Candidate Weekend at NYU Abu Dhabi

Tips for making the most of your 48 hours on Saadiyat Island

David Kerman
A student posing in front of the NYU Abu Dhabi campus.

It Happened!

A muppet running.
Maybe you weren’t sure that you’d be invited—but you were! Years of studying, piano recitals, and dance competitions have led to this: your Candidate Weekend experience at NYU Abu Dhabi. In a few short weeks, you and your soon-to-be best friends will pack your bags and journey from the far corners of the Earth to take part in the preview to an educational experience that’s like no other. You may have heard stories about what to expect from former classmates or YouTube videos that aim to give you an “inside scoop.” But I’m here to drop a bombshell on you…
 
Candidate Weekend has changed.
 
Not dramatically—many aspects of the old experience will remain, but some of what you heard may no longer be true. Since this is the last step in our process, you may be wondering if there’s a way to ensure your success. Look no further! I’m here to share our best tips and tricks for how to make your Candidate Weekend experience not only a success but also one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
Aerial of the Abu Dhabi shoreline.

Get Organized

It’s easy to liken a Candidate Weekend invitation to a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. After finding his ticket, Charlie just had to show up at the factory with his grandfather. When the clock struck noon, he swept inside to experience all the wonders that it had to offer. 
 
This isn’t quite like that. There’s a list of documents that you’re going to need to send to us. Some of them have deadlines within a few days of your invitation being sent. Pay close attention to these, and stay on top of the deadlines! Getting these materials to us on time is exceedingly important. They’re vital in making sure that we can book your flights and request a visa on your behalf. If your passport isn’t valid for six months beyond the date of your Candidate Weekend, then you’ll need to renew it—immediately!
 
When you get to campus, your organizational skills will need to manifest in different ways. Set your alarm in the morning. Be on time. Don’t forget your belongings. These are simple things that will help you present yourself in the best light!

Make friends. Lots of them.

Once you step foot on campus, you’ll start meeting people from all walks of life who have come to us from all over the world. This environment is anything but common and very few of our students are coming from environments where that’s the norm. If you’re admitted, you’ll have four short years to take advantage of all that that environment can provide to you. 
 
The reality is that not every student who comes to Candidate Weekend gets admitted. This might be your only chance to be in a place that is truly a microcosm of the entire world. Don’t waste it! Start a conversation with everyone that you meet. Ask them where they’re from, what their favorite food is, what they love (and hate) about where they’re from. Do everything you can to try and see the world through their eyes. Even if you choose to attend another university, you still might make some of the best friends of your life. And don’t limit those conversations to your peers! Talk to our current students, our faculty members, and our admissions counselors. Ask them anything that you like. At the end of the day, you only have 48 hours to get to know us. 

Sleep. You’ll need it.

It sounds like a simple suggestion, but it’s also one of the most important. Once you start engaging in heated discussions about school, politics, music, and food—you’re not going to want to sleep. You’re going to want to stay in the lounge all night long so that you can maximize your time with your new friends. You’ll want to try candies that someone brought from the other side of the world or sing songs with a guitar that someone else brought with them
 
Do all these things—but keep an eye on the time. Your schedule will be tight. We’re going to ask you to wake up early in the morning and you’ll be moving and engaging nonstop until well after dinnertime. You’re going to need your energy, and only a good night’s sleep will be able to give that to you!
A group of women from Next Gen sit on an NYU Abu Dhabi sign.

Ask the Hard Questions…to Yourself

Take a deep breath. Look across the Central Plaza and through the grove of palm trees. Students are winding their way down the pathway from D2 (the dining hall). They’ve got their backpacks slung over their shoulders, talking about a performance they saw at the Arts Center last night. Or maybe it’s two friends who are catching up for the first time after both of them studied away last year. While you’re watching this, ask yourself: Can I see myself here?
 
Candidate Weekend, above all else, is for you. We designed this experience so that you can walk away feeling confident and prepared to make this decision. It’s a decision that will impact your life’s trajectory, not only for the next four years but the rest of your life. Ask questions, make friends, and enjoy yourself! If you’re interested in reading about why you might want to move to Abu Dhabi, we’ve got you covered
 
Oh, and one more thing. If you choose to ride a camel during the desert dinner experience, hold on to the harness. It’s a quick drop on the way down, and they’re taller than they seem.