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Detailed description of how candidates are evaluated

First round

Each application from the first round is graded by at least two evaluators. When distributed, the applications are anonymized -- each application receives a code under which it is graded. The evaluators do not have access to personal information stated in the application or the candidate’s GPA. The only information that the evaluators receive (except, of course, the answers to the short questions and essays) is the candidate's hometown and high school.

The maximum number of points that can be received from the online application is 100. From these points, 5 points are awarded based of academic success (GPA) in the past three school years, 45 points based on the answers to short questions and 50 points based on the two essays. 

Evaluating the GPA 

Because we believe that more recent grades are a better sign of the academic success of the candidates, when we evaluate the GPA we calculate a composite average with this formula:

For candidates in their second year of high school:

20% average from grade eight + 35% average from grade nine + 45% average from their first year

For candidates in their third year of high school:

20% average from grade nine + 35% average from their first year + 45% average from their second year

The composite average is the transformed into points as follows:
4,50 - 5,00 = 5 points
4,00 - 4,49 = 4 points
3,50 - 4,00 = 3 points
3,00 - 3,49 = 2 points
2,50 - 3,00 = 1 point
< 2,50 = 0 points

As you can see, the GPA really does not play a big role in the overall process!

Evaluating the short questions 

The short questions are graded as a whole based on the five core criteria defined by the International Office of the United World Colleges. Each of these criteria are worth the same amount of points (9). The criteria are: 

  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Active commitment
  • Personal responsibility 
  • Social competence
  • Motivation for UWC

The short questions are worth a total of 45 points, and together with the GPA make up half of the possible points in the application. 

Evaluating the essays 

Each of the essays is worth 25 points. For each essay, the points are distributed based on:

  • Substance: how well does the candidate answer the question (10 points) 
  • Structure: how well does the candidate present their ideas? (10 points)
  • Linguistic expression: how well does the candidate use language to express their ideas? (5 points)
Combining the grades of different evaluators 

Each anonymized application is graded by at least two members of the committee. The pairs of evaluators are random -- that means that evaluator A will grade some applications which are also graded by evaluator B, and other applications which are graded by evaluator C, and so on.

Because the evaluators have different styles of grading, especially in terms of strictness in awarding points, we want candidates whose applications have been graded by a ‘stricter’ evaluator to have an equal chance as other applicants who will pass into the second round. Therefore, the final grades of each evaluator are standardized so that all evaluators have the same mean and standard deviation

After the grades are standardized, each candidate receives the average of the grades of both evaluators. In other words, if your application has received 75 (standardized) points from evaluator A and 68 (standardized) points from evaluator B, your final points will be 71.5.

Second round

Candidates that ranked in the top 40% based on their points received in the application, are invited into the second round.

In this round, the candidates are graded based on the individual interviews in Macedonian and English, as well as the group activities. Each interviewer evaluates the candidate in terms of the same five core criteria defined by the UWC movement, each of which is worth 6 points, for a total of 30 possible points.

To make this round's success comparable to that of the first round, we transform the raw score (e.g. 24 out of 30) into a percentage point (e.g. 80%). 

Third round

Based on the composite grade from both the first and second rounds, the top scoring candidates are invited to the third round. The composite grade is calculated as follows:

15% points from the first round + 85% points from the second round

Example: If candidate X had 78 points in the first round and 90 points in the second round, the composite grade would be: 0,15*78 + 0,85*90 = 88,2.

In this round, candidates are graded based on their individual Zoom interview in Macedonian or English. Each interviewer evaluates the candidate in terms of the same five core criteria defined by the UWC movement, each of which is worth 6 points. 

Just like in the second round, the final raw score from the third round is converted into a percentage in order to be comparable to the previous two rounds. 

Final rankings

The final composite grade for each candidates is calculated as follows: 

10% points from the first round + 30% points from the second round + 60% points from the third round

Example: If candidate X had 78 points in the first round, 90 points in the second round and 70 points in the third round, the composite grade would be: 0,1*78 + 0,3*90 + 0,6*70 = 76,8.

All candidates in the third round are ranked based on the final composite grades. The distribution of places is done based on this list, as well as the order of preferences expressed by the candidates themselves. However, the scholarships are distributed solely based on the expressed financial need. 

Example: Candidate X is ranked first. This means that based on the ranking list, they receive an offer at one of the colleges. But the scholarship is given solely based on their demonstrated financial need. If the financial circumstances of candidate X's family are such that they can cover 10% of the total amount of tuition fees, candidate X will not receive a full scholarship. They will instead receive a offer for a place with a scholarship of 90%, but if they reject the offer, there is no guarantee that they will receive a different offer.