What is UWC?
UWC (United World Colleges) is a global education movement. UWC’s mission is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
UWC comprises a network of 17 international schools and colleges on four continents and a system of volunteer-run national committees in more than 155 countries. Additionally, UWC offers short courses, which are a shorter UWC educational experience.
UWC offers a challenging educational experience to a deliberately diverse group of students: they come not only from over 150 different countries, but also from a wide range of cultural, socio-economic, religious and educational backgrounds. Through living and learning together, our students discover the value of celebrating diversity and their shared humanity.
UWC places high value on experiential learning, community service and outdoor activities, which complement high academic standards delivered through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and lower years programmes.
Who studies at UWC?
Today, over 9,500 students from more than 155 countries are studying on one of the UWC campuses. Over 65% of UWC students selected for UWC through the UWC national committee system receive a full or partial scholarship, enabling admission to a UWC school to be independent of socio-economic means.
This means that anybody can apply to UWC. We are looking for students who want to become a change-maker for a better world - independent of whether they are able to contribute financially to their studies.
What are UWC alumni doing?
Since the foundation of the first UWC college in 1962, UWC has inspired a network of more than 60,000 alumni worldwide, who remain committed to the UWC mission and to contributing to a more sustainable and peaceful world.
The success of our alumni is not merely measured in terms of academic achievements or job titles, but also through their dedication to service, a key principle of their UWC experience.
What makes UWC different from other international schools?
Our values, our admission process and the UWC mission make us different.
UWC aims at enabling youth to respond to the challenges of a globalized world. We want to educate individuals who, through their own action and personal example, can make a positive difference in the world.
We provide this education to our students independent of their socio-economic means enabled through our comprehensive scholarship system.
UWC’s mission is to make education a force for peace and sustainability. Studying at a UWC school or college is therefore just the beginning of a lifelong commitment to UWC’s values.
What is UWC’s educational model?
UWC education is experience based meaning that we want our students to learn through doing and do through learning. Our students come together to encounter and understand the principles of sustainable development such as generational and gender equality, social tolerance, poverty reduction, environmental protection, preservation of natural resources and the creation of open, free, just and peaceful societies. Students experience these themes through active and social learning. In community services, students partake in meaningful and important activities within their immediate vicinity and deal with these relevant concepts. We help our students to discover the possibility of change through courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership.
At the heart of UWC’s distinctive model of education is a “deliberately diverse, engaged and motivated community in pursuit of the UWC Mission”. We believe that all students will benefit from learning in a diverse environment that helps to broaden their mind and sense of self
The approach within UWC emphasises student autonomy and personal sense-making. The International Baccalaureate Diploma offers a coherent and internationally recognised curriculum that is a deliberate compromise between different national emphasis on “breadth” and “depth”.
Schools and colleges
How many schools and colleges do you have? Where are they?
To date, UWC has 17 schools and colleges on 4 continents.
In what do the schools and colleges differ from each other?
Each of our schools and colleges has its own distinct character and identity, influenced by their host country, the specific setting, cultural context and their community. What makes each one of them a UWC is a deliberately diverse student body, with students coming from all over the world, bringing with them very different backgrounds to learn and live together - and their joined mission to make education a force for peace and sustainability
What do you teach?
All UWC schools and colleges teach the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for students in the final two years of high school education. As one of the most well-regarded and widely known secondary school qualifications in the world, the IBDP prepares the students to attend some of the world’s leading universities. In addition to the IBDP, four of our schools offer programmes tailored for younger students: find out more here.
UWC also places a high value on experiential learning, community service and outdoor activities, which complement the high academic standards delivered through the IBDP.
Finally, we also offer short course programmes to provide students with a condensed UWC experience, and present our overall missions and values to a greater audience.
What is CAS?
‘Creativity, Activity, Service’ (CAS) is a core element of life and learning at UWC - and also a requirement for obtaining the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP). Students of all age-groups are encouraged to excel inside the classroom as much as outside, through being engaged and active in a wide spectrum of creative, physical, social and community activities
CAS exemplifies the idea that a UWC education does not solely consist of a rigorous academic programme: through CAS, students have the opportunity to use the information they learn in the classroom and put it into practice in an experiential context. Each UWC school and college offers a wide range of CAS activities - both faculty and student initiated and led.
What is life like on campus?
Life at UWC can offer a whirlwind of emotions - whether you are experiencing the joys of stimulating extracurriculars, the stresses of your demanding academic programmes, or the wonderful benefits of living in a culturally diverse environment, you will rarely find yourself bored while living on one of our campuses. We provide an inclusive environment for students to get the most out of their time at UWC, whether it is through their courses, co-curricular activities, or making friends with students from backgrounds they never imagined.
What are the dates of the academic year and the terms at UWC?
The specific dates and length of the terms and breaks depend on the individual school/college. Roughly speaking, the academic year at a UWC school or college will start around August, will have a break during the second half of December/early January and will then continue until late May or June. Note that dates and breaks at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa differ from those of the other schools in accordance to the southern hemisphere’s calendar.
Are students allowed to go back home to visit their families throughout the year?
Students typically leave the campus for long periods of time during Spring and Winter breaks, when many students like to go back home to visit family, travel, do internships or volunteer work.
Because the campuses are closed during school/college breaks, students who aren’t able or do not want to go home can be hosted by local families who can offer them a place to stay. Living in a host family, students get a chance to explore the local culture, language and people, and many of them use the time to do internships and volunteering work or explore various regions of the country.
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. Student accommodation buildings are accompanied by a team of houseparents living on-site, who support and interact with students on a daily basis, while sustaining a safe and comfortable environment for all students within our residential buildings. Students also have staff advisors and tutor groups, which all provide a strong adult support network on campus.
All of our schools and colleges act in compliance with local ordinance and are in contact with authorities in the area to ensure safety is provided to our students. Our campuses also providing medical staff support for our students in the form of nurses, health and wellness specialists, psychologists and psychotherapists.
What support is available to students at a UWC school or college?
UWC has a strong commitment to the welfare, development and support of our students. We understand the important role that pastoral care plays in aiding our student during at times challenging experience of living and learning in a residential school environment - often far away from home - with a challenging academic and co-curricular program. All of our locations have a team of on-site staff who support the student’s well-being in roles such as house-parents, student advisors, peer support networks, nurses and counselors, deans of students, health and wellness specialists, heads of residential life, psychologists and psychotherapists, as well as providing access to healthcare, on campus and locally.
What provisions are made for students with disabilities?
As part of our established pastoral care system, students with various cognitive disabilities receive the necessary support to ensure their success in all of their academic endeavours. In terms of physical disabilities, due to the diversity that each of our unique campuses possesses, students are sensitively placed at schools or colleges that are more accessible to their physical needs. You can contact the schools and colleges for further information regarding their specific facilities.
How can I contact the school or college I am interested in?
Have a look at the school and college section on this website. There you will also find links to each school and colleges’ own page.
Can I choose which UWC I want to attend?
Applications through UWC national committees are made to the UWC movement, rather than to an individual UWC school or college. Applicants can usually name their schools or colleges of preference, but UWC national committees nominate students across all 17 UWC schools and colleges at their own discretion, depending on availability of places; and the school or college admissions department makes the final decision on whether to accept a nominated candidate.
If the application is made through the UWC Global Selection Programme, applicants can choose to apply to one or more participating UWC school or college. For a list of UWCs which participate in the UWC Global Selection Programme, go here. UWC Global Selection Programme applicants are not eligible for financial assistance.
Admissions and selections
How can I apply to UWC?
There are 4 different ways to experience a UWC education. For more information on how to apply to each, please follow the links below:
- 2 years at a UWC school or college studying the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
- Pre-IB Year
- Younger Years
- UWC Short Courses
What are national committees?
UWC’s national committee system is a unique network of over 3,000 volunteers working in more than 158 countries to select students for the IBDP at UWC. They promote the UWC movement, find, interview and select students for IBDP places at one of our schools and colleges worldwide.
A wide variety of individuals make up UWC national committees, including UWC alumni, parents of alumni, education professionals and community leaders who have embraced UWC’s mission and values. They promote UWC to prospective students and parents, encourage and support applications, select UWC scholars and prepare them for their UWC experience.
What is the UWC Global Selection Programme?
The UWC Global Selection Programme is an alternative application route for the IBDP years at UWC, designed for candidates who wish to forego financial needs assessment. A certain number of places has been allocated at 16 UWC schools and colleges and will be available to candidates selected through the UWC Global Selection Programme. These candidates are not eligible for scholarships and undertake to pay the full fee for the UWC school or college to which they are successful in applying. See here for a list of participating UWC schools and colleges.
How can I apply to the IBDP at UWC if there is no national committee in my country of residence and I do not wish to apply through the UWC Global Selection Programme?
First, check if you can apply through the UWC national committee of your country of nationality. If that option is not available to you, please write to UWC International at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What national committee should I apply to if I, or my child, has dual citizenship or does not live in the country of my/their nationality?
If this case, the first step would be to contact the UWC national committee in your country of residence. If you are not eligible to apply through them, the next step would be to contact the committee in your native country. If neither of these routes proves to be successful, an application via the UWC Global Selection Programme may be possible (for more information, see here).
What are the eligibility criteria to apply to the IBDP at UWC?
Each UWC selection committee, including the UWC national committees and the selection committee for the UWC Global Selection Programme, assesses applications against UWC’s core selection criteria. UWC national committees adhere to local education systems and cultures when implementing application processes and deadlines, to ensure they are relevant and appropriate. Each UWC national committee also has its own respective nationality, residency, and age criteria, while some committees may add additional criteria, including minimum grade requirements.
What is the profile a student needs to have in order to be selected?
There isn't one specific profile, we advise applicants to be themselves throughout the application process. You can have a look at our blog for tips what to consider when applying to UWC.
How old are students who study the IB Diploma Programme at UWC?
Students are typically between the ages of 16 and 17 years when entering the IBDP years, but this may vary by UWC school/college and/or national committee. Any questions regarding this can be addressed to your local UWC national committee or to the UWC Global Selection Programme at email@example.com.
When should students apply to study the IBDP at UWC?
Different entry routes to the IBDP at UWC have different application deadlines. If you are applying through a UWC national committee, you should contact the national committee directly as application deadlines are set by each national committee.
If you are applying through the UWC Global Selection Programme, applications are accepted on a rolling basis, the sooner you complete and submit your application, the sooner you’ll know whether you’ve been invited (shortlisted candidates will be invited within two weeks of application).
Can a candidate apply more than once to UWC?
An individual candidate may only submit one application per year to study the IBDP at UWC. An applicant may not apply through two different UWC national committees or through a UWC national committee and the UWC Global Selection Programme. Applying again in the following year is generally possible if you still meet age requirements. National committee candidates should check with their national committee. UWC Global Selection Programme candidates should check with firstname.lastname@example.org if in doubt.
When does the academic year start?
At most UWC schools and colleges, the academic year begins in August. The exception to this rule is Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa, where the academic year begins in January in accordance with the southern hemisphere’s education system. Applications are usually processed at the same time as those to other UWC schools and colleges, whether through the UWC national committee system or through the UWC Global Selection Programme.
Can students choose which UWC school or college they attend?
Applications through UWC national committees are made to the UWC movement, rather than to an individual UWC school or college. Applicants can usually name their schools or colleges of preference, but UWC national committees nominate students across all 18 UWC schools and colleges at their own discretion, depending on availability of places; and the school or college admissions department makes the final decision on whether to accept a nominated candidate.
If the application is made through the UWC Global Selection Programme, applicants can choose to apply to one or more participating UWC school or college. For a list of UWCs which participate in the UWC Global Selection Programme and the respective fees, go here. UWC Global Selection Programme applicants are not eligible for financial assistance.
What actions are required as part of the UWC application and selection process?
The application process will vary across UWC national committees and the UWC Global Selection Programme. It will generally include a selection of the following elements:
- A written application
- An essay
- A series of interviews, conducted in person or online
- Group activities
- Community service
- An examination
- A weekend camp
How long does the UWC application and selection process take?
If applying via a national committee, the application and selection process could take anywhere between one and five months to complete. If applying via the Global Selection Programme, the process typically between three and five weeks from the moment you submit your application.
Where does the UWC selection process take place?
UWC national committee selections typically take place in the country where the applicant’s national committee is based. In special circumstances, for example, in countries of conflict, some national committees might conduct most or all of their selection process online. UWC Global Selection Programme interviews are held online.
What are the UWC selection criteria?
Selection processes vary from country to country, but all selection committees look for demonstrated promise and potential in UWC candidates. All UWC selection processes are guided by the five core UWC selection criteria:
- Intellectual curiosity and motivation: a genuine urge to learn about the world around oneself and the ability to recognise the details and grasp the breadth of issues (for example global and local concerns) involved in any given topic and to analyse them thoroughly
- Active commitment: the ability to develop and readiness to reflect, question and confront one’s own values, to measure one’s behaviour within family and community against one’s values, and to act on one’s own beliefs accordingly and responsibly
- Social competence: the ability and readiness to make contact with other people, to interact respectfully with them, to work together with them in a team and to achieve solutions; the ability to express oneself adequately in different situations and to different people
- Resilience, personal responsibility and integrity: the ability to look after oneself physically and emotionally during the challenging and transforming experience that a UWC offers; the personal motivation to adhere to UWC’s common moral and ethical principles, a sense of humility and an ability to listen and value another person’s opinion and experience
- Motivation for UWC: passion, ability and serious incentive to contribute to and actively promote UWC’s values
When applying through the UWC Global Selection Programme, how many college preferences should I indicate?
You can choose one, or all 16 of them but you need to keep in mind the fees at each UWC. We encourage applicants to choose three or four schools whose fees their family is able to pay as it will increase their chances of being allocated to a UWC school or college. There are limited places available at each participating UWC school/college and we cannot guarantee that you will be allocated to your preferred school if selected.
How much does a UWC education cost?
At UWC, we believe that a top-class education should be made available to all students, independent of their financial needs. That is why, with the help of our generous donors and partners around the world, 65% of students in their IB Diploma Programme years receive either full or partial financial assistance, which is dependent on need and allocated based on a financial assessment. .
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 financial need. This helps ensure scholarships go to students who need them most.
What extra costs are there on top of school/college fees?
School/college fees generally do not include travel to the respective location, pocket money, travel during holiday periods, etc. There may also be additional fees in the form of deposits, and also to cover visa/inoculation processes. However, if needed, UWC will cover also these additional costs.
What is the UWC Hub?
The UWC Hub is a web platform and mobile app that brings together the UWC community around the world to connect with each other, stay up to date with the many activities happening across the UWC movement, collaborate on projects and causes, discuss and share. The overall aim of the UWC Hub is to strengthen the UWC community, to encourage engagement and positive action, to increase UWC’s collective impact and to advance the UWC mission.
Who can join the UWC Hub?
UWC school, college and short course alumni, official volunteers, UWC staff and former UWC staff, and current UWC students in the IBDP years.
How can I sign up to the web version?
- You can sign up directly at uwchub.org.
How can I download the app?
The app allows you to carry the UWC community in your pocket with you and has a more advanced geo-location feature, which shows people who are nearby and which changes as you move - great for when you're travelling!
- For the best user experience, please create an account on the web version of the UWC Hub first.
- Then, find the UWC Hub app in the App store (for iPhone) or the Google Play store (for Android).
- Download the app and use your login and password from the web platform to sign in.
If you experience any difficulties setting up your account, please contact email@example.com.
I’ve set up an account, how can I log back in?
You can log back in at uwchub.org. You might want to mark this as a favourite on your browser so that you can come back to it easily.
I’m a current UWC student - can I join the UWC Hub?
All students in the IBDP years at UWC schools and colleges are welcome to join the UWC Hub. Unfortunately, UWC students in pre-IBDP years are currently not able to join.
What can I do on the UWC Hub?
So much! Here is a list of some of the core functions, although there are definitely more:
- Volunteer and seek out opportunities to support community initiatives and/or UWC entities
- Search and message people based on their location, profession, interests, educational background
- Find or offer a couch for the night
- See people nearby as you travel, using geolocation on the app
- Create and join groups and initiatives - according to your location, UWC affiliations or interests
- Create spaces for robust discussions
- Find out about events organised by your UWC school/college or near you - or promote your own event
- Offer your skills to initiatives started by others, or to a school/college/ national committee
- Act as a mentor or request mentorship from others
- Post and find volunteer opportunities, jobs and internships
- Add and find useful resources, including articles, TED talks and UWC resources
- Link out to existing social media groups or pages
- Specify areas of your expertise and find others according to their expertise and skills
What is the purpose of the UWC Hub?
The overall aim of the UWC Hub is to strengthen the UWC community, to encourage engagement and positive action, and increase UWC’s collective impact while advancing the UWC mission around the world.
The UWC Hub does this in five main ways:
- Enable users to find each other according to their location, profession and UWC affiliations.
- Facilitate social and professional connections, including mentoring.
- Act as a ‘one stop shop’ where users can find and post events, volunteer and job opportunities and initiatives, bringing in and linking out to existing channels, including social media.
- Enable you to discover what’s new with your UWC school/college and your national committee, including upcoming events and opportunities for engagement.
- Facilitate collaborations on projects and causes, through providing a space and allowing users to indicate their skills and seek or offer help.
- Serve as a safe space for discussions with others, which can either be private or open to the wider community.
Why have you created another platform? Are you trying to replace Facebook?
The UWC Hub is designed to complement existing social media platforms, not to replace them. Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are fantastic tools for creating engaging activity. But on social media it’s hard to search for people based on their UWC allegiances, professions and interests and their willingness to help and volunteer. With so many events and activities taking place across the movement, it can also be hard to get an idea of what’s going on. The UWC Hub brings that information together in a dedicated space for the UWC community, allowing people to find out what’s going on more easily and creating a safe space for robust discussions.
We have ensured that the platform is as integrated as possible with social media platforms - importantly, when you sign up to the UWC Hub you can choose to log in through LinkedIn or Facebook, which means you do not have to populate an entirely new profile or remember a new password.
How will the personal data I submit to the UWC Hub be used?
When you register for the UWC Hub, you will be asked to agree to UWC International’s Data Privacy Statement. You will see that UWC is very concerned about protecting your data and making the UWC Hub a safe space, in line with GDPR. The statement sets out clearly what data will be collected, how it will be used and how we will protect it, in line with GDPR.
Is your question still unanswered?
If you still have a burning question, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is UWCx?
UWCx is a new way for UWC to recognise and support initiatives that further the UWC mission. Such initiatives may come in many different forms: a not-for-profit organisation, a city alumni group, a global interest group or organising a one-off event. Anyone can run a UWCx initiative – whether you’re an alumnus, staff member, parent, volunteer or a friend of UWC.
Why is UWCx separate from UWC?
Traditionally, there has been no way for UWC to endorse and support initiatives run by members of the UWC community wanting to use the UWC name and brand. We wanted to find a way to provide endorsement, while indicating that these activities needed their own identity that is separate from the institutionalised stakeholders within UWC, such as UWC schools, colleges and national committees.
We also want to provide a way for people to distinguish between initiatives run by members of the UWC community. By creating a new category of activities, we wish to highlight that community-driven initiatives are at the core of living the UWC values. We want to enable the initiators of these projects to be able to align with the UWC brand in a way to increase visibility while ensuring that UWC communications stay consistent and coherent.
What counts as a UWCx initiative?
UWCx covers community-driven initiatives taking place across the UWC movement. These will typically fall into the following categories:
- Local groups that are based in cities or universities, for example: UWC NYC
- Activities and projects, such as Go Make A Difference or Critical Engagement
- One-off events, such as the UWC Forum. You will find more information about what the requirements are for an event to obtain UWCx status in the UWCx event admission guidelines.
If I set up a new UWC Facebook group or a meet up with UWC friends, does it have to become a UWCx initiative?
No. Of course informal social meetups and groups can and should exist independently. We recognise there are many existing groups and channels that may not wish to become UWCx groups. However, if you are setting up an initiative that is larger scale and you wish to make use of a visual affiliation to the UWC brand or you would like your initiative to be recognised and promoted by UWC, then you should apply for UWCx status.
How do you become a UWCx Initiative or a UWCx Event?
1. Read through the UWCx admission guidelines or the UWCx event admission guidelines if you are applying to be a UWCx event.
2. Fill out the UWCx Accreditation Form (or the UWCx event Accreditation Form) and supply any additional information required.
3. Submit your request for accreditation to UWC International;
4. The Community Engagement Committee of the UWC International Board will consider your application on the basis of the UWCx guidelines and, in some cases, may invite you to submit additional information or clarify points further.
5. We will confirm whether your initiative has been approved and will provide feedback on your application. In cases where initiatives do not receive approval, UWC International will explain why and will offer advice on how the initiative could be further developed to meet the criteria for approval.
What rights do UWCx initiatives and UWCx events have?
- Brand - UWCx initiatives will be able to use the UWCx category of the brand
- Promotion - initiatives will be able to publicise themselves as a UWCx initiative, endorsed by UWC
- Support from UWC - as detailed below
What support will UWCx initiatives and UWCx events receive from UWC?
- Outreach - support with reaching out to the UWC community to share the initiative/event in order to network and to recruit interested participants
- ‘Hosting support’ - for example, UWC constituents (in particular schools and colleges) with capacity may host/provide working space for community initiatives
- Advice and best practice sharing - will be facilitated among UWCx initiatives, promoting a culture in which organisers can connect with each other and share ideas
- Support with use of brand - all initiatives will be provided with advice around using the UWCx category of the brand and incorporating appropriate artwork
What responsibilities will UWCx initiatives have?
- UWCx initiatives will need to fulfil the UWCx admission guidelines in order to be accredited;
- Once approved, UWCx initiatives will need to comply with certain administrative steps, including completing a safeguarding training, adding the initiative to the UWC Hub (UWC’s online platform) and providing a one-page impact summary on a yearly basis;
- To use the UWCx brand in accordance with the brand guidelines.
What responsibilities will UWCx events have?
- UWCx initiatives will need to fulfil the UWCx event admission guidelines in order to be accredited;
- Once approved, UWCx initiatives will need to comply with certain administrative steps, including completing a safeguarding training and providing a report about the event after its completion;
- To use the UWCx brand in accordance with the brand guidelines. Please note that UWCx events are only allowed to use the UWCx brand as a one-off. If you organise the same event the following year, you will need to reapply to become a UWCx accredited event.
What about community initiatives run by schools, colleges and national committees?
Initiatives run by UWC schools, colleges and national committees already operate under the UWC brand, so these will automatically be considered as UWC initiatives. There is a separate accreditation process for UWC short courses, which provide short educational programmes and courses for 14-20 year olds.