- 80% of pilot cohort students return for 2020/21 program
- Second edition of the program attracts interest from over 3,000 students after pilot phase
- Unique partnerships with The Princeton Review- Score Plus and Unifrog allow Program to further tailor and customize its offering
Running until June 2021 and responding to strong demand from Abu Dhabi students, the large-scale expansion of the 2020/21 Rize UPCG Program - which began in September – has seen a fourfold increase in enrollment and 80% of students return from the pilot edition.
Designed to prepare Abu Dhabi students for the next step in their academic and pre-professional journey, the Rize UPCG Program supports students from Grades 9-12 with core academic and standardized test preparation in math and English, while exploring various career and post-secondary (high school) pathways. The program aids students’ preparation to attend leading domestic and international higher education institutions and identifies best-in-class homegrown talent for ADEK’s international scholarship opportunities.
Khuloud Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Education Partnerships Sector at ADEK, said: “The [Rize UPCG] pilot program underscored Abu Dhabi students’ collective enthusiasm for university preparation and future career exploration. After launching in March 2020 with 261 enrolled students, the ever-expanding Program has grown exponentially and now challenges thousands of private and public-school students to unlock their future potential.
Students from Grade 9 upwards are encouraged to delve into specific subjects they are passionate about and start considering higher education and career opportunities open to them beyond secondary school.”
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Rize UPCG Program pilot pivoted to a virtual model. The switch to virtual delivery did not deter the expansion to the program’s content, new features were integrated and there was an increase in much sought-after capacity. The digital shift was made possible by strategic partnerships between ADEK and The Princeton Review- Score Plus, a first for any regional government entity, and Unifrog, a student career management system which saw ADEK being the first government body globally to adopt the platform for an enrichment program.
The Princeton Review- Score Plus partnership created a customized platform that utilizes the concept of blended learning, combining AI-enabled courses that adapt learning to areas where students need extra support, and live online tutor sessions to build students’ skills and reinforce their self-paced learning. Standardized testing is essential for university admissions; students must score well to gain access to leading local and international universities, and The Princeton Review- Score Plus platform provides building blocks for students to maximize their scores.
The Unifrog partnership supports career guidance provided by Rize UPCG Program counselors. Each student receives an individual profile and personalized action plans, enabling users to research global university admissions requirements and access a range of support tools, including personality assessments, Curriculum Vitae and cover letter writing, and more than one hundred Massive Open Online Courses—or MOOCs, for short—certified by top universities.
In July 2020, the first-ever Rize UPCG Program Virtual University Fair launched with over 3,000 students in attendance online. The fair gave the students throughout the Emirate crucial online face time with faculty from over ninety leading universities across the UAE, North America, Europe and Asia. Students took interactive virtual tours of campus life and accessed numerous admission events, which outlined the changes in admissions process for higher education due to the pandemic. The university fair was supported by a series of career guidance webinars hosted by higher education and government entities. Webinar sessions were themed around current and future demands of the UAE labor market.
The Rize UPCG Program’s second edition grants registered students, or ‘Rizers’, with unrivaled access to a myriad of free support structures. Rizers can take advantage of courses to improve core English and math skills, improve their standardized testing skills, receive university application guidance, and attend webinars and workshops led by elite international universities and speakers from leading international private and public organizations.
“The second [Rize UPCG Program] cohort is generating even more demand and our aim is to create customized career pathways that fit each student’s unique interests and aspirations. Enrolled students benefit from holistic support including impartial expert counseling that personalizes their journey through higher education and future career opportunities in the Emirate and beyond,” added Al Dhaheri.
Speaking about her experience in the Rize UPCG Program, Ayesha Batoun, a Grade 12 student at Abu Dhabi’s Applied Technology High School, said: “The Program has offered me unique opportunities that are unavailable elsewhere. I have learned how to assess requirements and deadlines when applying to global universities. The EMSAT review team has also helped expand my knowledge in various topics and improved my scores. By attending the career workshops and webinars I have a much clearer understanding of the opportunities available to me in the future.”
The 2nd Rize UPCG Program runs until June 2021. For more information, or to register interest, visit Rize.adek.gov.ae