to NU-Q graduates.
The workshop series will close with its final session on Thursday, February 9, 2012, titled “Financing Your Education.” This workshop is expected to help parents and students understand financing opportunities at NU-Q and the financial aid application process. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak with a financial services representative about merit and need-based financial aid.
The final deadline for applications to Northwestern University in Qatar is March 1, 2012; the application fee will be waived for those submitting their applications by February 10, 2012.