ABOUT THE PROGRAM
What is the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program (YTP) is an online college readiness platform developed to help Emirati youth successfully transition to the higher education phase of their academic journey. By raising awareness of the higher education and career options available to Emirati youth, YTP empowers them to make well-informed decisions about their futures’. The program supports youth with the skills necessary to grow into adult citizens who contribute effectively to the future of the UAE. YTP delivers skills-development as well as college and career coaching through a fully digital platform, in addition to in-country, experiential learning opportunities.
Who is eligible for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Any Emirati student in the UAE is eligible for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, as long as you are between the ages of 15 and 20.
Why is the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program only open to Emiratis?
At its inception, The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program was designed to support Emirati youth in preparing for a changing world of learning and working. As the program expands, we hope to bring the program to learners across the Arab world.
Can students in the Foundation Year at university apply for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Yes, students in the Foundation Year may apply for the program to further develop skills and to gain career counseling.
Is the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program only for students in private schools?
No, Emirati students in both private and public schools in any emirate may register for the Young Thinkers Program.
Is the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program open to students who want to earn a technical or vocational education?
Yes! The program is designed to help students gain the skills needed for success in any type of educational system.
What is the deadline for applying to the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Applying for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is on a rolling basis. You may apply at any time.
Do I have to have a certain grade point average to enroll in the program?
No! The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is open to students at any grade point average.
How do I apply to the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
To apply to the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, click here to submit your application on our student portal. Detailed instructions on how to complete your application can be found on the site. After submitting your application, you will receive a link to access the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform.
I am already an Al Ghurair Young Thinker. How can I access the digital platform?
To access the digital platform, simply click here!
What will I receive as an Al Ghurair Young Thinker?
As an Al Ghurair Young Thinker, you will have access to a digital platform that hosts three main components:
- Online coaching to personalize your learning journey and a tailored college and career planning app that provides you with college and university options in the UAE, region and internationally, as well as valuable information on up-and-coming careers in the country and region
- Tailored coursework on the soft skills that youth require for future success, including time management and collaboration techniques
- Face-to-face learning opportunities where you will practice and further develop your skills, as well as learn from industry professionals
Is there a mobile application for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Not yet! The mobile app for the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is coming in 2018!
How long will I be enrolled in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program? Will I ever need to re-apply?
Once you enroll in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, you will never need to re-apply. You may continue to use the platform for as long as you want.
What will be expected of me as an Al Ghurair Young Thinker?
As an Al Ghurair Young Thinker, you are only expected to stay motivated about exploring your college and career options. You should engage in all components of the digital platform, from exploring college and career information, completing the coursework, and chatting with your Success Advisor. The program exists to support you!
Do I have an obligation to attend a certain university as an Al Ghurair Young Thinker?
No. Al Ghurair Young Thinkers are under no obligation to attend a certain university.
How long will it take me to finish the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform will consistently be updated with new information and coursework. A progress bar and our badging system will help you monitor your progress in the program. If you complete all the courses, you are encouraged to interact with your Success Advisor, as well as explore the college and career information on the platform.
Is the material on the digital platform only in English?
No! All of the information on the digital platform is in English and Arabic. You may choose to use the platform in whichever language you feel most comfortable.
What do I do if I don’t understand the coursework on the platform?
Your Success Advisor is there to help! If you are confused about your coursework, start a chat with your Success Advisor and ask as many questions as you need to.
Why do I need to learn skills in subjects I have never even heard of?
To keep up with today’s world, we must be lifelong learners. While you may have never heard of certain skills, we have customized the coursework to help you be as best prepared as possible for college and the job market. Don’t be scared – learning something new is fun!
Will I be expected to work at a specific company advised by AGFE upon graduation?
No, Al Ghurair Young Thinkers are not expected to commit to a specific job offer upfront.
Will the digital platform advertise available jobs?
Students enrolled in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program will have access to relevant information as it pertains to business and industries across the country. While specific jobs may not be posted on the digital platform, students will be exposed to top employers and opportunities in the UAE.
How much does this program cost?
Absolutely nothing! The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is an Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education program, powered by Arizona State University, and was designed to support you with the skills needed to become college and career ready. We offer this program to you completely free of charge.
How will the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education select Young Thinkers? What is the process?
The Foundation will review and assess all complete, submitted applications. Students who meet the program’s eligibility requirements will be registered as Al Ghurair Young Thinkers and will have access to the digital platform.
ABOUT THE me3 TOOL
What is me3?
me3 is an interactive quiz tool that will help you explore majors and careers that fit your interests and passions. On the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers digital platform, you start by choosing images based on your interests. Your interests will match with a list of career options that you can rank in order of preference. Then me3 will give you a list of majors that could lead you to that career.
How does me3 work?
me3 is designed from research and a Euclidean distance matching algorithm. Basically, as you make choices in the visual quiz, me3 is calculating your RIASEC score which represents your levels of interest in data, things, people, and ideas. Then me3 compares your scores to those of more than 500 careers based on existing data. The results you see are the careers with scores that are most similar to your individual results.
The RIASEC model has been studied for almost 60 years and has more empirical support than any other career theory. A match between one’s interest code and related careers has been linked to greater career stability and job satisfaction. Who doesn’t want that?
How many times can I take me3?
You can take the me3 game as many times as you like on the platform!
Do I have to study what me3 suggests?
No, of course not! me3 exists as a tool to help raise your awareness on the majors and careers that exist in today’s (and tomorrow’s!) world. While me3 should give you results that match your interests, you are free to pursue any major you would like.
What courses are available on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers digital platform?
Currently, there are five courses hosted on the platform. Each month, a new course will be added, so keep checking back for new material!
Why were these courses chosen?
The courses on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program platform were designed to address college readiness gaps that exist globally. We have tailored the courses specifically for you to help you succeed in university and the job market.
How long will it take me to finish each course?
Each course will take you between one and two hours to complete.
What if I don’t understand some of the tasks in the course?
It’s okay! Reach out to your Success Advisor on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform for support.
What if I don’t like the courses on the platform?
That’s okay! The courses are voluntary, so choose the courses that you prefer.
How can I suggest courses I want to see on the platform?
Tell your Success Advisor what courses you want to see! We’re here to help you succeed, and want you to benefit from the platform as much as you can!
What do I do when I finish the courses on the platform?
Congratulations! Keep checking back for additional courses.
What is a Success Adviser?
Our Success Advisers help Young Thinkers set goals and improve study habits, and guide students in the exploration of their college and career choices.
Why are there Success Advisors on the platform?
Success Advisors are available to interact with you through the secure chat feature on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform. Success Advisors help personalize your learning journey.
Will my Success Advisor understand the context of the UAE?
Yes! All Success Advisors on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform have extensive experience in the Middle East and understand the local context.
I’m a girl and I don’t feel comfortable talking to a male Success Advisor. What can I do?
Don’t worry. You will only be paired with a Success Advisor of the same gender.
What types of questions can I ask my Success Advisor?
You can ask your Success Advisor college and career related questions, as well as any questions you may have about the coursework on the platform.
Will I ever meet my Success Advisor in person?
No. Your Success Advisor will only be able to interact with you through the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform.
What language will my Success Advisor speak?
Success Advisors are bilingual, so feel free to use either English or Arabic when chatting with them.
What is a badge?
A badge is a visual representation of an accomplishment, achievement or skill acquisition—more granular than a formal degree, but helps to make incremental learning more visible.
When will I earn each badge?
As you progress through the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, you will earn a series of badges that reflect your progress.
What can I do with my badges?
Share, share, share! Show off your progress in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, and tell your friends! Badges are social media friendly, so you can share them on any other digital platform.
Will I receive a certificate when I finish a course or the full program?
The badges you earn as you progress through the platform are digital credentials that may be viewed as online certificates.
How do I know what my child is doing on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is designed to help your child be college ready and college successful. All material on the digital platform is intended to support their learning journey and provide them with relevant, up-to-date information on college and career options.
How can I help my child succeed in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Encourage your child to share their experience in the program. Ask them questions about what they are learning and how their Success Advisors are supporting them.
Can I take the courses myself?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform is student facing, and you must be registered as a student. Encourage your child to talk to you about the material they are learning in the courses!
How can I ensure my child’s safety on the platform?
Young Thinker Success Advisers have undergone extensive training in the mission of the Young Thinkers Program and passed rigorous background checks. All Young Thinkers must abide by a Code of Conduct and all interaction on the digital platform is monitored regularly.
How do I know what my student is doing on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program is designed to help students be college and job ready. All material on the digital platform is intended to support their learning journey and provide them with relevant, up-to-date information on college and career options.
How can I help my students succeed in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program?
Encourage your students to share their experience in the program. Ask them questions about what they are learning and how their Success Advisors are supporting them. You may also integrate some of the tools they are learning about on the platform in your classroom!
Can I take the courses myself?
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program digital platform is student facing, and you must be registered as a student.
How can I suggest courses that address topics my students need support in?
We are developing our courses using a human-centered design approach, meaning we design our programs based on what our users want and need. We encourage you to contact the Foundation here with your suggestions.
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM BENEFITS AND OBLIGATIONS
What will I receive as an Al Ghurair STEM Scholar?
As an Al Ghurair STEM Scholar, you will receive a scholarship to pursue a degree at one of our partner universities. The scholarship will include both financial and non-financial support that will enable you to attend and succeed at university and prepare for a successful transition to work.
Financial support includes support towards:
- University tuition and other mandatory university fees
- Health insurance, as per the university plan
- On-campus housing costs, travel airfare and visa costs for students living away from family
- Support towards living expenses
Non-financial support includes access to:
- A network of Al Ghurair Scholars around the world
- Community service experience
- Work experience and exposure opportunities
- Skill development tools and opportunities to build leadership skills
- Academic advising, career counselling and mentorship
How long is the Al Ghurair STEM scholarship for? Will I need to re-apply every year?
The scholarship supports students for the duration of their chosen degree, based on the credits required for each degree and the typical time needed to complete all required credits on a full load/semester basis. If the scholar maintains all the requirements of the scholarship and his/her financial situation does not change significantly, there will be no need to re-apply to the scholarship.
What will be expected of me as an Al Ghurair STEM Scholar to maintain my scholarship?
Once scholars are selected, they will be required to sign a student agreement with the Foundation that outlines a number of conditions. Most importantly, these include, but are not limited to:
- Academic - maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of each semester and taking a minimum load of credits/semester as advised by the Foundation
- Participation in non-academic program components - participating in community service activities, completing an internship, taking part in mentorship programs and other leadership workshops, making use of the university career services office, and participating in extracurricular activities
- Regular communication and reporting - regularly engaging with the university student coordinator as well as reporting and sharing information with the Foundation through the scholars’ online portal on a regular basis
- Behavioral - maintaining excellent ethics and discipline inside and outside the university, providing accurate information and representing the Foundation well
As an Al Ghurair STEM Scholar at a partner university, can I go for an exchange program at another university during my degree?
The Foundation encourages its scholars to seek additional opportunities that can further their learning and has no objection to scholars participating in exchange programs abroad. However, the Foundation cannot guarantee supporting extra costs associated with attending an exchange/semester abroad program or other non-required activities. Decisions on supporting such activities will be made on a case by case basis depending on several factors including whether the program is structured and organized by the partner university itself, financial considerations as well as the performance of the scholar.
Do I have an obligation to stay in the Arab region after graduation, or return to the Arab region upon graduation if I am studying abroad? What would happen if I don't?
The Foundation expects scholars to be the future generation of leaders for the Arab World and to contribute to the development of their communities. Therefore, Al Ghurair STEM Scholars have a moral obligation to live in the Arab World after graduation and use their acquired skills and knowledge to amplify the impact of their education in their communities. In the case where a scholar does not live in the Arab region upon graduation for at least the same duration of their completed degree, AGFE expects the scholar to pay forward the amount of the scholarship in support of the education of another Al Ghurair STEM Scholar through the Foundation. Details including the timeline and method of paying the scholarship forward will be discussed between the scholar and the Foundation upon his/her graduation.
Will I be expected to work at a specific company advised by AGFE upon graduation?
Scholars are not expected to commit to a specific job offer upfront. However, the Foundation’s aim is to build a network of top employers in the Arab World that would offer scholars high-quality internships as well as job opportunities upon graduation. If the student is matched with an employer during their scholarship term, they will be asked to consider any offer received from this employer as a priority before considering any other offers.
Will I be expected to pay the Foundation back for the cost of my scholarship after graduation?
If scholars meet the program expectations upon graduation, including their moral obligation to return to the Arab World, they will not be expected to pay for the cost of the scholarship upon graduation. However, Al Ghurair STEM Scholars are chosen to be the future ambassadors for education in the region. Thus, we hope that our scholars proactively elect to pay forward the scholarship they have received and support future generations of deserving Arab youth.
Can I apply to more than one of the Foundation’s programs?
Yes, you may apply to more than one of the Foundation’s programs. However, our policy is that scholars can only benefit from one of our programs. Therefore, if you accept an award under one of our programs and become a scholar, you may not apply at a later stage to benefit from another program under the Foundation. Also, if you benefit from a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, you will not be eligible to apply to any other programs to pursue other degrees?
COMPLETING THE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
How long will it take me to complete the application? Can I submit a hard copy application?
We expect the application to take at most two weeks to complete, including the time needed to get any official documents required for the application (see below). If all the f documents are ready, the application can be completed within a day or two. We encourage students to start preparing early. Please note the application for the scholarship must be completed strictly online, and in English, through our student portal. No hard copies will be accepted.
What information and documents will be required for the application and in what language do they need to be in?
The application contains questions about the student's personal details, family information, academic achievements, and family and personal finances. The Foundation accepts documents in both English and Arabic. If you need to submit a document in another language, please attach a translation. While not all documents have to be official or certified, it is very important that your submitted documents are of high quality and readable. We cannot accept handwritten documents, poorly scanned documents, or documents with no identifier information (such as the date or name). For a full list of required documents check here.
Can I submit additional documents to the Foundation through email?
No, the Foundation will not consider any documents that are submitted outside of the program application on the AGFE portal. If you are having trouble adding a document to your application or want to give us additional information after submitting your application, please reach out to the team for support.
My grades from this academic term or year will not be out before the scholarship application deadline. What can I do?
This should not stop you from applying to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars. Applicants are expected to provide the most recent grades available showing at least one full year of study, even if they do not have grades for their current term. For example:
- If the student is in high school, grades from both the last full year of study and the previous year will be required. For example, if the student is in Grade 12, he/she would submit their full grades from grades 11 and 10.
- If the student is already pursuing a Bachelor or Master’s program, the cumulative average will be required. If students have not yet completed at least one full academic year at their university, then they would submit their last available complete academic year for consideration (this would be the grade 12 high school grades for new Bachelor students, and the cumulative Bachelor degree results for new Master’s students).
- If students attended university for more than 2 semesters and dropped out, the university grades are required, not high school grades.
How can I best answer the essay questions? Is it okay if I write less or more than the word count specified?
The required essays are a very important component of applicants' assessment. You can start your essays as soon as you begin the application, there is no need to wait until you have completed previous sections to start working on these. Students are encouraged to make an effort to write the best response possible. You may write less than the word count specified, but we strongly recommend writing at least 100 words for each essay question to convey your ideas. No, you may not exceed the word limit specified, this will affect the assessment of your answers negatively. The Foundation has prepared a document to help applicants with essay writing tips, please read it carefully here. We also have advice for students preparing their video essay responses here.
If I am a native French speaker planning to study at a university where French is the main language of instruction, do I still have to complete the English essays required as part of the program application?
Yes, all applicants have to write English essays as part of their program application. However, for students only applying to our French partner university, the assessment of essays (especially for grammar and language) will take into consideration that the student would not be studying in English. We encourage all students to do their best in writing these essays and develop compelling ideas, regardless of university choice.
Can I edit my application after submission? What if I need to submit additional information?
No, we strongly suggest that you review your program application thoroughly before final submission because you will not be able to edit afterwards. When the Foundation reviews submitted applications, they may get in touch with you for additional documentation or clarification, make sure to check your email frequently and to respond to any requests after application submission through your AGFE portal, not by email.
SELECTING AND APPLYING TO THE UNIVERSITY
If I meet the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars program criteria, can I receive support for a degree I am currently pursuing at a non-partner university or for a degree that is not supported by the Foundation at a partner university?
The Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program only supports students studying in selected Bachelors Masters STEM degrees at our partner universities. We are unfortunately not able to support students at other universities, even if they meet all the program eligibility criteria and have received an acceptance from another non-partner university. Visit the map on our STEM Scholars Program page to know which universities and which STEM degrees are supported by the scholarship.
If I am currently studying at a non-partner university, can I apply to the STEM Scholars Program as a transfer student to complete my degree at one of the Foundation's partner universities?
Yes, if a student is accepted as a transfer student into one of our partner universities, they can still be considered by the Foundation for the scholarship as long as they have not already completed more than half of the academic program at their current university. However, it is up to the university to decide on the credit transfer conditions.
Can I apply to pursue a second bachelor or master’s degree?
No, applications will not be considered from students who have already completed a degree and wish to pursue a second for the same credential (for example a second Bachelor’s degree in a different major or a second Masters degree. Students who have completed their education in North Africa (based on the French Education system) can still apply to a North American Master’s degree even if they completed the compulsory 2 Master years (Cycle 4 and 5) as part of the 5-year Engineering Diploma.
Can the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program support me to pursue a PhD program?
No, the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program only supports students to complete their Bachelor or Master’s degree at one of our partner universities. Students who have already completed their Master’s degree would not be eligible to apply to the program.
How do I select which universities to include in my Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program application? Can I select more than one, and how does the Foundation select which university the scholarship will be offered at?
Students’ selection of universities is often dependent on the specific programs offered at the university, variety of courses, and their fit with students’ academic and professional goals. Other non-academic factors students tend to consider include campus facilities and services, student diversity, and proximity to their city of residence and family.
- We encourage all students to aim high in their selection of universities but also stress that students do their research on university requirements, admission rates and competitiveness while choosing.
- It is also always recommended that students have at least 1 regional university as an option, in addition to other universities abroad they may be considering. In their application, applicants can indicate preference for more than one university. The decision of which university to offer the scholarship will be based on the Foundation’s assessment criteria, policies, and capacity of our partner universities. If an applicant is living in a country where one of the Foundation’s partner universities are located, the Foundation may prioritize providing the scholarship in the student's country of residence.
Does applying to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program also mean I have automatically applied to the university and programs selected?
No, it is very important to note that the process of applying and receiving admission at one of our partner universities is separate from applying to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program. The Foundation expects students to secure complete, non-conditional admission to their university of choice. The Foundation is not responsible for coordinating students’ university applications. It is also very important to respect the application deadlines of each university. To receive help with applying to their preferred universities, students are advised to communicate directly with the universities.
Do I need to have an acceptance to one of the Foundation’s partner universities before applying to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program? No, it is not expected that all students, at the time of application to the Foundation, would have already secured admission to a partner university. However, we strongly recommend that students at least complete their applications to their chosen universities while applying to the program or soon afterwards. If a student is selected for the scholarship by the Foundation, the scholarship will be conditional on being fully admitted by the university itself in time for the start of the Fall semester.
Therefore, in parallel to applying for the scholarship through the Foundation, students should make sure they:
- Apply directly to the university or universities of their choice in the degree programs they indicated on their scholarship application before the program deadline as started on the university website
- Study for and take any required standardized exams required by the program and university of choice (For example English/French proficiency exams, the SAT or GRE, etc.)
- Apply for financial aid at the university or universities of their choice
- Apply for housing from the university, if required
Will the Foundation pay for the university application fees or cost of standardized exams required by the university for applicants?
No, the Foundation is unable to cover the costs of any university applications or official exams on behalf of students. We understand that applying to university is expensive; we advise students to plan early-on and to prioritize applying to universities they are seriously considering and likely to get accepted into. In some cases, students may need to travel outside their city/country to access a testing centre for university-required standardized exams, so it is important to plan ahead.
Do I need to have taken my language proficiency exams or other standardized exams before applying to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars program?
Most universities require the results of these exams either as part of the application or to issue students’ final admission decisions; so you will need to complete these exams in time for your chosen university’s deadline. Applicants do not need to have completed their language proficiency exams at the time of applying to the scholarship program. However, many exams (e.g. SAT) only take place a few times per year. Please check with the university itself for these deadlines and plan to take your exams early and refer to our Standardized Exams Resource here.
If I am not able to meet the language requirements of the university, will the Foundation cover the cost of English language training or an additional English course/term?
The Foundation’s scholarship awards are conditional on students meeting a basic standard of language proficiency to be able to succeed at university. If students do not meet the English requirements of their intended major but are otherwise academically competitive, the university may place them in an additional English language preparatory term. On a very exceptional basis, the foundation may consider supporting awarded scholars with the costs of this term.
SCHOLARSHIP SELECTION PROCESS
How will the Foundation select the scholars? What is the process?
After the application deadline has closed, the Foundation will review and assess all complete, submitted applications. Incomplete applications and applications from students who do not meet program eligibility criteria will not be considered.
Based on the assessment, the Foundation will invite a shortlist of applicants to an online interview. Shortly after the interview, the final list of scholars will be announced and selected scholars will need to confirm their acceptance of the award and complete admission to one of our partner universities. At that point, applicants who have not been selected will also be informed. Please review the timeline on the STEM Scholars Program page for key dates to remember.
What will the interview be about? How should I prepare for it?
The interview is the last step of the application process, during which short-listed candidates will be asked about their plans for the future, achievements and perspectives. The Foundation may also ask questions to verify some of the information provided in the application. If you would like some advice from current Al Ghurair STEM Scholars about the interview, see this short video here.
What criteria does the Foundation use to assess the applications? What should I focus on to improve my chances of getting accepted?
Scholars are selected on a competitive basis as there are a set number of scholarships each year. When assessing applications, the Foundation is looking for:
- Evidence of financial need
- Academic excellence
- Leadership potential
- A commitment to giving back to the community and the Arab Region
It is important to submit a complete and high-quality application with accurate and honest information. The application offers a chance for applicants to present their interests, goals, and experiences through their CV, a number of required essays and a section in which they can highlight any specific hardship circumstances they have experienced.
Would siblings from the same family be able to receive scholarships as part of the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program?
No, the Foundation’s policy is to award one student per family to be able to impact a higher number of families in the Arab Region. Therefore, if siblings from the same family apply to the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program, only one of them will be selected.
What is the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program?
Open Learning is a movement that has made learning more flexible, allowing students to access it for free online and wherever they may be. At the higher education level, this means that university-level courses from hundreds of universities across the world are available for anyone to study online. These courses are known as massive online open courses (MOOCs).
How can I apply to be an Al Ghurair Open Learning scholar?
The Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program is designed for youth who are passionate about developing their skills in the field of STEM, but who may not be able to travel or forgo their current employment. It gives them the chance to access innovative online and blended learning (a combination of face-to-face and online) accredited degree programs and recognized credentials.
We are currently offering scholarships for two MicroMasters - the MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management (SCM) and in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) – as well as a selection of online master’s degrees at Arizona State University (ASU). Scholarship applications for the MicroMasters programs are based on a rolling application basis. Students can submit their applications on our student portal at any time, without a deadline, by clicking on "Ready to Apply" at the bottom of the page. Scholarship applications for the ASU online master’s degrees are open 3 times a year. More information can be found in the section specified below or on the Open Learning Scholars page.
Can I apply to pursue a second master’s degree or credential while being currently enrolled in or after completing a master’s degree?
No. Applications from students who are currently enrolled in or have already completed the degree for which they are applying will be declined. For example, if you have a master’s degree and wish to apply for a second master’s degree in another field, you unfortunately will be disqualified from receiving a scholarship from the Foundation. This also applies to students who are currently enrolled in or have completed a Master’s degree and who wish to apply to the MicroMasters credential. The Foundation’s policy is focused on giving access to students who have not previously had the opportunity to complete their higher education (undergraduate,master’s degrees, or credentials).
Does applying to the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program also mean I have automatically applied to the university and programs selected?
No. It is very important to understand that the process of applying and receiving admission at one of our partner universities is separate from applying to one of the Al Ghurair Programs. The Foundation expects students to secure admission to their university of choice. The Foundation is not responsible for coordinating students’ university applications. To receive help with applying to their preferred universities, students are advised to communicate directly with the universities. It is not expected that all students, at the time of application, would have already secured admission to a university. However, if a student is selected for the scholarship by the Foundation, the scholarship will be conditional on also being admitted by the university itself.
Therefore, in parallel to applying to the scholarship through the Foundation, students should make sure they:
Study for and take any required English exams such as TOEFL/IELTS or other exams (such as GRE) depending on the requirements of the university and program of choice
Apply directly to the university or universities of choice in the degree programs or credentials they indicated on their scholarship application
Can I apply for more than one program at a time?
Although you can apply to more than one program at a time, every student is only permitted to receive one scholarship for only one of the Foundation’s programs. In other words, if you have received a scholarship (or reimbursement) for the MITx MicroMasters, you will be disqualified from receiving a scholarship from other scholarships in the Open Learning Scholarships Program, the STEM Scholars Program, or the Young Thinkers Program, and vice versa. This policy is in place to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to access our scholarships.
Can I submit any required documentation before or after I receive a scholarship by email?
You should submit any requested documents or reports on your progress in the program on the student portal, unless otherwise specific by a member of our team. If you do not respond to our requests in a timely manner, please note that you risk having your scholarship withdrawn.
If I am currently studying at a non-partner university, can I apply for a scholarship and transfer to one of the Foundation's partner universities?
Yes, if a student is accepted as a transfer student into one of our partner universities, they can still be considered by the Foundation for the scholarship. However, it is up to the university to decide on the credit transfer conditions.
Arizona State University (ASU) Online Master's Degrees
What is the application deadline for the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program at ASU?
Students are invited to apply for the scholarship three times a year for three ASU start dates in Fall, Spring, and Summer. The scholarship applications will be open for a period of one month around June, November, and March every year. The current application cycle is: November 1 - 29, 2017. Please check back soon for more details on the specific dates for the next application cycle.
What ASU online master’s programs does the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program support?
You can find the list of supported programs, and further information on each, here. For additional questions regarding ASU, please communicate with the University staff.
What does studying online at ASU look like? I want to understand more what I should expect.
ASU has developed a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address a lot of the concerns prospective students have about the application process, the experience of studying online, and what to expect. You can find them all here.
Are ASU’s online master’s degrees accredited by the Ministries of Education in the Arab world?
ASU’s online degrees are equivalent to their on-campus degrees and the transcripts received by graduates for either modality look identical. Although many ministries of education in the Arab world still do not recognize online degrees, it will be the responsibility of every student to seek the attestation of their degrees from their respective Ministry of Education.
If I get accepted into the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program at ASU, what will be expected of me?
In order to maintain your scholarship, as an Al Ghurair Scholar you will be expected to successfully complete your online master’s degree within a period of no more than 3 years. You will also be expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Finally, you will be expected to be responsive to the Foundation’s requests for information about your academic experience and other relevant details throughout and following the duration of your studies. Should a scholar not abide by these requirements, the student will risk being pulled out of the program and will not be permitted to apply to any other program at the Foundation in the future.
APPLICATION & SELECTION PROCESS
What information and documents will be required for the scholarship application?
The application contains questions about the student's personal details, family information, academic achievements, and family and personal finances, among others. There are also a number of official documents that are required as attachments to the application including, but not limited to:
Transcript of the most recent completed academic year/degree
Results for all standardized tests taken (TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, GRE, …), if relevant
Salary certificate for every household member who is employed.
Audited financial reports or tax declaration for business, for every business owned by the household.
Proof of freelance work, for every household member who is a freelancer.
6 month statements for savings and current bank accounts for the applicant, their parents and their spouse (if they are married).
Family house rent contract, if applicable.
Proof of continuing education and annual cost of education for each household member currently studying.
Proof of physical or mental special needs or chronic illness among the household members.
How can I best answer the essay questions? Is it okay if I write less than the maximum word count?
While there are no minimum requirements on length, please note that essays are a very important component of the applicants' assessment. Students are encouraged to make an effort to write the best response possible. In these essay responses, we are looking for answers that reflect student leadership potential, resilience, good communication skills, and a commitment to giving back.
What criteria does the Foundation use to assess the applications? What should I focus on to improve my chances of getting accepted?
Scholars are selected on a competitive basis as there are a set number of scholarships each year. When assessing applications, the Foundation is looking for:
It is important to submit a complete and high-quality application with accurate and honest information. The application offers a chance for applicants to present their interests, goals, and experiences through their CV, required essays, questions on leadership experience and extracurricular activities, and a section in which they can highlight any specific hardship circumstances they have experienced.
How long will it take me to complete the application? Can I submit a hard copy application?
We expect the application to take at most two weeks to complete, including the time needed to get any official documents required for the application. If all of documents are ready, the application can be completed within a day or two. We encourage students to start preparing their application early. Please note the application for the scholarship must be completed strictly online in English, through our student portal. No hard copies will be accepted.
How will the Foundation select the scholars? What is the process?
After the application deadline has closed, the Foundation will review and assess all applications. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Based on the assessment of the application, the Foundation will invite a shortlist of applicants to an interview on Skype. The interview is an important step of the application process in which the candidates will be asked about their achievements, experiences, and plans for the future. The Foundation may also ask questions to verify some of the information provided in the application. Shortly after the interview, the final list of scholars will be announced. Please keep in mind that the scholarship will be conditional on final admission at ASU. At that point, applicants who have not been selected will also be informed.
What is a MicroMasters?
The online MicroMasters is a new flexible professional credential that can be gained online, available to anyone in the Arab world and beyond as long as they have the ambition and self-discipline to succeed.
Why should Arab youth consider enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters?
Each MITx MicroMasters program consists of five individual online courses (equivalent to one semester on campus), which upon successful completion will result in an MIT credential. This credential has been lauded by top employers in the Arab world and globally.
For the highest achievers who wish to obtain a full Masters, they can compete to be considered for completing the second semester at MIT or another university that recognizes the credential and offers similar programs. In addition, the Foundation will offer a full scholarship to the Open Learning Program scholars who fulfill its eligibility criteria (academic achievement and financial need), complete the MicroMasters and are accepted into the second semester of the Masters at MIT (also known as Blended Masters) on a competitive basis.
What financial support can I receive from the Foundation for the MITx DEDP or SCM MicroMasters program?
The support we provide for the DEDP or SCM MicroMasters is of three kinds. All Arab youth who fulfill our eligibility criteria can receive:
Full reimbursement of the total cost of the DEDP/SCM MicroMasters program after successfully completing the program (consisting of five courses & exams) within 2 years.
For a select number of academically exceptional Arab students with a background in and a commitment to this field and who can demonstrate their financial need, we offer:
Scholarship for the DEDP/SCM MicroMasters program (to be completed within 2 years)
Finally, any of the above students who (1) fulfill our eligibility criteria (academic achievement and financial need), (2) successfully complete the MITx MicroMasters in DEDP/SCM, and (3) receive an acceptance from MIT to complete the MIT Blended DEDP/SCM Master’s Program (this involves traveling to MIT for the second semester of the Master’s program at MIT) will be eligible for:
Full scholarship for the MIT Blended Master’s Program
What other support can I receive from the Foundation for the MITx MicroMasters programs?
The scholarship will allow students to access our network of Al Ghurair Scholars across the Arab region, and other opportunities that may arise. Students will also have an opportunity to be featured on our website, social media, and other communications.
What are the eligibility criteria for applying to the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program?
Be an Arab citizen who does not have another citizenship.
Be between 15 and 30 years old (students who are 30 years old or older are not eligible)
Be proficient in English to standards acceptable by top universities
Preference will be given to applicants who have lived in the Arab World for at least 12 years of their life
If I am 30 years old, am I eligible to apply?
Unfortunately not. We define youth as being anyone from the age of 15 to 29. As long as you are 29 at the time of application, you can be considered for our programs.
What if I turn 30 during the program? Am I still eligible for the Blended Master’s Program?
Yes, you are. As long as you are below the age of 30 upon starting the program, you are eligible for all components of it.
APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
What type of documents do I need to apply?
Although all students who fulfill our eligibility criteria are invited to apply, the selection process for the full scholarship will be very competitive. The documents you need to apply are your identification documents, your CV, as well as some information and documents about your family’s financial status.
What is the application deadline for the scholarship for the MITx MicroMasters programs?
There is no application deadline. This scholarships will be offered on a rolling application basis. Students can submit their applications on our student portal at any time. You can expect to hear from us no sooner than between 4-6 weeks after you submit your application. Please do not contact us before then as we are unable to make any exceptions for students.
What if I receive a scholarship for the MicroMasters after the courses have started? Can I enroll after the start date?
For DEDP - The 5 courses are all offered three times a year - February, June, and September. However, students can enroll in them at any time. The courses require a serious commitment of time on a weekly basis. We encourage you to sign up for the courses from the beginning so that you do not fall behind in the work.
For SCM – The 5 courses are offered on a regular basis throughout the year. Students can enroll in them at any time. The courses require a serious commitment of time on a weekly basis. We encourage you to sign up for the courses from the beginning so that you do not fall behind in the work.
What if I don’t hear back from the Foundation in time for when the courses start? Do I have to pay for the course and then be paid back by the Foundation?
Our scholarship application process is open all year round and takes up to six weeks to be processed, so it is possible you will not hear back from the Foundation before the start dates of the courses or the dates by which you must make a payment for a course. The Foundation will do its best to review the applications in a timely manner, but also please make sure you submit your scholarship application early enough so that you receive a response from the Foundation before the payment is due. The Foundation does not offer reimbursements for individual courses.
What criteria does the Foundation use to select scholars for the program?
We are looking for Arab youth who fulfill the following criteria:
Academic excellence, with the background and skills needed to succeed in this program
Demonstrated commitment to and leadership potential in the field of study
Have financial need
How can I best answer the essay question?
The essay is an important component of our applicant assessment process. Students are encouraged to make an effort to write the best response possible. In these essay responses, we are looking for answers that reflect student interest in the field of study, leadership potential, and communication skills.
How long is the scholarship valid for?
The scholarship for the MITx MicroMasters programs is valid for two years, as long as the student abides by the requirements of the scholarship. If the student is unable to complete the program within that period of time, the Foundation will disqualify the student and discontinue its financial support. Please note that the two-year policy only applies to the MicroMasters program. If students are applying to the Blended Master’s program at MIT, they will only be eligible for a scholarship if they secure entry in the first upcoming session, after they have completed their MicroMasters. If they secure entry one or two years later, they will unfortunately not be eligible to receive the scholarship. In addition, if they are selected for the Blended Master’s program at MIT, they will be given one semester to complete the program.
What are my responsibilities as an Open Learning Scholar in the MITx MicroMasters program?
As a scholar enrolled in the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program, you are expected to:
Pass all 5 courses and exam(s) in order to remain an Al Ghurair Scholar.
For DEDP - If you do not pass the exam for a course, you are permitted to resit the exam once. However, if you do not pass it the second time, you will be disqualified from the program and will not be eligible for further support for the program.
For SCM – If you do not pass any of the courses or exam, you will no longer be allowed to serve as an Al Ghurair Scholar, you will disqualified from the program, and you will not be eligible for further support for the program.
Sign an agreement with the Foundation detailing the scholarship benefits and requirements, including committing you to keep in touch with the OLS program team at AGFE to inform them of your registration in every course and to provide updates along the way and at the end of each of them.
What if I don’t quality to receive a scholarship for the MicroMasters, can I still get reimbursed if I successfully complete the MITx DEDP/SCM MicroMasters program?
Yes, all Arab youth who fit our eligibility criteria can qualify to be reimbursed after they complete the MicroMasters within 2 years. As long as you submit an application for the Open Learning Scholars Program on our student portal and you can provide a certificate of completion for the MicroMasters Program within 2 years of your start date, you will be eligible to be reimbursed by the Foundation for your tuition fees.
If I don’t qualify to receive a scholarship for the MITx MicroMasters program, but I successfully complete it through the reimbursement model, can I still qualify to receive the full scholarship for the Blended Master’s program?
Yes, you can.
If I am not accepted to receive a full scholarship for one of the MITx MicroMasters programs, what happens to my application?
If you are not one of the few students selected for a full scholarship, you will still have the opportunity to get reimbursed for the full cost of the MITx MicroMasters as long as our scholarship program is running. Any student who fits our eligibility criteria of being (1) an Arab citizen, being (2) below the age of 30, and (3) being proficient in English will be eligible to get reimbursed the full cost of the MITx MicroMasters upon proof of successful completion of the program within a two-year period.
If I am eligible to be reimbursed for the MITx MicroMasters, how will the Foundation know I completed the program in two years?
Upon completion of your MITx MicroMasters, please contact us and you will be asked to complete a form and provide proof of completion of the courses and exam(s). Once we can verify that you have completed the program within a two-year period, we will reimburse you for any courses or exam(s) you have paid for yourself (i.e. you did not receive external scholarships for).
If I pass the MicroMasters successfully within two years, does it mean that I’m automatically enrolled into the blended master’s at MIT?
No. Applying to the blended master's is a separate process that is managed completely by MIT and the Foundation is not involved in selecting the students. If you are enrolled in the MicroMasters and are interested in applying to the blended master’s, please check the website of the relevant MIT program to review the eligibility criteria to ensure that you are eligible to apply.
What does the full scholarship for the MIT Blended Master’s program include?
Any Arab scholar who (1) fulfills our eligibility criteria, (2) successfully completes the MITx MicroMasters in DEDP or SCM, and (3) receives an acceptance from MIT to complete the MIT Blended DEDP/SCM Master’s Program (i.e. the second semester of the Master’s program at MIT), the Foundation will offer a full scholarship that covers:
University tuition and other mandatory university fees
Health insurance, as per the university plan
Housing costs, travel airfare and visa costs for students living away from family
Transportation, books, and other living expenses
If I have successfully completed the MITx MicroMasters, how can I apply for a full scholarship for one of the blended master’s at MIT?
If you receive an acceptance from MIT, we will request you to complete a full scholarship application on our portal. As part of this application, we will ask for your family information, academic achievements, and family and personal finances, among others. There are also a number of official documents that are required as attachments to the application to verify your financial status. Finally, we will ask you to write an essay and to provide information about your leadership experience and extracurricular activities. If you are shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview on Skype, after which a final decision will be made.
MITx SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT (SCM) MICROMASTERS PROGRAM
Where can I find more information about the MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management (SCM)?
You can find all the information about the program, its structure and components, time commitment required, and credentials and certificates on MIT’s MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management website here.
What financial support do I get as an Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholar in the MITx MicroMasters in SCM?
The scholarship covers the tuition fees for each of the 5 courses and the capstone exam.
MITX DATA, ECONOMICS, AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY (DEDP) MICROMASTERS PROGRAM
Where can I find more information about the MITx DEDP MicroMasters?
At the Foundation, we offer support and information related to the scholarship only. For any questions about the DEDP program itself, please see the program page, read the FAQs, and contact the course team if you still need guidance.
What does the scholarship for the MITx DEDP MicroMasters program cover?
The scholarship covers the tuition fees for each of the 5 courses and their exams. As the exams must be taken in person at one of the test centers registered with the program, if no test center is available in the country of our scholars, the Foundation will cover the costs of one trip to the closest test center to complete the exams. The Foundation, however, will not cover any additional trips to the countries where test centers can be found, or any other related costs.
I completed a profile but I am ineligible to apply to my program of choice.
If you cannot select the program of your choice or access its application after completing your profile, this is because the information you provided in the profile section indicated that you are not eligible for the program. Always make sure you are aware of the program’s eligibility criteria and review these carefully on the relevant program page on our website. In addition, please review all the information you provided in your profile to make sure it is accurate.
I cannot upload a document.
Please make sure all the documents you are trying to upload are in PDF format and make sure to click “Save” on your application portal before starting any upload and after you complete the upload. If you are not sure how to convert a document to PDF, please note that Microsoft Word allows any document to be saved as PDF. When selecting “Save As” on a Word Document, there is an option under the File Name, to select “Save As Type.” There you can choose PDF. In addition, all documents should be relatively small in size (less than 5 MB). We encourage students to name their documents according to what their content is to avoid any confusion.
I cannot change information or upload a new document after submitting an application.
Once an application is submitted, it is not possible to make any more changes. There are only certain questions, such as those in the Profile section that will remain open for changes after submitting the application. If there is an urgent need to change information which may impact our evaluation of your application, please email the relevant program about that but note that these requests are very rarely accepted.
Can I submit an application in Arabic?
No. All answers to the questions in your profile and application should be in English, including your name. As for uploaded documents, while the preference is to submit these in English, the Foundation can, under special circumstances, accept some official documents in Arabic, provided that they are of high quality and legible.
My choice is not available in one of the drop down menus. What do I do?
Please review the program page to try to find the answer to your question. If you still cannot find an answer, please send an email to the relevant program you are applying to. Please give the team 3-5 business days to respond to your questions before following up.
Do I have to complete my application in one session or can I save it and come back to it later?
You can “save” your application and come back to it. There is a “save” button on the bottom of each page in the portal – whether at the Profile stage or in the application itself. Please make sure you save your progress regularly to avoid losing work you have already completed.
How can I get help in filling out my application?
The Foundation will host several online sessions to answer any questions related to the process of filling out an application. Please check the events section on the “Our Programs” page regularly to know when these sessions will take place and prepare any questions you may have.