NU-Q Makes Changes in Application Process for Class of 2018

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NU-Q Makes Changes in Application Process for Class of 2018

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

By Wajeeha Malik

 

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

 

Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) has made major changes in its admission process for its applicants to the class of 2018, including removing the Controlled Writing Exercise (CWE) from the student evaluation process and eliminating the interview requirement with faculty or an admissions representative.

NU-Q applications are due on March 1 and the admissions department will announce decisions in April.

 As universities all over Education City prepare to announce the students they have chosen for their classes of 2018, NU-Q has stated major changes to its own evaluation process which no longer requires the CWE, the timed essay-writing exercise that was part of the evaluation process. In addition, the previously required interview with faculty or an admissions representative is now optional.

These changes were set into motion in November 2013, with the arrival of new admissions director Leon Braswell.

“It seems that we were asking for more than enough information,” says Braswell. He believes that the application package – with its requirement of 2 writing samples, a personal statement, and the applicant’s SAT, ACT, IELTS or TOEFL scores – is enough to evaluate a student’s ability.

According to Braswell, the results of the CWE would not have swayed the university’s final decision.  “Looking at the submitted essays, looking at the English grades, looking at any other quantitative data points such as IELTS, TOEFL, ACT, the essays, I would have still come to the same conclusion (about the student’s admission).”

However, Trish Seapy, NU-Q’s Writing Specialist, says that she thinks the CWE was an accurate assessment of a student’s writing abilities.

“I’m certainly not an admissions expert,” she says. “My biggest concern is helping students write well, so we have to make sure we’re getting true samples of their writing.”

She said that she believes a supervised test such as the CWE can remove the possibility of students submitting writing samples that are not their own. However, Braswell says that there was not enough evidence to suggest that students were submitting false samples.

In addition to the CWE, interviews with applicants are also no longer mandatory. “Interviews are not predictive,” says Braswell, “They do not predict how well you’d do in class.” He says that there was a need for a more “consistent” admissions process. According to NU-Q Admissions Specialist, Amira Hariri, applicants can still request interviews with a member of the admissions department.

Some current students at NU-Q are surprised by these changes. Sophie Qingjia Jiang, a Journalism sophomore from China, believes that tests like the SAT’s do not guarantee a student’s ability to write well enough for a writing-intensive school like Northwestern.

“There are all kinds of tests and tutoring for SAT and TOEFL [in China], so the score doesn’t say anything actually, because I know a lot of students who have really high SAT and TOEFL scores, but cannot write well [in English] or speak at all,” she said.

She also said that she thinks interviews were very helpful in creating a connection between the applicant and the administration. “I think the admission office should have that opportunity to interview [all candidates], to make the process more complete, or holistic.”

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