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“Faith and Knowledge”

“Faith and Knowledge” is the motto of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Duke University, which is ranked 9th in the US university rankings and 23rd worldwide. Only four Uzbeks study at this university, the fifth of which will be a student of the International House Tashkent lyceum, who entered Duke University with 95% scholarship ($ 220,000). Akhmedjanov Sardor, who became one of 8% of people who entered this university from among all applicants.

Sardor, tell us how long have you been preparing for admission?

 I have been preparing since the beginning of the first course of the lyceum. Passed IELTS in August and February of the previous academic year, having 6.0. Since I was not entirely satisfied with the result I continued to prepare, and for a year and a half I have been continuing to study.

 What exactly did you need upon admission? Which exams / aspects?

 I think the most important aspect is the motivation to study at this particular university. Because, in fact, even IELTS or SAT was not needed when submitting my documents. I got enrolled because of my extracurricular accomplishments and the way I presented it in my motivation letter.

 Since you did not need IELTS and SAT, how did the commission test your language skills?

 I was interviewed on December 7 at 1 am. It was hosted by Russell Davidson, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions in Central Asia. The interview was very unusual, I was asked interesting questions that made me think. Such as “Why did you choose this particular university?” “How and when did you influence the person, and how did it change his life?” etc. The main campus of this university is in America, but I chose the campus in Suzhou, China, as it is the youngest and most innovatively developed branch.

Why did you focus your attention on this particular university?

 My cousin is also a student at this university and his reviews influenced me in part. In addition, Duke has a course called “Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum” about global issues of the world, which interested me very much. Thirdly, this is the “Chinese Mandatory” course. I am fond of Chinese, and I would really like to learn this language. Also, I will have the opportunity to study for two years in China and two years in the United States which gives me many privileges.

 Have you considered any other universities?

 Of course, I applied to 8 universities besides Duke. Entered The University of Arizona, receiving a 88 thousand dollars scholarship. I am waiting for a response from the University of Richmond, Hendrix college, Yale University.

 Why did you choose such a difficult path like America, China? 

 First of all, my main goal was China because despite the fact that America is the leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence, I think that China is currently investing in this area the most. I will have more opportunities to work and intern at top companies in China such as Yahoo, Aliexpress.

 How much on a 10-point scale can you assess the difficulty of admission?

 11/10. I remember how I started the process of writing my essays by doing the first draft in early July and submitting them on October 29 at 2 am. In addition to the motivation letter, I had to write two essays on the topic “Why Duke University?” and “Why this direction?”, where I shared my plans for the future.

 In that case, share with us your plans for the future.

 After studying at this university, I plan to enter the magistracy and PhD. Then, I would like to come back to Uzbekistan to help in development of my country.

Is there anything you would like to know before entering?

 Well, first of all the fact that it is in this university that I do not need IELTS. I have seen examples of students who passed the SAT with excellent results, IELTS 8.0+ but still received deviations from the University of Duke. For example 4 people from Uzbekistan submitted documents to this university with SAT and IELTS, but I was the only one who was accepted without these exams. I think this proves that extracurricular activities matter the most.

 Do you have any advice for those planning to enroll but are afraid?

 When I took my first IELTS, I didn’t think about America at all. I thought about studying in Westminster, living here for four years, then working 9/5 in some boring office. But I was watching the social networks of university students, and got more and more motivation even if I get rejected, I still wanted to try next year. You just need to do it without fear of rejection.