The research compiled by Gyanberry Study Abroad Solutions sought to find the challenges and problems faced by the UAE K-12 students and their parents when gaining admission to higher education globally.

It garnered responses from 1,600+ participants, including 1,000 Graduating class students, 400 Junior class students and 250 parents.

“Addressing the needs of UAE based K-12 students requires a more holistic approach”

Some 79.06% indicated that “the university response time to their queries was not fast enough”, while  73.19% found the university application process difficult, with many highlighting drafting personal statements as challenging.

“Addressing the needs of UAE based K-12 students requires a more holistic approach,” Tejas Labhshetwar, founder & CEO of Gyanberry explained.

“Right from the first time a student lands on the university website until he/she submits the application, K-12 students demand the admission journey to be simple, customised and user friendly.”

Over 60% of respondents found it difficult to obtain information about the exact admission requirements applicable for their school curriculum, tuition fee and living costs on the university website and other online resources, the survey also found.

Examples of universities that are “doing really well on this front”, include the University of Manitoba in Canada, UCLA in the US and the UK’s University of Bristol, Labhshetwar noted.

The top three criteria for families and prospective students in the UAE remain university ranking, tuition fee and scholarship opportunities, he added, followed by campus safety, location (city), career & job opportunities.

Actionable tasks that institutions can consider to better attract and engage K-12 students from UAE Gyanberry proposed included:

  • Using WhatsApp as an additional communication channel to share important updates.
  • Specify admission requirements for each high school curriculum in an easy and visual friendly manner.
  • Specify the tuition costs along with living cost break up on the same webpage to help students and parents understand the total cost of education.
  • Mention the job opportunities and career path for each of the course/program offered.

According to the paper, as many as seven in 10 students in UAE K-12 international schools aim to study abroad for their bachelors degree or eventually for a masters degree, predominantly due to the lack of highly ranked and reputed universities available in the region despite UK and Australian universities setting up branch campuses.

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