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FAQs

Thinking about applying for you or your child to study at a UWC school or college? Find out everything you need to know, from how to apply to what UWC life might be like on campus.

General

What is UWC?

UWC has a network of 16 schools and colleges around the world.  We offer a challenging and transformative education for students, inspiring them to create a more peaceful and sustainable future.

Each UWC school and college has a distinctive character and shares a commitment to our mission, values and educational model
Discover more about our individual schools and colleges.

Why should I choose UWC?

UWC schools and colleges offer life-defining experiences for young people. We help them to discover the possibility of change through courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership. This holistic approach to education helps you or your child to flourish – physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and ethically.

Our success is not just measured in terms of academic achievements or job titles. We assess our impact, also, by looking at how UWC alumni contribute to the local, national and international community. A student’s lifelong commitment to our values means the communities they are part of benefit from their UWC education too. You or your child could help create a more peaceful and sustainable world as part of this “UWC movement”.

Many alumni support, create and volunteer for a wide variety of non-profit organizations, community and campaign groups. This demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the principle of service, a key feature of a UWC education.

Find out more about UWC’s guiding principles and the impact UWC alumni have made.

What do you teach?

All UWC schools and colleges teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.  It’s one of the most well-regarded and widely known secondary school qualifications in the world and is recognised by leading universities.

Find out more about the IB Diploma. 

As well as the IB Diploma, UWC South East Asia, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC and UWC Maastricht teach younger students. UWCSEA and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC teach the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) to 14 to 16 year-olds. UWC Maastricht teaches the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP).

We also teach short programmes which provide students with a condensed UWC experience and take our mission and values to a wider audience.

Find out more about our educational model which all of our schools, colleges and short programme providers operate within.

What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme?

It’s one of the most well-regarded and widely known secondary school qualifications in the world and is recognised by the world’s leading universities.

Visit the IB website to discover more about the history of the qualification and for a full list of colleges offering it. 

Admissions

How do students apply?

Most students apply through our unique national committee system. We have national committees in over 155 countries. 

Cambodian students apply through the Cambodia UWC national committee.

What are national committees?

National committees set UWC apart from other international schools. They are made up of volunteers in over 155 countries around the world.

The groups select students for our schools and colleges using a range of methods and activities appropriate to their local context.

How old are IB students?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme  is generally offered to students who are aged between 16 and 19. But this may vary by college and national committee. So, do check with your national committee.

Our three schools are for children and young people from 2 to 18.                                                           

Find out more about primary and pre-IB courses offered at UWC schools and colleges.

What information do I/we need to provide?

It will vary from national committee to national committee. But generally you will need to:

  • Complete an application form
  • Provide references from teachers or someone in your community who knows you/your child well
  • Complete essays
  • Sit an exam

UWC does not look at finances until after selection. Then families or guardians of successful students may need to complete a financial assessment.

Discover more about the application process.

Can I choose which college I / my child go to?

Students can’t apply to specific colleges. They apply to the UWC movement as a whole. However,  some national committees will ask you/your child to specify a preference as part of your application.

The only exception to this is for students who don’t qualify to apply through a national committee and need to go directly to a school or college. You can only apply to one college at a time and scholarships are not available for direct applications.

Find out more about our application process.

How long will the process take?

It varies from committee to committee but, usually, takes between one and five months.

Where will the selection process take place?

Selection for Cambodian students normally takes place in Phnom Penh, Pursat, and Banteay Meanchey.

Finances

What will it cost?

Each school and college sets its own fees. You can check individual school or college information pages for more details, or contact your relevant national committee.

Browse our interactive map of schools, colleges and national committees.

Do you have scholarships?

Yes, over 70% of national committee selected students have either a full or partial scholarship.

Scholarships are based on financial need and they ensure our schools and colleges have students from a broad socio-economic background. Younger students can apply to UWC schools for bursaries.

What do scholarships cover?

It depends on the individual offer, but usually a scholarship covers room and tuition fees. They may also include Project Week activities, travel and pocket money.

Read about our students’ experiences of studying at a UWC school or college.

What extra costs are there on top of school/college fees?

It varies. Generally, fees do not include: travel to college, pocket money, Project Week costs and travel during holiday periods. There may also be deposits[TW27]  and visa/inoculation fees.

How will scholarships be assessed?

Students are awarded places at a UWC school or college based purely on how well they meet our selection criteria. If they are successful, parents or guardians need to complete a financial assessment which is completely separate from the selection process. Scholarships are awarded based on need. This helps ensure scholarships go to students who need them most.

Find out more about fees and scholarships.

When would we need to pay fees?

Each college has its own payment schedule. You’ll receive information about this from your national committee when you or your child is offered a place at a UWC school or college.

Find out more about fees.

College life

What activities are on offer?

Our schools and colleges offer lots of activities, far beyond the requirements of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

We believe that physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle are integral to a young person’s development. For example, Pearson College and Changshu China offer a range of water-sports and Atlantic College specialises in lifeguarding. Other schools and colleges provide mountaineering and environmental activities.

Community service is a vital part of our education because we think it helps young people to develop a sense of social responsibility and become involved in the area in which they live. Activities are diverse but can focus on:

  • the environment, such as recycling and biodiversity
  • community, including literacy, tutoring and supporting refugees
  • campus life, such as working in the library or learning first aid

Find out more about activities on offer at UWC schools and colleges.

How safe are UWC campuses?

Student safety is a priority for all of our schools and colleges. Staff work closely with students to create a safe community based on shared respect.

What support is available to students at school or college?

The majority have full or part time nurses on site, or on call.  Some also have counsellors on campus to support students’ wellbeing. Some UWC staff live on campus, or in student residences, and play an important role in pastoral care.

Contact a UWC school or college to find out more about what support they offer students.

What is life like on campus?

Students live at our colleges, while our schools have both day and residential students. Both offer a stimulating learning environment. And, through living, as well as studying, together, students learn about other cultures. 

Schools and colleges are located in areas of extreme natural beauty. Atlantic College for example is in St Donats Castle on the Welsh coast, and Red Cross Nordic is built in the Norwegian fjords, while UWC Adriatic is situated on the picturesque Adriatic coast.

Find out more about school and college facilities.

How do I contact the school or college I am interested in?

Click here or visit the school or college’s individual website.

What provision is made for students with disabilities?

Some UWC colleges are better able to accept students with disabilities than others. This is because many are in historic buildings with limited accessibility, or isolated locations. Check individual college websites for more information. And get in touch with your relevant national committee, school or college, if you have any questions around this.