Q&A on UWCSEA Admissions
Our Admissions team are always happy to help, but here we’ve answered a few of the questions we are often asked about applying to UWCSEA.
Most commonly asked questions
How far in advance can I apply?
UWCSEA has an annual application cycle. This means that each September, families can apply for entry the following August. Although it is not possible to apply further in advance than this, we do have a Registration of Interest. Please register if you would like to be sent a reminder email before applications open for the year of entry you are looking for and when Open Days are coming up.
Does UWCSEA have a wait list?
Places are not allocated on a first come first served basis, but in most grades we do have more applications than available places. These places are then allocated according to our allocation policy.
Each application is reviewed individually and places are allocated according to our admissions policy; a holistic approach that takes into account the individual student’s background, experience and potential ‘fit’ with the school.
Is UWCSEA a selective school?
Since in many grades more students apply than there are spaces available, we have to select. However, our selection is not based solely on academic performance. Each application is reviewed individually and places are allocated according to a holistic approach that takes into account the individual student’s background, experience and potential ‘fit’ with the school.
Above all, we aim to have balanced and diverse cohorts and particularly in the older grades, we look for students who are committed to our mission and core values and who will embrace the opportunities offered by our learning programme.
Is it true that some students are asked to leave after Grade 10 because the school thinks they will not do well enough in the IB Diploma Programme?
No. Transition from Grade 10 to Grade 11 is not subject to any academic ‘gatekeeping’.
Current students select their preferred IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) options in Term 2 of Grade 10. In the vast majority of cases these options are accommodated. In the rare cases where we are concerned about a student’s choice, the Head of Grade invites the student and parents to discuss subject options. The goal is to ensure that the combination of subjects for IBDP will allow each individual student to enjoy a successful outcome.
Does your ‘commitment to diversity’ mean you have nationality quotas?
No. Diversity is more than making sure we have a range of nationalities in our community. We use the term to refer to many factors including cultural background and languages, life experiences, interests, personality and passions.
Is one campus easier to get into than the other?
On the basis of entrance criteria, both campuses are the same. However, the number of places opening each year at each campus is different for some grades. As an example, K2 on East Campus has an additional 22 spaces opening up as well as those created by students who leave, while K2 on Dover Campus does not open any additional spaces apart from those created by students who leave.
Is it true that because you prioritise siblings, single children have no chance of getting in?
Not at all. While having a sibling is one of the factors we take into consideration when allocating places, we admit between 800 and 1,000 students each year, and a proportion of these are always students without siblings.
Common questions on UWCSEA's admission policies
What are your entrance criteria?
Applicants need to demonstrate the qualities and skills that will enable them to thrive in all five elements of our learning programme. Specifically, this includes a positive approach to learning and an academic profile that indicates an applicant can progress with confidence in our learning programme.
We also look at an applicant’s English language proficiency and any individual learning needs they may have because we need to ensure we can provide any support needed in these areas.
All applicants who meet our entrance criteria (and so are ‘eligible’ to be offered a place) are placed in the application ‘pool’ to be considered for available places in the upcoming academic year.
How do you allocate places if there are more ‘eligible applicants’ than there are places?
Places are allocated according to a range of factors which includes personality, interests, proactive involvement in school and community life as well as gender, age and the extent to which the applicant’s experience and background adds to the diversity of the College.
Other factors we take into consideration include whether the applicant has a sibling currently enrolled at the same campus and whether or not they, or their parents, previously attended UWCSEA.
The factors that come into consideration when allocating places will alter depending upon the level of the school your child is applying to join. Above all, our allocation policy is driven by our mission and with that our commitment to diversity: we are looking to build balanced and diverse cohorts in each grade level.
Does a previous application count?
Yes, however it is just one aspect in the holistic review of each application.
How important is ‘approach to learning’ in your entrance criteria?
A positive approach to learning, including effort and behaviour, is crucial. When looking at an application we also look for evidence of active involvement in a range of activities including service, the arts, sports, outdoor pursuits and student leadership.
How important is ‘academic attainment’ in your entrance criteria?
We do not rank applications according to academic results. Applicants must have school reports that indicate they can progress well and with confidence in the curriculum.
What are your requirements for English language proficiency? Does UWCSEA offer an English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme?
K1 to Grade 5: applicants must have a level of English that allows them to thrive in the mainstream curriculum. Grade 1 to 5 applicants to Dover Campus may be admitted to the English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme if they demonstrate a level of English that will enable them to progress well outside the EAL classroom. This programme is an additional cost.
Grades 6–9: applicants to either campus may be admitted to our EAL programme if they demonstrate a level of English that will enable them to progress well outside the EAL classroom and proficiency in their first language (mother tongue).
Grade 10 FIB and IB Diploma: applicants to either campus are tested in English and any other language(s) suitable for the ‘Language A’ group 1 subject option in the IB Diploma.
Do you accept students with individual learning needs?
Yes, provided we are able to provide the support required and we believe that with that support the student will be able to progress with confidence in all of the elements of our programme. We review applications on a case-by-case basis. If your child has benefited from individual or small group support in the past, please contact Admissions before applying.
Do you accept applications from Singapore citizens?
In line with Singapore Government regulations that require Singaporean Citizens to attend Ministry of Education schools, we accept applications from Singaporean Citizens applying to Grade 1 and above only in limited circumstances. It is College policy not to accept applications to join Kindergarten 1 or 2 from children who would require Ministry of Education approval to move into Grade 1.
Please contact Admissions before submitting an application if your child is a Singapore Citizen, or may become a citizen during the application cycle.
Why don’t you open applications for K2 at the Dover Campus?
We do not have a new class of K2 students opening at the Dover Campus. Although we do replace leavers from Kindergarten 1, traditionally there are very few and these places are generally offered to families who already have a child at the College so that the family can stay together. We do not feel it is fair to open the system and accept a large number of applications for K2 when there is such a small chance of success.
Families who wish to apply to K2 are welcome to apply for a place at the East Campus.
How will I know if a place does come up in K2?
Please contact Admissions to place your child’s name on a Register of Interest for entry in K2 at the Dover Campus, and we will contact you if we have more places available than predicted. In this instance, we contact you to arrange for you to complete the online application. We then process the application based on our entrance criteria.
Can we transfer between campuses?
Transfers between campuses are not possible once a place has been accepted at one campus.
Do you test and interview all applicants?
K1, K2 and Grade 1: if there is not enough in the application that allows us to decide that an applicant will be ready to join our Infant School programme, we invite the applicant to come to the College for a school readiness observation session. This is a chance for the applicant to play in a classroom setting, interacting with other applicants and teachers. It is considered along with the application to help us to understand the degree to which a child is ‘ready’ to begin in K1 or to join K2 or Grade 1.
Grade 2 to Grade 8: if full reports are not available or are unclear, interviews and assessments may be required.
Grade 9: all eligible G9 applicants will be invited for interview. This will take place on campus if you are in Singapore, or during one of our overseas visits (please click here for details of our overseas visits). Your child might also be asked to participate in a discussion forum.
Grade 10 FIB and IB Diploma Programme: all eligible applicants are asked to participate in a full day of interviews, discussions and collaborative exercises. Subsequent to this, and dependent upon outcome, the applicants will then have assessments in mathematics, English if English is not the applicant's first language and, if applicable, alternative Language A (first language or mother tongue) and/or Language B (second language). The test results are used as a guide for subject selection: they do not play a role in the process of allocating places to eligible candidates.
IB Diploma Programme applicants requesting Design Technology must complete an additional questionnaire and those requesting Art or Music must provide evidence of their performance standard, generally via a CD or DVD portfolio.
When do assessments take place?
K1 to Grade 8: assessments and interviews are held during term time beginning in September ahead of each new offer period.
Grades 9, 10 FIB and 11 (IB Diploma): testing and interviews are held during the College’s overseas visits (if required) or at the College over a number of days in late January to early March.
What is the student statement?
If your child is applying to join Grade 6 or above, they will need to complete a handwritten Student Statement, outlining the reasons they would like to join UWCSEA. It must be completed by hand by the student and then scanned and uploaded as part of the application. The Student Statement form can be downloaded from the Brochure Downloads page on our website.
Do you admit students above (or below) your age-grade boundaries?
K1 to Grade 8: placement is strictly according to age by 1 September of the year of entry - click here for the 2016/2017 academic year information. It is possible to request placement in a grade below if that follows the educational history of your child.
Grades 9, 10 FIB and 11: out of grade placements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Can my child join the College and live with a family friend or guardian in Singapore?
All students must reside with at least one parent who is also resident in Singapore and is present in Singapore for at least 90% of each term. This policy is strictly applied and a student who is found to not be living with a parent, or where both parents are more than occasionally absent from Singapore, will be asked to leave the College.
Students applying to Grade 8 and above can apply to join our residential boarding community. Day to boarding transfers are possible, but dependent on the availability of a boarding place.
Making an application - how, timing and more
How do I apply?
All applications need to be submitted via our online system. This allows us to capture a full profile of your child to use in assessing their application against the entrance and allocation criteria explained above. Here is a link to the application system, which contains a user guide.
When should I apply?
Applications open 12 months ahead of each new academic year. For example, applications to join the College in August 2017 opened on Thursday, 1 September 2016. Here is a link to the application system, which contains a user guide. If you are looking at future enrolment, please complete our Registration of Interest form and we will contact you when applications open.
The date of application is not relevant, and nor is there a deadline by which you need to apply - although 90% of places are offered by the end of February. For this reason, it is fair to say that if you apply earlier in the application cycle then you will be considered for more spaces than if you apply later, simply because most of the spaces are allocated by end of March each year. Having said that, there are sometimes 'late leavers' during the summer months so you should contact Admissions.
K1–Grade 8: places are offered in November, February and April for the August intake, and so applications should be submitted in advance of these months.
Grades 9, 10 FIB and 11 (IB Diploma) and all boarding applications should be submitted before February, as testing and interviews take place in February and March.
When will we find out if we have a place?
K1–Grade 8: places are offered in November, February and April for the August intake. The April offers follow our withdrawal notification for current students who advise us they are leaving the College next academic year, thereby creating a place. If you are not offered a place in these initial rounds of offers, you can elect to remain on the list to be considered for ‘late leaver’ places.
Grades 9, 10 FIB, 11 (IB Diploma) and all boarding places are offered in March for the August intake.
Please contact Admissions before submitting an application if you are applying outside of the time frames outlined above.
We are not moving until after your school year has started - can we apply?
Yes, but only for K1 to G8. We will fill vacancies that arise in these grades up to the start of Term 2 in January.
We are not able to accept new students into Grade 9, Grade 10 FIB or Grade 11 after the start of the Academic Year in August.
Please contact Admissions before submitting an application if you are applying outside of the time frames outlined above.