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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on applying to UWC

When is the deadline for applications?

Is there an age limit for applications?

  • Students must be aged between 16 and 18 on September 1st of the year that they wish to enter UWC, i.e. for entry in the 2024 cycle you must be aged 16, 17 or 18 on September 1st, 2024. Certain exceptions may apply. Please contact the committee if you will be 18 or over at the time of enrolling in UWC. 

I am not fluent in English, does this matter?

  • No. Do not be discouraged from applying to UWC because of a lack of fluency in English. It is not a requirement to apply, but it can be one of the factors evaluated during selection.

Can you help me with a scholarship for further education (university etc)?

  • UWC does not offer scholarships for university or further tertiary education, however many of our students have won scholarships to prestigious universities across the world. Former UWC scholars from Ireland have been awarded scholarships to Brown University and Grinnell University in the USA. 

Where does the funding for UWC come from and how are the scholarships for UWC students paid for?

  • The scholarships are provided either by the colleges or by the national committees through their own localised fundraising.
  • Donors to UWC include philanthropists, private companies, governments and alumni.

Can I attend UWC for only one year or transfer into a UWC from another IB school for my last year?

  • No. At our pre-university colleges, the UWC experience is two years long. At our schools, there is more flexibility in the younger years but not for the IB Diploma years. There are no opportunities for transfer into or between the schools/colleges

I am a refugee or stateless person, how should I go about applying to UWC?

  • If you are a refugee or stateless person please contact us, or the UWC international office. We will be able to guide you as to what to do next.

I have dual nationality. Which  national committee should I apply through?

  • You are only able to apply to UWC through one national committee, regardless of the numbers of nationalities you have.
  • Your first point of contact should be the national committee in the country you reside in, since virtually all selection processes will require you to attend personally. Please consult the Eligibilty Criteria section of our website.
  • If this national committee is unable to accept your application, please contact the Committee in the other country that you hold a passport for.
  • If neither national committee is able to accept your application, please contact UWC International Office for more information and guidance.

I am a citizen/national of a country I no longer live in, and reside in a country I am not a citizen of. What national committee should I contact if I want to apply to UWC? 

  • First you should contact the national committee in the country where you live and ask if they accept applications from non-nationals.
  • If the national committee tells you it is unable to consider your application because you are not a national/citizen, contact the national committee of the country where you are a national/citizen.
  • If neither national committee is able to accept your application, please contact the UWC International Office  for more information and guidance.
  • Please ensure that you provide sufficient time to make these enquiries in order to avoid missing an application deadline.

How do I apply to 3rd level institutions in Ireland from UWC?

  • Visit and also consult individual universities' websites and admissions offices for information.

The Irish requirement for NUI

The Leaving Cert vs. International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB is internationally renowned and is recognised by all universities in Ireland and by all leading universities internationally. In the UK, the IB has been adopted by many second-level schools, which recognise the benefits of the IB's breadth and depth.

In Ireland IB Programmes are offered in the International School SEK, International School of Dublin, St Andrew's College, Booterstown, Co. Dublin and Villiers School in Limerick.

Like the Leaving Cert 6 subjects are taken into account for the IB. Generally most students at UWC will only take 6 subjects (3 at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level). There are certain circumstances where a student may need to take 4 subjects at Higher Level (7 in total) e.g. for entry requirements for university, but this is very rare. It is also possible to audit subjects where you attend the classes but don’t sit the exam.

The IB also includes a lot of Internal Continuous Assessment where an average of about 30% of each subject’s final grade will have been completed before any exams have been written.

The IB is also comprised of core subjects, Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay, which allow you to do research outside of your chosen subjects with the Extended Essay (4000-word research paper) on a subject of your choice to be handed in during your 2nd year. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a mandatory course that everyone must take in 1st year that focuses on how and why we learn. At the end of this course a 1500-word TOK essay must be written. Both the TOK essay and Extended Essay combine for the 3 bonus marks of the IB diploma. CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) is a core part of the IB and a certain number of CAS hours must be completed in order to receive your IB Diploma, UWCs in general allow students to go far beyond the CAS requirements. Generally the IB is seen as a challenging pre-university course that will push students to realise their full academic and creative potential.

What subjects are available, and what should I take? 

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme curriculum is made up of the IB core (see above) and six subject groups. Each subject group has a variety of subjects, offered at Standard or Higher Level. All IB students must take one subject from each group, but not all UWCs offer all of these subjects. For information on subjects offered by a particular UWC, visit that individual college's website.

The six subject groups are:

  1. Studies in language and literature (Language A). Language A refers to the student's native tongue, or a language spoken by the student with native proficiency. Generally, Irish UWC students will take English as their A language. Irish is only available in the literature category upon special request and must be self-taught. It is not available in language and literature or literature and performance.  
  2. Language acquisition
    • Language ab initio courses are for beginners (that is, students who have little or no previous experience of learning the language they have chosen). These courses are only available at standard level.
    • Language B courses are intended for students who have had some previous experience of learning the language. They may be studied at either higher level or standard level.
  3. Individuals and societies
    • Economics, Geography/Development Studies, Global Politics, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, World Religions, Environmental Systems and Societies (may be taken as Group 3 or Group 4)
  4. Sciences
    • Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Systems and Societies
  5. Mathematics
    • Mathematical studies standard level, Mathematics SL, Mathematics higher level, Further mathematics higher level
  6. The arts
    • Dance, Music, Film, Visual Arts, Theatre

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