Photo courtesy of Erin Callihan

As university grows, candidate weekends remain important part of campus culture

Photo courtesy of Erin Callihan The last Candidate Weekend, which took place from Feb. 28 to March 3, drew an end to four years of Candidate Weekend ...

Mar 16, 2013

Photo courtesy of Erin Callihan
The last Candidate Weekend, which took place from Feb. 28 to March 3, drew an end to four years of Candidate Weekend seasons, NYUAD Admission’s events that invite approximately 300 applicants to visit the university per year.
Assistant Dean of Admissions Lisa Taylor, who has been involved in the organization of these weekends since the second year of NYUAD history, defines it as a unique and fortunate part of the Admissions process.
“You get to meet these people who you’ve only known on paper in person,” Taylor said. “We are in a fortunate position that we can do that.”
The key goal of the Candidate Weekend is to get to know the candidates in a two-day timeframe. The structure of the weekend was carefully created so that it gives an opportunity for candidates to express themselves in many ways.
“NYUAD is about being a good match,” Taylor said. “We can’t necessarily see it on paper.”
Additionally, Candidate Weekends give students the opportunity to see if NYUAD is the right place for them. Looking back, the current students admit they did not know what to expect from attending NYUAD.
“A lot of people don’t realize what it is like to go to school here until they come here,” junior Amelia Kahn said.
Every student has a structurally similar yet emotionally varied experience at their Candidate Weekend. For Russian sophomore Olga Karpova, it was an eye opening experience into the Arab culture.
“The Candidate Weekend experience broke some of the stereotypes I had about the Middle East,” Karpova said.
The Candidate Weekends are logistically complex events that require the collaboration of the existing NYUAD student population.
“I don’t know how you can run a Candidate Weekend without students being a central and important piece of it,” Taylor said. “The interns do a huge amount of work in terms of really putting together the logistics, students are essential and they are also the best ambassadors.”
Despite the complex logistics involved, students enjoy working at the Candidate Weekends. Their responsibilities include devoting an entire weekend to leading tours around NYUAD facilities, directing candidates through their weekend schedules, attending meals with the candidates and assisting in city tours.
“It is great to know that students are given so much power in shaping the school,” said admissions intern and freshman Julia Saubier. “It is partly why I wanted to come here.”
The current students value the opportunity to meet new candidates who will potentially become part of the next NYUAD class.
“Seeing the students being excited about the school is refreshing,” Saubier said. “At the same time, it reminds me how thankful we should be.”
At first glance, the Candidate Weekend seems unsustainable and costly as the university expands. But it is an important part of admissions process, especially at the start of this global university initiative. The question that arises is whether or not this unique process will last.
The university is scheduled to move to a new campus on Saadiyat Island in 2014, which may impact the Candidate Weekends as the student population grows. For now, after another successful season, the admissions team is ready to continue this process as long as it is valuable for the development of the university. The candidates are the potential students who are a crucial aspect that shapes the process and creates an idea of NYUAD’s best match. Once this image is clearer, a more sustainable path for admission might be adopted. For now, the process is set to go on.
“It is still very much to be determined,” Taylor said. “My sense is that we will continue to do Candidate Weekends until we decide it is not feasible.”
Daria Karaulova is news editor. Email her at
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