April 30, 2024

From San Juan to Qatar: How I got into Northwestern University Qatar with a full merit scholarship

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Juan Cruz from Argentina 🇦🇷

Campus Image of Northwestern University in Qatar
From San Juan to Qatar: How I got into Northwestern University Qatar with a full merit scholarship

My background

Hello! My name is Juan and I’m from San Juan, Argentina. I went to “Colegio Central Universitario Mariano Moreno”, a pre-college high school in my province focused on humanities and social sciences. I was one of 100 students selected to study at this school and I’m beyond proud of having done that since this place represented a huge change in my life.

The people and activities there inspired me and made me realize that there were many opportunities I could access despite my origins or financial situation. My first experience abroad was the “Youth Ambassadors program”, a leadership program that prepares young people to make a difference in their communities. From this moment and beyond I kept participating and networking in diverse foreign programs that shaped my desire to study in the U.S. and abroad.

There was a specific program in the School of the New York Times based on foreign correspondence and global reporting, which gave me some sort of understanding of different cultures and made me delve further into American culture. This was a crucial factor that made me choose a U.S. university for my undergraduate education.

The School of the New York Times
The School of the New York Times

Why Northwestern University in Qatar

The main reason why is that I want to study something that differs from mainstream careers: I want to be a foreign correspondent. To perform well in this career you must have a wide understanding of other cultures and countries, so I opted to move to another continent. 

Moreover, I was looking for a university acclaimed for communication and social sciences, which led me to Northwestern University in Qatar. I liked the fact that there are humanities courses that are available, so they give me a wide understanding of my area and help me to declare my major later on. On the other hand, another aspect I loved about this college is the high quality and varied equipment that they have in comparison to hundreds of places in the world. While I was researching on their website I was amazed by their technology and faculty.

Finally, the fact that I could explore different fields such as Media studies, Documentary Production, or film, made me even more certain about Northwestern Qatar.

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Stats and extracurricular activities

I applied test-optional since I couldn’t afford the SAT or ACT yet submitted my Duolingo English Score which I got around 145. On the other hand, my GPA brought some issues given that my high school doesn’t grade in numbers or letters; they just pass or fail you and there’s no other option. My counselor had to explain to the university that I didn’t have an exact GPA to report.

Regarding extracurricular activities, I think that my top one was working at a TV program as a producer and columnist in a late-evening show. Furthermore, I was a student-led magazine editor who specialized in the US college admissions process. I also added my experience in the New York Times program and that I hosted a radio program in high school. Then, in my honors, I set a record score in the “Desafiar contest”, which is a business competition from the Catholic University of Argentina; Yale Young Global Scholars; Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Program, and my participation in the Youth Ambassadors program.


My essays

I decided to rewrite my personal statement from scratch one week before the deadline! I didn’t feel comfortable with the topic I had chosen, so I opted to write about my inability to write or talk about myself. Since I didn’t have enough space to write my entire idea, I complemented my main essay with the “Why us”. My personal statement was like an egg basket, where I wrote about my identity, goals, and my supplemental essays were the spaces where I distributed my eggs. In the last ones, I wrote about a special class I’d love to take at the university and a professor I was interested to learn from.

Time, resources, and financial aid

To prepare for my application I took a Gap Year. I applied to the Opportunity Funds program but I didn’t get in because I couldn’t report an exact GPA.

I took part in the Competitive College Club cohort, started my college research around March, and spent a great time doing my extracurricular activities. The program’s webinars and my EducationUSA advisor helped me a lot as well. I honestly didn’t get stressed, I just counted the application process as one huge activity and worked it at my pace (letting it flow). I wasn’t going to school and was doing what I enjoyed, so I waited calmly for the results. 

Regarding financial aid, Northwestern University in Qatar offered merit scholarships, therefore, I applied and received a full-merit scholarship. There was no special application I had to do for this, I was immediately considered for this scholarship as soon as I submitted my application through the Common App.


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Until Northwestern University in Qatar

I’m currently working at “The Sound of Summer”, a radio program in my city that has a lot of history and has been up and running for years. Furthermore, I’m planning to return to TV pretty soon while I’m also helping my family with our business.

It’s been a nice adventure and now I just wait until August to move to Qatar!

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Juan Cruz
from Argentina 🇦🇷

Duration of Study

Aug 2024 — May 2028



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Northwestern University in Qatar

Northwestern University in Qatar

Doha, Qatar🇶🇦


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